2005 B.Sc. Biotechnology, National University of Ireland, Galway
2011 Ph.D., Regenerative Medicine, National University of Ireland, Galway
2011-2013 Postdoctoral Fellow, Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology
2013-2014 Research Fellow, Neurology, University of Michigan
My research is primarily focused on developing effective stem cell therapies for neurodegenerative disorders such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Alzheimer’s disease. In preclinical models of ALS, our laboratory has shown that transplanted spinal neural stem cells integrate into the spinal cord, form synapses with the host, improve inflammation, and reduce disease-associated pathologies. This cellular therapy is currently under investigation in ALS patients in an FDA-approved clinical trial here at the University of Michigan. We are now testing novel neural stem cell lines in preclinical models of Alzheimer’s disease, in order to determine the impact of peri-hippocampal stem cell delivery on cognition and disease pathology. Our current collaborative experiments also include feasibility testing in larger animals to facilitate rapid translation to human trials. In parallel, we are working toward identifying the therapeutic mechanisms of stem cell delivery using novel multicellular in vitro models and patient-derived induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. Through the MCubed program, I aim to build upon my expertise and contribute to new projects focused on moving proof-of-principle animal studies into the clinic.