Oberlin College & Conservatory of Music
Neuroscience, BA 2012
Piano Performance, BM 2012
Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine
Year 4, MD 2012-present ( On academic Leave to complete PhD)
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Molecular and Integrative Physiology, PhD 2016-present
Urinary stone disease is extremely common, afflicting approximately 1 in 11 Americans in their lifetime. Despite its common nature, relatively little is understood about the disease etiology and underlying pathogenic mechanisms. We are applying our current understanding of microbe-driven biomineralization (developed by prior studies of natural hot springs, coral reefs and deep subsurface rock deposits) to urinary stone formation. We are currently identifying bacteria and fungi trapped in fine organic matter-rich concentric layers that may link microbial biochemistry with the complex history of crystalline kidney stone growth. Similar to natural environments like Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park, microbial consortia inhabiting the kidney may up-regulate specific suites of membrane bound proteins that catalyze stone growth. If these observations are confirmed, the implications could fundamentally transform paradigms for urinary stone therapy and also expand our understanding of the vibrant microbiome community living symbiotically within us.
Prior to coming to Illinois, past research interests explored mechanisms to upregulate heme oxygenase 1, a heme-degrading and oxidative stress-protecting enzyme that has been found to be beneficial in several gastrointestinal diseases.