2023 / 2028: Mechanisms of type 1 diabetes in the autonomic control of circulation during exercise – This project focuses on the role of channels and receptors in exaggerating blood pressure responses to exercise in individuals with type 1 diabetes. Various receptors and channels are involved in the pathophysiological changes associated with type 1 diabetes and are also known to play a role in evoking the blood pressure response to exercise. The overall goal of this project is to identify the roles of different receptors in the altered neural control of circulation during type 1 diabetes. This project involves a collaborative effort with Dr. Audrey Stone Autonomic Control of Circulation Laboratory) and Dr. Mackenzie Howard (HowardNeuro Lab) and is funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (R01HL166323).
2021 / 2023: Investigating the role of P2X3 receptors in nerve growth factor-mediated mechanical allodynia – This project is focused on investigating underlying mechanisms involving nerve grown factor and the development and progression of mechanical allodynia, when a previously nonpainful stimulus becomes painful. Nerve growth factor is well known for its ability to promote neuronal health; however, there is also evidence to suggest that it may be involved in the sensitization of nociceptive nerve fibers. In addition, P2X3 receptors have also been shown to be upregulated in animal models of neuropathic pain. Hence, the overall goal of this project is to determine if NGF mediates mechanical allodynia through the increased expression of P2X3 receptors. This project involves a collaborative effort with Dr. Audrey Stone (Autonomic Control of Circulation Laboratory) and is funded by a College of Education Small Research Grant.
2019 / 2023: Exploring the temporal effects of inflammation on the autonomic control of circulation during exercise in type 2 diabetic rats – The primary focus of this project has been to investigate the role of inflammation in the neural control of the circulation during exercise in a type 2 diabetic rat model. We have determined that there is an exaggerated blood pressure response to both muscle contraction and tendon stretch, that this response is temporal, and that it is due to the pathophysiology of the disease and not aging. We are currently investigating inflammatory biomarkers and their role in the mechanisms underlying this response. This project involves a collaborative effort with Dr. Audrey Stone (Autonomic Control of Circulation Laboratory) and is funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (1R01HL144723).
2018 / 2022: Investigate targeted metabolomic applications using a novel vacuum ultraviolet spectroscopic detector for gas chromatography – The primary focus of this project was to investigate the applicability of a novel detector for the quantification of fatty acids and amino acids in biological samples. A small Austin-based start-up manufactures a novel, universal vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) spectroscopic detector for gas chromatography. This detector harnesses the unique capabilities of VUV light to provide distinctive spectral signatures in the gas phase that result in unambiguous compound identification and quantitative analysis across a wide spectrum of complex applications. The overall goal is to develop methods and establish proof of concept for use of this detector in targeted metabolomic studies. This project includes a collaborative effort with VUV Analytics and support has been provided by them through use of their instrument along with their knowledge and expertise.
2018 / 2019: Exploring the feasibility of a home-based meditation intervention in breast cancer survivors and investigating its effects on cognitive function, inflammatory biomarkers, and quality of life – This project investigated the feasibility and deliverability of a home-based meditation routine on cancer related cognitive impairment (CRCI). This involved recruiting breast cancer survivors and performing cognitive function testing and collecting blood before and after a meditation intervention. The primary goal of this project was to determine if a meditation intervention could improve CRCI, which can persist for years following treatment, and to determine the role of inflammatory biomarkers. This work involved a collaborative effort with Dr. Ashley Henneghan from UT School of Nursing and was funded by National Institute of Nursing Research (P30NR015335).
2017 / 2018: Investigating biomarkers in persons with dual diagnoses of HIV and diabetes – This project investigated correlations between biomarkers and symptoms, and also investigated the underlying mechanisms involved in the increased prevalence of type 2 diabetes in people living with HIV (PLWH). This involved recruiting individuals with HIV and performing DEXA scans, blood analyses, and completing symptom surveys. The primary goal of this project was to explore biological mechanisms underlying symptoms in PLWH and to determine how specific biomarkers change with the development of diabetes in PLWH. This was a collaborative effort with Dr. Julie Zuniga from UT School of Nursing and was funded by St. David’s Center for Health Promotion & Disease Prevention Research in Underserved Populations (St. David’s CHPR).