- King University, 2019, B.S. in Cell and Molecular Biology
Growing up with a disabled brother with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and watching him become progressively weaker and lose muscle function, I have always been personally invested in skeletal muscle health and neuromuscular disease treatment. After my brother died of complications from DMD in 2017, I knew I wanted to pursue biomedical research to help improve and maintain human health, especially in the context of treating and curing human diseases. I attended King University in Bristol, TN for my undergraduate degree with the intent to pursue a career in the biomedical science field and gain research experience. My undergraduate research, through a collaboration between King University and Northeast Ohio Medical University, focused on environmental toxicology, investigating how heavy metal-containing pesticides exacerbate the development of Parkinsonian characteristics in those who are already genetically predisposed to Parkinson’s disease development. This introduction to research gave me the opportunity to present my toxicology work at the 58th annual Society of Toxicology meeting in 2019. While my environmental toxicology and Parkinson’s disease research fostered my interest in biomedical science and taught me the skills I would need as my career progresses, I knew my interests were still in muscular dystrophy and neuromuscular development research. Due to this interest, I contacted Dr. Clarissa Henry and joined her lab in 2020. The Henry lab focuses on how dynamic interactions between muscle cells and their extracellular matrix mediate morphogenesis, and how disruption of cell-matrix interactions leads to disease states. My current research focuses on how disruptions in the glycosylation pathway of dystroglycan, a critical cell-surface protein for muscle cell-matrix adhesion, impacts dystroglycanopathy disease states, using zebrafish models.
- Kilroy EA, Ignacz AC, Brann KL, Schaffer CE, Varney D, Alrowaished SS, Silknitter KJ, Miner JN, Almaghasilah A, Spellen TL, Lewis AD, Tilbury K, King BL, Kelley JB, Henry CA. (2022). Beneficial impacts of neuromuscular electrical stimulation on muscle structure and function in the zebrafish model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Elife. 11:e62760. doi: 10.7554/eLife.62760. PMID: 35324428; PMCID: PMC8947762.