Graduate Student - Zhang Lab
I grew up in Paola, KS, a town just south of Kansas City. My fascination for science grew both from working on my family’s farm and through completing a B.S. in Microbiology at the University of Kansas-Lawrence in 2019. During my undergraduate training, studying natural antimicrobial compounds in the lab of Dr. Josephine Chandler opened my eyes to the excitement of biological discovery and prepared me for entry into the IGPBS program at The University of Kansas Medical Center in 2019. In the summer of 2020, I joined the lab of Dr. Lisa Zhang.
Metabolic diseases, including non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity, are a growing global health concern. RNA binding proteins, such as HuR, are essential regulators of many dynamic cellular processes, including the cellular response to chronic metabolic stress. I am currently studying the role of HuR in NAFLD progression. NAFLD is a chronic liver disease characterized by excessive liver fat accumulation, inflammation, and fibrosis. In some patients, NAFLD can progress to cirrhosis and liver cancer. Unfortunately, few treatment options exist for advanced liver disease. By studying the role of HuR in NAFLD, I hope to help identify better NAFLD treatments and prevention methods.