As a broadly trained physiologist, my research interests are widespread. I am interested in biological systems under normal and pathological states, proteomics, and bioinformatics. My dissertation project involved the use of proteomics to detect sex-dependent differences in myocardial protein content following chronic alcohol abuse in a rat model. Specifically, I utilized chemical labeling technology (iTRAQ) to allow direct comparison between study groups. In conjunction with the proteomic studies, I utilized echocardiography to monitor changes in cardiac structure and function with increasing levels of alcohol consumption. This approach provided an excellent platform for correlating alterations in whole organ structure and function with alcohol-induced sub-cellular events.
One of my specific interests includes the field of quantitative proteomics and bioinformatics. Managing large datasets generated from proteome-based experiments has led to an appreciation for statistical tools that allow easier data analysis. As part of my graduate research, I developed a new statistical model using statistical software analysis packages, such as STATA and R, to allow combination of multiple datasets with related research hypotheses, thereby increasing the sample size for statistical analysis. Over the past several years, I have applied this statistical model to answer a variety of research questions, ranging from selenium supplementation in men, to identification of biomarkers in saliva obtained from breast cancer patients.
In addition to statistical modeling, I have broadened by research interests to include education research. Specifically, the implementation and validation of innovative team-based learning curriculum for responsible conduct of research (RCR). It is hypothesized that ethical decision-making abilities (both short-term and long-term) can be increased through the use of a team-based, interactive RCR curriculum that is malleable to the instructor, biomedical discipline, and targeted audience.
And, more recently, my research interests have continued to diversify even further with aquaponics. Aquaponics is the combination of conventional aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (soil-less growing) in one integrated system. Given that plants have varied morphologies, it seems to reason that not all plants will develop similarly when grown in diverse grow medias or aquaponics methods. However, a systematic study comparing the growing conditions has not yet been published within the aquaponics industry. A quantitative analysis assessing rate of growth as well as nutrient content from the crops grown using different grow media is currently underway with Harrisburg University undergraduate students. The results from this study will help inform decisions as to optimal growth conditions for current and future research questions, while providing a foundational knowledge to the greater aquaponics industry.