I obtained a liberal arts education at Whitman College in Walla Walla Washington and became interested in medical research during a summer internship in St. Louis MO. That experience led me to apply to the combined degree program at the University of Washington where I obtained my Ph.D. and M.D. degrees. My Ph.D. was completed in Dr. Dusty Miller's lab where I studied mechanisms of cell transduction by retroviral vectors. Next I completed a pediatric residency at Seattle Children's Hospital, and a fellowship in medical Genetics at the University of Washington. I worked with Dr. David Russell as a post-doctoral fellow and studied the use of viral vectors for gene targeting and cellular mechanisms that involve integration of vector sequences into the human genome.
I'm a closet engineer. I spend my free time restoring old wood-working machinery, building tools to make more tools on my metal lathe and mill, or computer programming. I'm fascinated by engineering problems and my scientific interests are focused on engineering problems at the cellular and molecular level.
My Lab currently studies Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy (FSHD), a dominantly inherited adult onset dystrophy that involves molecular engineering challenges.
FSHD is a debilitating adult-onset muscular dystrophy with initial symptoms primarily in the muscles of the face, upper arm, and scapula (see more here). I became interested in FSHD after seeing a patient with the disease in the medical genetics clinic at Children's hospital. I was both moved by the insidious progression of her muscle weakness, and perplexed by the models that had been put forth to explain the disease mechanism. Since that initial encounter I've come to know several people in the Seattle area with FSHD, and interacted with many of their families. This connection has made our focus on this condition both urgent and rewarding adding a whole new dimension to my research program.