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I was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where I attended Louisiana State University for my undergraduate degree in biochemistry. There, I had my first exposure to basic science research studying the molecular determinants of DNA binding by a yeast high mobility group box protein. I attended the University of Colorado School of Medicine as part of the medical scientist training program. My thesis research, performed under the guidance of Dr. Bryan Haugen, was focused on the molecular mechanisms of advanced thyroid cancer with an emphasis on nuclear factor-B signaling. In medical school, I met my wife, Jessica, and we ventured east to Boston for our residency positions. I completed my first two years of internal medicine residency at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. From there, I transitioned to Washington University as part of the ABIM research pathway. Jessica and I have one child, Ava, who is now 10 months old.
The glucocorticoid receptor is a member of the nuclear hormone receptor transcription factor superfamily. The ligands of these receptors, glucocorticoids, are used in the treatment of a broad array of inflammatory illnesses. However, the use of these ligands is limited by harmful metabolic effects, which include muscle wasting, central adiposity, and insulin resistance, which limit the utility of these agents in clinical practice. The Harris lab is interested in the role of the glucocorticoid receptor in adipocyte and hepatic metabolism. Specifically, my project will focus on the role of the glucocorticoid receptor in adipogenesis. We plan to address this question with a transgenic mouse model in which glucocorticoid receptor expression is eliminated in the pre-adipoctye. Further studies will aim to identify the role of posttranslational modifications of the glucocorticoid receptor as a regulatory mechanism in these metabolic processes.