My research is focused in developing translational studies to prevention and treatment polymicrobial infections using experimentally infected animal models. I'm interested in investigating the use of bacteriophages as biocontrol agents to clinically problematic infections, with particular emphasis on antibiotics resistant bacteria.
I obtained my bachelors in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Wales Institute Cardiff, her Masters in Biotechnology from Nottingham Trent University, UK. and my Ph.D. from the University of Nottingham, UK. Between 2006 and 2009, I worked in the biotech field as a Senior Research Scientist and managed the R&D department. I returned to academia in 2010 because of a desire to do basic research and teach students how to become good research scientists. My research since 2010 has involved looking at how antibacterial agents such as phages can be applied for the reduction and eradication of problematic bacteria. As a research faculty my goal is to conduct well-controlled, impartial research to investigate alternative treatments against infections, with particular emphasis on antibiotics resistant bacteria.
I have been fascinated with bacterial infections and investigating ways to treat them since my undergraduate degree in biomedical science. My doctorate degree involved studying the potential of bacteriophages to control Campylobacter jejuni in broiler chickens prior to slaughter for food consumption. My postdoctorate experiences have also included managing all three of the laboratories I’ve worked at. From 2006 to 2009, I worked in the biotech industry developing phage-based products to detect food pathogens and decontaminate food. My experience in industry has provided me with an insight into how to develop products that comply with regulatory guidelines, as well as experience in overseeing multiple projects, managing a team of scientists and meeting deadlines.
As the Director of the Micro-Phage, Epi Laboratory my primary focus is translational research to study prevention and treatment of bone and wound infections using experimentally infected animal models. I am also interested in forming collaborations with other researchers to help them design and execute reproducible small animal models, as well as provide support to process samples for microbiological analysis. I am working to develop a service (core) laboratory that can support microbiological analysis of environmental, food, and clinical samples, working with both academic and industry partners.
As the Program Director for infectious disease research within the IDEAS Center, my administrative role involves participating in strategic planning activities, decision-making, evaluation, and other tasks associated in maintaining and building the division of Epidemiology. I work independently on a wide variety of projects related to the planning and implementation of numerous major multi-year studies. I provide technical and administrative supervision to project managers, study coordinators, and other administrative staff working within the infectious disease research program. I would like to build a sustainable and expansive program grounded in established scientific practices, utilizing state-of-the-art methods and develop proposals that will enhance the research environmental and the applicability of the evaluation results to other programs, projects, and medical centers.
As a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine, my research plan for the next 5 years is to: 1) develop a microbiology laboratory which can be used to facilitate epidemiologic surveillance and built on the interrelations between epidemiology and microbiology; 2) develop small animal models to study musculoskeletal infections and antimicrobial agents to prevent/treat them; and 3) enter the data mining domain to support investigating Micro Lab data within the VHA medical records.