Who am I???

Hi y’all!


My name is Ryan and I am a 4th year Mathematics major with a minor in Applied Math. I have background in the health sciences and do research in the Department of Anesthesiology in Emory SOM. Our research encompasses topics within neuroscience such as stroke, TBI, and novel therapies. I have an individual project which was spun off a novel idea a fellow PhD from our lab presented in her dissertation. I currently have one other undergraduate training under me who helps on my project.

What project???

Our project is investigating the efficacy of direct conversion therapy in juvenile rats post-traumatic brain injury (TBI). Essentially, it has been shown that a mixture of drugs can reprogram somatic cells in the brain into neuronal cells to assist in post-TBI recovery. I am using a specific transcription factor, NeuroD1, encased within a viral vector (lentivirus) which is injected into the post-ischemic area a few days after TBI is induced. We can observe supportive glial cells converting into neurons. This therapy is novel since it uses the host’s cells, thus reducing the emphasis of immuno-suppression. Furthermore, it appears to be relatively harmless and easily translated to other species. We can further improve our mechanism by finding a way to have NeuroD1 or a similar activator target specific types of cells within the local injury region.


This week, I have to do some surgeries inducing TBI on rats. I have some preliminary data but I need a higher n group number to have some conclusions regarding the highest rate of cell proliferation within the first two weeks following TBI. Thus, I can then determine the best time to inject the lentivirus. Once I do the surgeries, I will sacrifice the animals depending on the time point and study cell proliferation or migration via immunohistochemistry staining, microscopy, imaging, and cell counting. The data analysis will likely take me at least a month.

Where is my future???

I hope to attend medical school and become a pediatrician. I hope that one day I can be a leader in pediatric clinical trials studying TBI, since young children and adults have the highest rates of TBI. Much of the work I do now today, I hope becomes the same therapy methods I translate to human therapy within the next two decades.