Welcome to my website. I am excited to announce that the Farris lab will be opening in Fall 2018 at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute in Roanoke, VA! We will be a part of the Developmental and Translational Neuroscience Center and the lab will focus on understanding the post-transcriptional mechanisms underlying learning & memory and how these processes are disrupted in neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism.
I am currently a postdoc in Dr. Serena Dudek’s lab at NIEHS/NIH. My research focuses on understanding how neurons coordinate gene expression patterns across extreme distances and morphologies. I find it remarkable that neurons can orchestrate gene expression profiles across multiple cellular compartments, often hundreds of microns away from the nucleus, and execute them over time scales that can vary from minutes to months. RNA localization is one mechanism that neurons use to achieve this feat through spatially restricted translation. Given the complexity of neuronal morphology, it comes as little surprise that dysregulation of RNA localization has been implicated in a wide variety of neurological diseases, from autism to brain cancer. Therefore, the goal of my research is to identify the molecular mechanisms regulating RNA localization and translation, specifically within the dendritic compartments, and to determine how dendritic RNA regulation may contribute to cell-type specific functions.
Beyond my research, I am involved in the North Carolina Triangle Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience, which works to foster collaborations between NC neuroscientists, the public, and our legislators to advance the understanding of the brain and to highlight the importance of neuroscience research to our community.