Since working on the oat β-glucan project in the lab of J. Mark Davis, PhD (see Oats and Inflammation), Dr. Brown moved on to the University of California, San Francisco. She has just completed her first year of study on her Arthritis Foundation-funded postdoctoral fellowship project titled “Sexual dimorphism in the inflammatory response following stress.” In this work, she is seeking to determine if and how men and women react differently to stress. In particular, she will be studying the functions of neutrophils (an immune system cell), corticosterone (an adrenal hormone) and epinephrine (another adrenal hormone) in the inflammatory response during times of stress and how those reactions differ between men and women.
How do you think your research will impact your local community?
I hope that my research will aid in bringing local awareness to the need for research in this crucial area concerning inflammatory diseases.
How would you ultimately like to see your research applied?
I believe that this research will provide critical information concerning the effects of stress on inflammatory responses. Hopefully this will lead to future studies aimed at treatments and/or therapies for various inflammatory diseases.
What are your impressions of the Arthritis Foundation?
The Arthritis Foundation is a key leader and the most visible advocate in the fight against arthritis.
What role do you feel the Arthritis Foundation plays in the progress of arthritis research?
The Arthritis Foundation has been critical in the support of research to understand, prevent, treat and cure arthritis and other inflammatory diseases. With funding by the Arthritis Foundation, many young investigators have made important findings that have led to significant breakthroughs.
Do you have a personal connection with arthritis that makes the disease more than a statistic to you?
Yes, I have several family members afflicted with arthritis and I understand how this disease can impact a person’s quality of life.
What are the mysteries surrounding arthritis that interest you most?
The biggest mystery for me is the greater incidence and disease severity of arthritis and other inflammatory diseases in women. I hope that my research aids in a better understanding of why and how this disease afflicts more women than men.
When you’re not in the lab, where can you most often be found?
I enjoy spending time with my husband, practicing yoga and going on long bike rides.
What is the last good, non-medical book you read?
I honestly can’t remember the last book I read. Right now the only things I have time to read are scientific journal articles!
What is your favorite musical style and artist?
I enjoy a variety of music – anything from Mozart to Morrissey.
If you weren’t a medical researcher, what would you be doing now?
Riding my bike and spending time with my family.
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