Gene regulation in learning and memory

I am currently focused on a number of projects examining how experience alters the brain, and how those changes drive future behaviors in the Day Laboratory. We approach this broad topic at diverse levels of analysis that integrate molecular, genetic, and epigenetic tools with techniques that probe the function of single neurons and entire neuronal circuits. In particular, I am using whole genome sequencing and CRISPR/dCas9 systems to quantify and manipulate gene expression programs that regulate adaptive behaviors such as fear and reward learning.

UAB Medical Education Studio

The UAB School of Medicine Media Production Studio is a UAB core facility I established and manage with Mark Pepin that creates, supports, and extends educational media efforts at all levels of training within and beyond UAB’s SOM. We work with UAB faculty members and students to create and deliver digital media curricular content for preclinical, undergraduate, graduate, and continuing clinical education training, efforts which have become critical in the time of COVID-19. For example, some content we’ve produced include history and physical examination training videos, online “KAIZEN” based games, and content for MSTP students entering clinical training. Our studio and efforts are supported by a grant we were awarded from the UAB SOM Dean’s Office.

Magic City Medcast

Magic City Medcast is a podcast I founded and manage that explores the incredible and often hidden stories of medicine, medical school, and Birmingham. In addition to highlighting various stories and issues in medicine, the podcast serves to help educate the broader community on various topics in healthcare. We are in the top 20% most downloaded of all medical podcasts in iTunes, and we are still in our infancy. is a community end-user editable website for UAB’s medical students meant to serve as a resource and repository for everything from study notes to clerkship tips to general advice on stethoscopes. With over 150 unique users accessing and editing it every week, it continues to grow into an incredible resource for current and future medical students. I launched the site in March of 2015 and it has now been regularly utilized by well over 1000 UAB medical students.

UAB School of Medicine Student Senate

I was fortunate to be elected by my peers to serve as our class’s president in The Student Senate, the highest executive position of our medical school’s student government.  In this position, I represented my class on numerous boards across UAB and the UA school system, I worked with UAB faculty on multiple large institutional projects, and I oversaw and led our largest student organization within the school of medicine. Some of my favorite things we were able to achieve include the development and strengthening of our student learning communities, the establishment of a student created project support fund, and raising over $90,000 to support Equal Access Birmingham, UAB’s student run free clinic.

Image analysis software

An ongoing interest of mine is image analysis, and I have developed several different toolkits and plugins to assist in microscopic video processing and image analysis. The utility of these range from allowing complex three dimensional analysis and statistics on stacks of images, to the detection of minute signal differences across time in video. These tools were developed for and have been utilized by multiple research laboratories for projects involving the detection of neural signals via infrared video tracings and the analysis of chondrocytic primary cilia orientation in the growth plate.