Hello LIFE Apps community! My name is Kaitlyn and I am currently a postdoctoral researcher at Stony Brook University. One thing you should know about me is that I am utterly fascinated by the central nervous system, its complexity, and its crucial connections to the rest of the body.  I consider myself a neuroimmunologist with a special love for the immune cells that live in the brain (microglia), which I have spent the last six years studying.

It was in high school that I first fell in love with science. Tenth grade Chemistry class, to be precise. I loved learning and thinking about life on a molecular level— the magic of intermolecular forces shaping everything we know, the dynamics of equilibrium dictating everything from body temperature to how bridges are built, and the structures of organic compounds that make up so much of our world. I became enamored by the elegance of how everything works on the smallest scale. 

That very same year I started to tutor some of my peers in Chemistry and, looking back, I realize that this was also the year I fell in love with communicating science.  Breaking down the complex to something seemingly simpler is something I truly enjoy. It is incredibly rewarding to witness that moment when things just “click” for someone, and, moreover, when they experience a deeper understanding of the application of science to their everyday life. It was then that I veered away from my childhood aspiration of a career in illustration & design, and decided to pursue science.

After a few twists and turns from a degree in Chemistry Education to a Master’s in Toxicology, I earned my Ph.D. in Molecular & Cellular Pharmacology last June. My research focused on strategies to target microglia (those immune cells of the central nervous system) with novel drugs to treat multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease affecting the brain and spinal cord. Now, as a postdoc, I have started to develop a project to study the role these same cells play in breast cancer that has spread to the brain.

Throughout all of my years of research, I have remained committed to communicating and teaching science by volunteering for mentoring programs, teaching courses, and tutoring. Now, I am excited for this new endeavor of communicating through blogging about some of my favorite topics in human health! 

In my LIFE Apps blog, Brain Health Breakthroughs, I will break down the latest scientific studies on how lifestyle choices can affect brain health. Science is ever-changing and there is a constant flow of new information that can help guide us in our everyday lives. However, understanding science, with all its jargon, can seem like trying to understand a completely different language. Take that jargon, add some complicated-looking graphs, and a scientific paper can be truly overwhelming!  My goal is to decode this complex material to help you make positive, evidence-based decisions that can protect your body and brain against aging and disease, and improve your overall well-being.