My clinical and research interests lie in the interactions between neutrophils, platelets, and endothelial cells in the microcirculation. These interactions lead to both the inflammation and thrombosis that occur in patients with inflammatory diseases. I am interested in understanding the mechanisms by which inflammation and thrombosis influence each other in order to develop novel therapies to reduce the morbidity and mortality from pathologic inflammation (such as sepsis, acute lung injury, trauma, and extracorporeal devices). We utilize an array of methodologies, including intravital microscopy to visualize platelet-leukocyte-endothelial interactions in the liver sinusoids of animals in real time.
Our laboratory is also collaborating with biomedical engineers at the University of Houston to develop and test novel microfluidic devices in animals. This project is aimed to develop a device that can perform continuous leukapheresis (WBC removal) in a small animal model before performing large animal and, eventually, human trials. The benefits of these novel microfluidic devices is that they may allow for both therapeutic treatment of hyperleukocytosis (occasionally seen in leukemia) as well as for the collection of leukocytes for downstream processing (granulocyte donation, CAR-T cell generation, etc) WITHOUT the need for large catheters or complicated machines. These devices may have particular benefit for infants and small children, as these patients have a relatively small total blood volume compared to the extracorporeal volumes of the currently used systems. This project includes animal anesthesia and surgery, blood collection and testing, and data analysis.