Alaina Reagan, PhD

After receiving my Bachelor’s degree in Biology at Belmont University, I worked as a lab technician at Vanderbilt University to both expand my skill set and to further my understanding of research as a potential career. Daily interactions with my mentor and the graduate students in my lab, as well as developing my own project, enhanced the enthusiasm I already had for research and encouraged me to pursue graduate school. Upon starting my graduate program at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, I joined the lab of Dr. Michael Elliott and began my thesis research in neuroscience/ophthalmology. My final thesis work, which focused specifically on retinal vascular degeneration during normal aging and age-related disease, solidified my interests in aging, neuroscience, and vascular biology research, and how the three overlap in complex disease. On completion of my PhD, I pursued a postdoctoral position in the lab of Dr. Gareth Howell at the Jackson Laboratory that combined all of my interests while simultaneously gaining expertise in mouse genetics and genomics. My work is currently focused on a common, but less-studied variant in the MTHFR gene and its contribution to vascular dysfunction and blood brain barrier breakdown in Alzheimer's disease.