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Jennifer UnoaSPIRE Fellow, Medicine
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Hi! My name is Jen and I am originally from Tucson, Arizona. I fell in love with science as an undergraduate at Northern Arizona University where I worked with Dr. Colleen Kelley. Dr. Kelley's excitement and passion for science led me to seek my PhD in Physiology at the University of Arizona (I will forever be a wildcat at heart!). Working under Dr. Fayez Ghishan, my graduate work focused on the molecular mechanisms involved in the metabolic bone disease associated with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). In addition to the gastrointestinal pathology that develops with IBD, chronic inflammation of the gut has a lasting systemic impact on individuals and often leads to several extra-intestinal problems, among them decreases in bone mineral density. In addition to lab work, as a second year graduate student I had my first experience in the classroom as a TA for an undergraduate physiology course. I quickly learned that as much as I enjoy working at the bench, I also enjoy teaching and sharing science with other students. I continued to teach throughout graduate school and it was unquestionably a highlight of my graduate career.
I recently joined the SPIRE program in November 2006 and I couldn't be more thrilled to be pursing a postdoc that allows me to pursue both a high level of research and teaching. Here at UNC- Chapel Hill I have joined Dr. Scott Plevv's lab where I plan to continue to study IBD. My postdoctoral research is focused on studying dysregulated immune responses in murine models of IBD. As an individual with a mutual love for science and teaching I am excited to have the opportunity to learn more about both through this truly unique program. Biomedical research is an extremely exciting field that will clearly continue to have a large and lasting impact on the future health of everyone. I want to continue working in this exciting field with the hopes of contributing both in the lab and in the classroom.
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