Christi Kern Lab
Graduate Student Dentist Scientist Training Program (DMD, PhD)
My strong passion for dental research developed while I was working toward a degree in Microbiology at the University of Tennessee. I saw a need for more dentists to stay in academia. As a student in the Dentist Scientist Training Program (DMD, PhD), I joined Dr. Christi Kern’s lab to study the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) with a desire to provide knowledge that will lead to a better understanding and development of treatments for TMJ osteoarthritis. This understudied disorder is of particular concern because it disrupts the extracellular matrix homeostasis leading to cartilage degradation. Our experimental approach tests the hypothesis that extracellular matrix (ECM) remodeling of proteoglycans is critical for development and maintenance of fibrocartilage in the TMJ condylar head. To elucidate the role of TMJ proteases we are utilizing a multidisciplinary approach of histology, genetics, and cell assays. In collaboration with Drs. Hai Yao and Michael Kern, we will also generate Crisper-Cas9 transgenic rats to evaluate how changes in ECM turnover impact the biomaterial properties of the TMJ fibrocartilage.
Sarah Cisewski, Ph.D.
As a graduate of the joint Bioengineering program at Clemson University and the Medical University of South Carolina, my research on temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disc degeneration and elucidating constitutive relationships between nutrient solute diffusivity, tissue hydration, as well as cellular metabolite rates within the disc have peaked my interest in this unique joint and its complexity associated with the onset and progression of degeneration. My long-term goal is to develop effective therapeutic approaches for the treatment of TMJ disorders. In Dr. Christi Kern’s lab, I seek to merge my engineering background with molecular cell biology to address the lack of knowledge of TMJ fibrocartilage development and maintenance.
Loren Dupuis, B.S.
Research Specialist II, Lab Manager, Part-time
My research background began in the Honors College at the College of Charleston while studying Marine Biology. I had a lot of opportunities to develop my interest in dissection through my coursework and also as a volunteer doing necropsies with the Marine Mammal Stranding Network. A summer internship using compounds found in marine organisms as models for drug discovery helped focus my interests towards medical research. I began working in Dr. Kern's lab as a Research Technician in 2009, shortly after graduating. My work has focused on the etiology of cardiac valve disease and identifying anatomic abnormalities. My specialties include confocal imaging techniques, Amira 3D reconstructions, and micro-dissections of murine heart valves. Currently, I am applying to Physician Assistant programs and hoping to attend in the summer of 2017. Outside of the laboratory, I enjoy surfing and instructing scuba diving.
Kitty Rice, B.S.
Research Specialist I
My research experience began at Clemson University where I was working towards my degree in Microbiology. I had the opportunity to work in the Microbiology prep lab where I was able to work closely with the TAs to make sure they had the appropriate bacterial cultures and supplies for their teaching labs. After graduating, I joined Dr. Christi Kern's lab team in the summer of 2015. I facilitate the cardiovascular and temporomandibular joint projects. My main responsibilities include mouse husbandry, histology and training of undergraduate researchers in the C. Kern laboratory.
Josh Mifflin, B.S.
Research Specialist I, Part-Time
I am a recent graduate of the College of Charleston Honors College with a goal of becoming a dual degree (MD/PhD) student. As an undergraduate I did my bachelor’s essay research with Dr. Kern, and I am continuing this research focused on cardiovascular development. I also facilitate mouse husbandry and genotyping of our mouse models. In addition I work as certified nurse aid at a local hospital.
I am a senior in the Honors College at the College of Charleston majoring in biology and minoring in chemistry. After graduation, I plan to pursue an MD. In Dr. Kern's lab, I am working on a Bachelor's Essay in cardiovascular development.
I am an undergraduate student at the College of Charleston. I am working in Dr. Kern's lab, focusing on the development of the temporomandibular joint. My goal is to attend dental school after graduating from the College of Charleston.
I am a student at the College of Charleston Honors College. I am majoring in Biochemistry and I plan to go into the medical field after graduation.