Rachel Kennedy, Doctor of Philosophy Student in Biomedical Sciences, Accepts Postdoctoral Position

Posted May 1, 2013

Rachel Kennedy, a Doctor of Philosophy student set to graduate in the Biomedical Sciences program in August 2013, has accepted a postdoctoral position at Columbia University. She will be working in the neurobiology and neuroscience labs of Drs. Rae Silver and James Curley researching the role of immune cells called mast cells in the brain. These cells are known to defend the body against parasitic attack, and are main effector cells in allergies and asthma, but their normal physiology in the brain is not known. Kennedy’s dissertation research, performed in the laboratory of Dr. Julie Gosse, focused on the effect of environmental toxicants on mast cell degranulation, and she said of her future research, “There is no real understanding of what mast cells are doing in the brain. We are interested in understanding both the normal physiology and pathology of mast cells in the brain, which may have implications for disease states such as anxiety and depression.” While at Columbia University Kennedy will also be a lecturer in psychology for the Frontiers of Science program, part of the core curriculum for undergraduate students.