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About Maria Serrat

The objective of the proposed research is to determine how IGF binding protein (IGFBP) reduction in the perichondrium leads to growth acceleration in obesity. Perichondrium is the collagenous shell that surrounds skeletal growth plates, the regions of cartilage at the ends of bones where lengthening occurs. This hypothesis-driven, problem-solving project uses integrated in vivo and in situ approaches to evaluate the role of local IGFBPs in modulating IGF-I transport and linear growth velocity. The research uses live animal microscopy and protein assays with a mouse model that parallels human obesity. I have expertise in growth plate biology and extensive experience with the specialized methodologies described. My published work includes experience with transgenic mouse models, such as human growth hormone and Col2-GFP expressing animals. I have authored an invited authoritative review on the environment and skeletal growth for Comprehensive Physiology. My diverse background in biological anthropology and biomedical sciences is at an intersection that yields and demands independence and innovation. I designed a thesis project to examine effects of ambient housing temperature on limb length and bone blood flow in mice (described in a single-author paper in Nature Protocols), and developed an in vitro bone culture system to directly isolate temperature. I extended this work as a Postdoctoral Associate at Cornell University, where I used multiphoton imaging to quantify solute transport in growth plate cartilage in vivo and published a detailed protocol on the technique. As an Associate Professor, I have since established a functional live animal multiphoton imaging lab at Marshall University with students and research assistants. I have over six years experience mentoring undergraduate, graduate, and medical student projects. We have successfully obtained extramural student grants that have led to national conference presentations and publications. By keeping a tight focus on the project aims under my planned direction, we were able to generate enough pilot data to secure an R15 AREA grant to continue our temperature work. I am fully prepared to conduct this next phase of research. My plan is a consistent extension of prior projects and builds on the knowledge base, preliminary data, and collaborations that I have already established. I have a demonstrated record of peer-reviewed publications, consistently following competitive internal and extramural grants that I secured to fund my projects for over the past ten years. I received my first grant as an undergraduate in 1998 and have maintained consistent research support since a graduate student in 2004. Having obtained previous funding, I am experienced with grants administration and project leadership, and I understand the need for a clearly articulated research plan. The mentoring that I will receive during the COBRE project will help ensure continued funding success. Overall, my relevant experience and multidisciplinary background provide me with exceptionally strong and unique qualifications to direct this proposal as demonstrated by the related publications listed below.

Positions

Present Associate Professor, Biomedical Sciences, Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, Marshall University
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Contact Information

Phone: 304-696-7392

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