I received my BS in Biology from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1995 and graduated from the Medical College of Virginia with a PhD in Pharmacology and Toxicology in 2002. My dissertation work was completed in the laboratory of Dr. Billy R. Martin and was focused on understanding how the CB1 receptor was regulated and the behavioral effects of cannabinoid agonists and antagonists. I was a postdoctoral fellow at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School from 2002-2007. During that time I learned how to design viral vectors, particularly based on adeno-associated virus (AAV) was awarded an NRSA fellowship to continue my studies on the behavioral effects of cannabinoids using novel molecular techniques. In 2007 I came to the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at Wake Forest School of Medicine as an Instructor. I received a K01 in 2008 and was promoted to Assistant Professor in 2009. I have a variety of interests focused on viral vector development as a tool to understand the basic molecular mechanisms underlying behavior, particularly in regards to how the brain is altered by substance abuse. I have established several viral vector based systems to modulate neuronal functioning using optogenetics and ligand based systems.