A BIT ABOUT DR. ROPER
My career research goals are focused on implementing a multidisciplinary approach to address questions relevant to human health following environmental exposures. Specifically, I intend to identify the components of ambient air pollution that are health relevant to provide rationale for targeted regulations to protect public health rather than the current standards based solely on total particle matter concentration. In order to achieve this I have set out to receive the diverse training necessary to thoroughly research air pollution through epidemiology, chemistry, and toxicology. During my predoctoral training I became familiar with concepts and experimental procedures used in air pollution epidemiology including field sampling study design and statistical methods. This experience will enrich future collaborations with epidemiologists which are essential in establishing the human health effects of air pollution exposures. Furthermore, as a doctoral candidate I began to explore the toxicological outcomes of particulate matter exposure in vitro and in vivo, during this independent project I identified the importance of compositional differences in ambient air pollution and the resultant biological differences. This research continues to be a passion of mine as there is an urgent need for the toxicity screening of ambient particulate matter which varies in composition based on source contributions as well as spatial, temporal, and seasonal factors. To accommodate the vast, variable ambient particulate matter samples a high-throughput screening method is required. Due to this research gap I decided to seek a postdoctoral position in a zebrafish lab as this model organism is amenable to in vivo high-throughput screening. For my postdoctoral training I joined the highly innovative Tanguay Lab which has automated high-throughput screening capabilities and has made significant contributions to chemical screening for developmental toxicity, including the U.S. EPA ToxCast program. I was an NIEHS-supported postdoctoral fellow (T32) mentored by Robert Tanguay and Staci Simonich, this fellowship provided me with a co-mentoring atmosphere that encouraged: collaboration, a strong scientific knowledge in both toxicology and chemistry, and grant writing guidance from two independent investigators with strong funding records throughout their careers. This institutional fellowship has instilled a strong foundation for my career as an independent investigator.
Starting in July 2019 I began a postion as an Assistant Professor of Environmental Toxicology at the University of Mississippi. Our lab is focused on the robust characterization of air pollution using transdisciplinary research approaches. As I progress throughout my career I plan to continue to grow as a researcher and mentor while maintaining a focus on addressing questions related to human health impacts of environmental contaminants.