Sarah’s primary research has focused on the role of the immune system in neurodegeneration, focusing particularly on the significance of resident immune cells (microglia) vs. recruited immune cells (monocytes) during rod photoreceptor degeneration. Additional research projects include determining the effects of prolonged photoreceptor stress on retinal degeneration in the Arrestin knockout model and examining the anatomical changes that occur due to functional loss of the voltage-gated potassium channel 2.1 on rod photoreceptors. Sarah also serves as the Burns & Pugh Lab Manager and safety coordinator.
Prior to becoming a Project Scientist in the Burns & Pugh lab, Sarah completed her PhD and postdoctoral studies at UC Davis. During her PhD studies with Dr. Leah Krubitzer, Sarah investigated cortical plasticity following early visual loss. She received both a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Individual Fellowship and Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation, among other honors. During her postdoctoral research with Dr. Barbara Chapman (2008-2012), Sarah studied the effects of retinal activity on the formation of retinocortical connections during early development. As a postdoctoral researcher with Dr. Marie Burns (2015-2016), she examined the role of microglia during retinal detachment and photoreceptor degeneration.