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The undergraduate years of study are a transforming time period for most people. A critical component of this process is faculty-student interaction. This interaction is often greater and amplified at places like Taylor University and was a significant part of my own undergraduate experience. A major reason I decided to pursue a career at Taylor was to continue to participate in this faculty-student interaction and transformation process.
Using power tools to fix my house.
Working outside (landscaping, gardening, fixing the deck, etc.)
Model railroading and trains (though I have not done this in a while).
Guitar—I would really like to construct my own acoustic guitar. Currently, I am accumulating tools to do this. So far, I have a nice pair of wood chisels. I have also played trumpet in the past.
My current research interests are centered around understanding the role of a group of membrane bound protein receptors (the TAS1R family—TAS1R1, TAS1R2, and TAS1R3); these receptors are responsible for a cell's ability to detect sugars or amino acids. This family of receptors was originally discovered and characterized due to their role in gustation (action of tasting), serving as the molecular “taste” receptors for either sweet (sugars) or umami (savory or meaty—amino acids). Interestingly these receptors have now been shown to be expressed in tissues not involved in gustation. Taylor students who work with me investigate the role of these receptors in regulating bone cell (osteoblasts and osteoclasts) function, thereby potentially affecting overall bone and cartilage physiology. In collaboration with Dr. Jonathan Lowery (Marion University College of Osteopathic Medicine) and Dr. Eric Wauson (Des Monies University), our preliminary work has demonstrated that a number of bone related cells (bone mesenchymal stem cells, osteoblasts, and osteoclasts) express these nutrient-sensing receptors. We are currently working to better define the functional role of these receptors in bone, and potentially cartilage, physiology.