Dr. Wendy Westbroek
Dr. Westbroek brought extensive NIH experience to the SKC LS Department in 2017. She worked at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for thirteen years, six years as a postdoctoral fellow and seven years as a staff scientist where her research involved diseases of the endo-lysosomal system and Parkinson disease. She gained extensive knowledge in genomics, proteomics, and cell-based assays. Her work has culminated into over 50 peer-reviewed publications, 3 patents and numerous oral platform presentations at international scientific symposia. She has successfully mentored numerous high school, postbac, undergraduate, and graduate students from diverse backgrounds in a culturally-sensitive manner. At SKC, Dr. Westbroek initiated novel student-led undergraduate research projects addressing the cellular basis of health disparities in Native American communities through a One Health approach. Currently, two RISE undergraduate students are working on the type 2 diabetes project, which focuses on the impact of heavy metal exposure on glucose uptake in myotubes and adipocytes. One RISE student works on the Parkinson disease project, which started in June 2018 and involves the impact of environmental heavy metal toxins on glucocerebrosidase activity and its link with Parkinson disease. During her second year at SKC, Dr. Westbroek secured an NIH MT-INBRE pilot research grant, which got renewed recently with funding pending. Additionally, Dr. Westbroek has strong relationships with culturally-sensitive mentors at local and national Tier-I institutions that serve as the basis for a pathway for LS students into undergraduate summer research, postbac and graduate programs.