Katie Salmeron

With higher education being her in family for many years, it was a no brainer that Katie Salmeron would follow in those footsteps. Katie was surrounded by math and science on her father’s side of the family, “On my mother’s side, my grandfather earned his PhD in English and was an editor and professor at the University of Missouri throughout his career. I was surrounded by science and math on my father’s side of the family. My paternal grandfather, uncle, and aunt all earned their PhDs in engineering (civil, computer/software, and civil respectively) and my dad earned his in Economics and Statistics. So, in a way, higher education was always in my future but I was never pressured to choose any particular field.”
Katie grew up in Terre Haute, Indiana, located an hour west of Indianapolis. She completed her undergraduate at Purdue University, wanting to become a doctor. After not being challenged enough with the curriculum, she changed her major to biochemistry and changed her career direction.
Coming to UK, Katie was told about UK SBCoA and SCoBIRC by a family friend who encouraged her to apply if she wanted to be involved with top-tier neuroscience research. During the interview process, Katie enjoyed meeting the researchers and the environment Lexington and UK had to offer, so it was an easy yes when the offer letter came to her.
Katie started doing undergraduate research in a kinase lab studying Alzheimer’s Disease and breast cancer and ultimately decided to pursue a career in academic science rather than one as a clinician. “My graduate work focused on interleukin-1 (IL-1). IL-1 is a pro-inflammatory cytokine which is rapidly expressed following ischemic stroke. While the other IL-1 isoform, IL-1, is known to cause and propagate damage in the brain following stroke, not much was known about IL-1. We hypothesized that IL-1 could, in fact, be working very differently than IL-1, and could be beneficial in small doses. We tested this hypothesis in mice in both acute and subacute injection time frames following an experimental model of stroke and discovered that IL-1 imparts neuroprotection when given immediately after stroke and promotes repair processes when given three days after stroke. We also showed that it is safe to give and could be an ideal candidate for treatment in combination with endovascular blood clot removal (thrombectomy).”
Katie and her husband are expecting their first child together! She jokes about secretly being 80 years old, because her hobbies including loving to crochet and cross stitch; she also loves yoga and reading. Katie completed her degree earlier this year and is a post doc in Dr. Donna Wilcock’s lab. “I was recently appointed to the TRIAD T32 grant and I am currently writing my F32 application. In Dr. Wilcock’s lab, I will be helping to translate clinical biomarker findings from a current study back to the benchtop; thereby gaining a firmer foundation into true translational research. My ultimate goal is to become a translational researcher focusing on VCID and related dementias. Additionally, I am helping to teach the ANA 109 and 110 classes (Intro to Anatomy and Physiology) and I hope to continue teaching throughout my career.”