Morgan developed an interest in research while pursuing her bachelor’s degree in biochemistry. In 2019, she began an internship with Sandia National Laboratories, studying algal lipid metabolism and microbiomes with the goal of optimizing algal systems for biofuel applications. Inspired by this experience and further coursework exploring the epigenetics of disease, Morgan began undergraduate research with the University of New Mexico Hospital (UNMH), Division of Nephrology, helping to develop next-generation sequencing protocols that facilitate the detection of microRNAs implicated in the development and progression of kidney disease.
In 2022 Morgan earned a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and a Bachelor of Arts in French from UNM. Following graduation, she continued there as a research technician until joining the Laboratory of Muscle Stem Cells and Gene Regulation at NIAMS in 2023. Morgan looks forward to using her training with NIAMS to prepare for dual M.D./Ph.D. programs, where she aspires to use patient experiences to lead her research.
Muscle stem cells (MuSCs) are a population of myogenic progenitor cells that play a crucial role in the maintenance of skeletal muscle tissue function. They lie in a quiescent state underneath the basal lamina of muscle fibers until triggered to exit quiescence by acute or chronic injury. Following this trigger, MuSCs proliferate and differentiate into myotubes or fuse with existing ones to repair the damage and regenerate the affected tissue. The regenerative quality of these cells is facilitated by a myriad of epigenetic and cell-to-cell communication networks. Morgan works on projects that seek to a) explore the effects of novel post-translational modifications in coordinating myogenic transcription factors and b) understand the biochemical interplay between MuSCs and non-myogenic muscle-resident cells during the regenerative program in injured tissue.