Kyla A. Britson
Kyla Britson is a Ph.D. candidate at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland. She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in 2013 with an undergraduate degree in Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development from the College of Biological Sciences. It was her interest in cell and developmental biology that initially drew her to Johns Hopkins to work as a technician in Dr. Deborah Andrew’s laboratory studying the cellular dynamics of Drosophila salivary gland development.
In 2015, she matriculated in the Cellular and Molecular Medicine graduate program and joined the lab of Dr. Thomas E. Lloyd. The goal of her thesis research is to better understand the cellular mechanisms that drive the progression of Inclusion Body Myositis (IBM). IBM is the most common myopathy in individuals over the age of 50 and is characterized by chronic, slowly progressive weakness in both proximal and distal muscles. One pressing question within the field is whether IBM is primarily an autoimmune disease or a degenerative disease.
To elucidate the cellular mechanisms that lead to the development of IBM, she is developing a xenograft model of IBM. In this model, human skeletal muscle is transplanted into immunocompromised mice, and this muscle regenerates to form a fully functional graft. These xenografts recapitulate features of the human disease and will provide researchers a way to study the underlying cause of IBM in an in vivo system.