Haley Titus-Mitchell is a PhD candidate in the UC College of Medicine neuroscience graduate program. A graduate of Miami University and Wright State University, she now conducts research in the lab of Nancy Ratner, PhD, professor of pediatrics and Beatrice C. Lampkin Chair of Cancer Biology.
Within the program, Titus-Mitchell has been a student ambassador and served on the recruitment committee and the neuroscience seminar series committee. Outside UC, she’s an active volunteer within the MS community, helping to plan several fundraising walks with the Ohio Valley Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. She was just asked to join the society’s board of trustees for 2013.
How did you come to UC?
"I’m from Ohio and have been in southern Ohio for almost a decade. I took the time to do a master’s program when I was personally trying to decide between the bench and the bedside as my career path. My personal and professional life goal is to cure multiple sclerosis (MS) and, at that time, there was not much a medical doctor could do.
"After completing my master’s thesis at Wright State University under Francisco Alvarez, PhD, I knew I wanted to pursue a PhD. I chose UC over other programs because the neuroscience graduate program here is outstanding. The curriculum and research opportunities were exactly what I wanted to broaden my foundation as a budding neuroscientist."
What made you interested in researching multiple sclerosis?
"My mother has had MS for 35 years. At Miami University, I attended a ‘Leadershape Retreat’ in the summer of 2005. There, I defined my vision: to find a cure for MS. Your vision is designed to help you take small steps to reach your ultimate goal.
"The steps I have taken so far include graduating from Miami University with a minor in neuroscience and graduating from Wright State University after performing research as part of Dr. Alvarez’s lab with a project on the extent of reformation of inhibitory synapses on injured/regenerating neurons and alteration of their properties.
"Additionally, I’ve been involved with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Ohio Valley Chapter through sitting on the fundraising committee for the 2007 MS Walk in Oxford, the 2008/2009 Walk MS in Dayton and the 2010/2011/2012 Walk MS in Cincinnati. This year, I’m honored to join the board.
"As an ambassador for the Myelin Repair Foundation (MRF) I have had the pleasure of hosting scientists and representatives from the MRF as distinguished lecturers at the College of Medicine.
"Now as a neuroscience PhD candidate, I’m performing research at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center as part of Dr. Nancy Ratner’s lab. My project is on the disruption of white matter tracts in the central nervous system in gain of function RASopathies.”
What would you like to do after UC?
"I intend to do postdoctoral research and then obtain a faculty position at an academic institution, where I will run my own lab as a primary investigator with a focus on remyelination and neuroimmunology.
"I’m currently in the preparing future faculty program at the College of Medicine, and I plan on teaching graduate and medical students fundamentals of neuroscience/neuroanatomy.
What do you like to do outside of your work at UC and in the community?
"I wear many hats and my husband jokes that I am addicted to philanthropy as he is addicted to kayaking. As a member of any community I believe it is important to identify unmet needs and work toward a solution. I try to be active in my lab, department, program, college, across campus and in the community.
"For example, I'm president of the Health Science Graduate Association, executive committee member to Sigma Xi Honorary Scientific Research Society and a member of the Junior League of Cincinnati. Additionally, I enjoy sitting on planning committees for several fundraisers: The Blue Party for the Wave Foundation at Newport Aquarium, Rock ‘n Aspire for NMSS, Once in a Lifetime Gala for the Cure Starts Now Foundation, and, this year, will be joining the Encore group for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.
"I believe that in order to take pride and ownership in anything, you must feel as though you have significantly and consistently contributed. In every commitment, I consider how I can learn and grow as well as the impact I can make.
"I also frequent the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra with my husband. I am a mezzo-soprano and love to sing. We also enjoy visiting the Zoo, Aquarium, Art Museum and the beautiful parks of Cincinnati.”