Watch the  with Dr. Zellers.

Institute: Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis

Profile: University of Delaware (PhD), Columbia University (Doctor of Physical Therapy), Arcadia University (BA)

Who has been (have been) your mentor(s)?
I completed my PhD with Karin Grävare Silbernagel at the University of Delaware. I have to credit Karin for initially fostering my tendon interest. During my postdoc, I have been bolstered by a great mentorship team – Mary K. Hastings (primary mentor), Michael Mueller, Spencer LakeSimon Tang, and Jie Zheng.

What is your specific area of interest?
I study tendon injury and healing. I’m a physical therapist by background and am particularly interested in understanding systemic factors contributing to the variability in patient experience of tendon injury and response to treatment.

What are you currently working on?
My current projects investigate diabetes-related tendon complications. We are looking, ex vivo, at tissue-level characteristics and how they relate to mechanical function in human tendon specimens.

What has been the biggest challenge/issue for you lately in your research?
At the risk of stating the obvious, Covid-19 has been the biggest challenge for a host of reasons. I’m choosing to see a silver lining, though, in that the pandemic has sparked conversations about science and the role of the scientific community in curating the scientific process for the general public.

What project(s) are you looking forward to in the near future?
The next step of our current projects are to translate the findings from our ex vivo work to in vivo tendons in people, so I’m looking forward to getting that started soon.

When not in the lab, what do you like to do for fun?
I am a former ballet dancer, so I still enjoy heading into the dance studio and engaging in the community theater scene when I get the chance!

Watch the video interview with Dr. Zellers.