Megan Sylvester

Graduate School
College of Medicine – Tucson
Year Entered Program: 
Degrees Received: 

BS in Public Health and Integrative Biology from the University of Colorado Denver

Thesis Research: 

My laboratory uses a mouse model of ovarian failure to better understand the interchange between menopause (the natural loss of ovarian estrogen production) and subsequent development of T cell mediated hypertension in post-menopausal women. Prior to menopause, when estrogen levels are high, women are relatively protected from the development of hypertension. However, after menopause the rates of hypertension in women far surpass that of age-matched males.  Additionally, clinical studies have shown that only 36% of post-menopausal women suffering from high blood pressure achieve therapeutic benefit using traditional anti-hypertensives—suggesting that the mechanism behind this disease varies greatly from typical hypertension.

About Me: 

Growing up in Colorado, the Rocky Mountains have always been my playground. Whether it is hiking 14ers, camping, fishing, mountain biking, or my absolute favorite—skiing—I love tackling new adventures in the great outdoors with my friends and family.  Even with the busy schedule of medical school and research, I spend every moment that I can exploring the natural wonders all around Arizona.

Since beginning my training as a physician scientist here at the University of Arizona, I have fallen in love with both the clinical application and the general study of women’s health.  Translational and basic science research specifically related to women’s health and sex differences in various disease models is currently a booming field; and I look forward to adding my contributions over the course of my PhD.  Additionally, I have developed an immense interest in the future of medical education —especially curriculum design of the pre-clinical years.  As our medical system, medical discoveries, and technology as a whole evolve, so too must the way that we educate and train physicians.  I am optimistic that by entering the field of academic medicine I will be able to simultaneously combine my passion for clinical medicine, basic science research, and medical education into one dynamic and ever-changing career.

Selected Publications: 
  1. Ahern MA, Black CP, Seedorf GJ, Baker CD, Shepherd DP. Hyperoxia impairs pro-angiogenic RNA production in preterm endothelial colony-forming cells. AIMS Biophysics, 2017, 4(2): 284-297.  

  2. Ahern MA, Goodell DJ, Adams J, Bland ST.  Brain regional differences in social encounter-induced Fos expression in male and female rats after post-weaning social isolation. Brain Research 2016; 1630:120-133.

  3. Goodell DJ, Ahern MA, Baynard J, Wall VL, Bland ST. A novel escapable social interaction test reveals that social behavior and mPFC activation during an escapable social encounter are altered by post-weaning social isolation and are dependent on the aggressiveness of the stimulus rat. Behav Brain Res. 2016 Sep 12; 317:1-15.