Meet Dr. Mathis

Dr Mathis 2022Hello!  I’m Keisa Mathis and it is a joy to have this opportunity to share with you my background and future goals. My path from student to Associate Professor was not straight and direct; however, I would not change any of the experiences that led me to where I am now. If you feel that I may be able to provide insight and/or help you navigate your way through school, training, and beyond, please feel free to contact me.

As an undergrad at Southern University and A&M College, I majored in physics because of my genuine interests in science and math. I was given the opportunity to participate in a series of four inspiring summer research programs that lead me to develop an appreciation for basic science research. I continued my physics education by enrolling in a master’s program at Purdue University and while there, I took a physiology course and conducted an independent study in neurophysiology that expanded my interests in the human body. This opportunity also made me aware of the impact basic biomedical research has on the advancement of medicine. As a result, I decided to pursue a doctoral degree in physiology because the research often involves investigating diseases and conducting research that could someday lead to novel therapeutic options.

After obtaining the MS in physics, I enrolled in graduate school at LSU Health Sciences Center and investigated whether centrally-acting cholinergic drugs improved the outcome from hemorrhage during acute alcohol intoxication in rats under the guidance of Dr. Patricia Molina. This research experience allowed me to develop excellent skills in integrative physiological approaches and led to publications in peer-reviewed journals, numerous abstracts, and presentations at national meetings. During my graduate career, I became intrigued with cardiovascular and renal physiology, specifically hypertension research. I then pursued a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) because of the strong history of hypertension research and reputation of the department. I was also impressed with the level of mentorship available to me in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics. UMMC was the optimal environment for my postdoctoral training due to the presence of many informed leaders in the field, the numerous resources available and the collegial atmosphere. These resources included not only research equipment and core facilities but also opportunities for professional development and interdepartmental collaboration. My mentor, Dr. Michael Ryan, helped to guide me through my studies on how the immune system contributes to hypertension in the chronic autoimmune disorder systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

During my postdoc, I was able to establish an independent project that focused on whether the novel neuroimmune mechanism, termed the cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway, was impaired in SLE hypertension. I have challenged myself to continue to build upon my knowledge of the autonomic nervous system, immune system, and the extensive integrative physiology training I have obtained along the way. My long-term professional goal is to become an established professor, researcher and advocate for diseases with health disparities. I also aim to serve as an effective mentor and role model and I am committed to promoting the scientific community through outreach. I strive to build and maintain an energetic and interactive laboratory with several trainees all interested in improving the quality of health through our research.

Mathis Curriculum Vitae 2022

Dr. Mathis is a wife and mother of 4.  She enjoys skating, Zumba, working with kids and being a dance mom.  She is also quite crafty and has been crowned “Pinterest Queen” by her family! You can follow Dr. Mathis as she documents her journey through academia on Twitter.