Vik Meadows is a PhD candidate in the laboratory of Dr. Heather Francis, part of the Indiana Center for Liver Research at the Indiana University School of Medicine and Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center. Vik’s research aims to understand the interactions between mast cells and cholangiocytes (the epithelial cells of the bile ducts) during the development and progression of cholestatic liver diseases (i.e. Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis). Her current project topics include: mast cell regulation of bile acid and FXR/FGF15 signaling and the effects of chronic histamine on cholestasis. She also has an interest in intestinal inflammation and the gut/liver axis. Her future studies will investigate the influence of MCs on the gut/liver axis during cholestatic liver disease development.
Outside of lab, she co-founded the #BiochemChat Diversity Seminar, which gives current PhD students from minoritized backgrounds the opportunity to meet Post-Doctoral Fellows from around the US who are advocates for DEI, mental health awareness, and resilience. She serves as a graduate student representative in the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force and co-student representative for the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Indiana University School of Medicine.
She enjoys volunteering as a judge for local science fairs, performing K-12 science outreach, and working with ASIP’s Behind Our Science Podcast! Her awards include the 2021 Monga-Hans Trainee Scholar Award for Excellence in Liver Pathobiology Research.