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Class of 2018

Student Information Thesis Title Research Interests
Click on the student's name for more information about them.
Ismary Blanco, '18
ib379@georgetown.edu

Pre-thesis
Advisor(s): TBD

Neurodegeneration,
Depression,
Inflammation

Ismary BlancoEducation:Bard College, B.A & New York University, M.S.
Prior Research:
Rotations
Katherine Conant: Determining the effects of Venlafaxine on MMP-9 levels and neuronal arborization in Zebrafish
Kathleen Maguire-Zeiss: Injecting Tat protein in the hippocampi of mice to later on quantify the levels of MMP-2, -9 and -13.

Phil Gross, '18
psg35@georgetown.edu

Pre-thesis
Advisor(s): TBD

Neuroinflammation,
Neurodegeneration,
Glia & Neuroimmune axis

Phil GrossEducation: University of Maryland- College Park, General Biology B.S. & Neuroscience minor, 2016
Prior Research: At MD Anderson Cancer Center, I studied how neuroinflammation contributes to cancer and its treatments’ symptoms (i.e. fatigue, depression, neuropathy).
Thesis Research: Pre-thesis
Rotations:
Kathleen Maguire-Zeiss: Characterizing the early inflammatory effects of Pre-formed fibrils of a-synuclein
Jeffrey Huang: Blocking retinoic-acid metabolism to improve remyelination

Tahiyana Khan, '18
tk810@georgetown.edu

Pre-thesis
Advisor(s): TBD

 

Tahiyana KhanEducation: Temple University, Neuroscience B.S. and Biology B.S., 2015
Prior Research: At the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research. In Virginia Lee’s laboratory, I examined motor neuron integrity in an inducible model of sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), as well as microglia-mediated clearance of cytoplasmic TDP-43 (pathological hallmark in 90% of ALS patients) in this model. Current research interests: Neuron-glial interactions, neuro-immune axis, nervous system repair and regeneration
Rotations:
Dr. Jeffrey Huang- Glial senescence attenuates remyelination with progressive age
Dr. Patrick Forcelli- Involvement of basal ganglia circuitry in epilepsy

Marissa Laws, '18
ml1796@georgetown.edu

Pre-thesis
Advisor(s): TBD

Neuroimaging,
Neurodevelopment,
Cognitive Neuroscience

Marissa LawsEducation: Lafayette College, BS Neuroscience & BA Mathematics, 2018
Prior Research: In Dr. Luis Schettino’s lab at Lafayette, I studied how perception of numerical magnitudes influences spatial approximation during a grasping motor task. In Dr. Judy Cameron’s lab at University of Pittsburgh, I looked at the effects of early life trauma on developmental outcomes of children living in high-stress communities.
Rotations:
John VanMeter: Effects of adolescent drug and alcohol use on response to an fMRI reward task
Guinevere Eden: Grey matter volume differences in children with dyslexia, dyscalculia, and comorbid disorders

Josh McCall, '18
jdm332@georgetown.edu

Pre-thesis
Advisor(s): TBD

 

Josh McCallEducation:
Prior Research:
Rotations:

Danielle Morency, '18
dtm61@georgetown.edu

Pre-thesis
Advisor(s): TBD

 

Danielle MorencyEducation: Simmons College, BS in Neuroscience and Biochemistry and a minor in Biostatistics, 2018
Prior Research: As an undergraduate, she worked in Dr. David Ginty’s lab at Harvard Medical School investigating abnormal tactile processing in mouse models of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Danielle’s current work is aimed towards identifying treatments for improving tactile abnormalities in ASD mouse models, by reducing peripheral sensory neuron hypersensitivity.
Rotations:

Plamen Nikolov, '18
pn243@georgetown.edu

Pre-thesis
Advisor(s): TBD

 

Plamen NikolovEducation: Virginia Commonwealth University, BS (2011) and received his MS (2013) in Biomedical Engineering
Prior Research: During his undergraduate career, he worked in the EEG&BCI laboratory with Dr. Ou Bai at VCU Department of Biomedical Engineering; their research lead to the development of a novel motor-imagery brain-computer interface “switch,” which was published in Clinical Neurophysiology. Plamen’s master’s research was co-advised by Drs. Bai and Ding-Yu Fei at VCU. His thesis, “The effect of concurrent cognitive-visuomotor multitasking and task difficulty on dynamic functional connectivity in the brain,” explored the computational aspect of multitasking via EEG coherence analysis.
Rotations:

Alison Schug, '18
aks134@georgetown.edu

Pre-thesis
Advisor(s): TBD

 

Alison SchugEducation: Georgetown University, M.S. Neuroscience, 2018; King's College, B.S. Neuroscience & Theatre, 2016
Prior Research: Alison's previous research focused on cross-modal plasticity associated with motion perception and association learning in early blind individuals.
Rotations:
Rachel Barr: Navigating Interference: The role of multilingualism and sibling status in toddlers
Adam Green: TBD
Guinevere Eden: TBD

Karli Wensel, '18
kfw17@georgetown.edu

Pre-thesis
Advisor(s): TBD

Neurodegeneration,
ALS,
Motor Neurons,
Astrocytes

Karli Wensel Education: Christopher Newport University, Neuroscience and Molecular Biology B.S., 2015; American University, Biology M.S., 2018
Prior Research: At CNU, I explored sex differences in Betta splendens conditioned choice preference for delayed vs immediate social reward as well as effects of Estradiol exposures on male nesting behaviors. In Victoria Connaughton’s ZENV lab at AU, I investigated the effects of Riluzole treatment in SOD1G93R zebrafish.
Rotations:
Charbel Moussa: Lentiviral treatment against USP13 in mouse model of pTau AD
Stefano Vicini: Exploration of patch-clamp techniques on layer 5 pyramidal cells of the mouse motor cortex.

 

Class of 2017

Student Information Thesis Title Research Interests
Click on the student's name for more information about them.
Vivian Dickens, '17
jmd345@georgetown.edu

Mapping the neurocognitive architecture of the reading network through lesion-symptom mapping and white matter tractography analyses of left hemisphere stroke survivors
Advisor(s): Rhonda Friedman & Peter Turkeltaub

Cognitive Neuroscience
Language
Neuroimaging

Vivian DickensEducation: University of Georgia, B.A. Linguistics, 2015
Prior Research: Functional and structural MRI at the UGA Neuropsychology and Memory Assessment Lab. The interaction of cardiovascular disease risk, age, and cognitive status in predicting functional ability in older adults.
Thesis Research: Mapping the neurocognitive architecture of the reading network through lesion-symptom mapping and white matter tractography analyses of left hemisphere stroke survivors.
Rotations:
Peter Turkeltaub: Multivariate lesion-symptom mapping of post-stroke alexia
Rhonda Friedman: Lexical decision and word form familiarity in surface alexia
Xiong Jiang: Age-related dedifferentiation of the visual word form area

Shiva Hassanzadeh-Behbahani, '17
sh1376@georgetown.edu
Pre-thesis
Advisor(s): TBD
Neuroimaging
Cognitive Neuroscience
Neurodegeneration & Neural Injury

Shiva Hassanzadeh-BehbahaniEducation: George Mason University, B.A., 2015
Prior Research: Previous research focused on using MRI to investigate HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND). Additional research involved using eye tracking to explore sustained attention and the relationship between confidence and accuracy.
Rotations:
Xiong Jiang: Brain atrophy in asymptomatic HIV+ individuals Peter Turkeltaub: Brain networks in speech prediction during language comprehension
John VanMeter: Striato-cortical structural connectivity in adolescents

Jessica Jacobs, '17
jtj29@georgetown.edu
Pre-thesis
Advisor(s): TBD
Neurophysiology
Neurodegeneration & Neural Injury
Neuroimaging

Jessica JacobsEducation: University of Hawaii at Hilo, B.A Psychology, B.A. Philosophy, 2015
Prior Research: Previous research included investigation of connectivity of the primate claustrum through anatomical tract tracing, examination of the pharmacology of habit formation through systemic administration of antagonist drugs, and study of the neural correlates of auditory spatial attention utilizing in vivo electrophysiology.
Rotations:
Ludise Malkova: Differential effects of reward revaluation on goal-directed and habitual behavior.
Xiong Jiang: Differences in implicit learning associated with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease.

Holly Korthas, '17
htk8@georgetown.edu
Pre-thesis
Advisor(s): TBD
Neurophysiology
Neurodegeneration & Neural Injury
Neuroimaging

Holly KorthasEducation: University of Minnesota, B.S., 2017
Prior Research: I have previously studied estradiol-mediated sensitization to cocaine in female rats. Additionally, I studied complex pitch perception in cochlear implants using vocoder simulations.
Rotations:
Stefano Vicini

Kelly Martin, '17
kcm81@georgetown.edu
Pre-thesis
Advisor(s): TBD
Cognitive Neuroscience
Neuroimaging
Neurodegeneration & Neural Injury

Kelly MartinEducation: Boston University, B.A. Neuroscience, 2014
Prior Research:Cognitive and neurodevelopmental predictors of substance use in adolescence (multimodal MRI and behavioral measures) with Dr. John VanMeter; neurobiology of language recovery in aphasia (semantic feature therapy and multimodal MRI) with Dr. Swathi Kiran
Rotations:
Peter Turkeltaub: Changes in right-hemisphere functional connectivity after left-hemisphere stroke in adults relative to age-matched controls
Elissa Newport: Changes in functional parcellation of the right hemisphere across development, and after left-hemisphere perinatal stroke
Maximilian Riesenhuber: Training-induced shortcuts in the ventral visual stream measured by event-related potentials

George Melchor, Jr., '17
gm882@georgetown.edu
Pre-thesis Title
Advisor(s): TBD
Neurodegeneration & Neural Injury
Cellular & Molecular Neuroscience

George Melchor, Jr.Education: Austin College, B.A. Biology, 2017
Prior Research:Utilizing cell signaling pathways, investigated the role of the proteasome activator, PA28γ, and its interactions with the tumor suppressor, P53, in cancerous cell transformation.
Rotations:
Jeffrey Huang: Examine amino acid metabolism in CNS remyelination
Dan Pak: Characterize the morphological/functional impact of SPAR variant mutations (identified in cases of Landau-Kleffner Syndrome) on hippocampal synapses.

Joseph Posner, '17
jlp253@georgetown.edu

Utilizing functional imaging to understand the changes in connections between different functional areas of the brain after treatment for alexia due to stroke.
Advisor(s): Rhonda Friedman & Peter Turkeltaub

Cognitive Neuroscience
Development
Neural Networks

Joseph PosnerEducation Prior Research:I most recently worked at Johns Hopkins Hosptial with Argye Hillis, working as a RA on stroke and aphasia recovery. I also did a summer internship at the NIMH wth Mortimer Mishkin working on adutiory connections in the macaque brain.
Thesis Research: Utilizing functional imaging to understand the changes in connections between different functional areas of the brain after treatment for alexia due to stroke.
Rotations:
Guinevere Eden: Visualizing resting reading area connectivity using ROI to ROI and Seed to Voxel analysis
Dan Pak: Determining areas of interest in hypothalamus that are connected to the locus coeruleus in the mouse brain
John VanMeter: Brain activity changes pre- and post-substance use in juvenille subjects
Rhonda Friedman: Studying the potential of tDCS to enhance the effects of existing treatment for alexia patients

Laya Rajan, '17
lr669@georgetown.edu
Relationship between structural / functional connectivity and behavioral neurocognitive deficits in executive function and academic attainment in pediatric obese brains
Advisor(s): Chandan Vaidya
Neurodegeneration & Neural Injury

Laya RajanEducation:Massachusetts Institute of Technology, ScB, 2014
Prior Research:I studied the role of dorsomedial and dorsolateral striatum in cost/reward based decision-making using optogenetics in Anne Graybiel's lab at MIT. I then spent a year in Derek Leroith's lab at Mount Sinai studying connections between cholesterol, obesity, and triple negative breast cancer.
Rotations:
Rhonda Friedman: Eyetracking study on how patients with phonological alexia read functor/semantically poor words.
Mark Burns
Chandan Vaidya:The effects of metabolic dysfunction on cognitive task performance in obese adolescents

Andrew Speidell, '17
aps114@georgetown.edu
Pre-thesis
Advisor(s): TBD
Neurodegeneration & Neural Injury
Behavioral Neuroscience
Cellular & Molecular Neuroscience

Andrew SpeidellEducation: College of William and Mary, B.S. 2010. Georgetown University, M.S. 2016
Prior Research: The effects of alpha adrenoreceptor agonists on the firing rates of thermally classified anterior hypothalamic neurons, Griffin Lab, The College of William and Mary. Interaction of APOE genotype and exposure to chemotherapeutic agents, Rebeck Lab, Georgetown University.
Rotations:
Dr. Mark Burns: The role of APP in microglial activation after traumatic brain injury.
Dr. Italo Mocchetti: Interaction of morphine and the chemokine CCL5 in promoting positive reward.
Dr. Patrick Forcelli: Optogenetic activation of the PPN-DLSC pathway in restraining seizure activity.

Hannah Waguespack, '17
hgf6@georgetown.edu
Pre-thesis
Advisor(s): TBD
Behavioral Neuroscience
Systems Neuroscience
Neural Networks

Hannah WaguespackEducation: Sewanee: The University of the South, BS, 2015; Georgetown University, MS, 2016
Prior Research: Prior to starting graduate school, I worked as a full-time research assistant in the laboratory of Dr. Ludise Malkova at Georgetown University. During this time, I studied neuronal circuitry surrounding reward processing and decision making behavior.
Rotations:
Pawel Kusmierek/Josef Rauschecker
Dan Pak: Looking at Fe65 as a potential connection between Tau and APP

 

Class of 2016

Student Information Thesis Title Research Interests
Click on the student's name for more information about them.
Kathleen Ammerman, '16
kea65@georgetown.edu
Left in 2016 Cognitive Neuroscience
Language Development

Kathleen AmmermanEducation: B.S. Psychology, Pennsylvania State University, 2016
Prior Research: Child and adult second language learning (EEG/ERP and behavioral methods), cognitive and affective processing of behaviorally inhibited children (EEG/ERP and behavioral methods)
Rotations:
Elissa Newport: Analyzing fMRI data of healthy children ages 4 to 12 and healthy adults to investigate potential age related differences in activation patterns when participants listen to mini-stories

Kevin Cook, '16
kc1022@georgetown.edu
The medial temporal lobe and schema learning in autism spectrum disorder
Advisor(s): Chandan Vaidya
Cognitive Neuroscience
Neuroimaging
Behavioral Neuroscience

Kevin CookEducation: Skidmore College, BA in Psychology, 2010; University of Hartford, MA in Clinical Psychology, 2012
Prior Research: Previously, Kevin has worked in worked in the area of social and affect neuroscience examining topics such as empathy, theory of mind, and social attributions in various psychiatric populations using EEG/ERP and fMRI.
Thesis Research: The medial temporal lobe and schema learning in autism spectrum disorder. Kevin’s thesis work focuses on learning and memory differences in children with autism spectrum disorder. Using fMRI and functional connectivity, he is working to characterize the role of differences in both schema learning and the medial temporal lobe function to explain clinical impairments seen in the disorder.
Rotations:
Adam Green: Utilizing tACS to entrain oscillations to mediate creative and relational reasoning
John VanMeter: Exploring functional connectivity changes in the default mode network after acute alcohol administration
Chanda Vaidya: The medial temporal lobe and schema learning in autism spectrum disorder

Srikanth Damera, '16
srd49@georgetown.edu
Decoding the when and where of concept representations using EEG
Advisor(s): Maximillian Riesenhuber
Cognitive Neuroscience
Computational Neuroscience
Neuroimaging

Maximillian RiesenhuberEducation: Columbia University, B.S. Applied Mathematics, 2012
Prior Research: Started in organic chem, but most recently in studying working memory via intracranial EEG recordings at the NIH
Rotations:
Patrick Forcelli: Optogenetic Control of Seizures through activation of CA1
Maximilian Riesenhuber: Using EEG data to classify patterns of neural activity into stimulus categories

Alan Fowler, '16
ajf115@georgetown.edu
Moussa Discoidin domain receptor inhibition reduces neuropathology in Parkinson's disease models
Advisor(s): Charbel Moussa
Neurodegeneration & Neural Injury
Cellular & Molecular Neuroscience
Neurophysiology

Education: Hampden-Sydney College, B.S., 2014
Prior Research: The effect of neuropeptides on glucose homeostasis in the lab of Dr. D. Kong at Tufts University. Fructose metabolism in the liver in the lab of Dr. M. Herman, the central actions of endocrine factor FGF21 on fertility, and the role of the SNS on adaptation to macronutrients in the lab of Dr. T. Maratos-Flier and Dr. J. Flier at BIDMC-Harvard Medical School.
Rotations:
Charbel Moussa: alpha-Synuclein: A Potential biomarker in Parkinsons’s Disease
Mark Burns: The Role of Annexin A2 in Traumatic Brain Injury
Patrick Forcelli

Nahdia Jones, '16
nsj10@georgetown.edu
The effects of a high fat diet on APOE genotypes
Advisor(s): Bill Rebeck
Neurodegeneration & Neural Injury
Cellular & Molecular Neuroscience
Glia

Nadia JonesEducation: Boston University, BA in Neuroscience, 2016
Prior Research: Researched memory and the hippocampus using electrophysiology in Dr. Howard Eichenbaum's Lab at BU. In particular, studied the effects of stimulation on hippocampal firing patterns, and behavior.
Thesis Research:Apolipoprotein E (APOE) is a lipoprotein responsible for the trafficking of lipids. There are three APOE alleles, APOE2, APOE3 and APOE4, all of which have an impact on the likelihood of developing AD. However, APOE4 is the largest genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's Disease (AD) and APOE4 carriers experience multiple deficits in the absence of AD. Along with APOE4, obesity also results in multiple deficits and acts as a risk factor for AD. My research investigates the effects of a high fat diet on these APOE genotypes and whether the combination of APOE4 and obesity increase the deficits experienced by APOE4 carriers.
Rotations:
Bill Rebeck: Analyzed levels of CYP46 in TBS and TBSX fractions across APOE genotypes
Kathy Maguire-Zeiss: Quantified morphological changes in microglia
Mark Burns: Compared lesion sizes of mice that underwent repeated mild Traumatic Brain Injury to those that underwent Controlled Cortical Impact

Mondona McCann, '16
msm302@georgetown.edu

Polychlorinated Biphenyls and Synuclein as a dual-hit model of Synucleinopathies

Advisor(s): Kathy Maguire-Zeiss

Neurodegeneration & Neural Injury
Cellular & Molecular Neuroscience
Neuropharmacology

Mondona McCannEducation: University of Maryland, B.S. Psychology
Prior Research: Biomedical Research Institute of NJ: Intracellular beta-amyloid accumulation within lipid rafts in Alzheimer's disease; University of Maryland: Hepatic gene expression and biomarkers of PCB exposure; Johns Hopkins University: Ultrasonic vocalization detection in AD mice; Decision, Attention and Memory Lab (UMD): Secondary language acquisition and working memory
Rotations:
Kathleen Maguire-Zeiss: Toll like Receptor 5 and Caveolin-1 in Microglia
Katherine Conant: Investigating the effects of monoamines on matrix metalloproteinase levels and activity in hippocampal neurons
Mark Burns: Pericyte signaling and altered blood brain barrier permeability as a result of traumatic brain injury in APOE3/4 mice

Lauren Rosko, '16
lmr104@georgetown.edu
The role of creatine in promoting remyelination and neuronal integrity
Advisor(s): Jeffrey Huang
Cellular & Molecular Neuroscience
Neurodegeneration & Neural Injury
Neuroanatomy

Lauren RoskoEducation: B.S. Biology & Psychology, Stony Brook University, 2011; M.S. Biotechnology, New York University, 2015
Prior Research: The effects of addiction on brain and behavior at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Brain and hormonal changes due to early life maternal separation at Columbia University Medical Center.
Rotations:
Charbel Moussa: Collagen structure in Tau overexpressing mouse model
Dan Pak: The role of glycogen synthase kinase 3 in synaptic plasticity and Alzheimer's Disease
Jeffrey Huang: Oligodendrocyte mediated survival of neurons

 

Class of 2015

Student Information Thesis Title Research Interests
Click on the student's name for more information about them.
Hassan Aleem, '15
ha438@georgetown.edu
How we learn visual aesthetic values: theory and experiments
Advisor(s): Norberto Grzywacz
Computational Neuroscience
Cognitive Neuroscience
Neuropharmacology

Hassan AleemEducation: B.S. Molecular & Cellular Biology, B.S. Physiology, University of Arizona, 2011
Prior Research: Conditional learning in bees, stucture of DTLs in rat kidney, analgesic properties of glycosylated enkephalins, role of sox 17 transcription factor in mylenation
Rotations:
Adam Green: Mental Models and Training
Norberto Gryzwacz: Developed a study investigating the neuroaesthetical biases of painters of the Renaissance era. Ran and developed various statistical measures to quantify properties of paintings as well as control images to understand inherent differences.
Maximilian Riesenhuber: Developed and troubleshot an analysis pipeline for source localization of EEG data via the beamforming method by using the FieldTrip software.

Adam Caccavano, '15
ac1625@georgetown.edu
The Role of Inhibitory PV Cells on Hippocampal Network Activity in Early Amyloid Pathology
Advisor(s): Stefano Vicini
Neurophysiology
Neural Networks
Computational Neuroscience

Adam CaccavanoEducation: B.S. Physics & Mathematics, University of Oregon, 2007; M.S. Physics, Portland State University, 2013
Prior Research: Electromagnetic theory, high-energy physics, thermoelectric properties of nanowires.
Thesis Research: Synchronous neuronal events known as sharp wave ripples (SWRs) are known to have a critical role in memory consolidation, and to be critically regulated by the activity of parvalbumin-expressing (PV) inhibitory interneurons. I am investigating the dysregulation of SWRs, PV cells, and the extracellular matrix of proteins that preferentially surround these cells in an animal model of Alzheimer's disease. I employ the tools of slice electrophysiology, immunohistochemistry, calcium imaging, and computational modeling. By identifying the neuronal sub-type underlying this network disruption, this work may provide a therapeutic target to ameliorate memory decline in the disease.
Rotations:
Michael Ullman: ALE meta-analysis of non-linguistic procedural learning tasks
Max Riesenhuber: modeling fast feature recognition within the visual hierarchy
Stefano Vicini: investigating cell assembly variability of sharp wave ripples via Ca imaging of hippocampal slices

Homero Cantu, '15
hlc15@georgetown.edu
Morphogenesis of Type I Spiral Ganglion Neurons and the role of Sema3a/Nrp1 signaling
Advisor(s): Thomas Coate
Cellular & Molecular Neuroscience
Neurodegeneration & Neural Injury
Glia

Homero CantuEducation: B.S. Biology, University of Texas-Pan American, 2013; M.S. Biology, University of Texas-Pan American, 2015
Prior Research:Characterizing the role of reactive oxygen species in a rotenone mollusk model Lymnaea stagnalis
Thesis Research: Synchronous neuronal events known as sharp wave ripples (SWRs) are known to have a critical role in memory consolidation, and to be critically regulated by the activity of parvalbumin-expressing (PV) inhibitory interneurons. I am investigating the dysregulation of SWRs and PV cells in an animal model of Alzheimer's Disease via electrophysiology, immunohistochemistry, calcium imaging, and computational modeling.
Rotations:
Kathy Maguire-Zeiss: The role of PAR1 in microglial cells and its possible crosstalk with Toll-like-receptors

Breana Downey, '15
kbd37@georgetown.edu
The Impact of Bilingualism on Brain Function and Connectivity
Advisor(s): Guinevere Eden
Language
Cognitive Neuroscience
Neuroimaging

Breana DowneyEducation Prior Research: In Dr. Julie Fiez's lab, I studied the role of phonological recoding in orthographic learning in adults. I also studied learning of an artificial orthography of English, to understand how learning to read is carried out by the adult brain.
Thesis Research: Bilingualism is primarily a linguistic experience, but knowing two languages also has implications for non-linguistic cognition. In my thesis, I use brain activity and connectivity to study executive function and arithmetic processing in children and adults, and I examine how a person's language experience impacts these measures.
Rotations:
Elissa Newport: Language learning in children
Guinevere Eden: Intrinsic functional connectivity in monolinguals vs. English-ASL and English-Spanish bilinguals

Nelson Jaimes, '15
nj84@georgetown.edu
Left with M.S. in 2017
 
Computational Neuroscience
Cognitive Neuroscience
Neuroimaging

Nelson JaimesEducation: B.S. Computer Science, University of South Florida; M.S. Computer Science, George Washington University
Prior Research: During his time at Georgetown, he has worked at the Laboratory for Computational Cognitive Neuroscience (MAXLAB) under Dr. Riesenhuber. He continues to be involved with the project by using machine learning techniques to classify EEG data using Matlab and LibSVM.
Rotations:
Max Riesenhuber: MVPA analysis of EEG data
Rachel Barr: Developed an n-back experiment for children ages 3-5 for use with NIRS.
Andrei Medvedev: Finished development of tablet based app that implemented the n-back experiment designed in Dr Barr's lab. Learned how to run subjects on NIRS imaging.
Peter Turkeltaub: Using automatic segmentation using FEM to model tDCS electical fields through lesioned brains to evaluate connection between electrical field and patient behavioral outcomes.

Patrick Malone, '15
psm50@georgetown.edu
Neural mechanisms of vibrotactile speech perception
Advisor(s): Max Riesenhuber
M.D./Ph.D. Candidate
Cognitive Neuroscience
Neuroimaging
Computational Neuroscience

Patrick MaloneEducation: B.S. Neuroscience, Emory University, 2012
Prior Research:I completed my undergrad thesis with Keith Tansey in the area of spinal cord plasticity and electrophysiology. After graduation, I moved to DC and spent a year at the NIH in Mark Hallett’s lab, studying patients with movement disorders using various imaging techniques such as fMRI and DTI.
Thesis Research: For my thesis, I am studying how the brain learns to underspend speech through the sense of touch. I am training individuals to understand speech with a sensory-substitution device that converts spoken speech into patterns of vibration, and am using fMRI and EEG to investigate the neural correlates of vibrotactile speech perception.
Rotations:
Kareem Zaghloul: Investigating the neural correlates of reward guided learning and decision making using intracranial EEG recordings in neurosurgical patients
Max Riesenhuber: Semantic representation of words in temporal cortex decoded with multivariate pattern analysis of fMRI data
Xiong Jiang: Using somatosensory speech and non-speech stimuli to test the brain’s general principles of perceptual learning

Cameron McKay, '15
ccm98@georgetown.edu
Structural and Functional Neural Correlates of Reading and Arithmetic
Advisor(s): Guinevere Eden
Cognitive Neuroscience
Neuroimaging

Cameron McKayEducation: B.S. Neuroscience, Duke University, 2014
Prior Research: Previously, I worked as a lab manager and associate in research in the lab of Dr. Marty Woldorff at Duke University. There, I utilized EEG and behavioral methods to invesitgate the neural cascade of conflict processing.
Thesis Research: My thesis research investigates neural plasticity in children with learning disabilities (e.g., dyslexia and dyscalculia). Specifically, I use both structural and functional MRI to study the changes in brain structure and activation, respectively, that occur in response to behavioral intervention.
Rotations:
Guinevere Eden: Investigating the development of resting state functional connectivity in healthy children and adults
Max Riesenhuber: The "when" of semantic categorization using EEG rapid adaptation
Andrei Medvedev: Resting-state EEG biomarkers of healthy aging

Nathanael Lee, '15
njl29@georgetown.edu
Role of Iron in Inflammatory Demyelination: MRI, Histopathology, and Gene Expression Studies in Marmoset Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis
Advisor(s): Daniel Reich (NINDS) & Jeffrey Huang
M.D./Ph.D. Candidate
Neurodegeneration and Neural Injury
Neuroimaging
Computational Neuroscience

Nathanael LeeEducation: Rice University, B.S., B.A., 2013
Prior Research: I conducted neuroimaging research at the Nantz National Alzheimer Center in Texas Medical Center during my undergraduate years. I also researched molecular neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine.
Thesis Research:My thesis project focuses on investigating the pathogenic role of iron in inflammatory demyelination using experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis model Pre-thesis
Rotations:
Hyang-Sook Hoe: Studying dendritic spine formation through RasGRF1-ERK dependent pathway
Maximilian Riesenhuber, Xiong Jiang: Investigating white matter integrity of patients with HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders using DTI tractography analysis
Daniel Reich, Brent Harris: Using high-resolution MRI to study the pathophysiology of multiple sclerosis

Katherine O'Connell, '15
kmo52@georgetown.edu
Affective Processes in Human Empathy and Prosocial Behavior
Advisor(s): Abigail Marsh
Neuroimaging
Cognitive Neuroscience
Neural Networks

Katherine O'ConnellEducation: B.S. Biology, Pennsylvania State University, 2013
Prior Research: Previous research used fMRI and psychophysiological techniques to investigate neural mechanisms underlying normal and maladaptive anxiety. Additional work explored white matter structural integrity in cigarette smokers.
Thesis Research:Empathy, the ability to recognize and understand another person's emotional state, is a fundamental and clinically-relevant component of the human social experience. My work aims to disentangle the constituent processes of empathy and test their relation to real-world social behavioral traits using special populations ranging from altruistic living kidney donors to patients with focal brain lesions.
Rotations:
Guinevere Eden: Brain connectivity in children with and without dyslexia
John VanMeter: Tractography based segmentation of the striatum in adolescents
Abigail Marsh: Amygdala-midbrain connectivity in altruism

Stephanie Sloley, '15
sss256@georgetown.edu
Changes in Hippocampal Synaptic Plasticity Following Repetitive Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
Advisor(s): Mark Burns
Neurodegeneration and Neural Injury
Glia
Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

Stephanie SloleyEducation: B.S. Biopsychology, Tufts University, 2011
Prior Research: I have previously conducted psychopharmacology research on the role of GABA-A receptor subunits in modulating anxiety, as well as on environmental and dietary factors that influence the use of drugs of abuse. More recently, I worked at the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, where I studied deep brain stimulation as a treatment for traumatic brain and spinal cord injury, and a preventative measure against neurodegeneration.
Thesis Research:My thesis project is focused on characterizing the changes in excitatory synaptic transmission in the hippocampus that occur following high-frequency, repetitive concussion. I hope to identify how these changes may contribute to persistent alterations in synaptic plasticity over time Pre-thesis
Rotations:
Jeff Huang: Examining the role of anti-inflammatory macrophage signaling in repair following traumatic brain injury.
Mark Burns: Examining the role that the gene IL4i-1 plays in modulating microglial activation following injury using IL4i-1 knock out mice.
Patrick Forcelli: Using optogenetic manipulation of the deep layers of the superior colliculus and the substantia nigra pars reticulata in order to attenuate amygdala kindled seizures.

 

Class of 2014

Student Information Thesis Title Research Interests
Click on the student's name for more information about them.
Sikoya Ashburn, '14
sma250@georgetown.edu
Cerebellar Involvement in Reading
Advisor(s): Guinevere Eden
Cognitive Neuroscience
Neuroimaging
Language/td>

Sikoya AshburnEducation: Duke University, Neuroscience B.S. & Spanish B.A., 2012
Prior Research: At Michael Platt's Cognitive Neuroscience Lab, I investigated the role of serotonin in risk-behaviors. I also designed a study involving fMRI and a language task at BIAC with Michele Diaz.
Thesis Research: To investigate cerebellum involvement in higher cognitive functions in typically developing pediatric populations in comparison to those who have math and reading disorders.
Rotations:
Max Riesenhuber: Reading and VBM: Grey matter differences in individuals with dyslexia
Brent Harris: Conditionally reprogramming cells and 3D constructs
Guinevere Eden: Cerebellum's role in the reading network: functional connectivity in typical readers

Lorenzo Bozzelli, '14
plb41@georgetown.edu
The role of MMPs in impaired paravascular clearance pathways
Advisor(s): Katherine Conant
Cellular & Molecular Neuroscience
Neurodegeneration & Neural Injury
Behavioral Neuroscience

Lorenzo BozzelliEducation: George Mason University, MA, 2014
Prior Research: I investigated the role of metal ions in Alzheimer's disease and examined the effect that human APOE targeted replacement in mice has on neuroinflammation and astrogliosis.
Thesis Research: I am investigating the role of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in HIV-associated impairments in pathways that clear waste products from the brain
Rotations:
Bill Rebeck: IgG subclasses in CSF as potential biomarkers for Alzheimer's disease
Kathy Conant: Gliosis and matrix metalloprotease levels in a mouse model of fragile X syndrome
erard Ahern: Desensitization of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors by menthol

Edith Brignoni-Pérez, '14
eb945@georgetown.edu
The Neural Bases of Reading in Bilingual Children and Adults
Advisor(s): Guinevere Eden
Cognitive Neuroscience
Neurodegeneration & Neural Injury
Neuroimaging

Edith Brignoni-PérezEducation: University of Puerto Rico, B.A. in Psychology, 2013
Prior Research: Edith explored the neural circuits for active avoidance relevant to PTSD, and the influence of acute stress on extinction recall. In addition, she studied the glutamatergic-signaling role on social-emotional behavior development relevant to negative symptoms of Schizophrenia.
Thesis Research: Edith's thesis research focuses on examining the role of bilingualism, orthographic depth, and age in the brain systems for reading. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, she studies brain activity and functional connectivity in bilinguals and monolinguals, children and adults.
Rotations:
Adam Green: Creativity Enhancement Using tDCS in Non-Clinical Population
Peter Turkeltaub: Speech Comprehension and Perception: Auditory Lexical decision in Adults with Stroke-caused Aphasia
Guinevere Eden: Brain Connectivity Patterns for Visual Word Processing in Typically-Reading Bilingual Adults

Stephanie Davis, '14
sed51@georgetown.edu
Exploring IL4i1 As A Potential Biomarker And Treatment Option In MS
Advisor(s): Jeff Huang & Anton Wellstein
M.D./Ph.D. Candidate (Ph.D. 2018)
Neurodegeneration & Neural Injury
Behavioral Neuroscience
Cellular & Molecular Neuroscience

Stephanie DavisEducation: Barnard College, BA in Behavioral Neuroscience, 2011
Prior Research: In college I studied the effects of L-type voltage-gated calcium channels in the basolateral amygdala on fear learning and fear extinction.
Thesis Research: I'm characterizing the cytokine profile in different stages of multiple sclerosis, and looking at a protein called IL4i1 as a potential treatment option and biomarker.
Rotations:
Micheal Ullman: Theoretical methods of memory enhancement
Jeffery Huang: The role of oligodendrocytes in axonal repair and remyelination
Rhonda Friedman: Inner speech in primary progressive aphasia (PPA)

Catherine Elorette, '14
ce368@georgetown.edu
Rapid Visual Threat Processing in Non-Human Primates
Advisor(s): Ludise Malkova
 

Catherine EloretteEducation: Saint Joseph's University, B.S. in Biology, 2014
Prior Research: Catherine's previous research utilized the computer modeling software SNNAP to simulate circadian rhythms in the suprachiasmatic nucleus. Her undergraduate thesis focused on the role of sudden light activation in subjective night conditions.
Thesis Research: There is evidence from rodent and lower-order primate studies for a fast acting subcortical visual threat processing pathway that passes from the superior colliculus through the pulvinar nucleus of the thalamus to the basolateral amygdala. This project uses a combination of pharmacological, behavioral, and anatomical approaches to investigate the presence of this pathway in the rhesus macaque.
Rotations:
Guinevere Eden: The relationship between brain structure and arithmetic ability
Ludise Malkova: Anatomical Connectivity of the Superior Colliculus, Pulvinar, and Amygdala
Italo Mocchetti: Influence of CCL5 on Opiod Drug-Seeking Behavior in Rats

Kelly Michaelis, '14
kcm73@georgetown.edu
Using EEG and TMS to Investigate the Neural Mechanisms of Speech Perception
Advisor(s): Peter Turkeltaub
Cognitive Neuroscience
Neurodegeneration & Neural Injury
Neuroimaging

Kelly MichaelisEducation: University of Virginia, B.A. in International Development, 2009
Prior Research: Previous research focused on using TMS to measure the relationship between temporal processing and motor excitability. Additional research involved neural mechanisms of spatial navigation and biomotion perception.
Thesis Research: Using EEG and TMS to Investigate the Neural Mechanisms of Speech Perception
Rotations:
Michelle Harris-Love: Using TMS to invesitgate mechanisms of motor recovery after stroke
Peter Turkeltaub: Piloting combined TMS-EEG
ohn Partridge & Stefano Vicini: Calcium imaging and electrophysiology

Jeremiah Paskus, '14
jdp95@georgetown.edu
Adhesion Molecules at Central Synapses and in Glia
Advisor(s): Katherine Roche (NINDS) & Jeff Huang
Cellular & Molecular Neuroscience
Glia
Regeneration

Jeremiah PaskusEducation: Franklin and Marshall College, BA, 2008
Prior Research: Studied optic nerve regeneration in the laboratory of Dr. Larry Benowitz at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
Thesis Research: Thesis work is aimed at elucidating the function of adhesion molecules at excitatory synapses, and in neuron-glia signaling
Rotations:
Patrick Forcelli: Epileptogenesis following knockdown of dendritically-targeted BDNF mRNA
Kathy Maguire-Zeiss: Oligomeric α-Synuclein Mediated Expression of Immunomodulatory microRNAs
Jeff Huang: Characterization of Macrophage Polarization in Demyelinating Lesions

Alberto Sepulveda-Rodriguez, '14
as3705@georgetown.edu
Characterizing the acute microglial response to single non-epileptogenic vs. epileptogenic seizures
Advisor(s): Stefano Vicini
Neuropharmacology
Cellular & Molecular Neuroscience
Neurophysiology

Alberto Sepulveda-RodriguezEducation Prior Research: Under PI Ben Hayden, I collected and analysed electrophysiology and behavior in non-human primates during complex choice tasks.
Thesis Research: Microglia acutely respond to several epilepsy-related CNS events like neuronal injury and hyperactivity. Using a combination of techniques ranging from immunoassays to live tissue imaging and from in vivo epilepsy models to whole-cell patch-clamp electrophysiology, I am characterizing the activation pattern of hippocampal microglia after different types of seizures. My work could help identify new treatments or biomarkers to help millions of epilepsy patients, as nearly 1/3rd are unmanaged under the current state of medical care.
Rotations:
Ludise Malkova: Prepulse inhibition and fear-potentiated startle in non-human primates.
Stefano Vicini: Optogenetic probing of physiology and pharmacology of GABAergic neurons in the striatum.
Kathy Conant: Triggers and effects of MMP1 and MMP13 'transmission'

Kaela S. Singleton, '14
kss76@georgetown.edu
Cross species Regulation and Function of Sox11 in Neural Development
Advisor(s): Maria Donoghue & Elena Silva
Cellular & Molecular Neuroscience
Neurophysiology
Development

Kaela SingletonEducation: Agnes Scott College, BS in Neuroscience & Classical Civilization, 2014
Prior Research: My previous research focused on cross species investigation of the molecular mechanisms underlying neurodevelopmental and affective disorders in the central nervous system at Agnes Scott College, Emory, Vanderbilt, and Georgia State University.
Thesis Research: My current research interests revolve around understanding the cellular and molecular singals necessary to seed a well-organized and percisely functioning central nervous system across species. My thesis research investigates microRNA regulation and changes in partner protien interaction domains of Sox11, a transcription factor that plays a critical role in neuronal differentiation and maturation, in two divergent species, Xenopus laevis (frog) and Mus musculus (mouse).
Rotations:
Maria Donoghue: Investigating microRNA regulation of SOX c genes
Elena M. Silva: Examining the role of Sox21 and Sox11 in neurogenesis
Thomas Coate: Characterizing Spiral Ganglion Innervations within the Cochlea

Gabrielle-Ann Torre, '14
gat35@georgetown.edu
The Modulatory Roles of IQ and SES on Brain Structure and Reading Ability
Advisor(s): Guinevere Eden
Neuroimaging
Cognitive Neuroscience
Language

Gabrielle-Ann ToreeEducation: University of Arizona, B.S. Neuroscience and Cognitive Sciences, 2014
Prior Research: I researched brain-behavior relationships in the context of healthy aging in the Brain Imaging, Behavior and Aging Lab under Dr. Gene Alexander, specifically using voxel-based morphometry techniques in neuroimaging.
Thesis Research: Pre-thesis
Rotations:
Guinevere Eden: Investigating relationship between gray matter and white matter volume and IQ discrepancy
John VanMeter: White Matter Tract Organization in Alcohol-Naïve Adolescents
Peter Turkeltaub: Cortical Thickness in Post-Stroke Recovery

 

Class of 2013

Student Information Thesis Title Research Interests
Click on the student's name for more information about them.
John Accardi, '13
ja434650@gmail.com
Left in 2013
 
Neuroimaging
Cognitive Neuroscience
Behavioral Neuroscience

John AccardiEducation:Saint Josephs University, BS, 2011
Prior Research:Two years of post-bac research at the NIH. The first year in a medical genetics lab and the second year in a systems neuroscience lab.
Rotations:
Abigail Marsh

Chinyere Agbaegbu Iweka, '13
ca613@georgetown.edu
Elucidating the role of Plasticity-Related Gene protein-3 in CNS plasticity
Advisor(s): Jeffrey Urbach & Herbert Geller
Neurodegeneration & Neural Injury
Cellular & Molecular Neuroscience
Neuroanatomy

Chinyere Agbaegbu IwekaEducation: B.S. Biology, BSUMBC, 2008; M.S. Biotechnology, Johns Hopkins University, 2011
Prior Research: Prior to joining the IPN program, I worked with Dr. Katagiri and Dr. Yu at NHLBI investigating the interactions of chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans with PRG-3 and determining binding partners of PRG-3. These proteins have been implicated in increased axonal outgrowth in primary neurons and have induced membrane protrusions in cell lines.
Thesis Research: I am investigating the role of PRG family of proteins in CNS plasticity. Plasticity-related gene proteins are a family of five integral membrane proteins, 1-5, that are characterized by six transmembrane domains and studies have shown them to promote membrane protrusions and induce dendritic spine formation in primary neuronal cultures and in cell lines. I am interested in the role of these proteins in vivo, particularly PRG-3 and PRG-5, both of which little is known. I am currently characterizing the PRG-3 and PRG-5 knock-out mice and have also begun the process of creating a double KO of PRG-3 and PRG-5.
Rotations:
Jeffrey Urbach/ Herbert Geller: Understanding the mechanism through which a mutation in Chst 14 sulfotransferase and Chst 15 sulfotransferase contributes to the symptoms of Ehlers Danlos syndrome.
Kathy Maguire-Zeiss: MMP-1 Overexpression: Effects on microglial activation
Mark Burns: Characterizing cerebral microvessels after Traumatic Brain Injury

Brittany Aguilar, '13
ba438@georgetown.edu
Investigating contributions of intermediate and deep layers of superior colliculus to defensive and emotional behaviors Ph.D. (2018)
Advisor(s): Ludise Malkova & Patrick Forcelli
Systems Neuroscience
Neuropharmacology
Behavioral Neuroscience

Brittany AguilarEducation: B.S. Biological Sciences, University of California - Irvine, , 2010
Prior Research: Previous researcPrior to starting graduate school I worked in the Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders at UC Irvine. My research focused on investigating possible therapeutic uses for pluripotent neural stem cells in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. Projects included stem cell therapy in transgenic mice, molecular characterization of the effect of beta-amyloid on the ubiquitin proteosome pathway, GWAS studies, and work in the Brain Bank.
Thesis Research: The focus of my research is investigating the role that subcortical structures, such as superior colliculus, substantia nigra, and amygdala, play in mediating defensive and emotional responses in an animal model of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I am interested in the influence that signal changes have on reflexive behaviors such as sensorimotor gating function and classical conditioning, i.e. effects on acquistion and expression of fear and safety learning, as well as socioemotional changes that occur as a consequence of network disruption.
Rotations:
Gerard Ahern: Characterization and efficacy of ligands blocking TRPA1 receptor
Mark Burns: Investigating the role of microvessels in mild traumatic brain injury
Stefano Vicini: Effect of inflammatory response on D1/D2 medium spiny neurons in the striatum
Ludise Malkova: Anatomical connections between the basolateral amygdala and nucleus accumbens

Jeffrey Bloch, '13
jbb85@georgetown.edu
Left with M.S. in 2015
 
Cognitive Neuroscience
Neuroimaging
Neuroanatomy

Jeffrey BlochEducation: Washington University - St. Louis, BA, Biology, 2002
Prior Research: I used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) to study psychiatric illness (schizophrenia, Williams Syndrome), as well as investigate the role of genetics in the development of these illnesses, in Karen Berman's lab at National Institutes Health.
Rotations:
Guinevere Eden: Investigating the effects of age and sex on the neural mechanisms of reading in both healthy children and adults
Ludise Malkova: Functional neuroanatomy of PTSD-related subcortical circuitry in the non-human primate
John VanMeter: Neurobiological risk factors for alcohol use disorders in high-risk alcohol-naive adolescents

Shady El Damaty, '13
se394@georgetown.edu
Pattern Classification of Neurocognitive and Socio­-Emotional Developmental Factors Underlying Violent Outcomes in Adolescents & Utility
Advisor(s): John VanMeter
Computational Neuroscience
Cognitive Neuroscience
Language

Shady El DamatyEducation:University of Rochester, B.Sc, 2011; Drexel, M.Sc, 2013
Prior Research: Characterizing Lexical Cohorts revealed by ECoG High Gamma Band Amplitude. Estimating the Free Energy Required for Performing the Sternberg Working Memory Tasks in a Hopfield Network.
Thesis Research: This NIJ-funded dissertation research project involves the identification of environmental stressors precluding the development of cognitive-emotional competence and leading to the emergence of aggressive antisocial behavior in children between the onset of puberty and adulthood.
Rotations:
Maximillian Riesenhuber: EEG Beamforming Source Localization to Identify Neural Networks for Object Recognition
Michael Ullman: Development of CLE Algorithm for Nonparametric Meta-analyses of Autism Spectrum Disorder and Selective Language Impairment
Elissa Newport: fMRI Meta-analysis of the Language Network

Mackenzie Fama, '13
mef231@georgetown.edu
Self-reported Inner Speech In Aphasia: Behavioral Relationships And Neural Correlates (Ph.D. 2018)
Advisor(s): Peter Turkeltaub & Rhonda Friedman
Language
Cognitive Neuroscience

Mackenzie FamaEducation: B.A. Linguistics & Philosophy, The College of William and Mary, 2007; M.S. Speech-Language Pathology, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, 2009
Prior Research: As an undergraduate student in linguistics, I studied the social impacts of non-standard dialect use. As a speech-language pathologist, I studied methods for differential diagnosis of speech and language disorders and aphasia treatment studies.
Thesis Research: I am examining the subjective experience of “successful inner speech” in aphasia, looking for meaningful relationships between subjective reports and objective measures of language function and lesion location.
Rotations:
Peter Turkeltaub: Investigating self-perceptions of internal naming ability and the use of tDCS to improve naming skills in persons with aphasia
Elissa Newport: Statistical Language Learning in Older Adults
Rhonda Friedman: Phonological Alexia - Eye tracking patterns during silent reading

Vivianne (Greenwood) Morrison, '17
veg24@georgetown.edu
Thesis Title
Advisor(s): Jeffrey Huang
Cellular & Molecular Neuroscience
Neurophysiology
Neurodegeneration & Neural Injury

Vivianne (Greenwood) MorrisonEducation: Bard College, BA in Psychology, 2009
Prior Research: I have conducted research both in the U.S. and abroad, exploring the regulation of the autonomic nervous sytem, metastasis,and blood-brain barrier permeability, as well as, the use of zebrafish animal models oncology and neuroscience.
Thesis Research: Previous research suggests a role for retinoic acid (RA), a highly conserved transcriptional regulator, in cortical neurogenesis, but how RA affects cortical gliogenesis remains poorly understood. To test the hypothesis that RA influences glial development, we generated a conditional knockout of retinaldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (RALDH2), the most prolific producer of RA, to prevent endogenous RA synthesis in the central nervous system. Our results confirm that RALDH2-derived RA contributes to normal cortical neurogenesis, and we also provide new evidence that RA is necessary for normal cortical gliogenesis.
Rotations:
Dan Pak: We aim to determine the role of NMDAR-like subunits in a process called LTP-induced depotentiation (LID), which allows previously encoded synaptic activity to alter future synaptic strength.
Maria Donoghue: Cloning tools to study Epha7 variants in neuronal development
&eff Huang: Retinoic acid signaling in oligodendrocytes

Nathan Helm-Burger, '13
nhb10@georgetown.edu
Left with an M.S. in 2015
 
Neurodegeneration & Neural Injury
Behavioral Neuroscience
Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

Nathan Helm-BurgerEducation: Humboldt State University, MA in Biological Psychology, 2013
Prior Research: In the field of behavioral neuroscience: investigation of the neural circuitry of proprioception and motor behavior in a transgenic zebrafish model via drug ablation. In the field of regenerative medicine: exploration of alternate regulatory mechanisms of the pluripotency gene OCT4 via AP2/TCF4/c-Jun.
Rotations:
Karen Gale / Patrick Forcelli: Investigating the neural circuitry of fear response by optogenetic stimulation and tailored pharmacological control of CRH neurons in the basal lamina
Elena Casey: Sox4 expression patterns in the developing telencephalon of Xenopus Laevis
Brent Harris: Primary astrocyte cultures maintained with conditioned media as a potential autologous engraftment source

 

Class of 2012

Student Information Thesis Title Research Interests
Click on the student's name for more information about them.
Rachael Harrington, '12 Role of intact hemisphere premotor cortex in recovery after stroke (Ph.D. 2017)
Advisor(s): Michelle Harris-Love
Neurodegeneration & Neural injury
Behavioral Neuroscience
Cognitive neuroscience

Rachael HarringtonEducation: GWU, M.A. 2011
Prior Research: My previous research focused on the acoustic and aerodynamics of male to female transgender voice. Results suggested that MTF transgender speakers use a distinct pattern from cisgender male and female speakers to create a gender neutral voice.
Thesis Research: My project focuses on the role of the intact hemipshere premotor cortex in recovery of arm function after stroke. My current project disrupts the premotor cortex using online transcranial magnetic stimulation to demonstrate a greater role of premotor cortex than other motor areas in the reaching task. My future project will use theta burst stimulation to prime the premotor cortex to enhance its effects during a reaching practice.
Rotations:
Peter Turkletaub: Planning a clinical trial using tDCS and aphasia
Rhonda Friedman: Gathering normative data on a naming battery
Andrei Medvedev: Evaluating EEG data of closed and open class reading in alexia

William Hayward, '12 Objective support for the subjective report of inner speech in aphasia M.D./Ph.D. (Ph.D. 2016)
Advisor(s): Peter Turkeltaub & Rhonda Friedman
Language
Neurodegeneration & injury
Cognitive Neuroscience

William HaywardEducation: University of Miami, BS (hons), 2008
Prior Research:ERB-B2 and MUC4 regulation and signalling pathways (CAC Carraway); TRF2 structure and function in telomeres (TM Fletcher).
Thesis Research: People with aphasia almost always have difficulty with out loud naming, but often report that the word “sounds right in my head”. This study investigates what the self-report of “inner speech” can tell us about word-finding failure in people with aphasia to predict treatment outcomes and improve recovery of language in affected individuals.
Rotations:
John VanMeter: Analysis of imaging data from a cohort of children with autism
Peter Turkeltaub: TMS as a treatment for post stroke naming aphasia: a pilot study
Michael Ullman: Methods of non-invasive memory enhancement

Lanier Heyburn, '12
lah96@georgetown.edu
TDP-43 pathology: elucidation of mechanisms and treatment with tyrosine kinase inhibition (Ph.D. 2017)
Advisor(s): Brent Harris & Charbel E. Moussa
Cellular & Molecular Neuroscience
Neurodegeneration & Neural Injury

Lanier HeyburnEducation: University of Georgia, BS Biology, 2010
Prior Research: Worked in a biochemistry lab at Emory University investigating oxidative DNA damage and repair mechanisms.
Thesis Research: The role of TDP-43 in neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration
Rotations:
Alexei Kondratyev: DNA Repair in Neurons and Creation of an ROS-detecting assay
Brent Harris: TDP-43 Pathology in Astrocytes
Kathy Maguire-Zeiss: Does treatment with alpha-synuclein lead to increased microRNA levels in microglia?

Scott Miles, '12
 
The neurocognition of learning a new musical system (Ph.D. 2018)
Advisor(s): Norberto Grzywacz & Josef Rauschecker/td>
Cognitive Neuroscience
Neuroimaging
Language

Scott MilesEducation: Old Dominion University, BS Psychology, BS Biology, BA Philosophy, 2010
Prior Research: Honors thesis in psychology: Relationship between attention and working memory; Honors thesis in biology: "What is interesting" in a visual field; One year spent working as an MRI technician at the Martinos Center at Massachussetts General Hospital
Thesis Research: The goal of the project is to investigate the neurocognitive bases of learning a musical system. Healthy adults from a Western tonal music background will be exposed to recordings of an expert musician performing music from a subset of the North Indian classical musical system. They will be followed, during continuous fMRI administration, from initial exposure until they learn the system to a high level of competence. The design will involve alternating exposure and testing sessions. Their performance in identifying grammatical phrases during testing will provide a measure of rule learning.
Rotations:
Michael Ullman: Autism spectrum disorder co-localization likelihood estimation
Max Riesenhuber: Electroencephalography rapid adaptation
Peter Turkeltaub: Specific language impairment co-localization likelihood estimation coding

Erika Raven, '12
 
Reproducibility and use of myelin imaging methods for the study of adolescent brain development (Ph.D. 2017)
Advisor(s): John VanMeter & Jeff Duyn
Neuroimaging
Development
Myelin

Erika RavenEducation: Pepperdine University, BS, 2007
Prior Research: Erika worked for Dr. George Bartzokis at UCLA on MRI techniques to study white matter volume and integrity over the life span as well as iron accumulation in the brain. Subjects with developmental and degenerative diseases were analyzed alongside a base of healthy controls to establish aging trajectories and responses to medication.
Thesis Research: Given that myelin facilitates cognitive processing by increasing the speed and synchrony of signal transmission between brain regions, the ability to describe myelin microstructure and detect damage or delays to myelination will prove to be a critical tool for clinicians. I am currently testing the feasibility of novel MRI techniques in healthy adolescents to investigate how myelin-specific changes correlate with rapid behavioral and cognitive maturation during development.
Rotations:
John VanMeter: fMRI project on pre- vs post-treatment using donepezil in MCI patients and controls
Josef Rauschecker: Investigating white matter integrity of normal controls and tinnitus patients using DTI
Howard Federoff: Investigate neural processes of healthy older adults with above average memory capacity.

Paul Robinson, '17
pr254@georgetown.edu
Left in 2013
Advisor(s): TBD
Computational Neuroscience
Systems Neuroscience
Neural Networks

Paul RobinsonEducation: Saint John's University, B.A., 2002
Prior Research: Investigations of Schizophrenia, Alzheimer's disease, cocaine addiction, Binge Eating Disorder, and rare metabolic disorders using multiple magnetic resonance methods (DTI, MRS, fMRI, ASL, volumetrics).
Rotations:
Max Riesenhuber: Investigations of the effect depth-of-field may have on rapid visual object recognition.
Andrei Medvedev : Method development for correlating resting state NIRS and EEG data

Kathryn Schuler, '12
kds71@georgetown.edu
The Acquisition of Productive Rules in Child and Adult Language Learners (Ph.D. 2017)
Advisor(s): Elissa Newport
Cognitive Neuroscience
Development
Language

Kathryn SchulerEducation: University of Rochester, Brain and Cognitive Sciences
Prior Research: Language acquisition and the relationship between language acquisition and language structure.
Thesis Research:Learning adjacent and non-adjacent syntactic dependencies in a serial time task
Rotations:
Elissa Newport: Understanding the relationship between linguistic structures and non-linguistic patterns
Darlene Howard: Investigating the domain-generality of language via visual pattern learning in children and adults
Peter Turkeltaub:

Benson Stevens, '12 GABAergic and Dopaminergic genes in adolescent impulsivity and risk taking (Ph.D. 2017)
Advisor(s): John VanMeter & Chandan Vaidya
Neuroimaging
Cognitive Neuroscience
Development

Benson StevensEducation: Westminster College, BS Neuroscience, 2011
Prior Research: As an undergraduate, I looked at the effects of genetics on executive function and emotional regulation and underlying neural activity using electroencephalography in college students. Later, as a research assistant at CFMI at Georgetown University, I used structural MRI to investigate Gulf War Illness.
Thesis Research: I am investigating the effects of polymorphisms in the GABA alpha 2 subunit and dopamine D2 genes, both of which confer risk to adult alcohol abuse, on inhibitory control and risky decision making using fMRI during adolescence. If genes that impart risk for alcohol abuse have an impact before the onset of alcohol use, it is likely they reduce cognitive functioning leading to behaviors that place individuals at risk for initiation of alocohol use.
Rotations:
Abigail Marsh: Investigating Structural and Functional Brain Connectivity in Altruistic Kidney Donors.
Adam Green: Effects of Polymorphisms in ApoE, Clusterin, and ABCA7 on Grey Matter Volume and Working Memory in Young Adults
Chandan Vaidya: Development of functional connectivity in response to salient distracters

Theodore Turesky, '12
 
An fMRI study of motor control in developing and aging brains (Ph.D. 2017)
Advisor(s): Guinevere Eden
euroimaging
Systems Neuroscience
Development

Theodore TureskyEducation: Colorado College, B.A., Physics, 2008
Prior Research: Before joining the IPN, I was part of a team researching tinnitus, an auditory disorder characterized by a perceived ringing in the absence of sound. Using MRI, we compared patients and controls on measures of functional connectivity.
Thesis Research: My thesis research investigates how the motor system changes across the lifespan. To carry out this research, I am currently comparing data from children and young adults who performed a finger-tapping task while undergoing functional MRI. For comparison, we hope to soon recruit a third cohort, comprsing old adults, to perform the same task under the same experimental conditions.
Rotations:
Guinevere Eden: The functional neuroanatomy of finger tapping in children and adults
Josef Rauschecker: Resting state functional connectivity of tinnitus patients
John VanMeter: Voxel-based morphometry of geriatric populations before and after exercise treatments

 

Class of 2011

Student Information Thesis Title Research Interests
Click on the student's name for more information about them.
Megan Allen, '11 Differential effects of PAR1 signaling in neurons and glia (Ph.D. 2017)
Advisor(s): Kathy Conant & Kathy Maguire-Zeiss
Cellular & Molecular Neuroscience
Synapses
Glia

Megan AllenEducation: Temple University, BA, 2005
Prior Research: I worked as a research technician prior to graduate school.
Thesis Research: Glial derived MMP-1 activates PAR1, a GPCR found in neurons and glia. Interestingly, altered MMP and PAR1 levels are found in patients with disorders characterized by aberrant dendritic spine phenotypes. To address the role PAR1 signalling may play in disease, I plan to investigate it using both in vivo and in vitro experimental systems.
Rotations:
Daniel Pak: Investigated of the localization of MAP2 following LTP in vivo
Baoji Xu: Studied the role BDNF plays in spine morphology
Kathy Conant: Interrogated the role MMP-1 plays in dendritic spine maturation

Andrew Breeden, '11 Noradrenergic modulation of functional brain networks underlying executive control (Ph.D. 2016)
Advisor(s): Chandan Vaidya
Cognitive Neuroscience
Neuroimaging
Systems Neuroscience

Andrew BreedenEducation: University of Richmond, B.S., 2007
Prior Research: I researched the neural correlates of dysregulated emotional face processing in Autism Spectrum Disorders with Dr. John VanMeter at the Center fo Functional and Molecular Imaging.
Thesis Research: Noradrenergic pathology is associated with numerous psychiatric disorders, but it is still not understood how norepinephrine acts at the large-scale network level in the human brain. We use pupil diameter (a proxy for norepinephrine signaling in the brain stem), and guanfacine (an alpha-2 norepinephrine agonist) in conjunction with fMRI to better characterize how norepinehrphine influences functional brain networks in healthy adults.
Rotations:
Chandan Vaidya: Investigated changes in resting state functional connectivity after cognitive task performance.
Abigail Marsh: Investigated the relationship between uncinate fasciculus white matter integrity and callous unemotional traits in adolescents.
John VanMeter: Examined the effect of acute alcohol administration on functional connectivity in the executive control network.

Kelly Chamberlain, '11 The role of creatine in promoting oligodendrocyte survival and modulating axonal mitochondria in the CNS (Ph.D. 2016)
Advisor(s): Jeffrey Huang
Glia
Cellular & Molecular Neuroscience
Neurodegeneration and Neural Injury

Kelly ChamberlainEducation: James Madison University, B.S., 2010
Prior Research: At JMU, I investigated the development and organization of the inferior colliculus in mice under Dr. Mark Gabriele. I then moved to Dr. Tim Harris' lab at Janelia Farm Research Campus where I worked on a high-resolution imaging technique known as array tomography.
Thesis Research: Oligodendrocytes are glial cells primarily known for their role in CNS myelination, which serves to enable rapid saltatory conduction. However, new evidence also implicates oligodendrocytes in trophic and metabolic support, suggesting that these cells may exert neuroprotective influences independent of their role in myelination. We aim to elucidate novel oligodendrocyte-neuron interactions by studying the influence of oligodendrocytes on neuronal mitochondria.
Rotations:
Hyang-Sook Hoe: FE65 as a link between VLDLR and ApoER2 to regulate their processing.
Baoji Xu: Role of Kalirin-7 and dendritically-synthesized BDNF in spine maturation.
Charbel Moussa: The effect of tyrosine kinase inhibition on the ubiquitin-proteasome system in vivo.

Lynda K. Cortes-Avallaneda, '11
lkc28@georgetown.edu
Left in 2012
Advisor(s): TBD
Neurodegeneration & Neural Injury
Cellular & Molecular Neuroscience

Lynda K. Cortes-AvallanedaEducation: University of Florida, B.A. Anthropology, 2007
Prior Research: Electrophysiology; behavioral studies in neuropharmacology; inmunocytochemistry
Rotations:
Kathy Maguire-Zeiss: Effects of direct striatal injection of alpha-synuclein in C57BL/6 mice.

Valerie L. Darcey, '11 Investigating the relationship between Omega-3 Fatty Acid intake and neurocognitive development in healthy adolescents. (Ph.D. 2017)
Advisor(s): John VanMeter
Cognitive Neuroscience
Neuroimaging
Development

Valerie L. DarceyEducation: U Penn, B.A., 2003; Drexel, M.S., 2010; NIH, R.D. 2011
Prior Research: With a BA in Biological Basis of Behavior, Val coordinated weight management research at Penn where her main interest was the effect of nutrition on cognition/behavior. She's since completed nutrition research at Drexel & NIH.
Thesis Research: Any delay in PFC development during adolescence may heighten an individuals propensity for impulsivity and risk-taking. DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid abundant in the PFC,is an integral component of membrane phospholipids. Optimal prefrontal development in adolescence may, in part, be dependent on DHA supply in diet. My thesis research seeks to explore the relationship between omega-3 status and variation in frontal lobe structure, function and behavior (impulsivity and risk-taking) in a cross-sectional sample of typically developing adolescents.
Rotations:
Guinevere Eden: Correlations of reading skill and gray matter volume in novice English and Chinese readers.
Chandan Vaidya: Integrity of white matter tracts passing through amygdala and correlations with Autistic traits.
Abigail Marsh: Amygdala activations to empathy: Altruistic kidney donors compared to children with high psychopathy scores.
John VanMeter: Investigating the role of DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid, on brain development (Review)

Amanda DiBattista, '11 Alzheimers disease risk gene (APOE) predicts differences in the absence of disease (Ph.D. 2015)
Advisor(s): G. William Rebeck
Neurodegeneration & Neural Injury
Cellular & Molecular Neuroscience
Synapses

Amanda DiBattistaEducation: University of Virginia, BA, 2011
Prior Research: I have studied the neuroanatomy of how animals learn in response to repeated stress, axonal pathfinding in the development of epilepsy, and developed methods to study the neuronal mechanisms underlying emotion.
Thesis Research: I study ways in which the strongest genetic risk factor for Alzheimers disease, apolipoprotein E (APOE), may alter brain function before disease onset.
Rotations:
Dr. G. William Rebeck: Investigated the effects of APOE genotype and aging in the brain
Dr. Mark Burns: Studied neuronal remodeling following mild traumatic brain injury
Dr. Hyang-Sook Hoe: Examined the function of ApoE receptor VLDLR at the synapse

Laura Erickson, '11 Examinations Of audiovisual speech processes, the McGurk Effect and the heteromodal superior temporal sulcus in the human brain across numerous approaches (Ph.D. 2016)
Advisor(s): Peter Turkeltaub & Josef Rauschecker
Systems Neuroscience
Neuroimaging
Language

Laura EricksonEducation: UC San Diego, BS, 2008
Prior Research: Laura was a research assistant in the lab of Dr. Beatrice Golomb at UC San Diego and worked on clinical research involving the elderly, Gulf War veterans, and children/adolescents with autism spectrum disorder.
Thesis Research: My thesis project will evaluate different aspects of cross-modal and multisensory processing in the brain, including audiovisual speech integration, with a special emphasis on the superior temporal sulcus.
Rotations:
Josef Rauschecker: fMRI data analysis project on the neural correlates of the McGurk effect and normal audiovisual speech.
John VanMeter: Proton Echo Planar Spectroscopic Imaging (PESPI) analysis of regional brain ethanol concentrations in vivo over time.
Peter Turkeltaub: Activation Estimation Likelihood (ALE) meta-analysis of fMRI and PET studies that assess different types of audiovisual speech integration.

Carrie Leonard, '11 Distinct Roles of EphA7 Splice Variants in Cerebral Cortical Development (Ph.D. 2017)
Advisor(s): Maria Donoghue
Development
Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
Synapses

Carrie LeonardEducation: James Madison University, B.S. Health Sciences, 2009
Prior Research: My previous research was conducted in the Pathology Dept at the University of Virginia, studying the effect of dietary compounds on inflammatory pathways. Specifically, I investigated inhibitory effects of sulforaphane (found in broccoli) on the NF-kappaB pathway.
Thesis Research: Previously, our lab found that EphA7, a receptor tyrosine kinase, is necessary for many processes in neuronal development, including dendrite guidance and outgrowth, dendritic spine formation, and synaptic activity. I am investigating whether two splice variants of EphA7, a full length and a truncated form, are responsible for the differing roles during cortical development using a variety of techniques including primary cultures, electroporation, western blot, etc.
Rotations:
Dan Pak: Effect of long term potentiation on MAP-2 localization in dendritic spines.
Maria Donoghue: Role of Eph receptors in parcellation of thalamic nuclei.
Stefano Vicini: Role of EphA7 in electrophysiological maturation of synapses.

Summer Rozzi, '11 Investigating mitochondrial dynamic impairment by HIV viral protein Tat and the protective capacity of Pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) (Ph.D. 2017)
Advisor(s): Italo Mocchetti
Neurodegeneration and Neural Injury
Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

Summer RozziEducation: Bucknell University, BA, 2008
Prior Research: Her honors thesis research with Dr. Andrea Halpern examined implicit and explicit memory for music in younger and older adults. In Dr. Vaishali Bakshi's lab, Summer conducted research centered on delineating the noradrenergic networks associated with dysfunctional behavioral processes in various mental illnesses.
Thesis Research: Summer examines a new alternative mechanism of HIV neurotoxicity by focusing on a possible cause of synaptic simplification. In particular, she tests the hypothesis that HIV viral protein, tat, directly interacts with the mitochondrial network, thus, impairing energy metabolism and causing axonal injury.
Rotations:
Josef Rauschecker: Trained non-human primates in a primate model of tinnitus
Italo Mocchetti: Assessed the usefulness of H4, human glioblastoma, cells as an in vitro model of HIV associated dementia (HAD).
Gerard Ahern: Investigated the functional role of BDNF in MG-63 cells (human osteoblasts)

Carissa Winland, '11 Activated Microglia and AMPAR Mediated Excitatory Post Synaptic Currents (Ph.D. 2017)
Advisor(s): Kathleen Maguire-Zeiss & Stefano Vicini
Neurodegeneration & Neural Injury
Neurophysiology
Glia

Carissa WinlandEducation: Southwestern University, Psychology, B.S., 2011
Prior Research: Previously, I researched methampetamine's affect on female sexual motivation in rats, testosterone and mate selection, and kin recognition, in a behavioral neuroscience laboratory.
Thesis Research: My goal is elucidate mechanisms of glial-neuronal interaction in neurodegenerative diseases. In both Parkinsons and Huntingtons disease, there is a disruption of glutamatergic signaling of striatal GABAergic medium spiny neurons as well as greater glial activation. Activated glia release a number of factors that are neurotoxic, neuroprotective, and contribute to the maintenance of synapses. I'm examining synaptic remodeling after neuronal injury using molecular and electrophysiological techniques.
Rotations:
Ludise Malkova: Systemic administration of diazepam and betacarboline in an anxiety behavior paradigm with rhesus monkeys.
Barry Wolfe: Determined the physiological properties of nACh receptors with a SNP in the alpha 5 subunit.
Niaz Sahibzada: Examined electrophysiological properties of glucose sensitive neurons in the habenula.
Kathleen Maguire-Zeiss and Stefano Vicini: Examined inflammatory and physiological response of oligomeric alpha-synuclein on primary microglia and acute striatal slices.

 

Class of 2010

Student Information Thesis Title Research Interests
Click on the student's name for more information about them.
Patrick Cox, '10 The Effects of Extensive Single Task and Dual Task Training on the Neural Bases of Visual Object Categorization: Escaping the frontal bottleneck (Ph.D. 2017
Advisor(s): Maximilian Riesenhuber
Computational Neuroscience
Cognitive Neuroscience
Neuroimaging

Patrick CoxEducation: Georgetown, B.S. in Physics, 2008
Prior Research: Prior to entering the IPN I worked in th Optics Lab of Dr. Edward Van Keuren characterizing nanoparticles in solution using a number of techniques, primarily fluorescence correlation spectroscopy.
Thesis Research: My Thesis Research is focused on how the brain recognizes visual objects and produces appropriated behavioral responses. My recent work has focused on the effect of distractor objects of varying degrees of similarity on the detection of a target obeject in scenes containing multiple objects. I use a combination of computational modeling, human psychophysics, and brain imaging (EEG/fMRI).
Rotations:
John Van Meter: Discerning atypical in amygdala connectivity in autism spectrum disorders using resting state functional connectivity fMRI (rs-fcMRI)
Maximilan Riesenhuber: Object recognition in cluttered scence: modeling and human psychophysics
David Egolf: Influence of the ratio of excitation and inhibition in spiking network models

Frank Fishburn, '10
faf8@georgetown.edu
Investigating functional connectivity in developmental and clinical populations using NIRS (Ph.D. 2017)
Advisor(s): handan Vaidya
Cognitive Neuroscience
Computational Neuroscience
Development
Neuroimaging

Frank FishburnEducation: University of South Florida, B.A. Psychology, 2009; University of South Florida, B.A. Biochemistry, 2010
Prior Research: Developed a protocol for quantification of bird vocalizations. Undergraduate thesis explored an evolutionary precursor to self-recognition in pigeons.
Thesis Research: While fMRI is an excellent neuroimaging method for adults, its susceptibility to motion artifacts and intimidating scanning environment make it unsuitable for some developmental and clinical populations. Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) is an alternative neuroimaging method that is both resilient to motion and comfortable for subjects. We are working towards using NIRS to investigate functional connectivity during working memory and at rest in subjects that cannot be scanned with fMRI.
Rotations:
Jian-young Wu: Carbachol-induced oscillations decrease in frequency and amplitude over many hours in mouse hippocampal slice
Chandan Vaidya: Using support vector machines and independent components analysis to correct motion artifacts in fMRI
Maximilian Riesenhuber: Real-time ERP feature extraction with CUDA

Margot Lawton, '10
mlawton425@gmail.com
Left with M.S. 2012
Advisor(s): TBD
Molecular Neuroscience
Neurodegeneration & Neural Injury
Synapses

Margot LawtonEducation: Brown University, BS, 2007
Prior Research: Studied the role of aspartyl-asparginyl-beta-hydroxylase on neuronal cell motility. Additionally, examined effects of high-fat diet consumption on ceramide production in the liver and brains of mice with the goal of determining a mechanism for peripheral obesity-induced neurodegeneration.
Thesis Research: Two isoforms of the mRNA transcript that codes for Huntingtin protein have been isolated.These isoforms, created through different polyadenylation sites, result in one transcript with a short 3'UTR and one with a long 3'UTR. I will attempt to determine the significance of these two isoforms by assessing whether they are localized in different regions of the cell. Determining these differences will hopefully further clarify the role of Huntingtin protein in the development of Huntington Disease pathology.
Rotations:
Baoji Xu: Do Huntington Disease Gene mRNA Isoforms Have Distinct Localizations in Neuronal Components?
Bill Rebeck: Basal Levels of Inflammation among ApoE2, ApoE3, and ApoE4 Human Target Replacement
Brent Harris: Role of TDP-43 in the Pathogenisis of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Brad Randall, '10
bar53@georgetown.edu
Left with M.S. 2012
Advisor(s): TBD
Neural Networks
Neurophysiology
Computational Neuroscience

Brad RandallEducation: University of Pittsburgh, BA & BS, 2009; Georgetown University, MS, 2010
Prior Research: Inducing neurons to regenerate their neurites, or neural stem cells to differentiate into neurons, by electrically stimulating them via a conducting polymer surface in vitro. The purpose was to improve the biocompatibility of implanted neural prosthetic devices.
Thesis Research: Long-term potentiation is classically studied at the single synapse level, but its larger-scale role in neuronal network activity remains poorly understood. Using a dissociated hippocampal culture in an in vitro multi-electrode array, we apply conditional probability and graph theory analyses to assess the LTP-induced changes in functional connectivity patterns within the neuronal network. This analysis reveals the effects of long-term potentiation on network functional organization and efficiency.
:
Jagmeet Kanwal: Extracting emotive value from sounds: a spiking neural network model of the basolateral amygdala.
Tim Mhyre: Developing surrogate peripheral biomarkers of valproic acid therapy in Alzheimer's disease.
Rhonda Dzakpasu: The effect of proteinase-activated receptor agonists on bursting in an in vitro multi-electrode array.
Katherine Conant: Spatial memory impairments resulting from a knockout of matrix metalloproteinase-1 in a mouse model.

Kyle Shattuck, '10
ks355@georgetown.edu
Investigating the Cholinergic Regulation of Human Learning and Memory Using Functional Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
Advisor(s): John VanMeter
Cognitive Neuroscience
Neuroimaging
Computational Neuroscience

Kyle ShattuckEducation: Tufts University, BA, 1999
Prior Research: Kyle worked as a research assistant at the Center for Functional and Molecular Imaging at Georgetown University Medical Center for two years before joining the IPN on various projects utilizing MRI, fMRI, DTI, and MRS.
Rotations:
Kathy Maguire-Zeiss: Diffusion Tensor Imaging in a Parkinson's Disease Mouse Model
Andrei Medvedev: EEG Studies of Language Deficits in Aphasia
John VanMeter: An Investigation of Visuospatial Performance Using fMRI

Caitlin Taylor, '10 Thesis Title
Advisor(s): Guinevere Edene
Development
Neuroimaging
Language

Caitlin TaylorEducation: Indiana University-Bloomington, BS-Psychology, BA-French, 2007
Prior Research: Worked on studies of rehabilitation outcomes in traumatic spinal cord injury, health literacy and public reporting of quality information, developing data collection tools for Medicare and Medicaid, and quality of life after stroke. Also involved in a longitudinal study of children and adolescents with Spina Bifida and their transitions into adolescence.
Thesis Research: Behavioral and imaging evidence indicate a connection between poor reading performance (e.g., dyslexia) and deficits in visual motion perception. The magnocellular visual pathway (specifically, area V5/MT) is purported to play a role as a source of these motion processing deficits. Despite evidence of a connection between V5/MT functioning and reading development, the nature of this relationship is not fully understood. We are asking whether the acquisition of reading is accompanied by a change in response in MT. Our aim is to longitudinally track MT functioning in typically developing, early school-aged children as they acquire reading skills.
Rotations:
Guinevere Eden: Age and sex effects on human brain anatomy
Abby Marsh: Moral judgments in psychopathy
Bill Rebeck: Basal levels of inflammation among the ApoE genotypes

Charisse Winston, '10 Neuronal Remodeling and Genetic Vulnerability After Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (Ph.D. 2015)
Advisor(s): Mark Burns
Neurodegeneration and Neural Injury
Molecular Neuroscience
Synapses

Charisse WinstonEducation: B.S. Biochemistry,UVA; M.S. Biochemistry, Georgetown
Prior Research: Conducted Bcl-xL confocal neuronal transduction and cell death protection studies in order to determine if there is neuroprotection after serum withdrawal of Bcl-xL versus GFP expressing PC12 cell lines with the overall goal of developing a retroviral delivery system of anti-apoptotic proteins for neuronal gene therapy.
Thesis Research: Golgi Stain analysis to determine dendritic spine density changes after concussion model of TBI. Animals are given either a single injury or a repetitive injury in order determine if there is significant spine density changes after TBI.
Rotations:
Lee Eiden (NIH): Pharmological Analysis of PACAP Induced Cell Survival after Serum/NGF Withdrawal
H. Sook Hoe: Interactions of CaMKII and APP
Mark Burns: Investigation of Dendritic Spine Changes after mTBI
Bill Rebeck : Investigation of Dendritic Spine Changes after TBI in APOE-TR mice

 

Class of 2009

Student Information Thesis Title Research Interests
Click on the student's name for more information about them.
Teal (Connor) Burrell, '09 A novel role for Fyn in ApoER2 regulation (Ph.D. 2014)
Advisor(s): Bill Rebeck
Neurodegeneration & Neural Injury
Molecular Neuroscience
Cellular Neuroscience

Teal (Connor) BurrellEducation: University of Richmond, BS, 2007
Prior Research: At the University of Richmond, I investigated neuroendocrine activity in the brain following reproduction. After graduation, I worked at Mass General Hospital studying molecular mechanisms of Huntington's Disease.
Thesis Research:The Reelin receptors ApoER2 and VLDLR are required for the development of the six layered cortex. I study downstream interactions between these receptors and various adaptor proteins that contribute to proper development and also play a role in synaptic plasticity.
Rotations:
Baoji Xu: Examined role of neurotrophins (BDNF and NT-3) in mouse striatal development
Bill Rebeck: Studied competition between APP and ApoER2 for adaptor proteins in vitro
Kathy Maguire-Zeiss: Infected AAV-MANF into a dopaminergic cell line and tested for protection from paraquat-induced cell death

Ghazaul Dezfuli, '09 Experimental studies of subdiaphragmatic vagotomy and nicotine for reducing body weight
Advisor(s): Richard Gillis
Neuropharmacology
Neurophysiology
Other

Ghazaul DezfuliEducation: Smith College, B.A 2007
Prior Research: Studied the molecular and cellular mechanisms of rejection and tolerance to allogenic transplanted organs in mice, focusing in particular on the biology of T cells. Also worked on a project examining the role of cross -talk between complement and chemokine receptors in the pathogenesis of graft-versus-host disease.
Thesis Research: Use pharamcological methods and stereotaxic injections of viral vectors based on AAV to understand how the melanocortin system interacts with the GABAergic system at the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus (DMV) to control energy balance.
Rotations:
Bill Rebeck: Apolipoprotein E (ApoE) Regulation in Early Development and Glial Cells
Tim Mhyre: The Characterization of ?-Synuclein (?-SN) in Peripheral Immune Cells
Richard Gillis: The Effects of Melanocortin 4 Receptor (MC4R) Activation in the Dorsal Motor Nucleus of the Vagus (DMV) on Gastric Motility

Brannon Green, '09 Sound, Memory, and Audiomotor Interactions (Ph.D. 2016)
Advisor(s): Josef Rauschecker
Cognitive Neuroscience
Neuroimaging
Computational Neuroscience

Brannon GreenEducation: CSU Chico, B.A., 2004; M.A., 2009
Prior Research: Previous research included work as an assistant in a lab studying the role of p75 in spinal cord injury and repair. My master's thesis work included a study of cannabinoid antagonist AM251 on spatial working memory in mice.
Thesis Research: My Thesis Research investigates the role of dorsal and ventral stream structures in the processing of auditory information in the forms of music or speech, as well as understanding the audio-motor interactions involved in their perception or production. Measurement approaches include behavioral testing, functional and structural MRI, and MEG.
Rotations:
Bob Yasuda: Investigating neuronal nicotinic receptor subunit configurations and their role in addiction
John VanMeter: The effects of alcohol on the default mode network
Josef Rauschecker: Corticolimbic networks involved in processing the tinnitus signal

Jessica Ihne, '09 An investigation of working memory: Influences of COMT, sex, and urbanicity on cognitive performance and neuroimaging measures (Ph.D. 2014)
Advisor(s): Joseph Callicott (NIH)
Adam Green
Neuroimaging
Cognitive Neuroscience
Neurogenetics

Jessica IhneEducation: The College of William and Mary, B.S., 2008
Prior Research: I investigated various effects of alcohol in mice (NIH) and rats (William & Mary), as well as the impact of stress in different mouse strains (NIH).
Thesis Research: I study the influence of genetic polymorphisms on differences in cognitive function and associated brain activation using functional MRI.
Rotations:
Guinevere Eden: Investigated the effects of audition on gray matter volume in deaf signers.
Ludise Malkova: Investigated the role of the orbitofrontal cortex in flexible goal-directed behavior in monkeys.
John VanMeter: Investigated the processing of social interaction in individuals with autism using fMRI.
Abigail Marsh: Investigated the processing of emotion and morality as related to psychopathy using fMRI.

Justyna Mach, '09
jam358@georgetown.edu
Left with M.S. 2011
Advisor(s): Guinevere Eden
Cognitive Neuroscience

Justyna MachEducation: Case Western Reserve University, B.S., 2008
Rotations:
Guinevere Eden

Lauren Pepe, '09
lmp82@georgetown.edu
Left with M.S. 2012
Advisor(s): Caroline Zink (NIMH)
Cognitive Neuroscience
Neuroimaging
Behavioral Neuroscience

Lauren PepeEducation: Boston University, BA Psychology, 2008
Prior Research: Investigated potential treatments for cocaine dependence under S. Barak Caine at McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School; was a co-author on a paper about aripiprazole's effect on cocaine-versus-food choice in rats.
Thesis Research: Flagel et. al (2011) demonstrated that midbrain dopamine bursting to the ventral striatum depends on incentive salience: the value rats ascribe to reward-predicting cues. Our goal is to use fMRI and novel tasks to investigate the role of the human ventral striatum, including the influence of individual dopamine system-related genetic variation, in coding incentive salience in a manner that allows for idiosyncrasy. Detrimental incentive salience assignment has been associated with schizophrenia and addiction.
Rotations:
Ludise Malkova: Corticolimbic circuitry involved in evaluating reward
Zofia Zukowska: The role of NPY and its receptors in stress- and diet-induced obesity
Chandan Vaidya: Effects of methylphenidate on functional network connectivity differ by DAT1 in children with ADHD

Bridget Queenan, '09 Synapse- and cell-specific plasticity in the mature hippocampus (Ph.D. 2014)
Advisor(s): Dan Pak & Stefano Vicini
Synapses
Neurophysiology
Cellular Neuroscience

Bridget QueenanEducation: Harvard College, BA, 2006
Prior Research: I researched programmed cell death (apoptosis, autophagy, necrosis) with Dr. Joan Brugge (Harvard Medical School) and Dr. Santos Susin (Pasteur Institut)
Thesis Research: I research the mechanisms of homeostatic and Hebbian plasticity in the hippocampus
Rotations:
Jagmeet Kanwal: Neuronal processing of social calls amidst echolocation clutter in the mustached bat auditory cortex
Dan Pak: Role of the activity-dependent kinase, Plk2, in tau hyperphosphorylation in synaptic plasticity and Alzheimer's disease
Katherine Conant/Seung Lim: Role of matrix metalloproteases and cadherins in synaptic reorganization and plasticity
Stefano Vicini: NR2D expression and kinetics in dopaminergic neurons of the substantia nigra pars compacta

Gustavo Rodriguez, '09 Human APOE4 affects microglial reactivity and spatial cognition in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease risk (Ph.D. 2014)
Advisor(s): G. William Rebeck & Rhonda Dzakpasu
Neurodegeneration & Neural Injury
Neurophysiology
Neuroanatomy

Gustavo RodriguezEducation: Texas State University, B.A., 2006
Prior Research: Prior to my time in the IPN, I studied behavioral pharmacology in the laboratory of Dr. David Morilak at the UT Health Science Center - San Antonio. My research focused on chronic stress-induced alterations in cognition and anxiety-like behavior in rats, with the goal of understanding how norepinephrine can help modulate these responses to stress.
Thesis Research: My Thesis Research interests lie in understanding the neuronal circuitry subserving spatial information processing in rodents. Importantly, proper functioning of these circuits is essential for spatial navigation and is critical for long-term memory formation. I am interested in exploring the molecular, anatomical, and functional aspects of these cell assemblies in targeted replacement mice that express a human gene shown to dramatically increase the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.
Rotations:
Gerard Ahern: Activation of Group 1 metabotropic glutamate receptors by a cationic peptide: A paradoxical role for Dynorphin in nociception
Zofia Zukowska: Epigenetic mechanisms that regulate adipogenesis in the mouse: Effects of stress and diet on NPY system modifications
Jian-Young Wu: Carbachol induced gamma oscillations in the mouse hippocampus: Establishing an in vitro model of high-frequency oscillatory activity in CA3

Michael (Misha) Smirnov, '09 Controlling growth cone behavior through substrate patterning (Ph.D. 2014)
Advisor(s): Jeff Urbach & Herbert Geller
Cellular Neuroscience
Neural Injury
Development

Michael (Misha) SmirnovEducation: Union College, BS, 2007
Prior Research: Senior Honors Thesis on the lizard visual system in college, 2 years at NIDA/NIH with drug effects on electrophysiology/brain temperature of rats.
Thesis Research: In concordance with the Georgetown Physics Dept., I currently study the structural and mechanical guidance of neurons in vitro. My research focuses to identify the structural influence on the chemical sensitivity of both developing as well as mature injured neurons.
Rotations:
Jagmeet Kanwal: Bat EEG and modulation of behavioral calls
Jeff Urbach: Confocal analysis of structural guidance on collagen of developing neurons
Mark Burns: Gamma-secretase inhibition in A-beta pathway of brain-injured mice
Linda Noble: Matrix metalloproteinase role in hippocampal injury (summer rotation in UCSF)

Lauren Stamps, '09
las243@georgetown.edu
Left in 2010
Advisor(s): TBD
 

Lauren StampsEducation: Ursinus College, B.S., 2009
Rotations:
Sook Hoe/Scott Turner
Karen Gale

 

Class of 2008

Student Information Thesis Title Research Interests
Click on the student's name for more information about them.
Sheeva Azma, '08 Left with M.S. 2013
Advisor(s): John VanMeter
Cognitive Neuroscience
Neuroimaging
Systems Neuroscience

Sheeva AzmaEducation: B.S., MIT, 2005
Prior Research: Research Assistant at Massachusetts General Hospital, investigating the effects of alcohol intoxication on the neural substrates of cognitive control and executive function using MEG and fMRI.
Thesis Research: Presently, I study (1) brain structure changes associated with symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and (2) the neural correlates of reward in adolescents at risk of developing alcohol use disorders.
Rotations:
Barbara Schwartz: Programmed an antisaccade task for use in investigating cognitive-emotional interactions in schizophrenia
Michael Ullman: stimulus development for an Artificial Grammar Learning task
Rhonda Friedman: Eyetracking of a reading intervention in Phonological Alexia
John VanMeter: Arterial Spin Labeling in acute alcohol intoxication: Sex differences analysis

Nancy Cowdin, '08
npc23@georgetown.edu
A Comparison of Frequency-Specific Activity During REM Sleep in Trauma-Exposed Subjects with PTSD and Resilience (Ph.D. 2014)
Advisor(s): John VanMeter, Thomas Mellman, & Andrei Medvedev
Cognitive Neuroscience

Nancy CowdinEducation: University of Colorado (Boulder), B.S., 1980; Colorado Sate University (Fort Collins), M.S., 1986
Rotations:
James Gnadt
Guinevere Eden
Darlene Howard

Sonya Dumanis, '08 Using APOE genotypes to identify new biomarkers for Alzheimer's disease risk (Ph.D. 2013)
Advisor(s): G. William Rebeck
Neurodegeneration & Neural Injury
Molecular Neurosceince
Glia

Sonya DumanisEducation: Columbia University, BA, 2007
Prior Research: I worked at the Uniformed Services University and NIH where I researched Wallerian Degeneration in a WLDS mouse model.
Thesis Research: ApoE is the largest genertic risk factor for Alzheimer's Disease (AD). There are three isoforms: apoE2, E3 and E4. I study apoE's isoform effects on neuronal morphology and inflammation independent of any AD pathology.
Rotations:
G. William Rebeck: Investigated apoE isoform effects on neuronal morphology
Italo Mochetti: Investigated the feasability of using a BDNF mimetic peptide in HIV Dementia
Gerard Ahern: Investigated Mylein Basic Protein's (MBP) effects on calcium signalling

Alfredo Gonzalez-Sulser, '08 Mechanisms behind the GABA-mediated field potential in hippocampus in the in vitro 4-aminopyridine model of epilepsy (Ph.D. 2012)
Advisor(s): Stefano Vicini & Rhonda Dzakpasu
Neurophysiology
Neural Networks
Cellular Neuroscience

Alfredo Gonzalez-SulserEducation: University of Pennsylvania, B.A., 2005
Prior Research: I worked on the analgesic properties of nicotinic acetyl choline receptor agonists post-college and on plant genetics as an undergraduate.
Thesis Research: I currently research the neural dynamics of the 4-aminopryridine (4-AP) model of epilepsy through the use of a mutli-electrode array. 4-AP, a potassium channel blocker, produces spotaneous field potential phenomena in hippocampal brain slices that resembles what is seen in patients with epilepsy. I investigate how synchronization in neuronal networks comes about and how this phenomena propagates across vast expanses.
Rotations:
Ken Kellar: The effects of the nicotinic acetylcholine partial agonist, Sazetidine-A, on neuropathic pain
Gerard Ahern: TRPA1 chimeras and General Anesthetics
Rhonda Dzakpasu and Stefano Vicini: Network activity from slice preparations in an in vitro epilepsy model using a perforated multi-electrode array.

Anthony (TJ) Krafnick, '08 Functional and structural brain imaging studies of developmental dyslexia (Ph.D. 2013)
Advisor(s): Guinevere Eden
Neuroimaging
Development
Cognitive Neuroscience

Anthony (TJ) KrafnickEducation: Saint Joseph's University, B.S., 2008
Prior Research: As an undergraduate: plant-pathogen relationship of Eastern Redbud and fungal pathogens of the genus Cercospora; isolation of predatory genes from the bacterium Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus.
Thesis Research: Using fMRI I study two different groups in order to understand how written language experience effects brain function. One project examines brain function and structure as it relates to reading intervention success in children with dyslexia. The other project examines the brain basis of reading development from 1st-3rd grade in typically developing children.
Rotations:
Karen Gale : Effect of seizure activity on striatal neuron survival in P5-7 rats
Rhonda Friedman : Eye-tracking of alexic patients before and after single word reading training
Guinevere Eden : Gray matter changes after reading intervention in children with dyslexia

Mark Niedringhaus, '08 The development of bursting networks following chemical long term potentiation  (Ph.D. 2012)
Advisor(s): Rhonda Dzakpasu
Neural Networks
Neurophysiology
Develoment

Mark NiedringhausEducation: U. Virginia, BA, 2003; Georgetown, MS, 2004
Prior Research: I worked in the laboratory of Dr. Richard Gillis studying autonomic control of the lower esophageal sphincter and stomach. In addition, I looked how how normal function of these are compromised in the diabetic state.
Thesis Research: I examine how different physiological (e.g. developmental), potentiating (e.g. pharmacological and electrical protocols of LTP), and pathological (e.g. pharmacological, genetic or electrical perturbations) affect network activity. By utilizing multi-electrode array (MEA) technology, I can observe and study changes in activity patterns across a significant area of the network and record from the same neurons within the network over very long (days) periods of time.
Rotations:
Ludise Malkova: Interaction between the primate deep layers of superior colliculus and the amygdala: effects on social behavior
Rhonda Dzakpasu: Effects of Eph B3 knockdown on neuronal network development in vitro
Dan Pak: Interactions of Gamma2 (Stargazin) in homeostatic plasticity

Lauren Orefice, '08
llo5@georgetown.edu
Role of Local BDNF Synthesis in Dendritic Spine Morphogenesis (Ph.D. 2013)
Advisor(s): Baoji Xu
Synapses
Cellular Neuroscience
Molecular Neuroscience

Lauren OreficeEducation: Boston College, B.S., 2006
Prior Research: I spent 4 years as an undergrad performing epilepsy research in the EL mouse in the labs of Drs. Thomas Seyfried and Stephen Heinrichs. I then worked for 2 years as a lab manager for Dr. Raghu Kalluri at BIDMC in Boston and performed research regarding extracellular matrix and cancer metastasis.
Thesis Research: Alterations in dendritic spine density and morphology are associated with a number of neurological diseases, including mental retardation, epilepsy, and neurodegenerative diseases. The goal of this research project is to elucidate how BDNF, a key protein involved in cell survival and maintenance, may regulate the development and maturation of dendritic spines. These studies will provide insight into processes fundamental for brain development and synaptic plasticity, as well as offer insight into the etiology of some neurological diseases.
Rotations:
Kathleen Maguire-Zeiss: Determination of the best method for isolating alpha synuclein from mouse brains to be used in Western blotting.
Daniel Pak: The role of the N-type calcium channel (cav2.2b) in homeostatic plasticity, via knock-down of the channel using RNAi in primary hippocampal cells.
Baoji Xu: To investigate the cellular localization of BDNF protein, specifically where in the cell the BDNF pro-peptide is cleaved into the mature form of the peptide.

Patricia Washington, '08 Production, accumulation and clearance of amyloid-beta after experimental traumatic brain injury (Ph.D. 2013)
Advisor(s): Mark Burns
Neurodegeneration & Neural Injury
Cellular Neuroscience

Patricia WashingtonEducation: University of Virginia, BS in Biomedical Engineering, 2007
Prior Research: For my undergraduate thesis I designed and validated a computational model of non-lethal stangulation. After graduation I worked as a lab technician at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research studying traumatic brain injury.
Thesis Research: My Thesis Research focuses on characterizing the production, accumulation and clearance of the Alzheimer's disease-related peptide amyloid-beta (A?) after traumatic brain injury (TBI) and investigating therapeutic approaches to decrease levels of A? after trauma.
Rotations:
John Van Meter: "Biphasic effects of alcohol on regional cerebral blood flow in humans"
Mark Burns: "Effect of ?-secretase inhibition on alpha-secretase cleavage of amyloid precursor protein (APP) after traumatic brain injury"
Kimberly Byrnes: "Delayed microglial gene and protein expression after spinal cord injury"

Rachel Wurzman, '08 A-ephrins in neuropsychiatric spectrum disorder models (Ph.D. 2014)
Advisor(s): Larry Kromer & Stefano Vicini
Development
Systems Neuroscience
Neuropharmacology

Rachel WurzmanEducation: Smith College, B.A. in Neuroscience, 2005; Georgetown University, M.S. in Physiology and Biophysics, 2007
Prior Research: As a summer student and then Post-Bacc IRTA, I studied basal ganglia physiology, movement disorders, and human motor control in the laboratories of Judith Walters and Mark Hallett at NINDS, NIH.
Rotations:
Karen Gale & Stefano Vicini: Immunohistochemical and electrophysiological investigation of changes in striatal synnapses following anti-epileptic drug exposure.
Richard Gillis: Opioids in the Nucleus Tractus Solitarius (NTS): Roles in Immunomodulation and Gastrointestinal (GI) Motility.
Milton Brown: Identification of candidate molecular targets for therapeutic intervention in perineural invasion (PNI) seen in prostate cancer.

 

Class of 2007

Student Information Thesis Title Research Interests
Click on the student's name for more information about them.
Drew Emery, '07
ace33@georgetown.edu
Neuroprotective Signaling through Metabotropic Glutamate Receptor 1a (Ph.D. 2011
Advisor(s): Jarda Wroblewski
Neuropharmacology

Drew EmeryEducation: George Mason University, B.A., 2006; M.A., 2007
Prior Research: As an undergraduate, Drew conducted psychological research on members of an incarcerated population with Dr. June Tangney. For his master's, Drew conducted studies on the impact of psychotropic drugs on gene expression in patients with schizophrenia and tardive dyskinesia.
Thesis Research: In addition to its role in synaptic transmission and plasticity, mGlu1 has been shown to be involved in neuroprotection and neurodegeneration. My research shows that the protective effect of glutamate at mGlu1a is mediated by a novel, G protein-independent pathway which involves the activation of the MAPK pathway and a sustained phosphorylation of ERK, which is distinct from the G protein-mediated transient ERK phosphorylation. Moreover, the protective signaling through mGlu1a receptors require expression of beta-arrestin-1, suggesting a possible role for receptor internalization.
Rotations:
Anita Sidhu
Gerard Ahern
arda Wroblewski

Tanya (Gerner) Evans, '07
tmg54@georgetown.edu
The brain basis of arithmetic, reading and reading disability (Ph.D. 2013)
Advisor(s): Guinevere Eden
Cognitive Neuroscience
Neuroimaging
Language

Tanya (Gerner) EvansEducation: Lehigh University, B.S. Chemical Engineering, 2003
Prior Research: I conducted research studying surfactants, clot detection in medical diagnostic instruments, gene therapy for Spinal Muscular Atrophy, fluidics, and crystal formation in both industry and academia.
Thesis Research: I currently study (1) the developmental trajectory of the neural correlates of reading and calculation and (2) the effects of language and sensory experience on visuospatial processing.
Rotations:
Guinevere Eden: Utilized voxel-based morphometry to study structural images and behavioral measures of individuals with and without dyslexia
Italo Mocchetti: Investigated the release of neurtrophins via application of gangliocides in cell culture
John VanMeter: Applied classification methods to functional MRI data to explore subtypes of autism in a pediatric population
Peter Bandettini: Investigated correlations between functional connectivity in a verbal fluency task and various behavioral measures in an adult population

Evan Gordon, '07
emg56@georgetown.edu
Dopamine-regulating genes, executive control, and the network structure of the human brain (Ph.D. 2012)
Advisor(s): Chandan Vaidya
Cognitive Neuroscience
Neuroimaging
Systems Neuroscience

Evan GordonEducation: Duke University, 2004, BS
Prior Research: At Duke University I used fMRI in humans to study neural correlates of risky and uncertain decision-making.
Thesis Research: I use fMRI in healthy adult humans to investigate how individual differences in dopamine-regulating genes (such as DAT1, COMT, and DRD2-Taq1A) can alter the network structure of the human brain, both during the "resting state" (when the brain's activity is relatively unconstrained) and during performance of a complex dopamine-driven working memory task.
Rotations:
Chandan Vaidya: Development of functional and structural connectivity
Maximilian Riesenhuber: Face recognition in crowded environments
Michael Ullman: Testing the Declarative-Procedural model of memory

Dawn (Joseph) Beraud
daj34@georgetown.edu
Alpha-synuclein and its direct effects on microglial activation (Ph.D. 2013)
Advisor(s): Kathy Maguire-Zeiss
Glia
Neurodegeneration and Neural Injury
Molecular Neuroscience

Dawn (Joseph) BeraudEducation: University of Florida, BS, 2006
Prior Research: Investigating the relationship between the integrity of white matter structures as assessed by diffusion tensor MR imaging, and executive function in healthy older adults.
Thesis Research: I study alpha-synuclein-mediated inflammatory events in an effort to understand the mechanism by which this protein activates microglia.
Rotations:
Anita Sidhu: Investigating neuroprotection in a mouse model of Parkinson's Disease
Darlene Howard: White matter changes in healthy aging: A DTI study
Milton Brown: Novel sodium channel inhibitors as a therapy from neuropathic pain
Kathy Maguire-Zeiss: Alpha-synuclein directed inflammatory events

Leah Lozier, '07 The Behavioral and Neural Basis of Emotional Face Processing in Atypically Developing Children and Adolescents (Ph.D. 2013)
Advisor(s): John VanMeter & Abigail Mars
Cognitive Neuroscience
Neuroimaging
Behavioral Neuroscience

Dawn (Joseph) BeraudEducation: B.S. in Psychology, Virginia Tech, 2005
Prior Research: Conducted psychophysiology research at Virginia Tech in the Mind/Body lab with Dr. Bruce Friedman. Measured physiological changes in the presence of physical and psychological stressors.
Thesis Research: Using behavioral, eye tracking, and imaging techniques to investigate emotional face processing in children and adults, indcluding inviduals with autism and conduct problems.
Rotations:
John VanMeter: Investigated how compelementary and alternative medicine modulate the stress response
Darlene Howard: Investigating genetic influence on implicit learning
Rhonda Friedman: Investigated single word reading in patients with aphasia using eye tracking

Brandon Martin, '07 Slow GABAergic transmission deficits in the basolateral amygdala in a mouse model of Fragile-X Syndrome
Advisor(s): Molly Huntsman
Neurophysiology
Synapses
Neural Networks

Brandon MartinEducation: University of Virginia, BS Biology, 2004
Prior Research: In undergrad, I studied dopamine receptor activation and modulation following cocaine exposure in Drosophila. Prior to Georgetown, I worked as a Lab Research with Dr. Jaideep Kapur at UVA studying rat models of epilepsy.
Thesis Research: My dissertation work focuses on the role of slow forms of inhibition (i.e. tonic GABAa and GABAb transmission) in the amygdala in Fragile-X Syndrome (FXS). FXS is the most common form of inherited mental retardation and a genetic model of autism, anxiety disorders, and epilepsy. Using patch clamp electrophysiology in a mouse model of the disease, I study how changes in slow inhibition in the FXS amygdala contribute to network hyperexcitability in a key CNS structure involved in comorbid FXS symptoms.
Rotations:
Jean Wrathall: Inhibitory cell death in the rodent spinal cord following contusive spinal cord injury
Molly Huntsman: Tonic inhibition controls excitability in the rodent somatosensory cortex
Italo Moccheti/Seung Lim: Gangliosides Stimulate neurotrophin release from glia
Alberto Bacci (Rome, Italy): Parvalbumin positive interneurons modulate gamma frequency oscillations in the rat prefrontal cortex

Monika Mellem, '07 Brain oscillatory dynamics of lexical-semantic processing (Ph.D. 2013)
Advisor(s): Rhonda Friedman & Andrei Medvedev
Cognitive Neuroscience
Language
Neuroimaging

Monika MellemEducation: Tufts University, B.S., 2002; University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, M.S. 2003
Prior Research: I researched optimization techniques for 2-D phase unwrapping of radar signals.
Thesis Research: When you read, various language networks are enabled to support understanding the meanings of words (lexical-semantics). I use EEG to research how these networks are created through oscillatory synchronization.
Rotations:
Jagmeet Kanwal: Autonomic responses of bats to communication calls
Rhonda Friedman: Neural mechanisms of normal reading and acquired reading disabilities
Andrei Medvedev: Modulation of gamma synchronization through attentional allocation during an odd-ball paradigm

Michael Ortiz, '07
mo262@georgetown.edu
Left with M.S.
Advisor(s): Josef Raushecker
 

Michael OrtizEducation: Interamerican University of Puerto Rico, B.A., 2004
Rotations:
Josef Rauschecker
John Van Meter

Clara Scholl, '07 Eeg investigations of the temporal dynamics of visual object categorization in human brain. (Ph.D. 2013)
Advisor(s): Maximilian Riesenhuber
Cognitive Neuroscience
Computational Neuroscience
Neuroimaging

Clara SchollEducation: Kalamazoo College, BA, 2005 (physics)
Prior Research: As an undergraduate student, I studied force-driven unfolding events in a muscle protein using atomic force microscopy. I subsequently used high field MRI to explore neural dynamics and pharmacological manipulations in rodent models at the national institute on drug abuse as a postbaccalaureate student.
Thesis Research: I am using rapid adaptation EEG to disambiguate the temporal latencies of separate stages of visual categorization predicted by hierarchical models of visual object recognition.
Rotations:
Maximilian Riesenhuber: Designed a perceptual categorization task and used EEG to probe visual categorization.
Jian-Young Wu: Used voltage sensitive dye imaging methods to observe visual stimulus-evoked cortical waves in vivo.
Andrei Medvedev: Investigated time-frequency responses to visual stimuli.

Brian Wolff, '07 Electric fields and slow cortical activity (Ph.D. 2013)
Advisor(s): Jian-Young Wu
Neurophysiology
Neural Networks

Brian WolffEducation: UCSB, B.S. in Pharmacology with mathematics minor, 2002
Prior Research: Behavioral pharmacology research as an undergraduate at UC Santa Barbara and as staff at Roche Pharmaceuticals. High-throughput screening and chemoinformatics as a staff research associate at UC San Francisco.
Thesis Research: My thesis research is comprised of two topics related to slow oscillations in mouse sensory cortex. The first is investigation of how exogenous electric fields modulate network activity. The second is investigation of how slow oscillations change in the visual cortex during eye-opening.
Rotations:
Milton Brown: Used molecular modeling to find potential small-molecule modulators of NGF-p75 binding based on cocrystal structure.
Jagmeet Kanwal: Took EKG signals from bats and developed quantitative methods for interpreting autonomic responses to auditory stimuli.
Maximilian Riesenhuber: Applied a network-based model of human object recognition to elucidate mechanisms behind the discrimination of visual stimuli.
Jian-Young Wu: Used voltage-sensitive dye imaging to examine the role of inhibition in network activity in mouse brain slices.

 

Class of 2006

Student Information Thesis Title Research Interests
Click on the student's name for more information about them.
Iain DeWitt, '06 Word Recognition in Auditory Cortex (Ph.D 2012
Advisor(s): Josef Rauschecker
Cognitive Neuroscience
Neuroimaging
Computational Neuroscience

Iain DeWittRotations:
Jose Maisog
Josef Rauschecker
Josef Rauschecker

Li Rebekah Feng, '06 Alpha-synuclein and the multiple hit hypothesis of Parkinson's disease. (Ph.D. 2011)
Advisor(s): Kathleen Maguire-Zeiss
Neurodegeneration and Neural Injury
Cellular & Molecular Neuroscience

Li Rebekah FengEducation: SUNY at Buffalo, BS, 2006
Prior Research: Calcium imaging and characterization of taste receptors.
Current Research: Examination of effects of misfolded alpha-synuclein on membrane integrity and cellular vulnerability.
Rotations:
Alexei Kondratyev: Determination of effects of electroconvulsive shock induced epilepsy
Yasuji Matsuoka: Examination of therapeutic agents targeting Alzheimer’s disease
Stefano Vicini: Testing electrophysiological effects of novel therapeutic agents targeting Alzheimer's disease
Jianyoung Wu: Examination of spiral wave in vitro with voltage sensitive dye imaging

Patrick A. Forcelli, '06 Sequelae of Neonatal Antiepileptic Drug Exposure (Ph.D. 2011)
Advisor(s): Karen Gale
Behavioral Neuroscience
Neuropharmacology
Development

Patrick A. ForcelliEducation: B.S., Boston College, 2006
Prior Research: I worked with Steven Heinrichs at Boston College, studying the sequelae of perinatal fluoxetine exposure on anxiety and drug abuse in the rat (Forcelli & Heinrichs, 2008) and the role of stress in the El mouse model of reflex epilepsy (Forcelli, Orefice & Heinrichs, 2007).
Thesis Research: My research focuses on the long-term impact of neonatal exposure to antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). I employ histological, electrophysiological and behavioral approaches to determine how exposure alters development and function of limbic and basal ganglia circuits. I have found profound histological, behavioral and physiological changes in the brain following exposure to several common AEDs. Other ongoing research projects employ pharmacological inactivation and optogenetics to understand the neural circuitry of seizures and prepulse inhibition in rats and the role of hippocampus in memory in the monkey.
Rotations:
Stefano Vicini: Physiological maturation of SVZ-derived GABAergic progenitor cells
Larry Kromer: Integration of SVZ progenitor cells into the injured striatum
Alexei Kondratyev and Karen Gale: Effect of AEDs on cell death in the developing striatum

Meredith Clifford, '06
meredith.a.clifford@gmail.com
Intercellular communication in cortical neuronal elaboration and circuit formation: A role for EphA signaling      (Ph.D. 2012)
Advisor(s): Maria Donoghue
Development
Cellular Neuroscience
Synapses

Meredith CliffordEducation: BA
Prior Research: I studied the role of hormones on memory in college, the decline of hippocampal volume in ApoE4 carriers at the NIMH my first year out of college. After that I moved to a lab at NIMH to study adult neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus.
Thesis Research: In some neurodevelopmental disorders, shifts in neuronal form have been described in parts of the cortex, yet little is known about some of the basic mechanisms responsible for normal cortical neuronal maturation. My thesis project aims to examine the roles for a family of signaling molecules, the Eph receptors and ephrin ligands, in directing the initial outgrowth of dendritic arbors of cortical neurons. Understanding how Ephs and ephrins guide the development of cortical neurons could lead to new insights into abnormal states.
Rotations:
Bill Rebeck: Creation and detection of secreted forms of ApoER2 and VLDLR
Baoji Xu: Dendritic Spine characteristics of BDNF klox visual cortical neurons
Elena Casey: The role of SoxC genes in early neural development
Maria Donoghue: Eph/ephrin signaling in neuronal maturation

Guillermo Palchik, '06 Neuronal DNA Double Strand Break Damage and Repair Following Sublethal iGLuR Activation, and the Neuroprotective Effects of Melatonin (Ph.D. 2013)
Advisor(s): Alexei Kondratyev
Cellular & Molecular Neuroscience
Neurodegeneration and Neural Injury

Guillermo PalchikEducation: Georgetown U, M.Sc Ne. 2007; Boston U., B.Sc. 2002
Prior Research: I researched the effects of endocrine modulators on the mitochondrial activity of insulin secreting beta cells with Dr. Orian Shirihai at the MBL. I also worked in the laboratory of Drs. Samuel Deadwyler and Robert Hampson (WFU), studying the effects of cannabinoids on dendritic spine calcium in CA1 neurons.
Thesis Research: I study the repair of DNA following double strand breaks (DSBs), following sublethal iGluR activation (mainly NMDA and AMPA) in post-mitotic cortical neurons. Since mitotic cells respond to DSBs by also arresting their cell cycle (a feature already present in mature, G0, neurons), I investigate whether neurons employ similar pathways to repair DSBs, and the role that key proteins involved in DNA DSB damage signaling and repair have along the process. Neurons might repair DSBs using error-prone systems following an initial insult, leading to DNA damage accumulation over its lifespan and the emergence of pathologies later in life.
Rotations:
Alexei Kondatyev / Karen Gale: I studied the role of antiepileptic drugs on the onset of Schizophrenia.

Scott Paluszkiewicz, '06
smp59@georgetown.edu
Inhibitory synaptic transmission in the Fmr1 knockout mouse model of Fragile X Syndrome: brain region- and circuit-specific deficits (Ph.D. 2011)
Advisor(s): Molly Huntsman
Neurophysiology

Scott PaluszkiewiczEducation: McGill University, B.Sc., 2005
Prior Research: Scott investigated the roles of the zonula occludens (ZO) proteins in the early embryonic development of Xenopus laevis.
Thesis Research: Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by cognitive impairment and behavioral disturbances. Using live slice electrophysiology, my research has uncovered inhibitory synaptic deficits in the amygdala and somatosensory cortex of the Fmr1 KO mouse model of FXS, and supports the notion that pharmacological approaches targeting the GABAergic system may be a viable therapeutic option in this disease.
Rotations:
Joe Neale
Gerard Ahern
Molly Huntsman

Lauren Ullrich, '06 Recognition memory in mild cognitive impairment (Ph.D. 2014)
Advisor(s): Rhonda Friedman & R. Scott Turner
Cognitive Neuroscience
Neuroimaging
Neurodegeneration and Neural Injury

Lauren UllrichEducation: Swarthmore College, B.A., 2006
Prior Research: I researched courtship conditioning in Drosophilla melanogaster with Dr. Kathleen Siwicki at Swarthmore College.
Thesis Research: My research focuses on recognition memory in mild cognitive impariment. In the field of recognition memory, there are two opposing camps: the single-process theorists and the dual-process theorists. To help resolve this debate, I use anatomical neuroimaging to investigate the correlation between memory performance and the volumes of structures in the medial temporal lobe (MTL) in controls and patients with degeneration in the MTL.
Rotations:
Barbara Schwartz: Investigated probabilistic implicit learning in schizophrenia.
Rhonda Friedman: Investigated reading of open- and closed-class words in alexia using ERP.
Darlene Howard: Investigated implicit memory consolidation during sleep.

Emily Waterhouse, '06 Role of dendritic BDNF synthesis in adult neurogenesis and spine morphogenesis M.D./Ph.D. (Ph.D. 2011)
Advisor(s): Baoji Xu
Cellular & Molecular Neuroscience

Emily WaterhouseEducation: UC Santa Barbara, B.S., 2002
Prior Research: As an undergraduate, Emily conducted research using behavioral, fMRI, and single-cell recording data to create computational mathematical models to analyze cognitive function in Parkinson's disease.
Rotations:
Baoji Xu
Italo Mocchetti

Elizabeth West, '06 Evaluating goals: The roles of the orbitofrontal cortex and amygdala. (Ph.D. 2011)
Advisor(s): Ludise Malkova & Karen Gale
Behavioral Neuroscience
Systems neuroscience
Cognition

Elizabeth WestEducation: University of Delaware, B.A., 2006
Prior Research: 1) Differential unconditioned fear responses to the synthetic fox odor 2,4,5-trimethylthiazoline in three outbred rat strains. 2) Effects of psychotomimetic drugs on prepulse inhibition in the guinea pig.
Thesis Research: My research focuses on the role of the basolateral amygdala (BLA) and orbitofrontal cortex in goal-directed behavior, especially in adapting to changes in reward value. I employ behavioral testing, stereotaxic surgery, intracerebral drug infusions, and histological processing in my research. I have found a differential effect of transient inactivation of BLA and OFC on goal-directed behavior.
Rotations:
Ludise Malkova: The development of a novel task for testing familiarity vs recollection memory in nonhuman primates
Alexei Kondratyev: The role of FGF in neuroprotection (by ECS) following status status epilepticus
Joe Neale: The reversal of amphetamine induced locomotory activity by NAAG peptidase inhibitors

 

Class of 2005

Student Information Thesis Title Research Interests
Click on the student's name for more information about them.
Mary Adedoyin, '05 The role of N-acetylaspartylglutamate (NAAG) in the amygdala (Ph.D. 2010)
Advisor(s): Joseph Neale & Stefano Vicini
Neuropharmacology
Neurophysiology
Synapses

Mary AdedoyinEducation: University College London, BSc, 2004
Thesis Research: Investigating the role of the endogynously-released analgesic dipeptide N-acetylaspartylglutamate (NAAG) in the pain pathway, particularly, at the spinoparabrachial amygdaloid pathway to the central nucleus of the laterocapsular amygdala. Using patch clamp recordings from the amygdala of mouse brain slices, we have characterized the peptide's effect on prolonged mechanical allydonia.

Mark Chevillet<, '05
mchevillet@gmail.com
Neural computations underlying speech recognition in the human auditory system (Ph.D. 2011)
Advisor(s): Maximilian Riesenhuber & Josef Rauschecker
Systems Neuroscience
Cognitive Neuroscience
Neuroimaging

Mark ChevilletEducation: Washington State University, B.S. Physics, 2001
Prior Research: Simulating the effects of general anesthetic agents in computational models of neuronal networks.
Thesis Research: Studying the process by which meaningful soundsare recognized by the human auditory system using behavior, functional neuroimaging and computational modeling.
Rotations:
Maximilian Riesenhuber: Brain-machine interface
Steve Schiff: Computer models of spatiotemporal patterns in neuronal networks
Josef Rauschecker: Effects of duration on recognition of vowel sounds

Danielle Evers, '05
dme9@georgetown.edu
Homeostatic control of AMPA receptor strength and subunit composition by Polo-like kinase 2 (Ph.D. 2009)
Advisor(s): Daniel Pak
Synapses
Molecular Neuroscience
Neurophysiology

Danielle EversEducation: Boston College, B.S., 2004
Thesis Research: Investigating the molecular mechanism underlying activity-dependent synapse remodeling. Applying molecular and electrophysiological techniques to test the hypothesis that increased synaptic activity leads to decreased AMPA receptor expression via the direct dissociation of N-ethylmaleimide sensitive fusion protein (NSF) from the AMPA GluR2 subunit by Polo-like kinase 2 (Plk2).

Melissa Herman, '05 GABA signaling in the nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS): Central control of gastric motility and modulation by endogenous opioids (Ph.D. 2009)
Advisor(s): Richard Gillis
Neurophysiology
Neuropharmacology
Systems Neuroscience

Melissa HermanEducation: Boston University, BS, 2001
Thesis Research: Testing the hypotheses that GABA signaling in the medial subnucleus of the tractus solitarius (mNTS) regulates the activity of the vago-vagal circuitry and determines resting gastric tone. By microinjecting drugs in vivo to the mNTS, we have shown that intrinsic GABA signaling in the mNTS regulates gastric motility both tonically and phasically, and that stimulation of mu-opioid receptors in the mNTS inhibits gastric motility by suppressing GABA activity.

Stephanie (Maxfield) Panker, '05 The effects of robotic training and cortical stimulation on reaching skill after chronic stroke (Ph.D. 2011)
Advisor(s): John VanMeter & Leonardo Cohen (NIH)
Systems Neuroscience
Behavioral Neuroscience

Stephanie (Maxfield) PankerEducation: B.A., Biology and Spanish, UVA; M.P.T. and D.P.T, Baylor University
Rotations:
Italo Mocchetti
Rhonda Friedman
Joe Hidler

Sakura Minami, '05
sakura.minami@gladstone.ucsf.edu
The role of Fyn in the pathogenic processes of Alzheimer's disease (Ph.D. 2010)
Advisor(s): Bill Rebeck
Neurodegeneration & Neural Injury

Sakura MinamiEducation: University of California, Irvine, B.S., 2005
Prior Research: Sakura worked in the lab of Dr. Michael Leon studying spatial coding in the rat olfactory bulb. She explored the effects of odorant concentration, molecular branching, and carbon number on the differential activation of the dorsal and ventral olfactory bulb.
Thesis Research: Investigating the role of Fyn tyrosine kinase in mediating APP processing and tau phosphorylation in the triple transgenic model of Alzheimer's disease. Establishing a role for Fyn in regulating APP and Dab1 localization to lipid rafts, a major site of amyloidogenic processing.
Rotations:
Yasuji Matsuoka
Ludise Malkova
Bill Rebeck

Hilary North Scheler, '05
h.north.scheler@gmail.com
Roles for EphA4-mediated intercellular signaling in corticogenesis and in the development of the peripheral somatosensory system (Ph.D. 2010)
Advisor(s): Maria Donoghue
Development
Molecular Neuroscience
Cellular Neuroscience

Hilary North SchelerEducation: University of Pennsylvania, BS, 2004
Thesis Research: Studying the role of Eph receptor tyrosine kinases and their ligands, the ephrins, in nervous system development. Using EphA4 knockdown mice, we have characterized two novel roles of EphA4 in development. Namely, EphA4 is essential for the proliferation of cortical progenitor cells, as well as for the proper formation of the trigeminal somatosensory system's primary sensory organ, the maxillary vibrissae. This investigation additionally revealed a new Eph / ephrin binding pair: EphA4 / ephrin-B1.

Jeremy Purcell, '05 The neural substrates underlying both spelling and reading (Ph.D. 2012)
Advisor(s): Guinevere Eden
Cognitive Neuroscience
Neuroimaging
Language

Jeremy PurcellEducation: Michigan State, B.S., 2003
Prior Research: Used fMRI to explore the neural basis of episodic memory in a geriatric population in the lab of Andrea Bozoki, MD at Michigan State University.
Thesis Research: My Thesis Research involves the use of an fMRI compatible keyboard to examine the functional neuroanatomy of spelling via fMRI. Specfically I am interested in whether the same neural representations used to read a word are used to spell that same word as measured with fMRI-adaptation.
Rotations:
Josef Rauschecker: An fMRI study of auditory processing in tinnitus patients.
Molly Huntsman: Using whole cell patch clamping to examine tonic inhibition in different inhibitory neuron sub-types.
Max Riesenhuber: Using psychophisics to examine face processing in cluttered environments.

Filip Vanevski, '05 Role of HuD in regulating local dendritic translation of long Bdnf 3'UTR transcripts. (Ph.D. 2012)
Advisor(s): Baoji Xu
Cellular & Molecular Neuroscience
Synapses

Filip VanevskiEducation: B.S. Biology
Prior Research: Worked at the NIH studying mechanisms of homologous recombination. Undergraduate thesis on characterizing the mercury-resistance gene of a novel marine bacteria.
Thesis Research: Using primary cell culture and in vivo techniques to understand the mechanisms governing activity-dependent translation of BDNF mRNAs in dendritic compartments.
Rotations:
Alexei Kondratyev: Response to DNA damage in brains of young vs aged rats
Michael Ullman: Concordant EEG and fMRI recordings to pinpoint brain regions associated with errors of language.
Italo Mocchetti: The role GP120 in neuroAIDS

 

Class of 2004

Student Information Thesis Title Research Interests
Click on the student's name for more information about them.
Kristen Ade, '04 GABAergic control of striatal medium spiny neurons (Ph.D. 2008)
Advisor(s): Stefano Vicini
Neurophysiology
Neuropharmacology

Kristen AdeEducation: B.A., Indiana University, 2002
Prior Research: IRTA fellow at the NIAA in the lab of Dr. David Lovinger, where she researched neural plasticity and development of the rat striatum and the role of endogenous cannabinoids.
Thesis Research: Investigated the GABA-A sensitivity of medium spiny neurons expressing D1 and D2 receptors. Developed novel methodology for future investigations of phosphorylation effects on ion channel kinetics.

Ericka Burgos Ruiz, '04 Interaction of attention and emotion across development and disorder (Ph.D. 2012)
Advisor(s): Chandan Vaidya
Cognitive Neuroscience
Behavioral Neuroscience

Ericka Burgos RuizEducation: B.S., M.S., George Mason University, 2002
Prior Research: Master's thesis research concerned the effects of haloperidol on pre- and postsynaptic markers of neurotransmitter function in the rat brain, using in situ hybridization & other techniques.

Laura Cocas, '04
lauracocas@gmail.com
Genetic regulation of the generation of neuronal diversity in the developing mammalian basal forebrain (Ph.D. 2010)
Advisor(s): Josh Corbin
Development
Cellular & Molecular Neuroscience

Laura CocasEducation: B.A., Pitzer College, 2003
Prior Research: During undergraduate years, worked at the Claremont Infant Study Center and the Claremont Memory and Aging Project.
Thesis Research: Examined the mechanisms used in the development of forebrain neuronal diversity by examining several important developmental questions using a combination of genetic fate-mapping, mutagenesis, cell birth-dating, migration assays, immunohistochemistry, and electrophysiology.
Rotations:
Ludise Malkova
Jarda Wroblewski

Chris Conti, '04 M.D./Ph.D., returned to M.D.
Advisor(s): TBD
 

Chris ContiEducation: B.S., Canisius College, 2002
Prior Research: He has a wide range of research experience, including animal behavior and learning studies (in orca whales), growth cone chemotaxis, and most recently PET and SPECT brain scans.

Laurie Glezer, '04
lsglezer@gmail.com
Investigating the neural code for single-word reading (Ph.D. 2010)
Advisor(s): Maximilian Riesenhuber & Rhonda Friedman
Cognitive Neuroscience
Language
Neuroimaging

Laurie GlezerEducation: B.S., U Mass, 1992; M.A, NMSU, 1994
Prior Research: Worked as a Speech Language Pathologist. In Rhonda Friedman's lab, conducted research testing experimental models of alexia based on a cognitive neuropsychological model of reading.
Thesis Research: (a) Probed the selectivity of neurons in visual word form area (VWFA); (b) Examined the evidence for a hierarchical organization of the visual word form representation along the ventral visual stream; (c) examined hemispheric specialization in word form processing
Rotations:
Chandan Vaidya
Max Riesenhuber

Angela Holmes, '04
alh539@gmail.com
The role of the intermediate and deep layers of the superior colliculus in the control of posture and movement in the nonhuman primate (Ph.D. 2011)
Advisor(s): Ludise Malkova & Karen Gale
Neuropharmacology
Behavioral Neuroscience
Systems Neuroscience

Angela HolmesEducation: University of District of Columbia, B.S. 1998; M.S. 2002,
Prior Research: Worked in the lab of Drs. Ludise Malkova and Karen Gale at Georgetown, learning to train and test nonhuman primates in studies examining drug effects on behavior.
Thesis Research: I examined the role of the intermediate and deep layers of the superior colliculus (DLSC) in the control of posture and motor movement in the nonhuman primate. My research also focused on examining the functional interaction between DLSC and substantia niga pars reticulata for posture and motor movement control. I performed intracerebral microinfusions of GABA-A agonists and antagonists to determine the role of DLSC. My results suggest that activity in DLSC is necessary for the expression of specific abnormal postures and motor movements (e.g. dystonic head tilt).
Rotations:
Karen Gale & Ludise Malkova: Examined whether deep layers of the superior colliculus is topographic in terms of motor and emotional behaviors.
Robert Yasuda: Examined the interaction between NMDA and Eph receptors.
Darlene Howard: Examined time of day and age effects on explicit/implicit learning.
Barbara Schwartz: Examined learning and memory of schizophrenic and schizoaffective patients.

Elizabeth Lacey, '04
ehl4@georgetown.edu
Generalization and maintenance in aphasia rehabilitation (Ph.D. 2010)
Advisor(s): Rhonda Friedman
Language
Cognitive Neuroscience
Neurodegeneration and Neural Injury

Elizabeth LaceyEducation: B.A., Connecticut College, 1997
Prior Research: Worked in the Neuroendocrinology lab as an undergraduate; Worked in the lab of Rhonda Friedman for 3 years prior to matriculation in IPN.
Thesis Research: Investigated two important factors in the rehabilitation of language disorders: generalization and maintenance. Applied Multiple Oral Re-Reading in clinical use for two acquired reading disorders, pure alexia and phonological alexia.
Rotations:
Barbara Schwartz
Chandan Vaidya

Amber Leaver, '04 Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) studies of the human auditory brain: Objects, sequences, and dysfunction (Ph.D. 2010)
Advisor(s): Josef Rauschecker
Cognitive Neuroscience
Systems Neuroscience
Neuroanatomy

Amber LeaverEducation: B.A., Univ of Illinois, 2001; M.A., Bucknell University, 2003
Prior Research: During her Masters, Amber conducted psychophysics research in music perception and color/contrast perception. Worked as a research assistant in Dr. Adriane Seiffert's laboratory at Princeton assisting with fMRI studies of motion perception and attention.
Thesis Research: Conducted MRI investigations of the human auditory brain using fMRI to musical sequence learning, as well as to monitor dysfunction and voxel-based morphometry (VBM) to measure anatomical abnormalities in tinnitus.
Rotations:
Josef Rauschecker

Esther Krook-Magnuson, '04
estherkrookmagnuson@gmail.com
Specificity of inhibitory control of cortical interneurons in layer 4 of mouse somatosensory barrel cortex (Ph.D. 2009)
Advisor(s): Molly Huntsman
Neurophysiology
Neuropharmacology
Cellular Neuroscience

Esther Krook-MagnusonEducation: B.S., UC Berkeley, 2004
Prior Research: At Berkeley, worked as a research assistant in the Cognition and Action Lab of Dr. Rich Ivry, studying non-motor learning.
Thesis Research: In order to understand the mechanisms of inhibitory control in the cortical processing of sensory information, examined the cell type specificity in layer 4 of mouse somatosensory cortex of two understudied mechanisms of GABA inhibition: (1) tonic inhibition mediated by specific GABA-A receptors and (2) GABA-B receptor mediated inhibition.
Rotations:
Bob Yasuda
Guinevere Eden
Molly Huntsman

Robert (Tom) Naumann, '04
rtn@georgetown.edu
Call responses in the amygdala of the mustached bat, pteronotus parnellii: Stimulus-specific excitation, suppression, and spike timing (Ph.D. 2010)
Advisor(s): Jag Kanwal
Systems Neuroscience
Behavioral Neuroscience
Neuroanatomy

Robert (Tom) NaumannEducation: B.A., University of Dayton, 2003
Prior Research: As a research assistant at Wallace-Kettering Neuroscience Institute, he helped to deveop fMRI protocols for presurgical planning, and conducted fMRI experiments and collected data on attention in schizophrenia.
Thesis Research: In interactions with their conspecifics, social animals are presented with social signals representing different opportunities and dangers. This work reflects an attempt to elucidate how the amygdala, a brain structure intimately involved in social behavior and behavioral flexibility in challenging situations, responds selectively to communication sounds that differ in their acoustic structure and behavioral significance.
Rotations:
Josef Rauschecker
Josh Corbin
Jag Kanwal

Ana Počivavšek, '04
apocivavsek@gmail.com
Microglial LRP1 modulates JNK activation: A signaling cascade that also regulates apolipoprotein E levels (Ph.D. 2009)
Advisor(s): Bill Rebeck
Molecular Neuroscience
Neurodegeneration & Neural Injury

Ana PočivavšekEducation: B.S., Duke University, 2003
Prior Research: Worked in the laboratory of Dr. Ed Levin in the Psychiatry Dept at Duke. In rats, mice, fish and humans (Alzheimer's patients) she conducted research on cognitive enhancing effects of nicotine, testing memory, learning, and attention.
Thesis Research: Used a small bioactive peptide formed from the receptor-binding domain of apoE, apoE peptide (EP), to study LDL receptor family signaling in microglia. In a model of glial activation in which primary mouse microglia and microglia cell line BV2 were treated with lipopolysaccharide, studied two inflammatory responses: an increase in nitric oxide (NO) production and a decrease in apoE production.
Rotations:
Ludise Malkova
Bill Rebeck
Vassilios Papadopoulos

Kentaroh Takagaki, '04
kt62@georgetown.edu
Spatiotemporal patterns of population activity in the rat barrel cortex (Ph.D. 2007)
Advisor(s): Jian-Young Wu
Neurophysiology
Neural Networks
Systems Neuroscience

Kentaroh TakagakiEducation: B.Agr., University of Tokyo, 2002
Prior Research: Bachelor's thesis was on the role of nuclear receptors in the regulation of bile-acid metabolism in the terminal ileum. Worked in an infectious disease lab assisting with research in AIDS-related signal transduction in astrocytes.
Thesis Research: In the rodent barrel cortex, voltage-sensitive dye imaging has revealed wavelike propagation of neuronal population activity, originating from one barrel and spreading throughout the barrel cortex. Tested the hypothesis that this propagation may be correlated with the computations underlying sensory integration.

 

Class of 2003

Student Information Thesis Title Research Interests
Click on the student's name for more information about them.
Casandra Cartagena, '03 Cholesterol 24S-hydroxylase: Involvement in brain injury and disease (Ph.D. 2008
Advisor(s): Bill Rebeck
Neurodegeneration & Neural Injury
Cellular & Molecular Neuroscience

Casandra CartagenaEducation: University of Michigan, B.S., Cellular and Molecular Biology; Eastern Michigan University, M.S., Molecular and Cellular Biology
Thesis Research: Here we investigated whether traumatic brain injury (TBI) altered the regulation of cholesterol 24S-hydroxylase (Cyp46), an enzyme that converts cholesterol to the more hydrophilic 24S-hydroxycholesterol.

Craig Dietrich, '03 Endogenous acidification of the inhibitory synapse: Proton amplification of GABAa-mediated neurotransmission (Ph.D. 2009)
Advisor(s): Martin Morad
Neurophysiology
Cellular Neuroscience

Craig DietrichEducation: Carleton College
Thesis Research: Maintenance of external pH is critical to ensuring proper CNS function. Recent work in excitatory transmission suggests that in vivo synaptic proton buffering is not sufficient to rigidly maintain an extracellular pH of 7.4. The results provide strong evidence that endogenous acidification of the GABAergic synapse via the Na+/H+ exchanger is of sufficient magnitude to enhance inhibitory neurotransmission.

Jason Brek Eaton, '03 Left in 2004
Advisor(s): TBD
 

Example text

Alexis Jeannotte, '03 Modulation of the norepinephrine transporter by the synuclein family of proteins (Ph.D. 2007)
Advisor(s): Anita Sidhu
Cellular & Molecular Neuroscience

Alexis JeannotteThesis Research: A definitive endogenous and chronic mechanism for regulating the activity and trafficking of the norepinephrine transporter (NET) is unknown. The purpose of this dissertation research was to examine the regulation of NET by the synucleins, a family of presynaptic proteins. Three hypotheses were tested: (1) a-synuclein decreases NET activity and trafficking to the plasma membrane, (2) a-synuclein regulation of NET is dependent on interactions with the cytoskeleton, (3) altered a-synuclein and ?-synuclein-mediated regulation of NET contributes to the development of depression.

Katherine Meeker, '03 Left with M.S. in 2005
Advisor(s): TBD
 

Katherine MeekerEducation: Colgate University, BA, Neuroscience, 2003

Juliet Minton, '03 Left with M.S. in 2005
Advisor(s): TBD
 

Juliet MintonEducation: The College of William and Mary, BS, Neuroscience, 2003

Alexandria Nugent, '03 Morphine activation of stress pathways alters peripheral immune cell signaling (Ph.D. 2008)
Advisor(s): Barbara Bayer
Cellular & Molecular Neuroscience

Alexandria NugentEducation: Trinity University, BA, Psychology, 1991; University of Maryland College Park, BS, Biology, 2002
Thesis Research: Morphine is routinely used as an analgesic for acute and chronic pain often in people at greater risk for infection, in spite of the fact that morphine suppresses immune function. Few studies have examined the effects of morphine on antigen presentation. Therefore, these studies sought to characterize the effect of morphine on MHC-II expression. Morphine (10 mg/kg, 2 hours) was found to significantly reduce basal and IL-4 induced MHC-II expression on circulating B lymphocytes.

Theron (Ted) Russell, '03 Left with M.S. in 2006
Advisor(s): Baoji Xu
 

Theron (Ted) Russell

Sunbin Sylvie Song, '03
sunbin.song@gmail.com
Explicit/implicit interactions in motor sequence learning (Ph.D. 2008)
Advisor(s): Darlene Howard
Cognitive Neuroscience

Sunbin Sylvie SongEducation: MIT, B.S. in Biology
Thesis Research: Implicit/unconscious learning is responsible for the formation of habits and the mastery of complex motor skills. It remains poorly understood how implicit learning is affected by concurrent explicit processes. In the following set of studies, a novel explicit/implicit motor sequencing paradigm was developed. Unlike other paradigms, this paradigm could generate measures of implicit memory in those with and without explicit knowledge during training by removing explicit knowledge from performance measures in certain blocks. This ability is an important one as we could separate the effect explicit knowledge had on the acquisition of implicit learning from the effect explicit knowledge had on performance.

Yi Zhang, '03 Left in 2004
Advisor(s): TBD
 

Example text

 

Class of 2002

Student Information Thesis Title Research Interests
Click on the student's name for more information about them.
Eddie Billingslea, '02 Comparisons of behavioral phenotypes in multiple methods of serotonin deficiency in the rat brain (Ph.D. 2007)
Advisor(s): Benjamin Walker
Pharmacology
Behavioral Neuroscience

Education: Virginia Union University, B.A., 1999
Thesis Research: Attempted to understand serotonin's role in psychiatric disorders. It has been suggested that diminished brain serotonin plays a role in the behaviors of autistic patients, yet they do not explain why some reuptake inhibitors attenuate these behaviors and others do not. Could it be that there is a certain range of serotonin loss that accounts for some behaviors over others?

Philberta Leung, '02
philbertaleung@gmail.com
Lower urinary tract function after spinal cord contusion and transection: Plasticity in the distal spinal cord (Ph.D. 2007)
Advisor(s): Jean Wrathall
Neurodegeneration & Neural Injury

Education: Carleton College, B.A., 2002
Thesis Research: Normal lower urinary tract (LUT) function requires coordination between the bladder and the external urethral sphincter (EUS). Phasic EUS relaxation during bladder contractions, necessary for efficient voiding in rats, is lost initially after complete spinal cord transection, but re-emerges chronically in some rats. Factors relating to LUT function after injury were investigated.

Judith Lytle, '02
judy.lytle@gmail.com
Response of NG2-expressing cells to spinal cord contusion: Evidence for the stimulation of oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) and non-OPC populations (Ph.D. 2007)
Advisor(s): Jean Wrathall & Vittorio Gallo
Neurodegeneration & Neural Injury

Thesis Research: Contusive spinal cord injury results in both immediate and secondary injury. This project aimed to advance understanding of the progression and physiological response of NG2 + oligodendrocyte progenitor cells in the acute injury phase in a murine model of contusive injury

Danyan Mao, '02 Heterogeneity of neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in rat nervous system and their differential regulation by chronic administration of nicotine (Ph.D. 2007)
Advisor(s): Ken Kellar
Pharmacology

Thesis Research: Neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) are present throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems. Native nAChRs are not only heterogeneous in subtypes but also complex in subunit composition. In the present study, we used receptor binding and immunoprecipitation methods to examine the nAChRs in a number of peripheral ganglia and brain regions from adult rat.

Kelly McVearry, '02
Pavel Ortinski
Antiepileptic drugs as cognitive teratogens: Differential effects on creativity in prenatal exposure to carbamazepine, lamotrigine, and valproate (Ph.D. 2007)
Advisor(s): Kimford Meador
Development

Education: Harvard University, Ed.M., 2000; American University, M.A., 1996; University of Vermont, B.A., 1992
Thesis Research: This neuroteratology study investigates behavioral outcomes for three commonly used antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) (valproate, carbamazepine, and lamotrigine), with a special emphasis on outcomes indicative of impaired creativity

Pavel Ortinski, '02 Timing in the cerebellum: Duration of inhibition and mechanisms of control (Ph.D. 2007)
Advisor(s): Stephano Vicini
Neurophysiology

Education: Guilford College, B.A., 2002
Thesis Research: Inhibitory neurotransmission by GABA A receptors powerfully regulates neuronal activity. Previous studies independently observed that a number of GABA A receptor subunits are expressed differently through brain development and that synaptic inhibition undergoes certain developmental changes. I extended these studies to trace a temporal pattern of correlated changes of inhibitory synaptic function and the expression of distinct GABA A receptor subunits by using a combination of electrophysiological, immunocytochemical and pharmacological tools.

Jill Turner, '02 Neuronal nicotinic receptors in the rat cerebellum: Nicotinic receptor subtypes, their localization, and potential functional roles (Ph.D. 2006)
Advisor(s): Ken Kellar
Pharmacology

Thesis Research: The objectives of my thesis research were to quantitatively determine the major heteromeric nAChR subtypes in the cerebellum, determine their distribution within the cerebellum, and to begin to determine the potential functional roles they play there.

Jill Weisberg, '02
jweisberg@projects.sdsu.edu
The functional anatomy of spatial and object processing in deaf and hearing populations (Ph.D. 2006)
Advisor(s): Guinevere Eden
Cognitive Neuroscience
Neuroimaging

Education: George Mason University, B.A, M.A.
Thesis Research: Used brain imaging to examine the effects of language and sensory experience on the functional anatomy of object recognition and spatial processing.

Robbin Wood Miranda, '02
robbin.miranda@gmail.com
Double dissociation between rules and memory in the neurocognition of music (Ph.D. 2007)
Advisor(s): Michael Ullman
Cognitive Neuroscience
Language
Neuroimaging

Previous Education: Duke University, B.S. Biology, A.B. Music, 2002
Thesis Research: Both language and music depend on rules and memorized representations. Double dissociations between the neurocognition of rule-governed and memory-based knowledge have been found in language but not music. Here, both rule- and memory-based aspects of music were examined in two studies: a behavioral study investigating sex differences in long-term memory for music, and an event-related potential (ERP) study investigating brain responses to rule and memory violations in melodies.

 

Class of 2001

Student Information Thesis Title Research Interests
Click on the student's name for more information about them.
Debi Basu, '01 Left with M.S. 2007
Advisor(s): Guinevere Eden
Cognitive Neuroscience
Neuroimaging

Education: Iowa State University, B.A. in Biology; Muenster, Germany, M.D.,1998
Thesis Research: Her thesis research project at the Center for the Study of Learning focused on the fusiform gyrus and its involvement in face and word processing as well as its role in skill acquisition.

Maureen Cruz, '01
mtcruz@scripps.edu
Characterization of DMV pathways controlling gastric motility in the rat  (Ph.D. 2006)
Advisor(s): Richard Gillis
Pharmacology
Neurophysiology

Education: Brown University, B.S., 1998; Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, MPH, 2001
Thesis Research: The purpose of my research was to functionally characterize the dorsal motor nucelus of the vagus vagal pathways that are responsible for controlling gastric motility.

Laura Gehl, '01
laura.chamberlain@aya.yale.edu
Studies on the biosynthesis of N-acetylaspartylglutamate and the comparison of glutamate carboxypeptidase II and glutamate carboxypeptidase III (Ph.D. 2005)
Advisor(s): Joe Neale
Pharmacology
Molecular Neuroscience

Education: Yale University, BA in Psychology
Thesis Research: Characterized N-Acetylaspartylglutamate (NAAG), a peptide neurotransmitter, which is prevalent and widely distributed in the mammalian nervous system.

Byung Gon Kim, '01
kimbg@ajou.ac.kr
Remodeling of synaptic structures in the motor cortex following spinal cord injury (Ph.D. 2005)
Advisor(s): Barbara Bregman
Neurodegeneration & Neural Injury

Education: Seoul National University, M.D., 1993
Thesis Research: Spinal cord injury (SCI) results in a severe and permanent loss of motor function. Although regeneration of severed axons is extremely limited, spared motor system undergoes a substantial extent of structural remodeling. This research, tested a hypothesis that SCI leads to a remodeling of synaptic structures in the motor cortex. The results suggest that modulation of the synaptic remodeling in the motor cortex may be a promising strategy to enhance functional recovery after SCI.

Jinsook Kim, '01
jsk26remedy@gmail.com
Effects of repeated brief seizures and antiepileptic drugs in the developing rat brain (Ph.D. 2007)
Advisor(s): Karen Gale & Alexei Kondratyev
Pharmacology
Development

Thesis Research: Antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) induce apoptotic neuronal death in specific regions of rat brain during the first two postnatal weeks; this developmental neurotoxicity may contribute to adverse behavioral outcomes. In this project, four studies examined the impact of seizures and/or AEDs or AED combinations on cell survival in the immature brain.

Jae Lee, '01
JLee22@med.miami.edu
Distal plasticity after experimental spinal cord injury: The H-reflex (Ph.D. 2005)
Advisor(s): Jean Wrathall
Neurodegeneration & Neural Injury

Thesis Research: Spontaneous recovery after incomplete spinal cord injury (iSCI) can be partially attributed to plasticity between spared suprasegmental and lumbar segmental circuitry. However, very little is known about the mechanisms involved. The goal of this study was to use the H-reflex to better understand the mechanisms of recovery of hindlimb function after iSCI.

Azik Schwechter, '01 Immune regulation in T-cells by transcription factor Sp3: Implications for multiple sclerosis (Ph.D. 2006)
Advisor(s): John Richert & Vicente Notario
Cellular Neuroscience

Education: Yeshiva University, undergraduate
Thesis Research: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory disease of the central nervous system and is generally considered to be autoimmune in nature. We previously demonstrated that the transcription factor Sp3 is significantly down-regulated in immune cells from MS patients. This study demonstrates the mechanisms by which Sp3 may regulate immune function and suggest a basis for its potential contribution to MS disease

Stuart Washington, '01 Neural mechanisms for call processing in the auditory cortex of mustached bats: Frequency modulated sounds and their lateralization          (Ph.D. 2008)
Advisor(s): Jagmeet Kanwal
Neurophysiology

Education: George Washington University, undergraduate
Thesis Research: Speech processing is lateralized to the left hemisphere of the human brain. Single unit electrophysiological recordings in a sub-region of the mustached bat primary auditory cortex (A1) has revealed a left hemispheric advantage for processing species-specific (or conspecific) calls that at least superficially resembles the hemispheric specialization observed in humans. The hemispheric specialization for speech in humans has been related to an advantage of the left auditory cortex for processing information with a high temporal resolution, and, thus, the discovery of a similar mechanism in mustached bats would further demonstrate the similarity between lateralization for communication sounds in humans and bats.

Samantha Crowe, '01 Phosphorylation of histone H2A.X and regulation of DNA repair mechanisms in the brain following seizures (Ph.D. 2006)
Advisor(s): Karen Gale & Alexei Kondratyev
Cellular Neuroscience

Education: Allegheny College, BS in Biology, 1999
Thesis Research: Seizures lasting in excess of 30 min are injurious, triggering neuronal death in endangered populations. Pre-exposure to non-injurious seizures protects endangered cells from seizure-evoked neurodegeneration. Our findings indicate that seizures induce DNA damage and compensatory repair responses in the mature brain. Pre-exposure to non-injurious seizures attenuates subsequent seizure-evoked DNA damage, suggesting that the neuroprotection effects of ECS are mediated, at least in part, by a decrease in the cellular damage elicited by subsequent insults.

 

Class of 2000

Student Information Thesis Title Research Interests
Click on the student's name for more information about them.
Ivy Estabrooke, '00 The influence of sex and sex hormones on the production of the English past tense (Ph.D. 2005)
Advisor(s): Paul Aisen & Michael Ullman
Language
Cognitive Neuroscience

Education: Smith College, B.A., 1998
Thesis Research: The declarative/procedural model posits that expressive and receptive language depend on two memory systems that underlie the mental lexicon and the mental grammar, two aspects of language. We hypothesized that the female superiority at declarative memory may result in women retrieving regular forms from the lexicon rather than composing them with the grammatical rule.

Laurie Wellman, '00
wellmall@evms.edu
The role of the amygdala in primate socioemotional behavior(Ph.D. 2005)
Advisor(s): Ludise Malkova & Karen Gale
Behavioral Neuroscience
Pharmacology

Thesis Research: Monkeys with bilateral amygdalectomies show decreased social contact and social status as well as increased social fear. However, the lesion methodology itself introduces an array of problems that may affect the outcome of the study and thus the conclusions established from the data. Our studies use pharmacological manipulations through acute drug infusions into specific areas of the amygdala to further understand the role of specific amygdalar nuclei in socioemotional behavior. The data indicate that regions of the amygdala play different roles in social behavior as well as changes in reward value.

Rachel Nosheny, '00 The neuroprotective effect of brain-derived neurotrophic factor against human immunodeficiency virus type-1 glycoprotein 120-mediated neurotoxicity in the basal ganglia (Ph.D. 2006)
Advisor(s): Italo Mocchetti
Cellular Neuroscience

Thesis Research: A subset of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type-1 (HIV-1) infected individuals experience a constellation of motor, cognitive, and psychiatric symptoms that are collectively called the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome Dementia Complex (ADC). Dysfunction of the nigro-striatal circuitry of the basal ganglia is integral to the neuropathology of ADC. Neuroprotection against gp120 by BDNF may in turn limit neurological complications associated with HIV-1 infection in the brain.

Brent Richards, '00
brent.richards@ossm.edu
The role of ephrins and Eph receptors in the development and function of the basal ganglia (Ph.D. 2006)
Advisor(s): Larry Kromer
Development
Cellular Neuroscience

Education: University of Oklahoma, B.S., Biochemistry, 2000
Thesis Research: The Eph receptor tyrosine kinases and their ligands, the ephrins, make up two large protein families that are involved in a wide array of biological processes during development and adulthood. The purpose of the research described in this dissertation was to determine if Eph receptors and ephrins are involved in basal ganglia development.

Sean Rogers, '00 The underlying mechanisms of semantic memory loss in Alzheimer's disease and semantic dementia (Ph.D. 2006)
Advisor(s): Rhonda Friedman
Cognitive Neuroscience
Language3

Education: Johns Hopkins, B.A., 2000
Thesis Research: Patients with Alzheimer's Disease (AD) and patients with Semantic Dementia (SD) both exhibit impairments on explicit tasks of semantic memory. The deficits in both patient groups have been attributed to a degradation of the central semantic network. An alternative explanation for the semantic memory deficits in AD is that the ability to consciously retrieve items from the semantic network is impaired. The present study used both implicit and explicit tests to evaluate the semantic networks of both patient groups and dissociate contrasting explanations for the observed deficits in AD patients.

 

Class of 1999

Student Information Thesis Title Research Interests
Click on the student's name for more information about them.
Peter Turkeltaub, '99
turkeltp@gmail.com
Functional imaging studies of the development of neural mechanisms for reading (M.D./Ph.D.; Ph.D. 2003
Advisor(s): Guinevere Eden
Language
Cognitive Neuroscience
Neuroimaging

Education: George Washington University, B.S. in Electrical Engineering, 1997
Thesis Research: This dissertation presents three complimentary studies which apply significant methodological advances to examine (1) the neural circuitry used by literate adults for reading, (2) the development of these neural systems in normal children, and (3) the neurobiological basis of precocious reading in a case of hyperlexia.

Helen Yankovich, '99 Learning to control dynamic systems: Aging and implicit learning in the process control task (Ph.D. 2004)
Advisor(s): Darlene Howard
Cognitive Neuroscience

Thesis Research: In three experiments we investigated how one form of learning, that of learning to control complex systems, varies with adult age. The main goal of this study was to determine whether there are age related differences in learning the Process Control task. Furthermore, we wanted to investigate the two-stage theory of learning, which states that early in training, learning in the Process Control task is implicit, while later on it becomes explicit.

Lalia Zai, '99 Cellular proliferation and replacement following contusive spinal cord injury  (Ph.D. 2005)
Advisor(s): Jean Wrathall/td>
Neurodegeneration & Neural Injury

Education: University of Virginia, BS, Biology/Neuroscience, 1998
Thesis Research: In the 24 hours following contusive spinal cord injury (SCI), 50% of the oligodendrocytes and astrocytes of the epicenter are lost. By 6 weeks, however, the density of these cells returns to normal, suggesting that endogenous progenitors divide in response to injury. This study investigated if cell proliferation is responsible for this recovery.

 

Class of 1998

Student Information Thesis Title Research Interests
Click on the student's name for more information about them.
Liza Bundesen, '98
lbundese@mail.nih.gov
Ephrins and Eph receptors participate in spinal cord development and injury responses in the adult (Ph.D. 2003
Advisor(s): Larry Kromer & Barbara Bregman
Neurodegeneration & Neural Injury
Development

Education: Lehigh University, B.S., Molecular Biology, 1997
Thesis Research: Eph receptors and their ephrin ligands are a multifunctional family of proteins that participate in physiological events during embryogenesis and through adulthood. Ephrins and Eph receptors were originally described as mediators of contact-dependent repulsion that regulate axon guidance, cell migration, and tissue patterning. Now, it is known that these proteins also are involved in mechanisms such as cell adhesion and protein clustering at specialized structures. In this thesis, several new roles for ephrins and Eph receptors are described during development and after injury in the adult spinal cord.

Nicole Dietz, '98 Phonological processing studied with functional magnetic resonance imaging (Ph.D. 2004)
Advisor(s): Guinevere Eden
Language
Cognitive Neuroscience

Education: University of Virginia, B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies, 1994
Thesis Research: Used fMRI to investigate the neural anatomy and mechanisms of deriving the sound structure of a word from its written form, a process referred to as phonological decoding in reading.

Amy Durham, '98 Left with M.S. in 2000
Advisor(s): TBD
 

Education: University of Virginia, B.A. in Psychology, 1997

James Lynskey, '98
jlynskey@atsu.edu
Functional recovery and anatomical plasticity after cervical spinal cord injury: The effects of transplants, neurotrophins, and environmental enrichment (Ph.D. 2004)
Advisor(s): Barbara Bregman
Neurodegeneration & Neural Injury

Education: Duquesne University, master of physical therapy, 1995
Thesis Research: In addition to locomotor impairments, the loss of forelimb motor function can be a major consequence of spinal cord injury. The interruption and subsequent failure of interrupted descending supraspinal motor pathways to regenerate are major causes of these functional impairments. Treatment paradigms designed to address some of these factors have produced varying levels of anatomical plasticity and functional recovery in both animals and humans after spinal cord injury. The data in this thesis describe the anatomical and behavioral effects of two treatment strategies (one cellular transplantation/pharmacological and one rehabilitative) designed to address some of these factors in a rodent model of cervical spinal cord injury.

Selamawit Negash, '98 Adult age differences in implicit learning of short and higher-order sequential patterns (Ph.D. 2003)
Advisor(s): Darlene Howard
Cognitive Neuroscience

Education: University of District of Columbia, B.S. in Psychology, 1997
Thesis Research: The present experiments investigated whether there are age-related deficits in learning of short but higher-order regularities, and whether such learning occurs without people's ability to develop awareness about the pattern. The main goal was to find out whether age deficits documented in earlier studies using 4-item alternating sequences (e.g., 1r2r3r4r) extend to shorter ones, that have a smaller number of triplets to be learned, and yet the same second-order structure.

Kimberly Rivas-Plata Ballard, '98 Neuroimmune interactions of stress and opioids in a chronic morphine paradigm (Ph.D. 2005)
Advisor(s): Barbara Bayer
Neurodegeneration & Neural Injury

Education: Case Western Reserve University, B.A., Biology and Anthropology, 1996
Thesis Research: Opioids, such as morphine, and stress are both known to adversely affect immune and neuroendocrine functioning, with both generally resulting in suppression of mitogenic T lymphocyte responses and elevation of stress hormones. However, the extent to which opioids and stress systems overlap, especially in terms of modulation of immune responses, has not been fully elucidated. The studies described in this dissertation, examine the heightened immune sensitivity following chronic morphine administration and endeavor to determine mechanisms leading to this vulnerability.

Rachelle Toman, '98/td> The complexity of sphingolipid metabolism in the modulation of neuronal development (Ph.D. 2003)
Advisor(s): Sarah Spiege
Development

Thesis Research: The lipid mediators, ceramide and sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P), have multipotential roles in survival, migration, and differentiation of neurons depending on concentration, cell type, and developmental stage. Although exogenous ceramide has been reported to cause neuronal apoptosis, the role of endogenous ceramide has not been previously evaluated. Both ceramide and bacterial sphingomyelinase result in time- and dose-dependent increases in apoptosis of cerebellar granule cells and cortical neurons. In addition, the extent of apoptosis induced by trophic factor withdrawal or etoposide treatment correlates with endogenous ceramide increases, suggesting that ceramide produced by sphingomyelinase results in neuronal death.

 

Class of 1997

Student Information Thesis Title Research Interests
Click on the student's name for more information about them.
Ali Al-Attar, '98
dr.alattar@gmail.com
The role of a binding protein for fibroblast growth factor (MD/PhD; PhD 2001)
Advisor(s): Anton Wellstein
Cellular & Molecular Neuroscience

Education: B.S., Georgetown, 1995
Thesis Research: Fibroblast growth factor-binding protein 1 (FGF-BP1) is a secreted heparin-binding protein that can bind and solubilize members of the fibroblast growth factor (FGF) family. It has been shown to be upregulated in tissue samples from various epithelial cancers (colon, squamous cell, and breast), and has been demonstrated to act as an angiogenic switch in models of malignant progression of these cancers. Here the mechanism of action of FGF-BP1 was investigated using two recombinant FGF-BP1 proteins, produced in prokaryotic and eukaryotic expression systems.

Rana Al-Hallaq, '97
ralhallaq@gmail.com
Characterization of NMDA NR1 splice forms in the postsynaptic density and NMDA NR3A in developing rat brain (Ph.D. 2002
Advisor(s): Barry Wolfe
Neuropharmacology
Synapses

Education: Hamilton College, BA, Biology, 1996
Thesis Research: An understanding of the N -methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor is crucial to understanding normal excitatory transmission in the mammalian central nervous system and to drug development for various diseases. Using immunoblotting, immunoprecipitations, and immunocytochemistry, the expression, localization, and interactions of NMDA receptor subunits were examined.

Brandon Zielinski, '97
zielinsb@juno.com
Auditory-visual interactions in the perception of species-specific communication sounds in the human: Towards a comprehensive model of elementary sound processing in primates (Ph.D. 2001)
Advisor(s): Josef Raushecker
Neuroimaging
Systems Neuroscience

Education: Arizona State University, B.S. in Zoology
Thesis Research: Species-specific communication has traditionally been studied in the context of single species. The present body of work was undertaken in order to further our understanding of this process with the objective of providing a synthesis of animal and human models of species-specific communication. In particular, this work was undertaken in order to further our understanding of auditory cortical processing of species-specific communication sounds and to advance our knowledge of the general principles of organization and function of the cerebral cortex.

 

Class of 1996

Student Information Thesis Title Research Interests
Click on the student's name for more information about them.
John Agnew, '96
john.agnew@colorado.edu
Behavioral and functional neuroimaging studies of sensorimotor deficits in dyslexia (Ph.D. 2003)
Advisor(s): Guinevere Eden
Language
Neuroimaging
Cognitive Neuroscience

Education: Haverford College, BA in chemistry, 1996
Thesis Research: Dyslexic individuals are impaired on a range of low-level sensorimotor tasks. Several theories have been proposed to account for these deficits, including abnormalities in temporal processing, the magnocellular system and cerebellar or parietal lobe function. Behavioral and functional neuroimaging studies described in this dissertation investigated sensorimotor function in dyslexic and non-dyslexic individuals.

Kwame Brown, '96 Glutamate receptor subunit expression and spinal cord injury in young rats (Ph.D. 2003)
Advisor(s): Barry Wolfe & Jean Wrathall
Neurodegeneration & Neural Injury
Pharmacology
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Education: Hampton University, B.A, Molecular Biology, 1995
Thesis Research: Overstimulation by excess glutamate acting on its receptors is a causative agent in the secondary loss of tissue after weight-drop trauma to the spinal cord (SCI) in the adult rat. Additionally, protein levels of specific glutamate receptor subunits have been shown to be altered as a result of such injury. Glutamate receptor subunit mRNA is more highly expressed in the rat spinal cord during the first 2-3 weeks after birth. My hypothesis was that protein expression of these subunits was also elevated during this same period.

Meggan Czapiga, '96 Modulation of microglial nitric oxide production by apolipoprotein E    (Ph.D. 2000)
Advisor(s): Carol Colton
Neurodegeneration & Neural Injury
Cellular Neuroscience

Thesis Research: Although apolipoprotein E (ApoE) participates in lipid transport and regulates tissue cholesterol flux, ApoE also plays a role in the immune system. Treatment of macrophages/microglia with ApoE, in combination with other immune regulators, enhances the production of nitric oxide (NO). NO is a critical mediator of cellular processes and a major component of the constitutive immune response. Since indices of oxidative stress are found in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and since NO participates in tissue redox regulation, the abnormally high level of L-arginine uptake in APOE4 transgenic mouse microglia may provide an important link between the increased susceptibility to AD seen in APOE4 individuals and the oxidative stress associated with AD pathology.

Eric Hernandez, '96 The translation initiation of the three isoforms of the human transcription factor Sp3 (M.D./Ph.D.; Ph.D. 2001)
Advisor(s): John Richert
Molecular Neuroscience

Thesis Research: Sp3, a gene whose expression pattern is associated with multiple sclerosis, is a bifunctional transcription factor which can stimulate or repress the transcription of a number of genes, including several neuronal and inflammatory proteins. Sp3 has three isoforms, one of 100 kDa and two in the mid-60 kDa range. The size of Sp3 mRNA by northern blot is 4.2 kb, however, the total size of the known Sp3 cDNA sequence is 3.6 kb including the poly-A tail.

Cherie Marvel, '96
cmarvel1@jhmi.edu
Timing and modulation of cognitive and motor function in schizophrenia: A model of disrupted cerebellar circuitry (Ph.D. 2002)
Advisor(s): Barbara Schwartz
Cognitive Neuroscience
Neuropsychiatr3

Education: Tufts University, B.S., Biopsychology, 1994
Thesis Research: Cerebellar abnormalities can lead to a disruption in the coordination of thought, referred to as "cognitive dysmetria". This disturbance in mental processing is analogous to motor incoordination that arises from cerebellar dysfunction. There is growing interest in cerebellar dysfunction in schizophrenia. Specifically, this work addressed the possibility that schizophrenia patients were impaired in sequence learning, time perception, postural stability, and word production.

Hugh Moulding, '96 Clinical mutations in L1 neural cell adhesion molecule affect trafficking and cell-surface expression (M.D./Ph.D.; Ph.D. 1999)
Advisor(s): Samuel Rabkin
Cellular & Molecular Neuroscience
Development

Thesis Research: Mutations in the L1 neural cell adhesion molecule, a transmembrane glycoprotein, cause a spectrum of congenital neurologic syndromes, ranging from hydrocephalus to mental retardation. Taken together, these studies are the first to demonstrate that missense mutations in human L1 can impede correct protein trafficking, with functional consequences independent of protein activity. This provides a rationale for how normally expressed, full-length proteins with single amino acid changes could cause clinical phenotypes similar in severity to 'knock-out' mutants, and thus be an important mechanism by which mutant surface proteins fail to achieve normal function.

Paul Pazdalski, '96 M.D./Ph.D., returned to M.D.
Advisor(s): TBD
 

 

Sergei Zhenochin, '96 Left with M.S. 1999
Advisor(s): TBD
 

 

 

Class of 1995

Student Information Thesis Title Research Interests
Click on the student's name for more information about them.
Jason Allen, '95 Investigation of the effects of group I metabotropic glutamate receptor modulation on neuronal injury
(M.D./Ph.D.; Ph.D. 1998)

Advisor(s): Alan Faden
Cellular Neuroscienc

Thesis Research: Glutamate underlies the pathogenesis of many CNS disorders and acts at two classes of receptors: ionotropic and metabotropic receptors. The present thesis was designed to investigate both the effects of group I mGluR modulation on necrotic and apoptotic cell death, and the possible mechanisms underlying these effects.

Rachel Brown, '95
rcoveybrown@gmail.com
Pathways and regulation of human neurosteroid biosynthesis
Advisor(s): Vassillos Papadopoulos
Cellular Neuroscience

Thesis Research: Neurosteroids in rodents can originate from peripheral tissues or be locally synthesized in specific brain areas. There is no information about synthesis and regulation of neurosteroids in human brain. We examined the ability of human brain to synthesize steroids from a radiolabeled precursor, and mRNA and protein expression of key components of steroidogenic machinery.

Basil Eldadah, '95
eldadahb@nia.nih.gov
The role of caspase-3 in apoptosis of cerebellar granule cells
Advisor(s): Alan Faden
Cellular Neuroscience

Thesis Research: The current investigation attempted to elucidate the role that caspases may play in cerebellar granule cells (CGCs), a neuronal model of apoptosis induced by deprivation of serum and/or depolarizing concentrations of potassium. The results indicate that caspase-3 plays an important role in one model of neuronal apoptosis and may be a potential target of therapeutic interventions to treat neurological conditions where apoptotic cell death is present.

Karin Japikse, '95 Interference in procedural learning: Effects of exposure to intermittent patterns. (Ph.D. 2002)
Advisor(s): Darlene Howard
Cognitive Neuroscience

Thesis Research: The extent to which intermittently presented information affects incidental and intentional pattern learning was investigated using the alternating serial reaction time (ASRT) task. People were able to learn implicitly about two patterns presented intermittently. These findings have implications for imaging studies of SRT task learning which use random or patterned secondary blocks as a baseline comparison for implicit primary pattern learning conditions

George Mashour, '95
gmashour@umich.edu
A study of neurofibromin-deficient Schwann cells and skin: Implications for the pathogenesis and diagnosis of neurofibromatosis type 1.
Advisor(s): Robert Martuza & Anton Wellstein
Cellular Neuroscience

Thesis Research: Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is one of the most common genetic disorders of the nervous system, and is thought to be caused by the loss of the tumor suppressor neurofibromin. Although a highly pleiomorphic disease, its clinical symptomatology relates primarily to disorders of the neural crest-derived Schwann cells, which form the basis of neurofibromas. With respect to neurofibroma formation, the angiogenic dysregulation of neurofibromin-deficient Schwann cells was characterized at the molecular level. In particular, the angiogenic factor midkine was shown to be dysregulated in neurofibromin-deficient Schwann cells in human neurofibromas and malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNST). Furthermore, midkine was shown to be upregulated in the endothelial cells of angiogenic, but not quiescent, vessels. Midkine was demonstrated to have a mitogenic effect on endothelial cells, neurofibroma-derived fibroblasts, and MPNST-derived cells of Schwann cell origin. Thus, its upregulation with loss of neurofibromin is consistent with the growth of all major cell types in neurofibromas.

 

Class of 1994

Student Information Thesis Title Research Interests
Click on the student's name for more information about them.
Rob Cassidy, '94
cassidyr@georgetown.edu
Pattern formation in the mammalian striatum: Eph receptor tyrosine kinases in the development of striatal compartments.(Ph.D., 1999)
Advisor(s): Lawrence Kromer
Development

Thesis Research: Receptor tyrosine kinases are known to play a critical role in the development of the brain. Recently, a new family of RTKs, the Eph family, has been discovered and their multiple roles in brain development are slowly becoming understood. The present study shows that in the postnatal striatum EphA4 and EphA7 mRNA are expressed in unique mosaic patterns, which precisely correspond to mosaic patterns of ephrin-A binding sites.

Penelope Kuhn, '94
pkuhn@csuchico.edu
The role of p75(NTR) in spinal cord injury in mice (Ph.D. 2002)
Advisor(s): Barbara Bregman & Jean Wrathall
Neurodegeneration & Neural Injury

Thesis Research: Spinal cord injury causes both immediate and delayed (secondary) injury responses that result in tissue damage over time. Oligodendrocytes, the myelinating cells of the central nervous system, are particularly vulnerable to secondary injury and are known to undergo apoptosis at delayed time points. I was interested in understanding the mechanism underlying the delayed cell death response, and developed a mouse model of contusive spinal cord injury to investigate the possible role of p75 NTR , the common neurotrophin receptor.