2017 Lab Members

Our Current Lab Members

Jeanette Shultz, PhD candidate, Cellular and Molecular Training Program, January 2014-present.

My research focuses on the non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Many PD patients experience cardiac dysautonomia, or abnormal autonomic control of the heart, which is associated with loss of sympathetic innervation to the heart and decreased circulating catecholamines. I use a nonhuman primate (rhesus monkey) model of cardiac dysautonomia induced by the catecholaminergic neurotoxin 6-hydroxydopamine. This serves as a platform to evaluate novel biomarkers (PET imaging and peripheral blood noncoding RNAs) of cardiac neurodegeneration and potential neuroprotective strategies.

Scott Vermilyea, PhD Candidate, Neuroscience Training Program, January 2014-present.

My research interests include modeling Parkinson’s disease (PD), as well as investigating cell replacement therapy strategies. Nonhuman primate models of PD have proven essential for understanding the neurobiological basis of the disease and for the preclinical evaluation of first-in-class and invasive therapies. I study the neurodegenerative effects of neurotoxin-induced and CRISPR/Cas9 genomic editing strategies to model PD. I have derived induced pluripotent stem cells  (iPSCs) from adult common marmoset monkey skin fibroblasts.  I have subsequently patterned the marmoset iPSCs as well as marmoset embryonic stem cells (ESCs) into floorplate-derived midbrain dopaminergic neurons, which resemble the brain cells lost in PD that induce the typical PD motor symptoms. These cells are a critical resource for regenerative medicine approaches, as they can be used for cell replacement studies and as platforms for genomic editing of PD-associated gene mutations.

Corinne Jones, PhD candidate, (co-mentor Dr. Michelle Ciucci, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders) Neuroscience Training Program and Speech Pathology Training Program, January 2013-present.

Craniomotor deficits secondary to Parkinson’s Disease (PD) can have a great impact on voice and swallowing function. These deficits often do not respond to pharmacological or surgical management techniques often used to treat motor symptoms in the limb. The progression of craniomotor deficits in PD is not well understood. The goal of my research is to determine early changes in voice and swallowing function with humans in the early stages of the disease and with nonhuman primate models of PD.

Viktoriya Bondarenko, MD, Pathology Lab manager, 2005 – present

  • Henry Resnikoff: undergraduate researcher, January 2014-present
  • Rachel Fledderman: undergraduate researcher, January 2015-present
  • Kathy MacManus: undergraduate researcher, January 2015-present
  • Sean Phillips: undergraduate researcher, May 2016- present
  • Helen Matsoff: undergraduate researcher, September 2016- present
  • Taylor Webb:undergraduate researcher, January 2017- present
  • Alex Babinski: undergraduate researcher, January 2017- present
  • Asia Johnson: undergraduate researcher, January 2017- present