Trainees

This training program targets students with strong quantitative skills who are motivated to learn across the disciplines of neuroscience and engineering. MBM Research trainees are co-advised by two of our 12 core faculty (and sometimes guest faculty). Trainees incorporate some form of research on brain organoids or brain slices into their studies during their participation in the program.

Current Trainees

Our first cohort of trainees started Spring/Summer 2018. We began a second cohort in Spring 2020.

William BakerWilliam Baker
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Third Cohort

Advisors: Deborah Leckband, Hyunjoon Kong
Research Topic: Modulating effects of extracellular vesicles (EV) secreted by mesenchymal stem cells on neuronal cell activities, brain organoid assembly, and brain organoid-modulating muscle actuation
Sara BellSara Bell
Chemistry
Second Cohort

Advisors: Jonathan Sweedler, Rashid Bashir
Research Topic: Characterizing neurotransmitter dynamics in the rodent brain using a range of small volume mass spectrometry-based approaches
Shannon BernecheShannon Berneche
Neuroscience
Third Cohort

Advisors: Jonathan Sweedler, Martha Gillette
Research Topics: To measure brain chemistry in small domains: interplay of neurotransmitters in planarian during CNS regeneration; time of day changes in both cerebrospinal fluid and glymphatic fluid during various day/night stages
Jennie GardnerJennie Gardner
Psychology
Third Cohort

Advisors: Justin Rhodes, Taher Saif
Research Topic: Cognitive neuroscience: Effects of exercise on adult hippocampal neurogenesis and improved cognitive performance, specifically the relative contributions of muscle contractions versus acute neuronal activation of the hippocampus associated with physical activity
Taylor JorgensenTaylor Jorgensen
Neuroscience
Third Cohort

Advisors: Daniel Llano, Justin Rhodes
Research Topic: Mechanisms underlying the interplay between the dynamics of astrocyte networks and the emergence of plasticity in hippocampal circuits
Jorge Maldonado-De JesusJorge Maldonado De-Jesus
Neuroscience
First Cohort

Advisors: Gabi Popescu, Hee Jung Chung
Research Topics: Imaging, brain plasticity, and molecular neuroscience
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Charles MarchiniCharles Marchini
Bioengineering
Third Cohort

Advisors: Brad Sutton, Martha Gillette
Research Topic: Implementation of MRI Perfusion Imaging Using a Partial Separability Method
Ryan MillerRyan Miller
Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
Second Cohort

Advisors: Hyunjoon Kong, Hee Sun Han
Research Topic: Reactive oxygen species (ROS)-responsive antioxidant crystals and how they may nullify ROS-induced brain remodeling and damage using a brain organoid on a chip
Miles NorsworthyMiles Norsworthy
Cell & Developmental Biology
Second Cohort

Advisors: Martha Gillette, Gabriel Popescu
Research Topic: Understanding how local signals shape the developing neuronal dendrite
Karla Ramos CruzKarla Ramos Cruz
Bioengineering
First Cohort

Advisors: Martha Gillette, Rashid Bashir
Research Topics: Neuroengineering
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Jennifer WaltersJennifer Walters
Neuroscience
Third Cohort

Advisors: Hee Jung Chung, Hyunjoon Kong
Research Topic: The role of STriatal-Enriched protein tyrosine Phosphatase (STEP61) in the development of TLE

Alumni

As our trainees advance in their studies, we must be prepared for them to move on to the next phase of their careers. They may end their traineeship appointments, but they will continue to be alumni of the program.

Natalie AwNatalie Wai-Yee Aw
MS in Electrical and Computer Engineering, May 2019

Advisors: Brad Sutton, Hyunjoon Kong
Thesis: “Cerebrospinal fluid flow quantification in the brain using magnetic resonance imaging”
Brian BaculisBrian Baculis
Neuroscience
Expected Graduation: May 2021

Advisors: Hee Jung Chung, Gabi Popescu
Research Topics: Learning, memory, and plasticity; Neural plasticity; Psychiatric and neurological illness
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Lauren GrantLauren Gapinske
Bioengineering
Expected Graduation: May 2021

Advisors: Rashid Bashir, Hyunjoon Kong
Research Topic: Skeletal muscle tissue engineering
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Mikhail KandelMikhail Kandel
Electrical and Chemical Engineering
PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering, August 2020

Advisors: Gabi Popescu, Martha Gillette
Thesis: “Gradient Light Interference Microscopy For Imaging Strongly Scattering Samples”
Collin KaufmanCollin Kaufman
Neuroscience
Expected Graduation: May 2021

Advisors: Martha Gillette, Rashid Bashir
Research Topics: Engineering a 3D spinal cord/skeletal muscle bioactuator, neuroengineering, neuromuscular junctions, and neurodevelopment
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Shannon MurphyShannon Murphy
Chemistry
Expected Graduation: May 2022

Advisors: Jonathan Sweedler, Martha Gillette
Research Topic: Using Capillary Electrophoresis Mass Spectrometry to perform single cell metabolomics and detect signaling molecules and neurotransmitters present in neurons in the brain
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Gelson Pagan-DiazGelson Pagán-Díaz
Bioengineering
PhD in Bioengineering, May 2020

Advisors: Rashid Bashir, Martha Gillette
Dissertation: “Biofabrication Of Muscular and Neuronal In-Vitro Tissue For Multi-Cellular Engineered Living Systems”
Whitney SinclairWhitney Sinclair
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Expected Graduation: May 2021

Advisors: Deborah Leckband, Hyunjoon Kong
Research Topics: Lung-on-a-chip-enabled dynamic imaging of pulmonary lung tissue in response to aerosolized nanoparticles, dynamic imaging and paracellular permeability studies in a lung-on-a-chip platform, and blood-brain barrier studies in a sophisticated microfluidic platform
Kathryn SullivanKathryn Sullivan
PhD in Bioengineering, May 2021

Advisors: Hyunjoon Kong, Martha Gillette
Dissertation: “Developing Disease-State Liver Models to Determine the Effects on Brain Function in vitro”
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Amanda WeissAmanda Weiss
Molecular and Cellular Biology
Expected Graduation: August 2022

Advisors: Martha Gillette, Hyunjoon Kong
Research Topics: Brain organoid vascularization, growth factor guidance of neuronal growth
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