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. Our third cohort began in Spring 2021, with two more joining that fall.

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: Developing small-volume mass spectrometry-based approaches to characterize neurochemical dynamics in rodent and fish brains
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Shannon BernecheShannon Berneche
Neuroscience
Third Cohort

Advisors: Jonathan Sweedler, Martha Gillette
Research Topics: To measure brain chemistry concentrating on neuropeptides and hormones in small domains; time of day neurochemical changes in both cerebrospinal fluid and glymphatic fluid during various day/night stages.
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
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: Exploring the extent that reactive oxygen species (ROS)-responsive antioxidant crystal nullify ROS-induced neural stem cell senescence and senescence propagation (thermodynamics of drug-polymer interactions and implications on colloidal crystal assembly; roles of polymeric excipients on crystallization kinetics in drops; maintenance of intracellular ROS homeostasis pertaining to silver ion induced cardiac damage and aquatic toxicity, corneal inflammation, MSC and NSC senescence

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Miles NorsworthyMiles Norsworthy
Cell & Developmental Biology
Second Cohort

Advisors: Martha Gillette, Gabriel Popescu
Research Topic: Understanding how local signals shape the developing neuronal dendrite
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Samuel OkyemSamuel Okyem
Chemistry
Third Cohort

Advisors: Jonathan Sweedler, Martha Gillette
Research Topic: Unusual neurochemicals signaling systems related to D-amino acids in the brain
Olawale SalaudeenOlawale Salaudeen
Computer Science
Third Cohort

Advisors: Brad Sutton, Sanmi Koyejo
Research Topics: Deep Learning, Transfer Learning (Domain Generalization), Causal Inference/Discovery, Probabilistic Graphical Models
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
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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, 2019

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

Advisors: Hee Jung Chung, Gabi Popescu
Dissertation: “Activity-Dependent Regulation of Girk And Kv7 Channels In Homeostatic Plasticity And Epilepsy”
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Lauren GrantLauren Gapinske
PhD in Bioengineering, 2022
Technical Application Scientist, Thermo Fisher Scientific

Advisors: Rashid Bashir, Hyunjoon Kong
Dissertation: “Enhancing the Functionality and Applicability of Engineered Skeletal Muscle Tissue"
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Jennie GardnerJennie Gardner
Psychology
Expected Graduation: 2024

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
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Mikhail KandelMikhail Kandel
Electrical and Chemical Engineering
PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering, 2020
Software Engineer, Groq Inc.

Advisors: Gabi Popescu, Martha Gillette
Thesis: “Gradient Light Interference Microscopy For Imaging Strongly Scattering Samples”
Collin KaufmanCollin Kaufman
PhD in Neuroscience, 2021
Postdoctoral Associate, Alexey Terskikh's lab at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, San Diego

Advisors: Martha Gillette, Rashid Bashir
Dissertation: "Emergence Of Functional Neuromuscular Junctions In An Engineered, Multicellular Spinal Cord-Muscle Bioactuator"
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Jorge Maldonado-De JesusJorge Maldonado De-Jesus
Neuroscience
Expected Graduation: 2022

Advisors: Gabi Popescu, Hee Jung Chung
Research Topics: Imaging, brain plasticity, and molecular neuroscience
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Shannon MurphyShannon Murphy
PhD in Chemistry, 2022
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)

Advisors: Jonathan Sweedler, Martha Gillette
Dissertation: "Analysis of small molecule neurotransmitters using capillary-electrophoresis mass spectrometry: applications for studying development and disease"
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Gelson Pagan-DiazGelson Pagán-Díaz
Bioengineering
PhD in Bioengineering, 2020
Chancellor's Fellowship, University of Texas, Austin

Advisors: Rashid Bashir, Martha Gillette
Dissertation: “Biofabrication Of Muscular and Neuronal In-Vitro Tissue For Multi-Cellular Engineered Living Systems”
Karla Ramos CruzKarla Ramos Cruz
MS in Bioengineering, 2021
Manufacturing Quality Engineer, Cook Medical

Advisors: Martha Gillette, Rashid Bashir
Research Topics: Neuroengineering
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Whitney SinclairWhitney Sinclair
PhD in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, 2021

Advisors: Deborah Leckband, Hyunjoon Kong
Dissertation: “Lung-on-a-Chip Device with In Situ Imaging Capabilities"
Kathryn SullivanKathryn Sullivan
PhD in Bioengineering, 2021
Technical Solutions Engineer, Epic

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: 2022

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