MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth
Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

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Tara Fischer, PhD
NIH/NINDS, Washington, DC
Contact: tara.fischer@nih.gov

Dissertation Research (Pramod Dash, PhD): Investigating the role of mitochondrial fission in hippocampal pathology and associated learning and memory deficits in rodent models of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

Postdoctoral Research (Richard J. Youle, PhD):
 Current research focuses on understanding how defects in the selective degradation of mitochondria (mitophagy) due to mutations in PINK1 or PRKN lead to cell death, inflammation, and progressive neurodegeneration in Parkinson’s Disease. Specifically, I am investigating the basic molecular machinery underlying quality control at the mitochondrial membranes and the degradation of intramitochondrial components, such as mtDNA, that may act as cytosolic signaling factors for activating innate immune pathways due to defects in mitophagy.

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Rajan Dasgupta, PhD
Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Contact: rdasgup5@jhmi.edu

Dissertation Research (Michael Beierlein, PhD): I Investigated the role of synaptic acetylcholine in influencing evoked cortical activity using patch-clamp electrophysiology in brain slices derived from mice.

Postdoctoral Research (Daniel O’ Connor, PhD): 
Currently, for my postdoc, I am doing 2-photon imaging of calcium activity in cortical neurons in awake behaving mice. My main research questions center around complex sensorimotor transformations. For example, how does an animal choose a motor action in response to stimuli in a changing environment?

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Muge Ozker Sertel, PhD
NYU School of Medicine, New York, NY
Contact: Muge.Sertel@nyulangone.org

Dissertation Research (Michael Beauchamp, PhD): For the past 7 years, I have been conducting human electrophysiological research through intracranial recordings in neurosurgical patients to understand speech, a unique ability of the human brain. The major focus of my dissertation research at UTHealth was to understand how the human brain integrates auditory information from the voice with visual information from the mouth movements of the talker to improve speech perception during a conversation.

Postdoctoral Research (Adeen Flinker, PhD): 
. My current research as a postdoctoral fellow at NYU School of Medicine examines how the brain uses the auditory feedback from hearing one’s own voice to guide fluent speech production and whether altering auditory feedback can provide therapeutic approaches for speech disorders such as stuttering.

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Matt Swulius, PhD
Assistant Professor
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department
Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, PA
Contact: Mts286@psu.edu

Dissertation Research (Neal Waxham, PhD): Developmental Changes in the Structure and Composition of the Postsynaptic Density

Lab Research: The Swulius lab, at the Penn State College of Medicine, is currently studying the role of the cytoskeleton in neuronal development. The lab uses fluorescence microscopy and electron cryotomography to reveal detailed structural mechanisms of cytoskeletal remodeling.

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Leandra Mangieri, PhD
University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Contact: mangieri@uw.edu

Dissertation Research  (Qingchun Tong, PhD):
 We discovered a novel brain circuit in the hypothalamus that drives feeding and repetitive self-grooming in mice, behaviors that can become maladaptive in certain human conditions including eating and compulsive disorders. The second part my dissertation characterized a new hypothalamic-midbrain circuit that regulates fear-related behaviors, including escape, flight, and aversion.

Postdoctoral Research (Michael R. Bruchas, PhD): The Bruchas Lab is currently developing a model for stress-induced binge eating behavior in mice and determining the neurocircuits involved, with a focus on the role of opioid-related neuropeptides.