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Neuroscience Ph.D. Candidates

  • A photo of Raymond Anderson.

    Raymond Anderson

    Education
    B.S., Psychology and Biology, University of South Dakota
    Advisor:
    Dr. David Smith
    Room
    3130F HSC-North
    Research Interests:
    Mechanics of Proteasome Function
    Achievements:
    Publication
    • Smith JP, Prince MA, Achua JK, Robertson JM, Anderson RT, Ronan PJ, Summers CH (2016).Intensity of anxiety is modified via complex integrative stress circuitries. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 63: 351-361.
    • Snoberger A, Anderson RT, Smith DM (2017). The proteasomal ATPases use a slow moving but high power strategy to unfold proteins. Frontiers Molecular Biosciences.
    • Thibaudeau TA, Anderson RT, Smith DM. (2018). A Common mechanism of proteasome impairment by neurodegenerative disease-associated oligomers . Nature Communications.
    Award
    • 2nd place poster presentation. Appalachian Regional Cell Conference, October 2016
    • WVU Travel Award recipient. November 2016
    • F-31 Pre-doctoral Fellowship. December 2017-Present
  • A photo of Jacob Boos.

    Jacob Boos

    Education
    B.S., Biology, St. Edward's University
    Advisor:
    Dr. Werner Geldenhuys
    Room
    121 BMRC
    Research Interests:
    Neurodegenerative Diseases - Alzheimer's Disease in particular
  • A photo of Emily Burrage.

    Emily Burrage

    Education
    B.S., Neuroscience, Minor in Chemistry, Bay Path University
    Advisor:
    Dr. Paul Chantler
    Room
    8604 HSC
    Research Interests:
    The role of stress and obesity on the neurovascular unit
  • A photo of Russell  Hardesty.

    Russell Hardesty

    Education
    B.S., Engineering, Case Western Reserve University
    Advisor:
    Dr. Valeriya Gritsenko
    Room
    151 BMRC
    Research Interests:
    My research is focused on understanding the neural mechanisms of motor control (how the brain controls and coordinates movement) and how that system goes awry during pathological states, such as after a stroke.
    Achievements:
    Publication
    • V. Gritsenko, R. L. Hardesty, M. T. Boots, and S. Yakovenko (2016) Biomechanical constraints underlying motor primitives derived from the musculoskeletal anatomy of the human arm. PLoS ONE, 11(10), e0164050. PMID: 27736890
    Award
    • June 2016 - April 2017: Selected as an associate scholar to the Integrative Behavioral and Biomedical Sciences Training Program (Institutional T32 Award: NIGMS T32 GM081741).
    • April 2017: 2017 WVU Rising Star Award in Neuroscience
    • May 2017: Selected as trainee for Stroke and Co-Morbidities Training Program (Institutional T32 Award: NIGMS T32 AG052375).
    • July 2017:  Selected for the National Center for Adaptive Neurotechnologies Summer Course 
  • A photo of Daniel  Heller.

    Daniel Heller

    Education
    B.S., Mechanical Engineering, University Of Nevada Reno
    Advisor:
    Dr. George Spirou
    Room
    321 BMRC
    Research Interests:
    Neural circuit formation, development, glia
  • A photo of Paul  Holcomb.

    Paul Holcomb

    Education
    B.S., Biomedical Engineering, Vanderbilt University
    Advisor:
    Dr. George Spirou
    Room
    321 BMRC
    Research Interests:
    Neural mapping, Biomedical imaging and analysis, Computational neuroscience, Connectomics
    Achievements:
    Publication
    • Holcomb PS. "Adding New Dimension to Neuroscience."  J. Neurosci. Res., Mar 2018. doi: 10.1002/jnr.24238. (cover article)
    • Holcomb PS et al. “Rapid and Semi-Automatic Extraction of Neuronal Cell Bodies and Nuclei from Electron Microscopy Image Stacks.” Methods Mol Biol., Jun 2016; 1427: 277-290.
    • Holcomb PS et al. “Synaptic Inputs Compete During Rapid Formation of the Calyx of Held: a New Model System for Neural Development”. J Neurosci. Aug 2013; 33 (32): 12954-69. (cover article)
    • Holcomb PS, Deerinck T, Ellisman MH, Spirou GA. “Construction of a Polarized Neuron”. J Physiol. Jul 2013; 591 (Pt 13): 3145-50. PMID: 23339176. (cover article)
    • Wong LK, Mandella MJ, Holcomb PS, Kino GS, and Wang TD. “Mie Scattering Model for Dual-axes Confocal Architecture”. Proc. SPIE. Feb 2007, Vol. 6443.
    Award
    • Juror’s Choice, Dec 2017 NeuroArt contest (“Terminals in Competition”, http://neuroart.com/winnersgallery/)
    • 2014 - 2016, Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Recipient
  • A photo of Rachel  Hostetler.

    Rachel Hostetler

    Education
    B.S., Neuroscience and German Studies, University of Minnesota
    Advisor:
    Dr. Aric Agmon
    Room
    320 BMRC
    Research Interests:
    Investigating the diverse roles of somatostatin-containing inhibitory interneurons in the barrel cortex of the mouse, and how changes in their activity underlie associative learning.
  • A photo of Sree Motipally.

    Sree Motipally

    Education
    B.S., Microbiology, Genetics and Chemistry, M.S., Biotechnology, Osmania University, M.S., Biology, West Virginia University
    Advisor:
    Dr. Saravanan Kolandaivelu
    Room
    E363, E357, WVU Eye Institute
    Research Interests:
    Neurodegeneration and rescue
  • A photo of Deidre  O'Dell.

    Deidre O'Dell

    Education
    B.S., Biology, California University of Pennsylvania, M.S., Human Biology, Chatham University
    Advisor:
    Dr. Bernard Schreurs
    Room
    1510 RNI
    Research Interests:
    Learning and memory, development, perineuronal nets, cerebellum, behavior, PTSD, AD
    Achievements:
    Award
    • 2016 - 2018 BBS T32 Trainee
    • 2018 Rising Star Award for Ph.D. Program in Neuroscience
  • A photo of Eleni  Padden.

    Eleni Padden

    Education
    B.A., Cognitive Science, Psychology, and Creative Writing, Johns Hopkins University
    Advisor:
    Dr. Shobhana Sivaramakrishnan
    Room
    319 BMRC
    Research Interests:
    My research interests center upon investigating the neurophysiological mechanisms underlying the origins and progression of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.
    Achievements:
    Publication
    • Krause-­Parello, C. A., Padden, E., & Boyrer, A. (in press). Animals in Action: Therapeutic Roles in Healing Military Trauma. In P. Tedeschi & M.A. Jenkins (Eds.), Transforming Trauma: Finding Resiliency and Healing through Animals. West Lafayette, IN:Purdue University Press.
    • Krause-­Parello, C.A., Sarni, S. & Padden, E. (2016). Military Veterans and Canine Assistance for Post-­Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Narrative Review of the Literature. Nurse Education Today-­ Special Edition: Military.
  • A photo of Tiffany  Pertisko.

    Tiffany Pertisko

    Education
    B.S., Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology, Emory University
    Advisor:
    Dr. Gregory Konat
    Room
    2317 HSC-N
    Research Interests:
    Neuroinflammation, peripheral immune to brain signaling, neurodegeneration, neuroprotection, seizure syndromes, multiple sclerosis, stroke
    Achievements:
    Publication
    • Petrisko, T.J., and Konat, G.W., (2017). Peripheral viral challenge triggers hippocampal synthesis of inflammatory proteins. Under Review.
    • Hunsberger, H.C., Wang, D., Petrisko, T.J., Alhowail, A., Setti, S.E., Suppiramaniam, V., . . . Reed, M.N. (2016). Peripherally restricted viral challenge elevates extracellular glutamate and enhances synaptic transmission in the hippocampus. J Neurochem. doi: 10.1111/jnc.13665
    • Petrisko, Tiffany. Quantification of Upper Motor Neurons in a Rodent Model of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Honors Thesis, Emory University. 2014.
    • Grubbs, N., Leach, M., Su, X., Petrisko, T., Rosario, J.B., & Mahaffey, J.W. (2013). New components of drosophila leg development identified through genome wide association studies. PLoS One, 8(4), e60261. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0060261
    Award
    • 2018 WVU School of Medicine Outstanding Merit Fellowship for Continuing Doctoral Student
    • 2018 WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute Travel Award ($1000)
    • 2018 Associate Scholar, NIH T32 Training Grant AG052375, "Stroke and Its Co-Morbidities", West Virginia University
    • 2014 Graduated with Honors in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology, Emory University
    • 2014 Best Poster, SIRE-HHMI Poster Presentations, Emory University, Natural Sciences
    • 2012 - 2013 SIRE-HHMI Research Partners Program, Emory University
  • A photo of Ashley  Russell (Kerr).

    Ashley Russell (Kerr)

    Education
    B.S., Psychology, Penn State Erie, The Behrend College
    Advisor:
    Dr. James Simpkins
    Room
    105 BMRC
    Research Interests:
    Exosomes, neurodegeneration, neuroinflammation, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke
    Achievements:
    Publication
    • Danielle N. Doll, Elizabeth B. Engler-Chiurazzi, Sara E. Lewis, Heng Hu, Ashley E. Kerr, Xuefang Ren, and James W. Simpkins (2015) Lipopolysaccharide exacerbates infarct size and results in worsened post-stroke behavioral outcomes. Behav Brain Funct 11:32. doi: 10.1186/s12993-015-0077-5.
    • Ashley E. Russell, Danielle N. Doll, Saumyendra N. Sarkar, and James W. Simpkins (2016) TNF-α and beyond: Rapid mitochondrial dysfunction mediates TNF-α-induced neurotoxicity. J Clin Cell Immunol 7:467. doi: 10.4172/2155-9899.1000467.
    • Holcomb PS et al. “Synaptic Inputs Compete During Rapid Formation of the Calyx of Held: a New Model System for Neural Development”. J Neurosci. Aug 2013; 33 (32): 12954-69. (cover article)
    • Saumyendra N. Sarkar, Ashley E. Russell, Elizabeth B. Engler-Chiurazzi, Keyana N. Porter, and James W. Simpkins (2018) MicroRNAs and the Genetic Nexus of Brain Aging, Neuroinflammation, Neurodegeneration, and Brain Trauma. Aging and Disease 9(6). ISSN: 2152-5250
    Award
    • 2012 First Place Award, out of eight undergraduate oral presentations at the Penn State Behrend Sixma Xi Research and Creative Accomplishment Conference
    • 2013 First Runner-up Award, out of undergraduate poster session at the Penn State Behrend Sigma Xi Research and Creative Accomplishment Conference
    • 2016 American Association for the Advancement of Science, one of six students awarded a one year student membership awarded for excellence within the Biomedical Sciences/Neuroscience program
    • 2017 First Place Award, out of four graduate student/post-doc oral presentations at the 2017 Appalachian Regional Cell Conference
    • 2018 Second Place Award, out of six graduate student oral presentations at the 2018 E.J. Van Liere Memorial Convocation & HSC Research Day
    • 2018 Travel Award Recipient, Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute (RNI) Trainee Travel Grant, one of five graduate students awarded $1000 to help offset conference travel costs
    • 2018 First Place Award, out of six graduate student oral presentations at the 2018 Stroke & Comorbidities 1st Annual Symposium
  • A photo of Catherine  Smoot (Smith).

    Catherine Smoot (Smith)

    Education
    B.S., Biology, Oregon State University
    Advisor:
    Dr. Eric Tucker
    Room
    105 BMRC
    Research Interests:
    I am studying the role of the novel gene map3k12 binding inhibitory protein (Mbip) in cortical interneuron development using novel genetic mouse models, with a focus on assessing the effects of genetic knockout on postnatal anatomical structure and animal behavior in mice.
    Achievements:
    Publication
    • Brett D. Dufour, Catherine A. Smith, Randall L. Clark, Timothy Walker and Jodi L. McBride. “Intra-jugular vein delivery of AAV9-RNAi prevents neuropathological changes and weight loss in Huntington’s disease mice,” Molecular Therapy 2014.
    • Jessica G. Clemente, Abigail K. Myers, Skye E. Hickling, Catherine A. Smith, and Eric S. Tucker. "JNK signaling preserves cortical interneuron stream integrity and radial organization of the cortical plate," (in progress).
    Award
    • July 2017 - June 2018 Schoepp Neuroscience Research Student Fellowship Award
  • A photo of Anton  Sobinov.

    Anton Sobinov

    Education
    B.Sc., Applied Mathematics and Informatics, M.Sc., Applied Mathematics and Informatics, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology
    Advisor:
    Dr. Sergiy Yakovenko
    Room
    144 BMRC
    Research Interests:
    Motor control, Locomotion, Learning, Mathematical and Computational Modelling, Biomechanics
    Achievements:
    Publication
    • Sobinov A and Yakovenko S (2017) Model of a bilateral Brown-type central pattern generator for symmetric and asymmetric locomotion. J Neurophysiol:jn.00443.2017, PMID: 29187551, DOI: 10.1152/jn.00443.2017
    Award
    • 2016 - 2017 West Virginia University Health Sciences Center Research and Graduate Education Office Travel Award
  • A photo of Ariel  Thomas.

    Ariel Thomas

    Education
    B.A., Biology/Neuroscience, West Virginia University
    Advisor:
    Dr. Valeriya Gritsenko
    Room
    151 BMRC
    Research Interests:
    Motor control, Stroke, Rehabilitation, Virtual Reality, Modeling
    Achievements:
    Award
    • National Institute on Aging T32 Fellowship, AG052375
    • Arlen G. and Louise Stone Swiger Fellowship
    • American Councils for International Education Business, Technology and Innovation Scholarship
    • Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute Trainee Travel Award
    • Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center Doctoral Student Travel Award
  • A photo of Paula  Webster.

    Paula Webster

    Education
    B.A., Psychology, Wheeling Jesuit University
    Advisor:
    Dr. James Lewis
    Room
    312 BMRC
    Research Interests:
    Neural mechanisms underlying sensory processing and integration in individuals with autism
    Achievements:
    Publication
    • Webster PJ, Frum CA, Kurowski-Burt A, Lewis JW. Adaptive brain mechanisms in adolescents and adults with high-functioning autism for processing naturalistic and dynamic multisensory stimuli. (Manuscript to be submitted for publication 2018).
    • Webster PJ, Skipper-Kallal LM, Frum C, Still, HN, Ward D, Lewis JW. Divergent human cortical regions for processing distinct acoustic-semantic categories of natural sounds: Animal action sounds vs. vocalizations. Frontiers in Neuroscience (January 2017) 10:579. doi: 10.3389/fnins..2016.00579.
    Award
    • WVU Mountains of Excellence Scholarship
    • WVU Office of Graduate Education Travel Award
    • Founding President – WVU Neuroscience Graduate Student Organization
    • Schoepp Family Fund at WVU for neuroimaging training at NIH
    • WVU Behavioral and Biomedical Sciences Training Scholarship travel funds
    • Cum Laude – B.A. Psychology, Wheeling Jesuit University
    • Psi Chi - National Honor Society of Psychology

Neuroscience M.D./Ph.D. Candidate

  • A photo of John Zachary (J.Z.) Cavendish .

    John Zachary (J.Z.) Cavendish

    Education
    B.A., Biochemistry-Molecular Biology, West Virginia University
    Advisor:
    Dr. James Simpkins
    Room
    105 BMRC
    Research Interests:
    Pathophysiology of neurodegeneration; mitochondrial structure, function, and dynamics within cortical and hippocampal neurons.
    Achievements:
    Publication
    • Saumyendra Sarkar, Sujung Jun, Stephanie Rellick, Dominic Quintana, John Cavendish, James Simpkins (2016). Expression of MicroRNA-34a in Alzheimer's Disease brain targets genes linked to synaptic plasticity, energy metabolism, and resting state network activity. Brain Research, Sep 1;1646:139-51. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2016.05.026..
    • Nguyen, L., Thomas, K. L., Lucke-Wold, B. P., Cavendish, J. Z., Crowe, M. S., Matsumoto, R. R. (2016). Dextromethorphan: An update on its utility for neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders . Pharmacology Therapeutics, 159, 1-22.
    • Nguyen, L., Lucke-Wold, B. P., Mookerjee, S. A., Cavendish, J. Z., Robson, M. J., Scandinaro, A. L., Matsumoto, R.R. (2015). Role of sigma-1 receptors in neurodegenerative diseases. Journal of Pharmacological Sciences, 127 (1), 17-29.
    • Hu, H., Cavendish, J. Z., Agmon, A. (2013). Not all that glitters is gold: off-target recombination in the somatostatin–IRES-Cre mouse line labels a subset of fast-spiking interneurons. Frontiers in neural circuits, 7, 195.
    • Wan, Y. W., Raese, R. A., Fortney, J. E., Xiao, C., Luo, D., Cavendish, J., ... & Guo, N. L. (2012). A smoking-associated 7-gene signature for lung cancer diagnosis and prognosis. International Journal of Oncology, 41(4), 1387-1396.
  • A photo of Jessica  Cunningham (Clemente).

    Jessica Cunningham (Clemente)

    Education
    B.S., Biochemistry, Mercyhurst University
    Advisor:
    Dr. Eric Tucker
    Room
    314 BMRC
    Research Interests:
    Neurodevelopment, Autism
    Achievements:
    Publication
    • Jessica G. Clemente, Jack D. Williams, Marlene Cross, Candace C. Chambers. Analysis of Garlic Cultivars Using Head Space Solid Phase Microextraction/Gas Chromatography/ Mass Spectroscopy. The Open Food Science Journal, 2011,6,1-4.
    • Coyne SP, Lindell SG, Clemente J, Barr CS, Parker KJ, Mastripieri D. Dopamine D4 receptor genotype variation in free-ranging rhesus macaques and its association with juvenile behavior. Behav Brain Res. 2015 Oct 1; 292:50-5.
    Award
    • 2018 1st Place Oral Presentations Van Liere Research Conference, West Virginia University
    • 2017 Neuroscience Retreat 2nd Place Overall Poster Presentation, Canaan Valley
    • 2017 1st Place Poster Presentation, Van Liere Research Conference, West Virginia University 
    • 2016 1st Place Poster Presentation, Van Liere Research Conference, West Virginia University 
  • A photo of Divine  Nwafor.

    Divine Nwafor

    Education
    B.S., Biochemisty, West Virginia University
    Advisor:
    Dr. Candice Brown
    Room
    108 BMRC
    Research Interests:
    Sepsis, Alzheimer’s disease and Traumatic Brain Injury
    Achievements:
    Publication
    • Nwafor, D., Radwan, W., Lucke-Wold, B., Underwood, W., Gyure, K., Marsh, R., (2018). Follicular lymphoma presenting as scalp mass deformity: Case Report and Review of the literature. Biomedical Research and Clinical Practice, 3(1): 1-3
    • Lucke-Wold, B., Nolan, R., Nwafor, D., Nguyen, L., Cheyuo, C., Rosen, C., Marsh, R.,Turner, R., Marsh, R., (2018). Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Delineating the Progression and Underlying Mechanisms Following Blast Traumatic Brain Injury. J Neurosci Neuropharm 4:118.
    • Nwafor, D.,Brichacek, A., Griffith, A., Mohammed, A., Lucke-Wold, B., Geldenhuys, W., Lockman, P., Brown, C., (2018). Blood-Brain Barrier Integrity in Sepsis. Journal of Central Nervous System Disease (Currently in review)
    Award
    • 2018 - 2020 Stroke T32 Trainee Developmental Scholarship ($3000/year)
    • 2018 Stevenson Behavioral and Biomedical Sciences Scholarship ($2500)
    • 2018 WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute Travel Award ($1000)
    • 2017 IDeA Southeast Regional Conference Poster Award (3rd Place)
    • 2017 WVU E. Van Liere Conference Poster Award (1stPlace)
    • 2016 Mountaineer Medical Scholarship ($20,000 for four years) 
    • 2015 WVU Order of Augusta Award
    • 2015 WVU Foundation Outstanding Graduating Senior Award
    • 2015 Woodburn Circle Society Recognition Dinner
    • 2015 Gamma Sigma Delta Inductee Recognition Dinner
    • 2015 Gamma Sigma Delta Outstanding Senior Award
    • 2014 Woodburn Circle Society Recognition Dinner
    • 2014 Gamma Sigma Delta Outstanding Sophomore Award
    • 2014 Davis College Alumni Scholarship ($1000)
    • 2013 WVU International Student Merit Scholarship (Full year tuition covered)
    • 2011 - 2015 President’s List