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Current Graduate Students

Neuroscience Ph.D. Candidates

  • A photo of Raymond Anderson.
    Name:
    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
    • DeVallance E, Branyan K, Lemaster KA, Anderson RT, Marshall KL, Olfert M, Smith DM, Bryner R, Frisbee J, Chantler P (2018) Exercise Reduces TNFa and ROS Production in Perivascular Adipose Tissue Preventing Metabolic Syndrome Impairment of Aortic Function. In Review
    • 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 Philip Bender.
    Name:
    Philip Bender
    Education:
    B.S., Biology, University at Albany, SUNY, M.H.S., Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
    Advisor:
    Dr. Charles Anderson
    Room:
    318 BMRC
  • A photo of Jacob Boos.
    Name:
    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 Jacob Bumgarner.
    Name:
    Jacob Bumgarner
    Education:
    B.M., Piano Performance, West Virginia University
    Advisor:
    Dr. Randy Nelson
    Room:
    305 BMRC
  • A photo of Emily Burrage.
    Name:
    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 Alexis Crockett.
    Name:
    Alexis Crockett
    Advisor:
    Dr. Visvanathan Ramamurthy
    Room:
    3126 HSC-N
  • A photo of Russell  Hardesty.
    Name:
    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
    • R. L. Hardesty, P. H. Ellaway, and V. Gritsenko, (2019) Corticospinal Dynamics Reflect Muscle Recruitment During Volitional Reaching Tasks. Under Revision.
    • R. L. Hardesty, M. T. Boots,S. Yakovenko, and V. Gritsenko, (2019) The Primary Sensory Afferents Do Not Form Muscle Groups that Account for Mechanical Limb Dynamics. Submitted.
    • Sobinov, A., Yakovenko, S., Gritsenko, V., Hardesty, R., Boots, M.T. (2017) Approximation of complex musculoskeletal dynamics. U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 62/559,711 Filing Date: September 18, 2017. International Application No. PCT/US18/51575 Filing Date: September 18, 2018.
    • 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 Rachel  Hostetler.
    Name:
    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.
    Achievements:
    Publication
    • Hu X, Urhie O, Chang K, Hostetler R, Agmon A (2018) A Novel Method for Training Mice in Visuo-Tactile 3-D Object Discrimination and Recognition. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 12. 
    Award
    • 2018-2019: Trainee, NIH T32 "Behavioral and Biomedical Sciences" Training Grant NIGMS GM081741
    • 2017-2018: Associate Scholar, NIH T32 "Behavioral and Biomedical Sciences" Training Grant NIGMS GM081741  
  • A photo of Dakota Jackson.
    Name:
    Dakota Jackson
    Education:
    B.S., Biology, West Virginia University
    Advisor:
    Dr. George Spirou
    Room:
    321 BMRC
    Research Interests:
    Neural development, Synaptogenesis, Synaptic competition, & Physiology Behavior
    Achievements:
    Publication
    • Sivaramakrishnan S*, Brandebura A*, Holcomb P, Daniel Heller D, Kolson D, Jackson D, Mathers P, Spirou G (accepted 2018) Perinatal Development of the Medial Nucleus of the Trapezoid Body. In The Oxford Handbook of the Auditory Brainstem; Ed. Karl Kandler; Oxford University Press. *co-first authors.
    • GA Spirou, D Jackson and GA Perkins. (2015) Mitochondria Anchored at the Synapse, in The Functions, Disease-Related Dysfunctions, and Therapeutic Targeting of Neuronal Mitochondria (eds V. K. Gribkoff, E. A. Jonas and J. M. Hardwick), John Wiley & Sons, Inc, Hoboken, NJ.
    • GA Perkins, DR Jackson, GA Spirou. Resolving presynaptic structure by electron tomography. Synapse 69 (2015), pp. 268-82
    • PS Holcomb, BK Hoffpauir, MC Hoyson, DR Jackson, TJ Deerinck, GS Marrs, M Dehoff, J Wu, MH Ellisman, GA Spirou. Synaptic inputs compete during rapid formation of the calyx of Held: a new model system for neural development. J Neurosci Off J Soc Neurosci, 33 (2013), pp. 12954-12969
    Award
    • NanoSafe (formerly WVNano Initiative) Fellowship recipient, 2011
  • A photo of Jennifer Liu.
    Name:
    Jennifer Liu
    Education:
    B.S., Biology, Utica College
    Advisor:
    Dr. Randy Nelson
    Room:
    305 BMRC
  • A photo of Mason McCollum.
    Name:
    Mason McCollum
    Advisor:
    Dr. Charles Anderson
    Room:
    318 BMRC
  • A photo of Tyler McGaughey.
    Name:
    Tyler McGaughey
    Advisor:
    Dr. Victor Finomore
    Room:
    RNI
  • A photo of Olga Melendez-Fernandez.
    Name:
    Olga Hecmarie Melendez-Fernandez
    Education:
    B.S., Integrative Biology, University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus
    Advisor:
    Dr. Randy Nelson
    Room:
    305 BMRC
  • A photo of Sree Motipally.
    Name:
    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.
    Name:
    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:
    Publication
    • Wang, D, Smith-Bell, CA, Burhans, LB, O'Dell, DE, Bell, RW, Schreurs, BG, (2018). Changes in membrane properties of rat deep cerebellar nuclear projection neurons during acquisition of eyeblink conditioning, PNAS.
    Award
    • 2016 - 2018 BBS T32 Trainee
    • 2018 Rising Star Award for Ph.D. Program in Neuroscience
  • A photo of Robin Oliverio.
    Name:
    Robin Oliverio
    Advisor:
    Dr. Zachary Weil
    Room:
    313 BMRC
  • A photo of Dominic Quintana.
    Name:
    Dominic Quintana
    Education:
    B.S., Biology, University of Texas at Brownsville
    Advisor:
    Dr. James Simpkins
    Room:
    105 BMRC
    Achievements:
    Publication
    • DD Quintana, X Ren, H Hu, EB Engler-Chiurazzi, SL Rellick, SE Lewis, JM Provoznic, JW Simpkins, M Alvi (2018) Gradual common carotid artery occlusion as a novel model for cerebrovascular hypoperfusion. Metab Brain Dis. 33(6):2039-2044.
    • DD Quintana, JA Garcia, SN Sarkar, S Jun, EB Engler-Chiurazzi, AE Kerr, JZ Cavendish, JW Simpkins (2017) Hypoxia-Reoxygenation of Primary Astrocytes Results in a Redistribution of Mitochondrial Size and Mitophagy. Mitochondrion. (Under Review).
    • DD Quintana, SE Lewis (2017) Cerebrovascular Casts. Featured Researcher. News Letter, Microscope Imaging Facility. Morgantown, WV.
    • SN Sarkar, S Jun, S Rellick, DD Quintana, JZ Cavendish, JW 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 Res. 1646:139-151.
    • M Bukeirat, SN Sarkar, Hu H, DD Quintana, JW Simpkins, X Ren (2016) MiR-34a regulates blood-brain barrier permeability and mitochondrial function by targeting cytochrome c. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 36:387-392.
    Award
    • 2016-2017 [Scholar] Associate Scholar, T32 Behavioral and Biomedical Sciences, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
    • 2017-2018 [Scholar] T32 Stroke and its Comorbidities, West Virginia University, Morgantown WV.
  • A photo of James Scripter.
    Name:
    James Scripter
    Education:
    B.S., Biology, Westfield State University
    Advisor:
    Dr. Eric Tucker
    Room:
    314 BMRC
  • A photo of Catherine  Smoot (Smith).
    Name:
    Catherine Smoot (Smith)
    Education:
    B.S., Biology, Oregon State University
    Advisor:
    Dr. Eric Tucker
    Room:
    314 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.
    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
    • 2019 2nd Place Graduate Student Talk, Appalachian Regional Cell Biology Conference, West Virginia University
    • 2019 Travel Award for Success in ARCC preparation, Cell Biology Training Program, West Virginia University
    • July 2017 - June 2018 Schoepp Neuroscience Research Student Fellowship Award
  • A photo of Ariel  Thomas.
    Name:
    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:
    Publication
    • K. Blair, L. Kaptis, J. Keeting, A.Wright, A.Thomas, M.Boots, A. Sobinov, and V. Gritsenko (2018) The Use Electromyography of Wrist and Hand Motions for the Development of a Virtual Reality Prosthesis: A Mechanism Study. WVU Doctor of Physical Therapy Research Thesis
    • Bradley SP, Chapman PD, Thomas A, Daly KC (2016) Olfactory network function is modulated by flight motor pattern generating centers: Evidence for the first corollary discharge circuit to an olfactory pathway, Chemical Senses 1(9):E140-E140
    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 Bailey Whitehead.
    Name:
    Bailey Whitehead
    Advisor:
    Dr. Zachary Weil
    Room:
    313 BMRC

Neuroscience M.D./Ph.D. Candidate

  • A photo of Jessica  Cunningham (Clemente).
    Name:
    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
    • 2019 1st Place Poster Presentation, Appalachian Regional Cell Conference, West Virginia University
    • 2019 1st Place Poster Presentation, Van Liere Research Conference, West Virginia University
    • 2018 3rd Place Poster Presentation, Neuroscience category, Undergraduate Spring Symposium, West Virginia University
    • 2018 1st Place Oral Presentations Van Liere Research Conference, West Virginia University
    • 2017 1st Place Poster, Neuroscience category, BRNI Neuroscience Retreat, Canaan Valley
    • 2017 Neuroscience Retreat 2nd Place Overall Poster Presentation, BRNI Neuroscience Retreat, 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.
    Name:
    Divine Nwafor
    Education:
    B.Sc., Biochemisty, West Virginia University
    Advisor:
    Dr. Candice Brown
    Room:
    108 BMRC
    Research Interests:
    Sepsis, Alzheimer’s disease and Traumatic Brain Injury
    Achievements:
    Publication
    • Nwafor DC, Petrone AB, Collins JM, Adcock AK. Paraneoplastic Opsoclonus Myoclonus in a Patient with Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma. Case Reports in Neurological Medicine. April 2019:1-3. doi:10.1155/2019/3601026.
    • Nwafor, D, Brichacek A, Griffith A, Mohammed A, Lucke-Wold B, Geldenhuys W, Lockman P, Brown C. Targeting the Blood-Brain Barrier to Prevent Sepsis-Associated Cognitive Impairment. Journal of Central Nervous System Disease. April 2019. doi:10.1177/1179573519840652.
    • 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
    • Wold BL, Nolan R, Nwafor D, Nguyen L, Cheyuo C, Turner R, Rosen C, Marsh R (2018). Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Delineating the Progression and Underlying Mechanisms Following Blast Traumatic Brain Injury. J Neurosci Neuropharmacol. 2018;4(1). pii: 118. Epub 2018 Mar 2.
    • 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)
    • Nwafor D, Zdilla, M.J., Petrone, A.B., and Lambert, H.W. (2018). Bilateral elongated styloid processes with a unilateral triticeal cartilage in the stylohyoid ligament: Implications in Eagle syndrome. Surgical and Radiologic Anatomy (submitted)
    • Divine C. Nwafor, Ashley B. Petrone, Joseph M. Collins, and Amelia K. Adcock. (2018). Paraneoplastic Opsoclonus Myoclonus with Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma. Journal of Neurological Sciences (submitted)
    • Bornali Kundu, MD, PhD*, Brandon Lucke-Wold, MD, PhD*, Chase Foster, MD, Dario J. Englot, MD, PhD, Ogaga Urhie, Divine Nwafor, John D. Rolston, MD, PhD. (2018). Fornicotomy for the Treatment of Epilepsy: a Re-examination of the Literature. Journal of Neurosurgery (submitted)
    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