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Current Graduate Students

Neuroscience Graduate Students

  • 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 (2019) Exercise training prevents the perivascular adipose tissue-induced aortic dysfunction with metabolic syndrome. Redox Biology.
    • 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
    • American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists – President, July 2017 – August 2018
    • 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
    Research Interests:
    Auditory processing and synaptic zinc
  • 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
    Achievements:
    Award
    • T32 Trainee, Stroke and its Comorbidities T32 Training Grant, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV. May 2019-Present.
    • Dr. James Stevenson Behavioral and Biomedical Sciences Scholarship, April 2019.
  • A photo of Jacob Bumgarner.
    Name:
    Jacob Bumgarner
    Education:
    B.M., Piano Performance, West Virginia University
    Advisor:
    Dr. Randy Nelson
    Room:
    305 BMRC
    Research Interests:
    Disruption of circadian rhythms, pain, and stroke.
    Achievements:
    Publication
    • Bumgarner JR, Walker II WH, Liu JA, Walton JC, Nelson RJ (2020) Dim light at night exposure induces cold hyperalgesia and mechanical allodynia in male mice. Neuroscience  (In Press).
    • Walker II WH, Bumgarner JR, Nelson RJ, DeVries AC. (2020). Transcardial Perfusion is not Required to Accurately Measure Cytokines within the Brain. Journal of Neuroscience Methods 108601.
    • Sprowls SA, Arsiwala TA, Bumgarner JR, Shah N, Lateef SS, Kielkowski BN, Lockman PR. (2019). Improving CNS Delivery to Brain Metastases by Blood-Tumor Barrier Disruption. Trends Cancer 5, 495-505.
    Award
    • NIH T32 Stroke and its Comorbidities Associate Scholar, 2020
    • Arlen G. & Louise Stone Swiger Fellowship, 2019 – Present
    • Order of Augusta Scholar, 2019
  • 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
    Achievements:
    Publication
    • Burrage E, Marshall K.L, Santanam N, and Chantler PD. Cerebrovascular dysfunction with stress and depression. Brain Circulation. 4(2) 43-53, 2018. PMID: 30276336
    • O’Connell GE, Walsh K, Burrage E, Adeoye O, Chantler PD, AND Barr TL. High-throughput profiling reveals widespread sex-associated differences in the composition of circulating proteome following ischemic stroke. Physiological Genomics. 50(10):876-883, 2018. PMID:30029587
    Award
    • Stroke and its Co-Morbidities T32 Associate, West Virginia University 2019-current
    • Toxicology Working Group Travel Award, West Virginia University 2019
    • Stroke and its Co-Morbidities T32 Fellow, West Virginia University 2018-2019
  • A photo of Alexis Crockett.
    Name:
    Alexis Crockett
    Education:
    B.S., Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University
    Advisor:
    Dr. Visvanathan Ramamurthy
    Room:
    3126 HSC-N
    Research Interests:
    Neurodegeneration
  • 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 the somatostatin-containing inhibitory interneurons in cerebral cortex circuitry and their involvement in 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
    • 2020 Outstanding Service Award- WVU Office of Research and Graduate Education
    • 2018-2020: 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
    • G Srinivasan, A Dagostin, RN Leão, V Balakrishnan, P Holcomb, D Jackson, G Spirou, H von Gersdorff. (2019) Dendritic speeding of synaptic potentials in an auditory brainstem principal neuron. Preprint available through bioRxiv
    • 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
    Research Interests:
    Chronobiology, Circadian Disruptions, and the role of Dim Light at Night on Physiology in the context of Stroke
    Achievements:
    Publication
    • Bumgarner JR, Walker II WH, Liu JA, Walton JC, Nelson RJ (2020) Dim light at night exposure induces cold hyperalgesia and mechanical allodynia in male mice. Neuroscience  (In Press).
  • A photo of Mason McCollum.
    Name:
    Mason McCollum
    Education:
    B.S., Biochemistry, Mercyhurst University
    Advisor:
    Dr. Charles Anderson
    Room:
    318 BMRC
    Research Interests:
    Auditory processing and synaptic zinc
    Achievements:
    Award
    • Neuroscience Graduate Program Committee- Student Representative 2020- Present
    • The National Society of Leadership and Success- Member 2020- Present
    • Behavioral & Biomedical Sciences- Associate Scholar 2019- Present
  • A photo of Tyler McGaughey.
    Name:
    Tyler McGaughey
    Education:
    B.S., Biology & Chemistry, Hampden Sydney College
    Advisor:
    Dr. Victor Finomore
    Room:
    RNI
    Research Interests:
    Functional neuroimaging, chronic lower back pain, and endogenous pain modulation mechanisms.
    Achievements:
    Publication
    • Fischer, K. M., Scott, T., Browe D., McGaughey T. A., Woods, C., Wolyniak, M. J., & Freeman J. W. (2020). Hydrogels for Skeletal Muscle Regeneration. Regenerative Engineering and Translation Medicine
    Award
    • Behavior and Biomedical Sciences Research Training Program – Morgantown, WV August 2019 – Present NIGMS T32 Training Grant GM132494
  • A photo of Hecmarie Melendez-Fernandez.
    Name:
    Hecmarie Melendez-Fernandez
    Education:
    B.S., Integrative Biology, University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus
    Advisor:
    Dr. Randy Nelson
    Room:
    305 BMRC
    Research Interests:
    Circadian biology disruption focused on health outcomes, particularly as it relates to recovery after injury (cardiac arrest, stroke, neuroinflammation), affective disorders and ageing.
    Achievements:
    Publication
    • Walker, W. H.*, Meléndez‐Fernández, O. H.*, Pascoe, J. L., Zhang, N., & DeVries, A.C., (2020). Social Enrichment Attenuates Chemotherapy Induced Neuroinflammation and Affective Behavior via Oxytocin Signaling (In press at Brain Behavior and Immunity)
    • Walker II, W.H., Meléndez-Fernández, O.H., Nelson, R.J., & Reiter, R.J. (2019). Global climate change and invariable photoperiods: A mismatch that jeopardizes animal fitness. Ecology and Evolution, 9: 10044-10054.
    • Walker II, W.H.*, Meléndez-Fernández, O.H.*., & Nelson, R.J. (2019). Prior exposure to dim light at night impairs dermal wound healing in female C57BL/6 mice. Archives of Dermatological Research, 311: 573-576. *authors contributed equally
    • Walker II, W.H., Borniger, J.C., Gaudier-Diaz, M.M., Meléndez-Fernández, O.H., Pascoe, J. L., DeVries, A.C., & Nelson, R.J. (2019). Acute exposure to low-level light at night is sufficient to induce neurological changes and depressive-like behavior. Molecular Psychiatry, 25: 1080-1083.
    • Fonken, L.K.*, Meléndez-Fernández, O.H.*, Weil, Z.M., & Nelson, R.J. (2014). Exercise attenuates the effects of dim light at night on metabolism. Physiology and Behavior, 124: 33-36.
    • Fonken, L.K., Aubrecht, T.G., Meléndez-Fernández, O.H., Weil, Z.M., & Nelson, R.J. (2013). Dim light at night disrupts molecular circadian rhythms and increases body weight.  Journal of Biological Rhythms, 28: 262-271.
    Award
    • Behavioral and Biomedical Sciences T32 Training grant affiliate scholar. West Virginia University. NIGMS grant T32 GM081741.
  • 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
    Achievements:
    Publication
    • Motipally, S.I., Allen, K.M., Williamson, D.K., and Marsat, G.(2019). Differences in Sodium Channel Densities in the Apical Dendrites of Pyramidal Cells of the Electrosensory Lateral Line Lobe. Front. Neural Circuits 13:41.doi: 10.3389/fncir.2019.00041
  • 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
    • 2019 Second Place poster at the Appalachian Regional Cell Conference, Morgantown WV
    • 2018 Rising Star Award for Ph.D. Program in Neuroscience
    • 2016 - 2018 BBS T32 Trainee
  • A photo of Robin Oliverio.
    Name:
    Robin Oliverio
    Education:
    B.S., Biology, West Virginia University
    Advisor:
    Dr. Zachary Weil
    Room:
    313 BMRC
    Research Interests:
    Traumatic Brain Injury and Alcohol Use Disorder
  • A photo of James Scripter.
    Name:
    James Scripter
    Education:
    B.S., Biology, Westfield State University
    Advisor:
    Dr. Eric Tucker
    Room:
    314 BMRC
    Research Interests:
    I am researching the effects of the c-Jun N-terminal Kinase (JNK) signaling pathway on Thalamocortical Axon development and examining the mechanisms of Thalamocortical Axon projections by observing guidance cues in JNK cTKO brains.
  • 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
    • Abigail K. Myers, Jessica G. Cunningham, Skye E. Hickling, John P. Snow, Catherine A. Smoot, and Eric S. Tucker. "JNK signaling is required for proper tangential migration and laminar allocation of cortical interneurons," Development 2020.
    • 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.
    Award
    • Travel Award for Brain Camp Participation, Department of Neuroscience, West Virginia University
    • 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
    • Thomas, A., Olesh, E., Adcock, A., and Gritsenko, V. (2019) Force-based assessment captures unseen changes in normal and abnormal arm motion. bioArxiv preprint.
    • K. Blair, L. Kaptis, J. Keeting, A.Wright, A.Thomas, M.Boots, A. Sobinov, and V. Gritsenko (2018) The Use of Electromyography of Hand and Wrist 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
    Education:
    B.S., Neuroscience & Psychology, Central Michigan University
    Advisor:
    Dr. Zachary Weil
    Room:
    313 BMRC
    Research Interests:
    Metabolic Responses after Traumatic Brain Injury, Stroke and TBI Co-morbidities
    Achievements:
    Award
    • NIH T32 Stroke and its Comorbidities Associate Scholar, 2020

Neuroscience M.D./Ph.D. Candidates

  • 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 D, Zdilla, MJ, Petrone, AB, and Lambert, HW. Bilateral elongated styloid processes with a unilateral triticeal cartilage in the stylohyoid ligament: Implications in Eagle syndrome. Surgical and Radiologic Anatomy.
    • Kundu B, Lucke-Wold B, Foster C, MD, Englot DJ, Urhie O, Nwafor D, Rolston JD. Fornicotomy for the Treatment of Epilepsy: a Re-examination of the Literature. Neurosurgery
    • Brichacek AL, Benkovic SA, Chakraborty S, Nwafor DC, Wang W, Jun S, Geldenhuys WJ, Pinkerton AB, Millán JL, Brown CM. Systemic inhibition of tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase alters the brain-immune axis in experimental sepsis. Scientific Reports.
    • Nwafor DC, Chakraborty S, Brichacek AL, Jun S, Gambill CA, Benkovic SA, Engler-Chiurazzi E, Dakhlallah D, Brown CM. Loss of tissue non-specific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP) enzyme activity in brain microvasculature is coupled to dysfunction of neuroimmune axis and persistence neuroinflammation post-sepsis. Brain, Behavior and Immunity.
    • Nwafor DC, Brichacek AL, Chakraborty S, Benkovic SA, Gambill CA, Brown CM. Neuroendocrine and Neuroimmune Mechanisms Regulating Blood-brain Barrier. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Neuroscience.
    • 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
    • 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). Targeting the Blood-Brain Barrier to Prevent Sepsis-Associated Cognitive Impairment. Journal of Central Nervous System Disease. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1179573519840652
    • 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
    • Divine C. Nwafor, Ashley B. Petrone, Joseph M. Collins, and Amelia K. Adcock. (2019). Paraneoplastic Opsoclonus Myoclonus with Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma.
    • 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. Neurosurgery, nyz554, https://doi.org/10.1093/neuros/nyz554
    Award
    • 2020 American Physician Scientist Association (APSA) Travel Award
    • 2019 Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute Excellence Award
    • 2019 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) Travel Award
    • 2018 - 2020 NIH T32 Stroke and Co-morbidities Associate Scholar
    • 2018 Stevenson Behavioral and Biomedical Sciences Scholarship
    • 2018 WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute Travel Award 
    • 2017 IDeA Southeast Regional Conference Poster Award (3rd Place)
    • 2017 WVU E. Van Liere Conference Poster Award (1stPlace)
    • 2016 Mountaineer Medical Scholarship 
    • 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
    • 2013 WVU International Student Merit Scholarship
    • 2011 - 2015 President’s List