Ute Hochgeschwender, MDUte Hochgeschwender (PI): Ute grew up in Germany. Her university education was in medicine (MD) and philosophy (MA), which she combined into a long-term interest in studying the brain. Probing ​this subject from different approaches and angles over the years, she is currently studying the role of neuronal activity in generating and alleviating neurological and psychiatric conditions.






Eric PetersenEric Petersen (graduate student): Eric grew up in Michigan and got his undergraduate education at Delta College and Central Michigan University (B.S.). Eric is working on two projects. First, he is refining the generation of neural stem cells from adipose tissue. Second, he is applying luminopsins as a novel therapeutic method for stimulation at the neuronal level to improve recovery after spinal cord injury in a rat model.



William MedendorpWilliam Medendorp (graduate student): William grew up in Houston, Texas and got his undergraduate education in Psychology at Calvin College (Grand Rapids, MI). He is interested in exploring the role of neuronal activity during early neonatal development in shaping adult behavior.






Akash PalAkash Pal (graduate student): Akash grew up in Kolkata, India. He got his undergraduate education in Biotechnology, at Vellore Institute of Technology, India. Akash is engineering and testing new luminopsin constructs for activating and silencing neuronal activity.







Image of Martina ProvenzanoMartina Provenzano (graduate student): Martina grew up in Rome, Italy. She is a master degree student at the University of Milan, Italy, majoring in biology applied to medical research. As an exchange student at CMU her research will focus on bioluminescence as a tool in neuroscience.







Image of Mansi PrakashMansi Prakash, Ph.D. (W. M. Keck Foundation Fellow): Mansi grew up in New Delhi, India. She got her undergraduate education at the University of Delhi, majoring in Instrumentation, and a Masters education at Jiwaji University, majoring in Biotechnology. For her Ph.D. studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, she studied cell migration signaling, then worked as a postdoctoral fellow trainee at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. She is currently involved in bioluminescence-driven optogenetics for investigating functional synaptic communication.



Image of Jessica ZenchakJessica Zenchak (research assistant): Jessie grew up in Brookfield, Illinois. She got her Bachelor degrees in Biology and French at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, and a Master’s degree in Neuroscience at CMU. She is currently involved in several ongoing projects, ranging from molecular engineering to animal behavioral studies.








Image of Robert D'AnnunzioRobert D’Annunzio (research assistant): Robert grew up in Redford, Michigan. He got his bachelor degree in Neuroscience at CMU. His research in the lab is focused on molecular engineering of luciferasedriven tools.








Tariq BrownTariq Brown (undergraduate student): Tariq grew up in Michigan. He is currently a Junior at CMU, majoring in biomedical sciences.​ He is involved in building and testing luminopsin constructs for activating and silencing neuronal activity. 

CMU Honors Scholar, McNair Scholar








Image of Erik SharkeyErik Sharkey (undergraduate student): Erik grew up in Macomb, Michigan. He is a senior getting his B.S. in Neuroscience and Biochemistry. Erik is researching a noninvasive, optogenetic method of treating spinal cord injuries in a rat model. Specifically, he is testing the potential of the LMO3 construct combined with a motor neuron specific promoter (Hb9) to enhance rehabilitation.​
 ​
CMU Honors Scholar, SRCEE Summer Scholars Award Recipient 





Image of Suneeti DashSuneeti Dash (undergraduate student): Suneeti grew up in Macomb, Michigan. She is a Junior getting her B.S. in Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences. She is involved in engineering and testing new luminopsin constructs for activating and silencing neuronal activity.​
CMU Honors Scholar, SAPA, Phi Delta Epsilon Founding Member






Image of Alexandra PeñaAlexandra Peña (undergraduate student): Alex grew up in Cass City, Michigan. She is a senior getting her B.S. in Neuroscience and Psychology. She is involved in utilizing luminopsins for improving recovery in a rat spinal cord injury model.








Image of Dylan JohnstonDylan Johnston (undergraduate student): Dylan grew up in Ferndale, Michigan. He is currently a sophomore at CMU, majoring in Biomedical Sciences. He is involved in engineering and testing new luminopsin constructs for activating and silencing neuronal activity.







Image of Lateef ShafauLateef Shafau (undergraduate student): Lateef grew up in Detroit, Michigan. He is currently a sophomore at CMU, majoring in Biomedical Sciences. He is involved in using luminopsins as a therapeutic method to stimulate spinal cord recovery after injury.







Image of Madison WaddellMadison Waddell (undergraduate student): Madison grew up in Howell, Michigan. She is a pre-med student studying Neuroscience and Philosophy, currently in her second year. Her research in the lab is focused on examining how neural activity during early neonatal development can affect behavior as an adult.







Image of Guillermo ObregonGuillermo Obregon (medical student): Guillermo grew up in Laredo, Texas. He got his B.S. in Health Education and his M.S. in Biomedical Sciences from Texas A&M University at College Station, Texas. He is currently a year 2 medical student at CMU’s College of Medicine. He is involved in using luminopsins as a therapeutic method to stimulate spinal cord after injury to enhance recovery.




Alumni

  • Andrea De Marco, Master’s student, University of Milan, Italy (Summer 2017)
  • Rebekah Ridgell, CMU undergraduate student (2017)
  • Brandon Palmateer, CMU undergraduate student (2015 – 2017)
  • Paulina Otero, CMU undergraduate student (2015 – 2017)
  • Reina Heckburn, CMU medical student (Summer 2016)
  • Hannah Brinkman, CMU undergraduate student (Spring 2016)
  • Nicolai Dorka, undergraduate student, University of Braunschweig, Germany (DAAD RISE fellow Summer 2015)
  • Lina-Marie Wagner, undergraduate student, Free University of Berlin, Germany (DAAD RISE fellow Summer 2015)
  • Nicholas Scott, CMU medical student (Summer 2015)
  • MacKenzie Burger, CMU medical student (Summer 2015)
  • Alex Myers, CMU undergraduate student (Spring 2015/Summer 2015)