(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.
(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 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.
(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.
Mansi 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.
Andreas Björefeldt, PhD
(Visiting Scientist): Andreas grew up in Gothenburg, Sweden, and received his PhD from the University of Gothenburg where he studied neuronal excitability and neuromodulation in cortical neurons. He is currently involved in testing the performance of bioluminescent effectors and reporters developed in the lab, using whole cell patch clamp recordings. Andreas is interested in the role of cortical interneuron subtypes in information processing and memory functions.
Sheenah Lynn Bryant, PhD
(postdoctoral fellow): Sheenah grew up in Boise, Idaho. She received her BS in Physics in 2014 and her PhD in Biomolecular Sciences in August 2018 both at Boise State University, Boise, Idaho. Turning her interests from her graduate work in biophysical characterization of membrane bound protein channel activity towards neuroscience, she is currently developing optimal experimental platforms for studying bioluminescence-optogenetics proteins, and how these proteins can be used to enlighten our understanding of neural plasticity.
(graduate student): Emmanuel grew up in North Bergen, New Jersey. He received his Bachelor of Arts with a Major in Neuroscience from Drew University, Madison, NJ. He is focusing on driving non-ion-exchanging optical sensors with bioluminescence.
(graduate student): Rachel grew up in Hopkins, Michigan. She received her Bachelor degree in Biochemistry from CMU and is currently getting her Masters in the Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology program. Her research in the lab is focused on molecular engineering of luciferase-driven tools.
(research assistant): Kathleen grew up in Bay City, Michigan. She received a BSN and a Bachelor in Biology from Saginaw Valley State University, Michigan. Her many activities in the lab include molecular biology, cell culture, and animal research.
(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.
(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.
(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.
Suneeti Dash, CMU undergraduate student (2017-2018)
Guillermo Obregon, CMU medical student (2017-2018)
Jessica Zenchak, research assistant (2017-2018)
Robert D’Annunzio, research assistant (2017-2018)
Martina Provenzano, Master’s student, University of Milan, Italy (2017-2018)
Tariq Brown, CMU undergraduate student (2015-2018)
Erik Sharkey, CMU undergraduate student (2017)
Alexandra Peña, CMU undergraduate student (2017)
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)