Faculty

Browse by Last Name


Research Faculty—Neuroscience Program

Program Director/Department Chair: Barry Knox, PhD

  • William Brunken, PhD
    Professor
    Research Interests:

    Epigenetic regulation of brain and ocular development; the role of extracellular matrix in ocular development and disease. 

  • Blair Calancie, PhD
    Professor
    Research Interests:

    CNS plasticity after trauma; intraoiperative electrophysiology.

  • Peter Calvert, PhD
    Associate Professor
    Research Interests:

    Molecular mechanisms of protein transport and localization in retinal neurons; mechanisms of retinal degenerative diseases

  • Stephen Faraone, PhD
    Distinguished Professor
    Research Interests:

    Professor Faraone has been studying attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) for three decades.  This topic has been of much interest to him because of the disorder’s high prevalence, its association with marked distress and disability in childhood and adulthood and its personal impact on my family.  His research has several foci. One line of work seeks to discover new biological pathways that will, eventually, improve the diagnosis and treatment of the disorder. To achieve this goal, he has been coordinating an international network of researchers that has discovered several genes that cause the disorder.  He his also conducting in depth studies of the SLC9A9 gene to better understand its functioning and how it’s disruption leads to neurodevelopmental disorders such as ADHD and autism. Because ADHD is also associated with aggressive behavior, substance use disorders and mood/anxiety disorders, Prof Faraone is studying the genetics of these comorbidities along with methods to predict which ADHD youth are at highest risk for these disorders. Results from these studies are disseminated via scientific publications, https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=PtJmhRwAAAAJ, and via www.ADHDinAdults.com, for which he is Program Director.

  • Stephen Glatt, PhD
    Associate Professor
    Research Interests:

    Dr. Glatt is Director of the Psychiatric Genetic Epidemiology & Neurobiology Laboratory (PsychGENe Lab).  The mission of the PsychGENe Lab is to develop and apply methods for finding the causes of mental health and mental illness.  The vision of the lab is that we will discover those causes and use that information to design interventions that treat or prevent these disorders, or foster resilience to them.  We are running numerous research projects aimed at finding the genes and environmental risk factors for a wide variety of disorders, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, autism spectrum disorder, and substance abuse disorders, among others.  Our pipeline seeks to identify “risk genes” for these disorders by studying affected individuals and families and then to reveal how such genes alter brain biology leading to a vulnerability to mental illness.

  • Brian Howell, PhD
    Associate Professor
    Research Interests:

    The signal transduction events that regulate the functional organization of neurons in the brain, and the phenotypes caused by defects in the genes that encode these signaling molecules.

  • Huaiyu Hu, PhD
    Associate Professor
    Research Interests:

    Molecular studies of brain malformations.

  • Burk Jubelt, MD
    Professor
    Research Interests:

    CNS acute and chronic polio- and entero-virus infections; Growth factors for Post-Polio Syndrome; Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis; Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Motor Neuron Gene Expression

  • Wendy Kates, PhD
    Professor
    Research Interests:

    My lab studies brain development and brain function in individuals with genetic disorders.  The main focus of our work is on a genetic disorder called 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome (22q11DS).  Individuals with 22q11DS are at a 25-fold greater risk for developing schizophrenia than individuals in the general population.  We examine the effects of genetic mutation, brain development, and neuropsychological function in youth with this disorder, in order to identify the factors that place youth at highest risk for developing schizophrenia.  Eventually, our research may allow us to identify and provide early interventions to youth at high risk for schizophrenia, potentially easing the huge toll that schizophrenia takes on families.  Another focus of our work is to determine the effectiveness of computer-based, on-line, cognitive interventions in youth with genetically based intellectual disorders.  Our hope is that by demonstrating the effectiveness of on-line, cognitive interventions, we can reach and benefit many youth who may not have access to centers that are providing such interventions in person.

  • Paul Kent, MD, PhD
    Associate Professor
    Research Interests:

    Mechanisms of sensory coding in the olfactory system; seizure mechanisms in hippocampal slices; optical imaging techniques.

  • Barry Knox, PhD
    Professor and Chair
    Research Interests:

    Visual transduction, Gene Expression, Membrane proteins

  • Michael Lyon, PhD
    Associate Professor
    Research Interests:

    Age-related changes in the laryngeal muscles and vocal folds.

  • Paul Massa, PhD
    Professor
    Research Interests:

    Regulation of innate immune responses to viruses.

  • Russell Matthews, PhD
    Associate Professor
    Research Interests:

    Role of glycoproteins in oncogenesis and brain development

  • Frank Middleton, PhD
    Associate Professor
    Research Interests:

    Molecular basis of cortical-basal ganglia and cortical-cerebellar circuit formation and dysfunction in neurological and psychiatric disease.

  • Brad Motter, PhD
    Associate Professor
    Research Interests:

    Visual Neurophysiology; Visual Attention; Visual Search Behavior

  • Eric Olson, PhD
    Associate Professor
    Research Interests:

    Cellular and molecular mechanisms of cerebral cortex development.

    Lissencephaly / neuronal migration disorders; Dendritogenesis and early cortical wiring; Reelin-Dab1 signaling; Adaptor proteins; Fetal Alcohol Syndrome;  Intellectual disability

  • Francesca Pignoni, PhD
    Associate Professor
    Research Interests:

    Neurogenesis; Retinal Progenitor Cells Specification and Proliferation; Genetic Control of Stem Cell Identity and Maintenance; Disease Genes Analysis in Drosophila

  • Jeremy Shefner, MD, PhD
    Professor
    Research Interests:

    Clinical Therapeutics of ALS and other motor neuron disorders.  Animals models of the physiology and treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS); Peripheral nerve physiology.

  • Eduardo Solessio, PhD
    Assistant Professor
    Research Interests:

    Using electrophysiological and pharmacological tools we are assessing the strength of calcium-dependent feedback loops in rods and cones of Xenopus at various stages of development.

  • Daniel Tso, PhD
    Associate Professor
    Research Interests:

    Neuronal mechanisms of visual perception, studied through physiological, anatomical and functional imaging techniques.

  • Mary Lou Vallano, PhD
    Professor
    Research Interests:

    Neuronal survival and development.

  • Richard Veenstra, PhD
    Professor
    Research Interests:

    Regulation of connexin-specific-gap-junctions; gap junction channel biophysics.

  • Andrea Viczian, PhD
    Assistant Professor
    Research Interests:

    Mammalian retinal stem cells formation; molecular mechanism of retinal cell fate decisions; using cell replacement therapy to heal the blinded eye.

  • Richard JH Wojcikiewicz, PhD
    Professor and Interim Chair
    Research Interests:

    Intracellular signaling via InsP3 receptors and their regulation by the ubiquitin/proteasome pathway and Bcl-2 family proteins.

  • Yunlei Yang, MD, PhD
    Associate Professor
    Research Interests:

    Deciphering and manipulating cellular, synaptic, and circuit mechanisms governing feeding and anxiety-related behavior with genetic and system neuroscience approaches

  • Wei-Dong Yao, PhD
    Professor
    Research Interests:

    Synaptic modulation and plasticity in prefrontal circuitry; molecular mechanisms of synapse formation, maturation, and stabilization; neurobiological basis of prefrontal-related mental and brain diseases.

  • Li-Ru Zhao, PhD
    Associate Professor
    Research Interests:

    Brain plasticity, Brain repair, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, CADASIL, Traumatic brain injury, Live brain imaging, Stem cell biology and therapy, Cell signaling, Cell-cell interaction.

  • Sijun Zhu, MD, PhD
    Assistant Professor
    Research Interests:

    Genetic mechanisms of Drosophila neural stem cell self-renewal and specification.

  • Michael Zuber, PhD
    Associate Professor
    Research Interests:

    The molecular basis of retinal stem cell formation; regulating retinal stem/progenitor cell proliferation; using retinal stem/progenitor cells to heal the injured or degenerating retina.