Postdoctoral Fellows

Felix Mayer, Ph.D.
Mentor: Randy Blakely, Ph.D.

Email: mayerf@health.fau.edu

My research focuses on the molecular mechanisms that permit the dopamine transporter (DAT) to respond dynamically to dopamine and other modulatory neurotransmitters. My studies are designed to contribute to our understanding of how DAT is regulated, and ultimately, identify pharmacologically relevant targets for the treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders arising from disruptions in DA-ergic signaling. Read more about my research.

Sarah J. Cohen, Ph.D.
Mentor: Robert Stackman, Ph.D.

Email: scohen39@my.fau.edu

My research investigates the brain mechanisms underlying complex behaviors such a learning and memory. With a focus on the hippocampal formation, I employ multiple neuropharmacological and molecular techniques to examine how the brain stores and represents information. Read more about my research.

Gloria Brunori, Ph.D.
Mentor: Janet Robishaw, Ph.D.

Email: gbrunori@health.fau.edu

My research seeks to understand how structurally diverse G-protein alpha-beta-gamma heterotrimers assemble to mediate physiological and behavioral responses. Using genetically modified mice lacking the G-protein gamma 7 subunit in discrete neuronal populations within the striatum, I am investigating the cellular and functional consequences of disrupting the downstream signal(s) and how this contributes to the development of neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders, including drug addiction, schizophrenia and Parkinson’s disease. Read more about my research.

Elizabeth Brown, Ph.D.
Mentor: Alex Keene, Ph.D.

Email: elizabethbrown@fau.edu

Broadly, I am interested in the genetic and neural mechanisms that regulate how environmental input shapes behavioral output. Using Drosophila melanogaster as a model system, my current work combines genetic manipulation, behavioral analysis, and functional imaging to investigate the mechanisms by which food type and availability regulate the interrelationship between sleep, feeding, and metabolic state. Read more about my research.

Etay Aloni, Ph.D.
Mentor: Henriette Van Praag, Ph.D.

Email: ealoni@fau.edu

I am interested in the subcortical connections to the hippocampus and their role in learning and memory. My research is focused on how manipulating those projections affects physiology and behavior in mice. In my work, I incorporate molecular biology, electrophysiology and behavioral methods. Read more about my research.

Adele Stewart, Ph.D.
Mentor: Randy Blakely, Ph.D.

Email:  stewarta@fau.edu

Perturbations in dopamine signaling contribute to multiple neuropsychiatric disorders including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder (BPD), and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The dopamine transporter (DAT) is a critical determinant of the magnitude and duration of dopamine signaling via its ability to facilitate reuptake of synaptic dopamine back into presynaptic nerve terminals. My research efforts focus on elucidating the functional biochemical and behavioral consequences of novel coding variants in the human DAT gene (SLC6A3) identified in patients diagnosed with ADHD, BPD, and/or ASD. In particular, I am involved in evaluating alterations in social and reward-related behaviors and the response to psychostimulants in a novel mouse model harboring the DAT A559V mutation. Additionally, I am characterizing a novel DAT mutant (E602G) identified in a patient with BPD. The overarching goal of my work is to provide insight into how alterations in dopamine transporter function or regulation contribute to neuropsychiatric illness.