Postdoctoral Fellows

Dan Nemeth, Ph.D.
Dan Nemeth, Ph.D.
Mentor: Ning Quan, Ph.D.

Email: nemethd@fau.edu

Daniel Nemeth, Ph.D. is a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Ning Quan, Ph.D in the College of Medicine. Dr. Nemeth received his doctorate from The Ohio State University where he researched unique and cell-type specific signaling pathways associated with prolonged infection and persistent neuroinflammation. At OSU, he focused his research how the immune receptor, Interleukin-1 Receptor (IL-1R1), contributes to the bicellular communication between brain vasculature and resident immune cell of the brain, microglia, during prolonged inflammation. Nemeth’s current research utilizes transgenic mouse models created by the Quan lab to discover the function of neuronal IL-1R1 and to understand the contribution of IL-1R1 signaling in epilepsy.

Tao Ke, Ph.D.
Tao Ke, Ph.D.
Mentor: Lucia Carvelli, Ph.D.

Email: tke@fau.edu

I joined the Carvelli lab following my postdoctoral research on dopaminergic neurotoxicity of methylmercury in Dr. Michael Aschner lab at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. In the Carvelli lab, I am studying the effects caused by long-term exposure to the psychostimulants, such as amphetamine. I use C. elegans model and in vitro cell cultures to identify the epigenetic mechanisms implicated in the long-term effects caused by amphetamine in the dopaminergic neurons.

Suspender Kaur, Ph.D.
Supender Kaur, Ph.D.
Mentor: Lucia Carvelli, Ph.D.

Email: kaurs@fau.edu

I did my Ph.D. in India and currently, I am working in the Carvelli lab where we study the psychostimulant amphetamine that acts on the nervous system. Chronic exposure to amphetamine is reported to induce epigenetic changes, but the mechanisms underlying this phenomenon are unknown. My project is focused on understanding the effects of amphetamine exposure and decoding the molecular mechanisms responsible for epigenetic changes. Because of these heritable changes, the alterations in transcriptomic levels will help to work out the pathway amphetamine uses to induce long-term effects. We use the model system C. elegans because of the short generation time which is ideal for heritable studies and the simple nervous system, particularly the dopaminergic system which is the main target of amphetamine.

Idaly Velez-Uribe, Ph.D.
Idaly Velez-Uribe, Ph.D.
Mentor: Monica Rosselli, Ph.D.

Email: ivelezur@fau.edu

I work with Dr. Monica Rosselli to collaborate with the 1FloridaADRC (https://1floridaadrc.org), one of the NIH's Alzheimer's Disease Research Centers (ADRC). My research focus is to explore methods to evaluate and diagnose individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds in a sensitive manner, including cognitively normal individuals and those presenting early signs of neurodegenerative diseases, to find effective methods for early diagnosis treatment. This framework emphasizes the role of cultural factors, quality and level of education, and language experience (i.e., bilingualism) in assessments and interventions on the progression of abnormal aging in culturally and ethnically diverse samples; including the complex interplay between bilingualism, cultural factors, cognitive decline, and biological markers of neurodegeneration.

Gloria Brunori, Ph.D.
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.

Lillian Onwuha-Ekpete, Ph.D.,
Lillian Onwuha-Ekpete, Ph.D.
Mentor: Greg Fields, Ph.D.

Email: lonwuhae@fau.edu

As a post-doctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Gregg Fields, I oversee three research projects that focus on (1) cancer organoids, (2) rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and (3) multiple sclerosis (MS). In the cancer organoid project, we seek to characterize patient specific responses to chemotherapeutic drugs. In the RA project the goal is to elucidate the role of MMP-13 processing of type II collagen RA progression. In the MS project we will be elucidating the immunoregulatory role(s) of gelatinases (matrix metalloproteinases 2 and 9).

Felix Mayer, Ph.D.
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.

Photo of Lorena Areal, Ph.D.
Lorena Areal, Ph.D.
Mentor: Randy Blakely, Ph.D.

Email: lbianchineareald@fau.edu

I investigate mechanisms by which altered DAT function can drive risk for neuropsychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders. My current research focuses on molecular, circuit, and behavioral alterations exhibited in the DAT Val559 mouse, where a DAT gene variant identified in patients diagnosed with ADHD, bipolar disorder and autism spectrum disorder is expressed, with the ultimate goal of identifying better ways to diagnose and treat these disorders. Read more about my research.

Photo of Paula Gajewski-Kurdziel, Ph.D.
Paula Gajewski-Kurdziel, Ph.D.
Mentor: Randy Blakely, Ph.D.

Email: pgajewski@health.fau.edu

My research focuses on uncovering the cellular and molecular networks that support immune system modulation of CNS serotonergic signaling. I am exploring how these networks impact the regulation of the serotonin transporter and the specific serotonergic pathways that mediate immune system modulation of behavior. Read more about my research.

Katarzyna Targowska-Duda, Ph.D.
Katarzyna Targowska-Duda, Ph.D.
Mentor: Larry Toll, Ph.D.

Email: ktargowskaduda@health.fau.edu

My research focuses on the role of NOP (Nociceptin OPioid) and nicotinic receptors in migraine. Using a nitroglycerin mouse model of migraine I can effectively mimic symptoms observed in migraineurs. I am focusing on the evaluation of NOP and nicotinic ligands effects on parameters of sensory (sensitivity of paw) and affective (conditioned place avoidance) migraine pain as well as light aversion in mice. I am also interested in elucidating the function of these receptors in microglia system in trigeminal ganglion and trigeminal nucleus caudalis under acute and chronic migraine conditions. My two-year postdoctoral position at Dr. Toll’s lab is funded by the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education grant "Mobility Plus"(1662/1/MOB/V/17/2018/0).

Sarah Cohen
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.