I’m a fifth year PhD candidate in the neuroscience program. I work in Dr. Ashok Hegde’s lab. The main focus of our lab is to understand the molecular mechanisms of learning and memory, specifically the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway (UPP) and its diverse roles in synaptic plasticity. My project focuses on epigenetic roles of the proteasome in a mouse memory model, long-term potentiation (LTP). I am a recipient of the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINSD). In the summer of 2013 I was selected to attend a workshop in Cortona, Italy, on neuroepigenetics and got to meet leading researchers from all over the world. I chose to study at Wake because of the cutting edge molecular research done in the Hegde lab and the collaborative environment in our department. Feel free to contact me with any questions at .
Alexander Birbrair (4th Year PhD Student)
I’m a fourth year PhD student in Dr. Osvaldo Delbono’s lab. The focus of my research is on the role of blood vessels associated stem cells, called pericytes, in tissue regeneration with aging, injury and pathology. I currently hold a Glenn/AFAR Scholarship for Research in the Biology of Aging.
I am a first year graduate student currently rotating in the lab of Dr. Jeff Weiner. My rotation project uses optogenetics to examine the role of the dopamine system in regulating motivated behaviors such as ethanol consumption in rodent models. I chose Wake because the diversity of faculty research interests provides great basic, translational, and clinical training opportunities. Feel free to contact me at if you have any questions about the program!
Dominic Gioia (3rd Year PhD Student)
I work in Dr. Brian McCool’s lab focuses on the neurophysiological mechanisms underlying anxiety with a particular focus on the glutamatergic system of the basolateral amygdala. Furthermore, we are interested in how ethanol physical dependence modulates this system to produce withdrawal associated anxiety. I was initially drawn to Wake Forest University due to the programs excellence in obtaining funding for and publishing quality research on substance abuse. I have been happy with my choice and have enjoyed the collaborative nature of the substance abuse core. For any questions please feel free to contact me by email: .
I am a third year graduate student in the lab of Emilio Salinas and Terrence Stanford. I investigate the behavioral and neurophysiological correlates of urgent decisions in nonhuman primates and humans using a variety of techniques (modeling neural circuitry, single-unit recordings and statistical analysis of psychophysical results). I was recently selected for a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and I was appointed to the T32 training grant for multisensory integration where I will receive specialized training from multiple faculty within the Neurobiology and Anatomy department. I chose Wake Forest because of the incredible mentorship I receive not only from my PI’s but also from the other faculty within the department. The degree of camaraderie present within the Neurobiology and Anatomy department is incredible and something I do not imagine I would have received anywhere else. Feel free to contact me with any questions at .
I am a PhD candidate in my fourth year of training here at Wake, and I work in the laboratory of Dr. Ashok Hegde. In our lab, we use electrically-induced L-LTP, chemically-induced L-LTP, and a contextual fear conditioning behavioral paradigm together with several molecular techniques to answer questions about how memory works at the molecular level within the hippocampus and what could be happening to the molecular pathways of memory in diseases like Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s. The overall goal of my research project is to investigate the mechanisms by which proteolysis by the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway regulates transcription and translation in long-term synaptic plasticity and long-term memory. I chose Wake Forest for my graduate education because of the highly collaborative research environment, the wide variety of research options available, the many community outreach opportunities through our Brain Awareness Council, and, most importantly, the opportunity to be trained and mentored by my PI. Feel free to contact me with any questions at .
I’m a fourth year graduate student working under joint mentorship of Dr. Nader and Dr. Czoty. I’m interested in how endogenous hormones and social rank influence cognition and drug self-administration in female nonhuman primates. I have received numerous travel awards, most recently to the ASPET and BBC conferences. My decision to attend Wake Forest was an easy one, with it being one of the top research institutes for drug abuse research and home to phenomenal nonhuman primate researchers.
My name is Rhiannon Mayhugh and I am a 1st year graduate student rotating in the Laboratory for Complex Brain Networks with Dr. Laurienti. My current project is using functional brain networks to look at the long-term effects of low and moderate alcohol consumption and how that relates to stress.
The Neuroscience program here at Wake Forest provides a challenging and supportive environment not only among the faculty, but the students as well. Feel free to contact me with any questions at .
I am a fifth year graduate candidate working in Dr. Paul Laurienti’s lab. My research works towards characterizing alcohol-induced changes in functional brain networks and using these phenotypes to help identify older adults that are at high risk for accelerated cognitive decline. I recently received a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from NIAAA and got the opportunity to sharpen my neuroimaging skill set at the University of California – Los Angeles NeuroImaging Training Program. Feel free to check out my lab webpage: http://lcbn.wfubmc.edu/people/moussa.php or contact me with any questions at .
I am a first year Neuroscience PhD student in the third year of the MD/PhD program. I work in the lab of Drs. Suzanne Craft and Laura Baker studying the metabolic pathways implicated in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease. Plasma/CSF biomarkers and various imaging techniques (MRI, PET) are used in my research. I chose Wake Forest based upon the collaborative nature of the program as well as Winston-Salem being a great place to live. Feel free to contact me with any questions at .
I am Brielle Paolini, and I am a fourth year MD/PhD student in my second year of the Neuroscience PhD program. I work in the labs of Paul Laurienti, MD, PhD and Jack Rejeski, PhD studying brain network changes associated with life-style interventions in older adults. I have projects studying the effects of mindfulness, nutrition, and physical fitness on brain network structure. Wake Forest is a wonderful place to learn! The high faculty-to-student ratio here ensures that each student receives an excellent education.
I’m a third year graduate student in Dr. Scott Hemby’s lab investigating the role of the cerebellum in schizophrenia. I’m currently working with rats and non-human primates and hope to be obtaining schizophrenic brain tissue from human patients for biochemical assessments and translational purposes. What drew me to Wake Forest University’s graduate program was mostly the sense of collaboration and community and the student funding record. There’s a great deal of camaraderie and collaboration between the faculty and all of the students here at Wake that help make the graduate program here really enjoyable. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions: .
I am a PhD candidate in my fourth year of graduate school working in the laboratory of Dr. Jeff Weiner. We are interested in unraveling the neurobiological and behavioral correlates of the interplay between anxiety and alcohol use disorders. Using whole-cell patch clamp electrophysiology, my dissertation work focuses on investigating the role of the adenosine system in modulating synaptic transmission in the basolateral amygdala, a brain region implicated in both emotional processing and substance abuse. To complement our neurophysiological findings, we also employ a number of behavioral approaches to study adenosinergic modulation of anxiety-like behaviors, as well as ethanol withdrawal-associated anxiety in both naïve rats and those exposed to early life stress. Previously supported by an NIAAA training grant, my dissertation project is funded in part by a predoctoral Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award. Feel free to contact me at .
My name is Melissa Riegle and I am starting my 5th year in the Neuroscience Program. I work in Dr. Godwin’s lab. My thesis project has addressed whether or not targeting T-type calcium channels with ethosuximide can serve as an effective treatment for alcohol dependence and withdrawal. Hyperexcitability, specifically seizure activity, is my main interest, and additional side projects have included investigation into treatment options in an epilepsy model. I was fortunate to be awarded my own funding through a predoctoral NRSA fellowship from NIAAA. Wake Forest offers a friendly, collaborative environment with very valuable training for future success.
I’m in my third year as a graduate student and in my second year working in Dr. Christos Constantinidis’s laboratory. My main research interests lie in the neural basis of cognitive functions. In Dr. Constantinidis’s lab, I use different neuronal recording methods in order to examine how training in working memory tasks alters the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. If you have any questions about the lab or with Wake Forest, you can contact me at .
Hi everyone! I am an MD/PhD student in my first year of graduate school. I work in Dr. Christian Waugh’s lab studying how positive emotions influence resilience to stress. My current project focuses on the psychological, physiological, and neural correlates of stress and positive coping in caregivers of pediatric cancer patients. I chose Wake Forest for the interdisciplinary and collaborative nature of the Neuroscience program. I also knew that the faculty here would have their students’ best interests at heart and would be great mentors. Feel free to contact me with questions at .
I am a second year graduate student in the lab of Dr. Sara Jones. My research focuses on alterations to the dopamine system following cocaine self-administration in rats. I chose Wake Forest for its reputation as a leader in the field of drug abuse research as well as its collaborative research environment. Feel free to contact me with any questions at .
I’m a fourth year student working in Jeff Weiner’s lab. My research is focused on understanding how developmental stress is linked to later life depression, anxiety, and alcohol addiction. I use a combination of behavioral approaches and patch-clamp electrophysiology to investigate the impact of stress on alcohol drinking, anxiety, and fear learning, and how these behaviors correlate with noradrenergic and GABAergic signaling in the basolateral amygdala. I chose to attend Wake Forest because our renowned addiction research program provides an excellent training environment, and because Winston-Salem is a very comfortable place to live while in grad school. I was previously supported by the department’s NIH training grant, and recently received a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from NIAAA. Feel free to contact me with any questions .
Hi. I’m Phuong Tran, but I go by Sisi. I’m a first year graduate student rotating in Dr. Tom Beveridge’s lab. My current project is to investigate the changes in the glutamate system underlying drug seeking behavior. In the lab, we utilize the self-administration model on rodents. I chose Wake Forest because of its renowned program in Neuroscience research, especially in the field of drug addiction. In addition, through my interaction with the faculty here, I feel that they truly care about the students. Feel free to contact me if you have any question at .
I am a fourth year graduate student working in Dr. Susan Fahrbach’s Insect Neurobiology Laboratory. I am currently examining the correlates of synaptic density of the honey bee (Apis mellifera) mushroom body (an arthropod brain region involved in learning and memory) and performance on a challenging, visually oriented task. Our lab is very interested in the functional consequences of adult brain plasticity; in other words, what does a bigger brain afford an individual? During my first two years in the Neuroscience Program, I was supported by an NIH Predoctoral Training Grant in the Neurosciences (under Dr. Ronald Oppenheim), and I am now supported by an internal grant from the Center for Molecular Communication and Signaling. .
I’m a third year graduate student working in Stephen Walker’s lab at Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine. I’m interested in the role of the autonomic and enteric nervous systems on GI motility and cardiovascular function in pediatric populations, specifically in children with functional GI disorders and Autism Spectrum Disorders. I chose Wake Forest because it provides a very welcoming environment for students from many backgrounds as well as a wide range of research opportunities including addiction, development, and clincial studies. I have also experienced first-hand that the faculty here really care and listen to the needs of the students, which helps create our very collaborative and enriching program. For more information about the Neuroscience program and the surrounding neuroscience community, check out The Neurotransmitter newsletter here! Feel free to contact me with any questions at .