People

10-3061-PHARMALABS-0101

Principal Investigator

FARB David H. Farb, Ph.D., Professor and Chairman of Pharmacology

As head of the Laboratory of Molecular Neurobiology, he focuses on the identification of pharmacological treatments for mental disorders of learning and memory. His research integrates existing electrophysiological, behavioral, pharmacological, and molecular genetic technologies in a novel systems-level platform for assessing the impact of cognitive enhancers such as neuroactive steroids upon fundamental hippocampal systems for pattern separation (encoding), and pattern completion (retrieval) that are believed to be essential for cognition in all mammals, including man.

     

    Senior Laboratory Staff

    DowningScott-150x150 Scott Downing, Ph.D.Bioinformatics Research Scientist
    10-3009-PHARMAHEAD_Kumaresan-015-150x150 Vidhya Kumaresan, Ph.D., Research Assistant Professor

      10-3061-PHARMALABS-0092 Marcia Ratner, Ph.D., Project Manager
      Dr. Ratner is the senior member of the in vivo electrophysiology team which is investigating how drugs alter learning and memory function in freely behaving rodents.  The major advantage of in vivo electrophysiology over other functional measures of neural activity such as regional cerebral blood flow is in the ability of this technology to differentiate the activity of inhibitory interneurons from that of excitatory pyramidal cells both across brain regions and within subregions. This highly translational approach is well suited for target-based as well as repurposing studies of drug-induced changes in both single unit activity and local field potentials. 

        Research Technicians

        Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 12.39.54 PM Ryan BadolatoResearch Technician

        Ryan earned his bachelors degree in Neuroscience from Boston University where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.  Ryan’s work focuses on determining the mechanism and molecular consequences of neuroactive steroid application in cultured cortical neurons.  Ryan has played a key role in our studies of how neuroactive steroids modulate calcium signaling. His work is helping to advance our understanding of the role neuroactive steroids play in modulating neural network activity and how these compounds can be used to treat cognitive disorders.

           

          Post Doctoral Fellows

          Rumani Singh Rumani Singh, Ph.D.

          Rumani earned her doctoral degree in Life and Environmental Sciences from Tsubuka University in Japan where her doctoral work was focussed on elucidation of molecular and cellular signaling pathways involved in cellular senescence, apoptosis and cell cycle regulation in various cancer and neuronal cell lines.  She is currently working with us to understand the role of neurosteroids in leaning and memory functions. 

             

            Graduate Students

            Sugunan Image Kavitha Sugunan, Ph.D. candidate, Program in Biomolecular Pharmacology/ Program in Biomedical Neuroscience
            Kavitha’s work involves elucidating the role of endogenous neurosteroids and the potential use of these compounds as therapeutics for the treatment of cognitive deficits associated with schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease. She is currently investigating the downstream consequences of a pregnenolone sulfate-induced increase in intracellular calcium concentrations and the effect this has on postsynaptic receptor trafficking using various in vitro methods.  Kavitha aspires to deepen her understanding of neuropsychiatric disorders and translate these findings into novel clinical treatments.

               

              Recent Alumni

              IMAG0356 Conor Smith, Ph.D., Program in Biomolecular Pharmacology/ Program in Biomedical Neuroscience, 2014.  Congratulations Conor!Conor is currently a Post Doctoral Fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Mary Jo LaDu at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

                AAEAAQAAAAAAAAZhAAAAJGMwZjkxZTAzLTIxN2YtNDBlZi1iZjhmLTQ2YmRiNDM1MDE4NQ Tara Stewart, Ph.D., Program in Biomolecular Pharmacology/ Program in Biomedical Neuroscience, 2014. Congratulations T!Tara is employed as an Analyst at Decision Resources.

                   

                  Undergraduate Students

                  920198_10200832613447952_1942573613_o John Morgan Adams, majoring in Neuroscience with a minor in Chemistry.
                  John received HHMI/UROP funding for the summer of 2014 and a UROP award for summer 2015.  He works with Dr. Vidhya Kumaresan researching pregnenolone sulfate effects on NMDA receptor trafficking. He is assisting Kavitha Sugunan with the image analysis.

                    Ana Castro, majoring in Neuroscience
                    Ana received funding through the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in the summer for 2014. She works with the in vivo electrophysiology team under the supervision of Dr. Marcia Ratner studying the effects of neurosteroids on neural network activity.
                    Alexia Maliakal, majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.  She is working with the in vivo electrophysiology group under the supervision of Dr. Marcia Ratner studying the effects of neurosteroids on neural network activity.
                    LMN headshot Syona Shetty, majoring in Neuroscience
                    Syona first joined the lab in the summer of 2013 when she was awarded an HHMI fellowship.  She had an HHMI/UROP award for the summer of 2014 and was a recipient of a UROP award for the summer 2015.  She is working with Dr. Vidhya Kumaresan to determine how pregnenolone sulfate modulates NMDA receptor trafficking in hippocampal neurons.
                    2014-04-18 12.41.48 Mateo Zambrano, majoring in Neuroscience with a minor in Public Health

                    Mateo first joined the lab in the summer of 2013 when he was awarded an HHMI fellowship.  He had an HHMI/UROP award for the summer of 2014.  Mateo has been involved with our research on the effects of pregnenolone sulfate on synaptic plasticity. He studied the effects of the steroid on dendritic spine density and morphology.  He works with Dr. Vidhya Kumaresan investigating how pregnenolone sulfate modulates NMDA receptor redistribution in hippocampal neurons.

                    Diana Abbas 2 Diana Abbas, majoring in Neuroscience

                    Diana joined the lab in the summer of 2015. Diana works with Dr. Vidhya Kumaresan.  She is actively involved in their ongoing research looking at the effects of pregnenolone sulfate on synaptic plasticity.  She uses Western blots and immunocytochemistry in her research to understand how pregnenalone sulfate affects NMDA receptor trafficking in rat hippocampal neurons.