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Current Trainees

Current Trainees

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John Gadbery

Postdoctoral Scholar/ Jackson Lab

John received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Structural Biology from Stony Brook University, where he studied the structures of membrane protein interactions using mass spectrometry-based methodologies. At Vanderbilt, John is interested in determining the structural and molecular mechanisms involved in AP-4 mediated membrane trafficking, deficiencies in which cause rare autosomal neurological disorders.


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Deborah Joyce Luessen

Postdoctoral Scholar/ Conn Lab

Deborah received her Ph.D. from Wake Forest University in the department of Physiology and Pharmacology, where she studied molecular and cellular determinants of substance use disorders. Deborah’s postdoctoral research training at Vanderbilt University focuses on investigating the contribution of metabotropic glutamate receptors in regulating neuronal circuit-based cellular, physiological and behavioral aberrations underlying neuropsychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia and substance use disorders.


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James Sears

Postdoctoral Scholar/ Broadie Lab

I am researching the molecular and cellular function of Fragile X Mental Retardation Protein (FMRP), loss of which results in Fragile X syndrome (FXS), the most common heritable cause of autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disability. I model the disease state in Drosophila, working on conserved molecular machinery in the central brain learning and memory circuitry. I am focusing my investigations on activity-dependent signaling, cytoskeleton regulation and synapse formation/refinement. My aim is to dissect causes of and solutions for genetic sources of autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disability.