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Recent Pharmacology Graduates

Recent Pharmacology Graduates

Lyndsey Anderson

CURRENT POSITION: Research Fellow, The Lambert Initiative for Annabinoid Therapeutics, Department of Pharmacology, School of Medical Sciences, University of Sydney, Australia
Defended Dissertation from the George laboratory on 2/28/2014, "Pharmacological and Genetic Rescue of Idiopathic Epilepsies"
Ph.D. Awarded: May 2015,
BS, University of Wisconsin, Madison (2008)

    Tom Beckermann

    CURRENT POSITION: Postdoctoral Fellow (Nam Lab), Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
    Defended Dissertation from the George laboratory on 5/15/2014, “Mutant Cardiac Sodium Channel Dysfunction Associated with Cardiomyopathy”
    Ph.D. Awarded: August 2014,
    BS, Webster University (2005)

      Andrea Belovich

      Defended Dissertation from the Galli laboratory on 12/14/2016, “Reverse transport of the dopamine transporter in neuropsychiatric disease: Mechanisms of regulation and dysfunction”
      Ph.D. Awarded: May 2017,
      BS, Arizona State University (2011)

        Kevin Bersell

        CURRENT POSITION: Medical Student, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
        Defended Dissertation from the Roden laboratory on 8/16/2016, “Functional and Transcriptional Mechanisms of Familial Brugada Syndrome”
        Ph.D. Awarded: December 2016,
        MA, Boston University (2010),
        BA, Saint Anselm College (2006)

          Katherine Betke

          CURRENT POSITION: Medical Student, Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth, Hanover, NH
          Defended Dissertation from the Hamm and Carneiro laboratories on 5/21/2014, “The Role of G protein βγ Specificity in Modulation of Synaptic Transmission”
          Ph.D. Awarded: December 2016,
          B.Sc., University of Victoria (2005)

            Erin Breland

            CURRENT POSITION:, "Dissecting the role of QseC in mediating QseBC-PmrAB signaling in uropathogenic Escherichia coli"
            Defended Dissertation from Maria Hadjifrangiskou's lab on 06/22/2017,
            Ph.D. Awarded: August 2017
            BS, Colorado State University (2012)

            I study two-component signal transduction interactions in uropathogenic E. coli (UPEC).  I focus on the interactions within and between the QseBC and PmrAB two-component systems. My primary goals are to discover what regulates the interactions between cognate and non-cognate partners and how this regulation is maintained under normal physiologic circumstances.

              Ron Bruntz

              CURRENT POSITION: Postdoctoral Fellow (Teresa Fan's Lab), University of Kentucky, Lexington
              Defended Dissertation from the H. A. Brown laboratory on 12/16/2013, "Identification and characterization of novel components in the phospholipase D activation pathway"
              Ph.D. Awarded: May 2014,
              BS, University of Kentucky, Lexington (2005)

                Jeffery Bylund

                CURRENT POSITION: Advanced Biosystems Specialist, Nikon Instruments Inc., Melville, NY, “BMP signaling regulation by GREMLIN 2 promotes proliferation and differentiation of human iPS cell-derived cardiac progenitors to cardiomyocytes”
                Defended Dissertation from Hatzopoulos laboratory on 03/02/2017,
                Ph.D. Awarded: May 2017
                BA, University of Utah (2008)

                Ryan Ceddia

                CURRENT POSITION: Postdoctoral Fellow, Sanford Burnham Prebys, Orlando, FL
                Defended Dissertation from the Breyer laboratory on 11/23/2015, “The Role of the Prostaglandin E2 EP3 Receptor in Obesity, Insulin Resistance, and Glycemic Control”
                Ph.D. Awarded: December 2015,
                MS, NC State (2007),
                BS, Ohio State (2015)

                  Qiuyan Chen

                  CURRENT POSITION: Postdoctoral Fellow (John Tesmer's Lab), University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
                  Defended Dissertation from the Gurevich and Iverson laboratories on 10/1/2015, “Structural Basis of Arrestin mediated GPCR signaling”
                  Ph.D. Awarded: December 2015,
                  BS, Tonji University (2010)

                    Rachel Crouch

                    CURRENT POSITION: Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Craig Lindsley's Lab), Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery, Vanderbilt University
                    Defended Dissertation from the Daniels laboratory on 11/1/2016, “Aldehyde Oxidase Drug Metabolism: Evaluation of Drug Interaction Potential and Allometric Scaling Methods to Predict Human Pharmacokinetics”
                    Ph.D. Awarded: December 2016,
                    Pharm.D., Lipscomb University (2012)

                      Tromondae (TK) Feaster

                      CURRENT POSITION: Technical Applications Scientist, Cellular Dynamics International, Madison, WI
                      Defended Dissertation from the Hong laboratory on 11/5/2015, “Implementation of Human-induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-derived Cardiomyocyte to Model Excitation-Contraction Coupling in Health and Disease”
                      Ph.D. Awarded: December 2015,
                      MS, Tennessee State University (2010)

                        Bryan Fioret

                        CURRENT POSITION: Postdoctoral Associate, Duke University
                        Defended Dissertation from the Hatzopoulos laboratory on 6/30/2014, “Endothelial cells serve as a cardiac progenitor population in the adult heart during homeostasis and contribute to repair after ischemic injury”
                        Ph.D. Awarded: August 2014,
                        BS, Centre College (2008)

                          Craig Goodwin

                          CURRENT POSITION: Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Channing Der's Lab), Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
                          Defended Dissertation from the Fesik laboratory on 10/21/2015,
                          “Targeting K-Ras, Pak1-Kinase, and Mcl-1 for the Treatment of Cancer”,
                          Ph.D. Awarded: December 2015,
                          BS, Erskine College (2009)

                            Odaine Gordon

                            CURRENT POSITION: Scientist, Achaogen Pharmaceuticals, South San Francisco, CA
                            Defended Dissertation from the Schneider laboratory on 3/13/2014,
                            “Oxidative Metabolites of Curcumin and their Biological Activity”,
                            Ph.D. Awarded: May 2014,
                            BS, Barry University (2008)

                              Michael Grannan

                              CURRENT POSITION: Postdoctoral Fellow, Neuroscience & Pain Research Unit, Pfizer, Inc., Cambridge, MA
                              Defended Dissertation from the Jones laboratory on 10/14/2016,
                              “Evaluating Novel Muscarinic Acetylcholine Receptor Potentiators for the Treatment of Cognitive Deficits in Schizophrenia”,
                              Ph.D. Awarded: December 2016,
                              BS, Purdue University (2010)

                                Karen Ho

                                CURRENT POSITION: Postdoctoral Fellow, Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Rhode Island
                                Defended Dissertation from the Calkins laboratory on 8/19/2014,
                                “The Transient Receptor Potential Vanilloid-1 Channel and Stress-Induced Astrocyte Migration”,
                                Ph.D. Awarded: December 2014,
                                BA, Boston University (2008)

                                  Max Joffe

                                  CURRENT POSITION: Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery, Vanderbilt University
                                  Defended Dissertation from the Grueter laboratory on 4/12/2016,
                                  “Nucleus Accumbens N-methyl-D-aspartate Receptor Function and Reward Learning: Implications for Cocaine Use Disorders”,
                                  Ph.D. Awarded: August 2016,
                                  BS, University of Maryland, College Park (2010)

                                    Matthew Karolak

                                    CURRENT POSITION: Health Innovation Challenge Team Leader, University of Washington
                                    Defended Dissertation from the Elefteriou laboratory on 7/1/2015,
                                    “Neurofibromin Regulated Signaling Pathways in Endochondral Ossification”,
                                    Ph.D. Awarded: August 2015,
                                    BS, University of Arizona (2010)

                                      Rob Lavieri

                                      CURRENT POSITION: Project Manager, Health Info Sys, Proj. 1, VICTR, Vanderbilt University
                                      Defended Dissertation from the H. A. Brown laboratory on 9/22/2014,
                                      “Synthesis, Development and Biochemical Characterization of Small Molecule, Isoform-Selective Phospholipase D Inhibitors and Photoactivatable Probes”,
                                      Ph.D. Awarded: December 2014,
                                      BA, Depauw University (2007)

                                        Michele LeNoue-Newton

                                        CURRENT POSITION: Research Analyst, Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center, Nashville, TN
                                        Defended Dissertation from the Spiller laboratory on 11/12/2015,
                                        "The Role of Alpha4 in regulating the PP2A family of serine/threonine phosphatases: a structural, biochemical, and cell-based approach",
                                        Ph.D. Awarded: December 2015,
                                        BS, University of Louisville (2000)

                                          Tu (Chou) Mai

                                          CURRENT POSITION: Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacogenomics Fellow, Department of Medicine, The University of Chicago
                                          Defended Dissertation from the Robertson laboratory on 5/30/2014,
                                          "Hypo-osmotic Effects in Cardiovascular Control: Hepatic and Renal Mechanisms Underlying the Osmopressor Response",
                                          Ph.D. Awarded: August 2014,
                                          BS, University of Wisconsin (2009)

                                            Matthew Mazalouskas

                                            CURRENT POSITION: Postdoctoral Scientist, Elanco, Indianapolis, IN
                                            Defended Dissertation from the Wadzinski laboratory on 3/7/2014,
                                            “The Composition, Regulation, and Function of Protein Serine/Threonine Kinase ● Phosphatase Signaling Modules”,
                                            Ph.D. Awarded: May 2014,
                                            BS, University of Southern Indiana (2004)

                                              A. Scott McCall

                                              CURRENT POSITION: Medical Student, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
                                              Defended Dissertation from the Hudson laboratory on 6/17/2015,
                                              “The Role of Peroxidasin in basement membrane physiology and human disease”,
                                              Ph.D. Awarded: August 2015,
                                              BS, Kansas State University (2009)

                                                Alex Nackenoff

                                                Defended Dissertation from the Blakely laboratory on 3/14/2016
                                                "​Determination of Requisite SERT Antagonism for the Acute and Chronic Behavioral and Biochemical Antidepressant Effects of SSRIs, as Revealed Utilizing the SERT Met172 Mouse Model"
                                                Ph.D. Awarded: May 2016
                                                BA, Macalester College (2009)

                                                  Michael Nedelcovych

                                                  CURRENT POSITION: Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Barbara Stauch Slusher's Lab), Drug Discovery, Johns Hopkins
                                                  Defended Dissertation from the Jones laboratory on 11/9/2015,
                                                  "​Selective Antagonism of mGluR5 Alters Sleep-Wake and Quantitative EEG and Ameliorates Behavioral Abnormalities in a Rodent Model of Traumatic Stress",
                                                  Ph.D. Awarded: December 2015,
                                                  BS,College of William & Mary, Williamsburg (2009)

                                                    Thuy Nguyen

                                                    Defended Dissertation from the Roberts and Aschner laboratories on 8/19/2016
                                                    “Oxidative Stress in C. elegans: Discovery of a Mechanistic Role for -Ketoaldehyde Lipid Peroxidation Products in the Free Radical Theory of Aging”
                                                    Ph.D. Awarded: December 2016
                                                    BS, Trinity University (2008)

                                                      Kendra Oliver

                                                      CURRENT POSITION: Instructor, Department of Pharmacology, Vanderbilt University
                                                      PREVIOUS POSITION: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Discovery Science Education, Vanderbilt University
                                                      Defended Dissertation from the Hamm and Carneiro laboratories on 7/28/2016,
                                                      “Novel implications of lost serotonin transporter function on platelet biology”,
                                                      Ph.D. Awarded: December 2016,
                                                      BS, Loyola University (2010)

                                                        Rene Raphemot

                                                        CURRENT POSITION: Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Chemistry, Duke University
                                                        Defended Dissertation from the Denton laboratory on 5/14/2014,
                                                        "Of Mosquitoes and Men: Targeting Inward Rectifier Potassium (Kir) Channels for the Development of New Therapeutics and Insecticides",
                                                        Ph.D. Awarded: August 2014,
                                                        BS, Morgan State University (2009)

                                                          Sara Savage

                                                          CURRENT POSITION: Graduate Student, Department of Biomedical Informatics, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
                                                          Defended Dissertation from the Penn laboratory on 8/21/2015,
                                                          "​The role of PPARβ/δ in diabetic retinopathy",
                                                          Ph.D. Awarded: December 2015,
                                                          BS, Miami University (2009)

                                                            Lisa Murphy Scudder

                                                            CURRENT POSITION: Postdoctoral Researcher, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University
                                                            Defended Dissertation from the George laboratory on 3/24/2014,
                                                            "The Physiology and Pathophysiology of the Fetal Splice Variant of the Cardiac Sodium Channel",
                                                            Ph.D. Awarded: May 2014,
                                                            BS, Albany College of Pharmacology & Health (2009)

                                                              Rebecca Klar Senter

                                                              CURRENT POSITION: Scientist, Pharmacology, Flexion Therapeutics
                                                              Defended Dissertation from the Conn and Niswender laboratories on 7/14/2015,
                                                              “The Role of mGlu7 in Hippocampal Synaptic Plasticity: Implications for Novel Therapeutics for Rett Syndrome”,
                                                              Ph.D. Awarded: August 2015,
                                                              BS, St. Lawrence University (2010)

                                                                Cierra Spencer

                                                                CURRENT POSITION: Staff Research Associate III/Postdoc, Northern California Insititute for Research and Education
                                                                Defended Dissertation from the H. A. Brown laboratory on 12/30/2014,
                                                                "Biochemical characterization of a Pseudomonas aeruginosa phospholipase D",
                                                                Ph.D. Awarded: May 2015,
                                                                BS, University of Alabama (2009)

                                                                  David Stephens

                                                                  CURRENT POSITION: Scientist II, Nanotechnology Characterization Lab, Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research, Advance Technology Research Facility
                                                                  Defended Dissertation from the Hearth laboratory on 5/23/2014,
                                                                  "Nanonetworks as Innovative Platforms for Therapeutic Solubilization and Delivery",
                                                                  Ph.D. Awarded: August 2014,
                                                                  BS, University of St. Thomas (2009)


                                                                    Ebrahim Tahaei

                                                                    Graduate Student, Elefteriou laboratory
                                                                    MS, Tehran University of Medical Science (2008)
                                                                    BS, University of Tehran (2004)

                                                                    The overarching goal of my dissertation is to find pharmacological approaches that could be used by surgeons to manage the difficult cases of fracture non-union (pseudarthrosis (PA)) in children with Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1). NF1 patients have loss of function mutations in NF1, a gene that encode the RAS GAP Neurofibromin (a RAS inhibitor). Bone healing process needs functional osteoblasts that restore the structural and mechanical properties of the bone. Failure in bone healing suggests that there is a malfunction in this process. Indeed at a molecular & cellular level, my laboratory has shown that there is a block that impairs Nf1 deficient osteoprogenitors from differentiating towards mature osteoblasts, which may be causing PA. My work builds on the concept that by identifying and correcting this block, osteoprogenitors in NF1 patients will be capable of differentiating towards osteoblasts and to contribute to effective bone repair.

                                                                    Emily Warren

                                                                    CURRENT POSITION: Postdoctoral Fellow, Morrow Lab, Brown University, Providence, RI, “Mitochondrial Dysfunction in the Striatum: Implications for L-DOPA Induced Dyskinesia”
                                                                    Defended Dissertation from the Konradi Lab on 1/25/2018,
                                                                    Ph.D. Awarded: February 2018
                                                                    BS, University of California, Berkeley (2010)

                                                                    My research project explores the role of mitochondrial dysfunction in L-DOPA Induced Dyskinesia. Previous work in our lab demonstrated that Parkinson's Disease (PD) patients with dyskinesia had reduced levels of mitochondrial DNA in the putamen relative to PD patients without dyskinesia. The aim of my project has thus been to establish a primary neuronal culture model of mtDNA reduction, and determine the functional ramifications of this mitochondrial insult.


                                                                    Cody Wenthur

                                                                    Goal for the PhGSA:

                                                                    Foster effective communication between students, faculty, and administration in order to align the goals of the department and the goals of the graduate student body. Effective, bidirectional communication of expectations and challenges will allow the department to continuously improve, while simultaneously preparing students for success in a rapidly changing job market. In order to further this goal, the PGSA needs to position itself as conduit for the collective wishes of the graduate students, and as an active participant for all departmental proposals that directly impact students.

                                                                      Jing Wu

                                                                      CURRENT POSITION: Postdoctoral Research Scholar (Curt Sigmund's Lab), Department of Pharmacology, University of Iowa
                                                                      Defended Dissertation from the Harrison laboratory on 10/29/2014,
                                                                      “Roles of oxidation and inflammation in aortic stiffening”,
                                                                      Ph.D. Awarded: December 2014,
                                                                      BM, Peking Univ. Health Science Center (2009)


                                                                        Yun Young (Susan) Yim

                                                                        Graduate Student, Hamm laboratory
                                                                        BS, University of California, San Diego (2010)

                                                                        Regulation of neurotransmitter release by activated Gi/o-type G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) is of relevance to not only normal brain function and but also to neural disease, such as anxiety, depression, and working memory deficiency disorders. From various known mechanisms, I am particularly interested in Gbg, one of the essential signaling units of activated GPCRs, and their interaction with soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptor (SNARE). Using biophysical and biochemical approaches such as a quantitative mass spectrometric targeted multiple reaction monitoring, I intend to elucidate the in vivo expression and localization of neuronal Gb and Gg subunits, and Gbg specificity to auto- and hetero a2a adrenergic receptors and SNARE.

                                                                        Isaac Zike

                                                                        CURRENT POSITION:
                                                                        Defended Dissertation from the Veenstra-VanderWeele laboratory on 5/15/2017
                                                                        “Investigating the Role of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Candidate Gene SLC1A1 in the Basal Ganglia and Repetitive Behavior”
                                                                        Ph.D. Awarded: August 2017
                                                                        BS, University of Minnesota (2010)

                                                                        The focus of my thesis work has been on the obsessive-compulsive disorder candidate gene SLC1A1 and its corresponding protein, excitatory amino acid transporter 3 (EAAT3). Primary forms of pharmacotherapy for OCD are serotonin reuptake inhibitors however patients with clinically significant OCD show relatively poor response and novel rationally designed therapeutics are needed to treat the underlying causes of the disorder. The current hypothesis in the field is that hyperactivity of the basal ganglia, in which SLC1A1/EAAT3 is expressed, underlie the disorder. By using a combined transgenic and behavioral pharmacology approach, our lab has shown that constitutive reduced expression of Slc1a1/EAAT3 in a mouse model results in alterations in dopaminergic neurotransmission in the dorsal striatum and reduced liability to the induction of OCD-relevant repetitive behavior. Our hopes in the Veenstra-VanderWeele lab are to understand how altered EAAT3 function leads to alterations in glutamatergic and dopaminergic system in the basal ganglia and improve our understanding of the pathophysiology of OCD.  Continued investigation of Slc1a1/EAAT3 in novel transgenic models offer a unique opportunity to investigate the role of EAAT3 function in OCD-implicated neural circuits, potentially motivating the development of a new, rationally-designed treatment for the OCD patient population. 

                                                                        Zack Zurawski

                                                                        CURRENT POSITION: Postdoctoral Fellow (Heidi Hamm's Lab), Department of Pharmacology, Vanderbilt University
                                                                        Defended Dissertation from the Hamm laboratory on 1/11/2016,
                                                                        "The molecular requirements of the Gβγ-SNARE interaction",
                                                                        Ph.D. Awarded: May 2016,
                                                                        BS, SUNY at Buffalo (2009)