Our Team

Weinshenker Lab 2019

CURRENT TEAM

Primary Investigator

David Weinshenker, Ph.D.
dweinshenker@genetics.emory.edu
Click here to view Dr. Weinshenker's biography

Professor, Department of Human Genetics
Director, Neuroscience Graduate Program
Scientific Director, Rodent Behavioral Core

Staff Scientists

Jason Schroeder, Ph.D.
jpschro@emory.edu

Scientist, School of Medicine
Technical Director, Rodent Behavioral Core

Post-Doctoral Fellows

Claire Galloway, Ph.D.
crgallo@emory.edu

My research focuses on how the locus coeruleus, the major source of norepinephrine to the rest of the brain, is involved in Alzheimer's disease. Specifically, we use a transgenic rat model of Alzheimer's disease to investigate how pathological tau in the locus coeruleus impacts the development of cognitive impairments and spread of neuropathology in downstream brain regions, such as the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. The goal of this research is to contribute to the development of novel therapeutics that target the earliest stages of Alzheimer's disease.

Chicora Oliver, Ph.D.
chicora.oliver@emory.edu

Chicora Oliver

My work examines the neuroanatomical substrates of sleep and arousal, with a focus on dopaminergic cells in the ventral periaqueductal gray. Using electrophysiology, viral-vector-mediated tract tracing, and chemogenetics combined with electroencephalography, my research will elucidate novel sleep and arousal circuits with unprecedented cell-type specificity.

Graduate Students

Stephanie Foster
stephanie.lynn.foster@emory.edu

I am interested in exploring alternative therapies for drug addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder. My current project is testing whether unexpected, high-value natural rewards can curb reinforced cocaine-seeking and relapse-like behaviors in rats. By using operant conditioning and in vivo fast-scan cyclic voltammetry to correlate behavior with real-time dopamine release, we hope to learn how behavioral modifications can alter the value of different types of reward.

Alexa Iannitelli
aiannit@emory.edu

Alexa Iannitelli 

I am interested in locus coeruleus (LC) dysfunction in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. The LC is effected early and severely in both diseases, leading to symptoms such as depression and sleep disturbances in patients.  My research goal focuses on investigating the transcriptional profile of noradrenergic neurons in the LC across disease stages. This will allow us to identify the underlying molecular mechanisms responsible for LC dysfunction in these neurodegenerative diseases. 

Michael Kelberman
michael.kelberman@emory.edu

Michael Kelberman

I am generally interested in understanding the function of the locus coeruleus during health and disease. Specifically, my project focuses on the role of tau pathology in the locus coeruleus during all phases of Alzheimer’s disease. I use a combination of electrophysiology, optogenetics, and functional magnetic resonance imaging in a rat model of Alzheimer’s disease to better understand how pathology alters normal locus coeruleus function. Through this work, I hope to elucidate potential therapeutic avenues aimed at curing Alzheimer's disease.

Danny Lustberg
daniel.jordan.lustberg@emory.edu

Danny Lustberg 

I am in interested in advancing the understanding of the neurobiological and neurochemical mechanisms that contribute to psychiatric disorders. Currently, I am investigating the role of the locus coeruleus norepinephrine (LC-NE) system in the expression of anxiety with an emphasis on anxiety induced by exposure to novel environments. By using pharmacological and genetic manipulations of the LC-NE system, I hope to elucidate the circuits and adrenergic receptors involved in both normal and pathological anxiety states in order to develop more specific pharmacotherapies for the treatment of anxiety disorders. 

Rachel Pearcy
rachel.c.pearcy@emory.edu

I'm broadly interested in understanding the neurobiological mechanisms underlying psychiatric disorders. My project currently focuses on determining how hyperactivity of the noradrenergic locus coeruleus (LC) and release of the neuropeptide galanin from the LC may mediate depressive behavior. By using DREADDs and optogenetics in combination with various mouse strains with altered  norepinephrine or galanin transmission, we hope to elucidate the role of the LC and galanin in depression.

 

Laboratory Technicians

Canaan Jerome
canaan.jerome@emory.edu

Senior Research Specialist
Department of Human Genetics

Undergraduate Students

Shiv Chawla
shiv.chawla@emory.edu

Shiv Chawla

Andy Chen
andy.chen@emory.edu

Andy Chen

Ryan McCann
ryan.mccann@emory.edu

Genevieve Wilson
genevieve.elyse.wilson@emory.edu

Genevieve Wilson

ALUMNI

Post-Doctoral Fellows

Booke Bourdelat-Parks
bbparks@gmail.com

Director of Science Education
Tennessee Aquarium, Chattanooga

Daniel Manvich, Ph.D.
dmanvic@emory.edu

Assistant Professor, Department of Cell Biology & Neuroscience
Rowan University

Darlene Mitrano, Ph.D.
darlene.mitrano@cnu.edu

Associate Professor, Department of Molecular Biology & Chemistry
Christopher Newport University

Kirsten Porter-Stransky, Ph.D.
K.Porter-Stransky@med.wmich.edu

Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences
Western Michigan School of Medicine

Jacki Rorabaugh, Ph.D.
jacki.m.rorabaugh@emory.edu

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Medical Science Liason
Teva Pharmaceuticals

Graduate Students

Termpanit (Natty) Chalermpalanupap
tchaler@emory.edu

Medical Science Liason
Allergan

Debra Cooper, Ph.D.
debra.cooper@ccst.us

Principal Consultant
California Senate Appropriations Committee

Alisha Epps, Ph.D.
aepps@whitworth.edu

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology
Whitworth University

Meriem Gaval-Cruz, Ph.D.
meriem.gaval@gmail.com

Research and Alliances Officer
University of Maryland Baltimore

Heather Mitchell, Ph.D.
hmitchell@wisc.edu

Behavioral Core Manager, Waisman Center
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Yvonne Ogbonmwan
yogbonm@emory.edu

Associate Project Manager
Q2 Solutions

Karen Rommelfanger, Ph.D.
krommel@emory.edu

Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology
Director, Neuroethics Program, Center for Ethics
Emory University

Jesse Schank, Ph.D.
jschank@uga.edu

Associate Professor, Department of Physiology & Pharmacology
University of Georgia

Karl Schmidt, Ph.D.
karl.t.schmidt@gmail.com

Postdoctoral Fellow, Smith Lab
Davidson College

Kroshona Tabb, Ph.D.
Kroshona.Tabb@va.gov

Program Specialist, Geriatrics and Extended Care
Birmingham VA Medical Center

Undergraduate Students

Christian Botz-Zapp
christian.botz-zapp@emory.edu

Postbac, NIMH

Brice Bowerman
brice.bowerman@gmail.com

Medical Student
Medical College of Georgia

Anjani Chitrapu, M.D.
anjanichitrapu@gmail.com

Pediatric Neurology Resident
Cincinnati Children's Medical Center

Patrick Curtin
pbcurtin@gmail.com

Medical Student
Boston University School of Medicine

Vanessa Fu
vfu@emory.edu

Medical Student
University of Louisville School of Medicine

Katharine Henry
kkatyhenry@gmail.com

Medical Student
Mayo Clinic School of Medicine, Arizona Campus

Latha Karne
saumya.latha.karne@emory.edu

Medical Student
Auburn College of Osteopathic Medicine

Natalie Lembeck
natalie.lembeck@gmail.com

Research Assistant
Johns Hopkins University

Jennifer Leveille
jen.leveille@emory.edu

Lead Research Specialist
Emory Integrated Genomics Core Lab

Sharon Lin, M.D.
sharonjlin@gmail.com

Otolaryngology Resident
UC Davis Medical Center

Andrew Mezher
andrewmezher@gmail.com

Medical Student
Creighton University

Daniel Puttick
daniel.puttick@gmail.com

Programmer, Recurse Center

Pamela Romero
promero@emory.edu

Neuroscience & Behavioral Biology Major
Emory University

Taylor Stowe
tstowe@wakehealth.edu

Graduate Student, Physiology & Pharmacology
Wake Forest University

Wendy Xiao
wnd.xiao@gmail.com

M.D./Ph.D. Candidate
Yale School of Medicine

Eagan Zettlemoyer
ezettle93@gmail.com

Research Specialist
Emory University