Miriam Aceves

Dr. Michelle Hook's Lab

Phone: 979-436-0372

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Miriam received  her Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from Texas A&M University in 2011. During her undergraduate career, she worked as a research assistant for Dr. Harmon-Jones and Dr. Meagher, studying social emotive neuroscience and affective pain modulation, respectively.  In 2011, she was accepted into the Texas A&M Institute for Neuroscience, seeking a Neuroscience Ph.D. Currently, she is a graduate student working with Dr. Michelle Hook whose laboratory explores injury and recovery processes in a rodent model of spinal cord injury (SCI).

Miraim's research interests include examining the effects of morphine administration following SCI and its implications for recovery of function. Previously, Dr. Hook's lab has shown that a single dose of morphine in the acute phase of injury undermines recovery of locomotor function, increases mortality, attenuates weight gain, and increases pain reactivity (Hook et al., 2007, 2009). Miriam's current work extends these findings by evaluating the role of the specific opioid receptor systems in this morphine-induced attenuation of functional recovery. Furthermore, she is interested in the potential for addiction following SCI which is studied in the lab using a self-administration paradigm. Finally, she is also pioneering studies using implantable telemetry devices to monitor physiological changes that might accompany depression. Telemetric monitoring will also allow the lab to assess changes in home-cage activity levels that might account for differential recovery of locomotor function following SCI.

Shu-Hui Chuang

Dr. Samba Reddy's Lab

Phone: 979-436-0385

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Born and raised in Taiwan, Shu-Hui completed her Bachelor degree in Microbiology and Immunology from National Chiayi University and received her Master of Science in Physiology with a concentration in hypothalamic neuronal circuits from National Cheng Kung University, where she developed her passion in neuroscience research. Shortly after graduating, she worked as a research assistant in Department of Pharmacology at National Taiwan University and published 3 scientific papers in cancer research. Desiring to share her love of neuroscience research, she joined TAMHSC to pursue doctoral degree in 2013. She is working with Dr. D. Samba Reddy in epilepsy research with an emphasis on neurosteroids modulation and GABA-A receptor plasticity. When not working, Shu-Hui likes to travel and the outdoors. One of her lifetime goals is to visit all the places in the world map. She has been to Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Australia, Germany, and she is now in North America! Her short-term goal is to visit all the national parks in America!

Shu-Hui’s main research interest is to unravel the interaction of neurosteroids with GABA-A receptor heterogeneity and its application in epilepsy treatment. She focuses on the influence of neurosteroids modulation on delta-containing GABA-A receptor mediated tonic and phasic currents within the hippocampus by using whole-cell patch clamp recording in slices and dissociated neurons in transgenic mouse model. She is also interested in exploring the role of GABA-A receptor delta subunit in mouse hippocampal development.

Nihal Salem

Dr. Rajesh Miranda's Lab

Phone: 979-436-0370

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Nihal is a PhD student studying Neuroscience at Texas A&M Institute of Neuroscience. She earned her Master’s degree in Biotechnology from Texas A&M University and her B.Sc. in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the Faculty of Pharmacy, Ain Shams University, Egypt. Nihal has been working in Dr. Rajesh Miranda’s lab since 2014. She is interested in studying RNA biology, specifically the biology of long non-coding RNAs and their implications for neural stem cell pluripotency and maturation. Nihal currently focus on assessing pseudogenes belonging to the OCT4 pluripotency factor family, studying their association with miRNAs. Her working hypothesis is that these pseudogene family members might act as miRNA sponges preventing miRNAs from repressing their targets. She is particularly interested in the role of these non-coding RNA regulatory pathways in mediating the teratogenic effects of drugs of abuse like alcohol in fetal alcohol syndrome.

Justin Samorajski

Dr. Farida Sohrabji's Lab

Phone: 979-436-0370

Justin Samorajski works in the lab of Dr. Farida Sohrabji in the department of Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics. His thesis work focuses on long term recovery from stroke and combating disabilities such as post stroke depression. More specifically his research includes testing novel therapeutic drugs aimed at providing greater survivability, recovery of function, and quality of life for patients recovering from stroke.

His undergraduate research includes work at Johns Hopkins University at the Institute of NanoBioTechnology in the lab of Dr. Peter Searson where he developed a microfluidic platform for three dimensional cell motility analysis with applications in oncology and neuroregeneration. He also did research in the department of Chemistry at the California Institute of Technology in the lab of Dr. James Heath, developing a point-of-care microfluidic platform for multiplex analysis of whole blood proteins with biomedical and patient care applications. At the University of Dallas he worked with Dr. Stephen Slaughter in the department of Biology where he lead a team of undergraduate researchers in a tissue engineering project that developed a 3D "Bio-Printer" which prints living tissue.

Shuo Wang

Dr. Mendell Rimer's Lab

Phone: 979-436-0370

ERK (Extracellular signal- regulated kinase) pathway is widely involved in cellular functions including meiosis, mitosis and post mitotic functions in differentiated cells. It has been implicated that ERK plays an important role in skeletal muscle development, maintenance, aging and pathology of muscular diseases. For the first time, we combined germ line Erk1 mutation with Cre-loxP Erk2 inactivation in skeletal muscle to produce mice lacking Erk1/2 selectively in skeletal myofibers. Animals lacking muscle ERK1/2 displayed stunted postnatal growth, muscle weakness, and a shorter life span. Furthermore, we found sternomastoid and tibialis anterior, two Type II muscles displayed fragmented neuromuscular synapses and a mixture of modest fiber atrophy and loss. More interestingly, we observed Soleus, a typically type I muscle, showed much more severity of fiber atrophy and loss. We are currently working on the mechanism why the muscle fiber process atrophy: the imbalance between muscle biogenesis and muscle wasting. Moreover, we would like to know why the Type I fiber is more sensitive to loss of ERK1/2 compared to Type II type. One explanation is Type I fibers have much more mitochondrion, which is critical to Type1 fiber activities. We have observed the mRNA and protein level of PGC-1 alpha, a key regulator of mitochondrial biogenesis, are both reduced significantly in ERK1/2 KO animals. Further research need to be done to interpret it.

Yifeng Cheng

Dr. Jun Wang's Lab

Phone: 979-436-0389

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Yifeng's research interest is to study neural circuit mechanisms of addictive behavior. As a Ph.D. candidate in the laboratory of Dr. Jun Wang, he investigates the role of dopamine D1 and D2 receptor-expressing (D1R and D2R) medium spiny neurons (MSNs) within the corticostriatal circuit in alcohol addiction. His research is focused on afferent input-specific and cell type-specific mechanisms underlying excessive alcohol consumption in a mouse model of alcohol addiction. To perform the research, he trained to and is currently able to utilize board techniques, including state-of-the-art optogenetics and chemicogentics (Designer Receptors Exclusively Activated by Designer Drug, DREADDs), to in vivo manipulate the activity of specific populations of neurons in the corticostriatal circuit of Bacterial Artificial Chromosome (BAC) transgenic mice. With this research, he hopes to understand how a specific neuronal population is involved in addiction-related behaviors, such as pathological excessive alcohol intake. His  ultimate career goal is to find new therapeutic approaches to treat alcohol addiction.

Bryan Clossen

Dr. Samba Reddy's Lab

Phone: 979-436-0378

Sharon Iype

Dr. Samba Reddy's Lab

Phone: 979-436-0324

Daniel Jones

Dr. Samba Reddy's Lab

Phone: 979-436-0370

Sam-Moon Kim

Dr. David Earnest's Lab

Phone: 979-436-0373

Andre Okoreeh

Dr. Farida Sohrabji's Lab

Phone: 979-436-0370