Spring semester updates & COVID info Roadrunner Roadmap

Members

Alfonso Apicella, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Neuroscience, Developmental and Regenerative Biology Department, College of Sciences

Email: alfonso.apicella@utsa.edu

Dr. Apicella’s research focuses on understanding how cortical microcircuits process sensory information to investigate the neural basis of perception and how it drives behavior. Towards this goal, by turning neurons "ON" and "OFF" using optogenetic and pharmacogenetic approaches, the lab can monitor and then manipulate specific subsets of neurons in awake behaving mice. These complimentary methods will help achieve a more complete understanding for how neural circuits in our brain support sensation, action, and cognition.

https://www.utsa.edu/sciences/labs/AlfonsoApicella/

Eric Brey, Ph.D.

Professor and Chair, Department of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering

Email: eric.brey@utsa.edu

Dr. Brey’s research uses cutting-edge biomedical engineering approaches to advance tissue regeneration. He uses biomaterials as scaffolds for promoting vascularization which could potentially assist in advancing the frontiers of regenerative medicine.

http://engineering.utsa.edu/biomedical/team/eric-brey/

Dr. Anthony Burgos-Robles, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Neuroscience, Developmental and Regenerative Biology Department, College of Sciences

Email: anthony.burgos-robles@utsa.edu

The main interest of Dr. Burgos-Robles’ lab is to understand alterations on brain function by psychological stress. Using animal models, the lab uses sophisticated tools to evaluate the evolution of stress-induced alterations in the activity of discrete neural populations and circuits in areas like the amygdala and prefrontal cortex. These areas contain key neural elements that exhibit stress vulnerability and reveal alterations on important mechanisms leading to emotional and behavioral deficits.

Astrid E. Cardona, Ph.D.

Professor and Department Chair, Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, College of Sciences

Email: astrid.cardona@utsa.edu

Dr. Cardona's lab focuses on the functional interactions between immune cells, microglia, neurons, and blood vessels, utilizing experimental mouse models of disease, immunological assays, flow cytometry, fluorescent activated cell sorting, microscopy and molecular biology approaches. Her main interest is on understanding the mechanisms of tissue damage in Multiple Sclerosis and Diabetic retinopathy, with additional areas such as the innate immune system, determining the origin of tissue injury, and testing neuroprotective therapies.

https://stceid.utsa.edu/lab-Cardona/index.html

Melanie Carless, Ph.D.

Associate Professor,Neuroscience, Developmental and Regenerative Biology Department, College of Sciences

Email: melanie.carless@utsa.edu

A large portion of my research is focused on understanding the genetic and epigenetic contributions to psychiatric and neurological disorders. We have ongoing studies and collaborations investigating bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, Alzheimer's disease and epilepsy.

https://www.utsa.edu/biology/faculty/MelanieCarless.html

 

Tracy Cowden, DMA

Roland K. Blumberg Endowed Professor in Music, Department Chair, Department of Music, College of Liberal and Fine Arts

Email: tracy.cowden@utsa.edu

I am a pianist, and my research interests include how music can be used to positively impact health and wellbeing. This includes how I can impact others as a performing artist, and how I can facilitate music learning to help others take an active role in their own health and wellbeing through music. I am seeking to understand the impact music can have on cognition and behavior, mood and anxiety disorders, PTSD, Alzheimer's Disease and overall brain wellness and aging. 

http://music.utsa.edu/index.php/faculty_page/tracy-cowden

Thomas Coyle, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Psychology, College of Health, Community and Policy

Email: thomas.coyle@utsa.edu

Dr. Coyle's research focuses on cognitive ability and its relationship to life outcomes, with emphasis on non-IQs factors (e.g., factors unrelated to IQ) such as personality traits and ability tilt. He is Associate Editor of the journal Intelligence. He has published research on intelligence and its relationship to academic and work outcomes, on group differences in cognitive ability, on the biological basis of cognitive abilities, and on non-IQ factors related to life outcomes at school and work

 

Doug E. Frantz, Ph.D.

Max and Minnie Tomerlin Voelcker Distinguished Professor, Chemistry Department, College of Sciences

Email: doug.frantz@utsa.edu

The centralized theme of research in my lab involves the application and development of new synthetic methodology in organic chemistry that can provide new avenues of chemical reactivity while maintaining practicality. Many of the reactions we develop are mediated by late-transition metals catalysts via real-time quantitative techniques allowing us to rapidly screen new reactions and parameters with incredible efficiency. Furthermore, my lab is also involved with several medicinal chemistry programs aimed at developing new small molecule probes towards studying the mechanisms of stem cell differentiation and cancer. 

https://chemistry.utsa.edu/frantzlab/

Ed Golob, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Psychology, College for Health, Community, and Policy

Email: edward.golob@utsa.edu

Dr. Golob's lab studies aspects of hearing that are particularly important to humans, such as determining where a sound is coming from or recognizing speech and music. They examine how auditory processing is affected by attention, memory, and the relations between perception and action. They also strive to understand the cognitive and neurobiological differences that accompany normal aging, age-related neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, and speech fluency disorders with potential applications in AI tools and a Brain-machine interface. 

http://www.golobcogneurolab.org/ 

 

Marzieh Hajiaghamemar, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering

Email: marzieh.memar@utsa.edu

My research is primarily focused on traumatic brain injury (TBI) and brain biomechanics. By integrating in-vivo and in-vitro experiments, computational modeling, and brain biomechanics techniques, we aim to unravel the relationship between head biomechanical loadings and neuropathology pathways following TBI. Other areas of my research emphasis are on discovery of novel TBI biomarkers and addressing challenges with the translation of preclinical TBI knowledge to the human applications and clinical outcomes

https://engineering.utsa.edu/biomedical/team/marzieh-hajiaghamemar-memar-ph-d-p-e/

Willie Hale, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, College for Health, Community and Policy

Email: willie.hale@utsa.edu

Dr. Hale's research focuses on interpersonal perception, belongingness & authenticity, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). His research seeks to locate and expose easily identifiable risk or protective factors that can make an impactful difference to treatment outcomes, with the hopes that one day mental health treatment providers will be able to take a personalized medicinal approach to treating patients. Using statistical modeling and machine learning, we can examine treatment data to figure out why some treatments work for some individuals and not others. 

 

Brian P. Hermann, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Neuroscience, Developmental and Regenerative Biology Department, College of Sciences

Email: brian.hermann@utsa.edu

Dr. Hermann’s laboratory studies the basic biology of spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs), which are adult-tissue stem cells responsible for sperm production in the mammalian testis and which are essential for male fertility. Ongoing studies in the lab are focused on 1) how the pool of SSCs forms during development; 2) determining how SSC fate is regulated; 3) how SCC loss due to chemotherapy can be prevented; and 4) how SCCs can be used to treat male infertility. The lab’s work has potential implications for basic stem cell biology, reproduction, as well as translational significance for treatment and prevention of male infertility.

https://www.utsa.edu/sciences/labs/BrianHermann/

David Jaffe, Ph.D.

Professor, Neuroscience, Developmental and Regenerative Biology Department, College of Sciences

Email: david.jaffe@utsa.edu

My laboratory is interested in synaptic integration and plasticity in hippocampal neurons, associated with learning and memory, as well as neurodegenerative diseases. Our work primarily focuses on the hippocampal formation, a region of the brain important for the acquisition and consolidation of declarative information (i.e. facts and events) and one that is impacted early in Alzheimer’s disease. We are also interested in the integration of pain signals within dorsal root ganglia.

 

 

Dhireesha Kudithipudi, Ph.D.

Professor, Robert F McDermott Endowed Chair, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Director of AI Consortium

Email: dhireesha.kudithipudi@utsa.edu

My research interests are in neuromorphic computing, brain inspired AI algorithms, novel computing substrates (e.g.: memristors), energy efficient machine intelligence, and AI-Platforms.  I offer consulting services to startup firms and other agencies in Neuromorphic AI field. My team has helped pave a path to creating artificial intelligence platforms inspired by the brain and in development of neuromemristive AI platforms with continual learning capabilities.

https://www.nuailab.com/

Hyoung-gon Lee, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, John H. Doran, M.D., F.A.C.P., Distinguished Professorship in Peripheral Neuropathy, Neuroscience, Developmental and Regenerative Biology Department, College of Sciences

Email: hyoung-gon.lee@utsa.edu

My research is focused mainly on the understanding of the pathological mechanism(s) underlying the selective neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's as well as other disorders stemming from PTSD and TBI. By elucidating the molecular mechanisms involved in Alzheimer’s Disease, we hope to contribute to the development of novel therapies.

 

Soo Chan Lee, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, College of Sciences

Email: soochan.lee@utsa.edu

Dr. Lee's lab studies a broad range of fungi that pose serious threats to public health. In particular, one of the research goals is to elucidate the interactions between hosts and human pathogenic fungi, which will subsequently contribute to the development of therapeutic options. Another goal is to define the roles of the enteric mycobiota (fungi in the GI tract) in eating disorders. This could provide information for better understanding the etiology and novel factors associated with eating disorders in order to help develop improved treatment options. 

https://stceid.utsa.edu/lab-Lee/

Itamar Lerner, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, College for Health, Community, and Policy

Email: itamar.lerner@utsa.edu

I am a cognitive and computational neuroscientist. My research focuses on how the brain encodes, stores, and organizes information in memory. I approach these questions by studying unique learning states (e.g., during sleep, or in patients with psychiatric disorders) to elucidate the general underlying mechanisms involved. I also study the brain mechanisms behind creativity and insight and associative processes in semantic memory in healthy and schizophrenic individuals.

http://www.itamarl.com/

Stella Lopez, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, College of Health, Community and Policy

Email: stella.lopez@utsa.edu

 

Research areas: Behavioral Health in Minority Groups, Online Interaction, Personal Perception

Lindsey Macpherson, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Neuroscience, Developmental and Regenerative Biology Department, College of Sciences

Email: lindsey.macpherson@utsa.edu

Our lab is interested in investigating the sense of taste and the molecules, cells, and circuits involved in chemosensation from the tongue and gut to the brain. Investigating the connectivity between the gut and brain has never been more exciting. We are only beginning to understand the role of the gut in maintaining brain health, and how gut dysfunction or disruption can lead to neurodegeneration and other diseases.

https://www.macphersonlab.org/

 

Marcelo Marucho, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, College of Sciences

Email: marcelo.marucho@utsa.edu

Our research centers on the elucidation of the biophysical mechanisms underlying the stability, bundling formation and propagation of electrical signals along cytoskeleton filaments in normal and pathological conditions. We investigate the role of monomer mutations and intracellular environment alterations in dysregulated assembly, misleading protein binding, abnormal polymerization stability, and defective information processing.

 

John R. McCarrey, Ph.D.

Professor, Kleberg Distinguished University Chair in Cellular & Molecular Biology, Neuroscience, Developmental and Regenerative Biology Department, College of Sciences

Email: john.mccarrey@utsa.edu

Research in Dr. McCarrey’s lab is centered on the development, differentiation, and epigenetic regulation of mammalian germ cells and stem cells. The lab uses epigenomics approaches such as genome-wide methylation and transcriptome analysis. 

https://www.utsa.edu/biology/faculty/McCarreylab/

Stanton McHardy, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Research, Chemistry Department, College of Sciences

Email: stanton.mchardy@utsa.edu

The McHardy lab specializes in medicinal chemistry and drug discovery research across a number of therapeutic areas, including cancer, neuroscience/pain, infectious disease and diabetes. The lab executes custom synthesis of small molecules, medicinal chemistry and natural product synthesis research for small molecule drug discovery projects.

http://www.utcidd.org/

Sandra Morissette, Ph.D.

Professor and Department Chair, Department of Psychology, College for Health, Community and Policy

Email: sandra.morissette@utsa.edu

Dr. Sandra Morissette is Associate Dean for Research, College for Health, Community and Policy, a Professor of Clinical Psychology in the Department Psychology, and Director of the Trauma Health Research In Veterans Experiences (THRIVE) laboratory. Her research focuses on military health psychology, with a particular emphasis on PTSD, addictive behaviors, and functional recovery and impairment related to traumatic brain injury (TBI) in post-9/11 veterans.

 

Isabel A. Muzzio, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Neuroscience, Developmental and Regenerative Biology Department, College of Sciences

Email: isabel.muzzio@utsa.edu

Dr. Muzzio’s research focuses on the variables that affect spatial navigation and episodic memory - events occurring in specific contexts at particular times. Her lab investigates how neurons in the hippocampus and other areas of the medial temporal lobe form representations of context that facilitate navigation and memory encoding. Her lab addresses these questions conducting long-term single cell recordings in freely moving mice in combination with pharmacological, genetic, behavioral, and computational tools.

 

Christopher Navara, Ph.D.

Director Stem Cell Core, Associate Professor of Research, Department of Biology, College of Sciences

Email: christopher.navara@utsa.edu

My research focuses on the cellular biology of pluripotent stem cells. The repeated clinical failures of therapies for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease indicate the need for additional preclinical models of these complex conditions. Using human pluripotent stem cells, my group makes human neurons from Parkinson’s patients, tests their biology to better understand the disease, and test new potential therapies that may slow or stop its progression.

 

Leslie Neely, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Educational Psychology, Director of the San Antonio Applied Behavior Analysis Research Consortium

Email: leslie.neely@utsa.edu

Dr. Neely's work centers on progressing the treatment of children with autism with the science of applied behavior analysis (ABA). ABA therapy focuses on modifying the environment to teach skills, treat maladaptive behavior, and improve pro-social behaviors. She is also interested in developing pre-emptive treatment for infants and toddlers at-risk for autism as well as advancing telehealth and innovative technologies currently used. 

https://www.abautsa.com/

George Perry, Ph.D.

Professor, Semmes Foundation Distinguished University Chair in Neurobiology, Department of Biology, College of Sciences

Email: george.perry@utsa.edu

My research is primarily focused on the mechanism of formation and physiological consequences of the cytopathology of Alzheimer’s disease. I am currently working to determine the sequence of events leading to neuronal oxidative damage, and the source of the increased oxygen radicals, and the mechanism of the Amyloid β directed protective response.

https://https://www.utsa.edu/sciences/labs/GeorgePerry/

John Quarles, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science, College of Sciences

Email: john.quarles@utsa.edu

My interests include virtual reality, mixed reality, augmented reality, serious games, 3D user interfaces, interactive computer graphics, human-computer interaction, and modeling and simulation. The San Antonio Virtual Environments (SAVE) lab conducts research in virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality, simulation, 3D user interfaces, and serious games. Our projects have applications to training, education, and healthcare.

 

Amina Qutub, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering

Email: amina.qutub@utsa.edu

A fundamental goal of my lab is to uncover "the design principles, rules and decisions" human cells use to communicate during growth, and to use this information to impact human health. To bridge the gap between the lab's basic science and clinical impact, we work closely with clinical collaborators and design studies with human volunteers and patients where we can directly ask whether cellular changes are indicative of changes in whole body health or disease progression.  

https://www.qutublab.org/

Paul Rad, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Associate Professor of Information Systems and Cyber Security, College of Business

Email: paul.rad@utsa.edu

My research is at the cross section of high performance distributed computing systems and artificial intelligence algorithms (ML optimization and probabilistic graph). My research interests and relevance to Brain Health: 1) techniques such as AI and computational modeling and 2) sensory, motor Systems and behavior.

 

Christopher R. Rathbone, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering

Email: chris.rathbone@utsa.edu

I am interested in improving the regeneration of tissue by utilizing tissue-engineering based strategies whereby vascular structures and stem cells are used in conjunction with scaffolds and growth factors. Developments in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine have the potential to dramatically improve outcomes for a wide variety of diseases and injuries with cell-based therapies as well as bioreactor technology applications for skeletal muscle injuries and diseases.  

 

 

Stan Renard, DMA, DBA

Assistant Professor, Department of Music, College of Liberal and Fine Arts

Email: stan.renard@utsa.edu

I am a Bohemian Quartet founder and arranger, a virtuoso violinist, violist and active conductor. My current academic research focuses on applying computational modeling applications to the international music industry. Future directions include exploring how noise levels affects music consumers at live music venues employing EEG as a tool to assess the impact of noise on our brain.

 

Gabriela Romero Uribe, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering

Email: gabrielaromero.uribe@utsa.edu

Our research group focuses on investigating exclusive, powerful nanomaterials systems to manipulate cellular signals and behaviors which can be directly applied in the development of novel therapies for the treatment of brain diseases. Using these materials we engineer stimuli-responsive soft matter and other biocompatible nanomaterials for applications to areas such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Disease or in precision medicine and drug delivery. 

https://engineering.utsa.edu/guribe/

Fidel Santamaria, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Neuroscience, Developmental and Regenerative Biology Department, College of Sciences

Email: fidel.santamaria@utsa.edu

Dr. Sanatmaria is a computational neuroscientist with two main lines of work. The first one is to understand how the cerebellum processes and stores information in various areas with a focus on the Purkinje cell. His second line of research is in the theoretical arena to try to understand how the engram, the physical foundation of memory, is implemented by the interaction of processes spanning multiple scales of biological organization, from molecules to neuronal networks.

http://utsa.edu/SantamariaLab

Francesco Savelli, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Neuroscience, Developmental and Regenerative Biology Department, College of Sciences

Email: francesco.savelli@utsa.edu

Dr. Savelli is a computer scientist and AI researcher turned neuroscientist. His area of interest is in the use of perceptual information of external landmarks (e.g., from the visual system) and the internal sense of motion (e.g., from the vestibular or motor systems) to dynamically create your sense of location relative to a mental map of the surrounding environment. His lab is motivated by several broad questions: 1) What role exactly these systems have in the computations that are necessary for creating  and updating this map and your sense of location; 2) How subcortical regions participate in this process; and 3) How all this relates to other types of cognitive abstractions that the hippocampal formation creates beyond maps

 

Janakiram Seshu, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, College of Sciences

Email: j.seshu@utsa.edu

Dr. Seshu's research focus is to study how pathogenic bacteria interact with their hosts leading to infectious diseases such as Lyme disease and Q fever. The lab has started studies on how antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria influence physiological responses critical for healing of infected wounds. The lab also focuses on developing a variety of products such as vaccines, inhibitors of critical metabolic pathways, and modulators of host response to prevent bacterial infections. 

https://stceid.utsa.edu/lab-Seshu

Alicia Swan, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, College of Health, Community and Policy

Email: alicia.swan@utsa.edu

The Swan lab focuses on outcomes associated with traumatic brain injury. This includes understanding the emergence and/or severity of post-concussive symptoms following TBI  as well as developing and testing multimodal rehabilitative strategies that reduce or eliminate those symptoms. In particular, sensory conditions (e.g., hearing loss, tinnitus, dizziness), cognitive problems, and multimorbidity are of the most interest.

http://www.swanlab.org

Todd W. Troyer, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Neuroscience, Developmental and Regenerative Biology Department, College of Sciences

Email: todd.troyer@utsa.edu

Research in the Troyer lab focuses on the question of how neural activity is coordinated within neural circuits to produce behavior. His lab studies songbird and mouse vocalization to understand how the brain orchestrates activity on multiple timescales to produce a complex sequence of actions.

http://utsa.edu/troyerlab/

Matthew Wanat, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Neuroscience, Developmental and Regenerative Biology Department, College of Sciences

Email: matthew.wanat@utsa.edu

Dr. Wanat's research focuses on the neural circuits that control reward-seeking actions (positive reinforcement) as well as the avoidance of aversive outcomes (negative reinforcement). The lab is particularly interested in how the mesolimbic dopamine system governs actions in a regionally and temporally defined manner. The goal is to identify and reverse neural adaptations underlying aberrant motivational processes in models of psychiatric disorders.

https://www.wanatlab.org/

Nicole Y. Wicha, Ph.D.

Professor, Neuroscience, Developmental and Regenerative Biology Department, College of Sciences

Email: nicole.wicha@utsa.edu

Dr. Wicha studies the neurobiology of human language. Her research covers a wide age range from children to older adults. Her current research focuses on the neural mechanisms supporting the bilingual brain, including language comprehension and math cognition. 

Research areas: Bilingual Brain, Human Electrophysiology, Language and Math Cognition, Neurobiology of Human Language

https://www.utsa.edu/sciences/labs/NicoleWicha/

Jing Yong Ye, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering

Email: jingyong.ye@utsa.edu

My research has been focused on the development of novel technologies for optical biosensing and imaging. Our lab has developed a unique label-free biosensor based on a photonic crystal structure, which opens up a wide range of applications, such as detection of cardiac biomarkers, small molecule binding assays, and quantification of endotoxins. My lab has also been working on photoacoustic tomography and fiber-optic fluorescence detection, and, in addition, we recently synthesized a unique hybrid nanomaterial for drug delivery.

https://engineering.utsa.edu/jyye/

Guoquan Zhang, DVM, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, College of Sciences

Email: Guoquan.Zhang@utsa.edu

Dr. Zhang's research focuses on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms of protective immunity against aerosolized intracellular bacterial pathogens and developing novel approaches for discovery of safe, effective vaccines and immunotherapeutic strategies. To accomplish these broad goals, current projects in the lab are designed to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms of protective immunity against Coxiella burnetii infection and to develop a safe and effective vaccine against human Q fever.

https://stceid.utsa.edu/lab-Zhang