Latest campus and coronavirus information Roadrunner Return Fall 2020

Full Members

Principal Faculty

The Brain Health Consortium currently has 18 full members and 32 affiliate members.

Melanie Carless, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Biology, 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.

Research areas: Adolescent Health, Childhood Disorders, Stem Cells, Alzheimer’s Disease, Bioinformatics, Genetic, CRISPR, Omics

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.

Research areas: Human Cognition and Behavior, Military Brain Health, Mood and Anxiety Disorders, PTSD and TBI, Alzheimer’s Disease, Brain Wellness and Aging, Stress and the Brain

 


Ed Golob, PhD

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

Email: edward.golob@utsa.edu

Our 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.  We examine how auditory processing is affected by attention, memory, and the relations between perception and action. We 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.

Research areas: Human Cognition and Behavior, AI Tools, Alzheimer’s Disease, Brain Disorders, Brain Wellness and Aging, Brain-machine Interface, Motor Systems, Sensory Systems

 

Yufei Huang, PhD

Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Sciences

Email: yufei.huang@utsa.edu

My research is in the areas of computational biology, brain-computer interface, and machine learning. One of the current goals is to study the function of mRNA methylation using machine learning and high throughput sequencing technologies where we developed several widely used m6A data analysis pipelines. My lab also develops artificial intelligence systems for precision medicine and passive EEG-based brain-machine-interaction systems for an understanding of human cognitive behaviors.

Research areas: AI Tools, Computation, Modeling, Bioinformatics, Computational Biology, Data Management and Analysis, Omics, Systems Biology

 


David Jaffe, PhD

Professor, Department of Biology, 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.

Research areas: Intrinsic Properties, Networks, Ion Channels/Receptors, Synaptic Plasticity, Synaptic Transmission, Behavior, Biological Rhythms and Sleep, Sensory Systems, Anatomical Methods, Physiological Methods

 

Richard LeBaron, PhD

Professor, Department of Biology, College of Sciences

Email: richard.lebaron@utsa.edu

My central research interest is cell surface integrin receptor attachment to molecules of the extracellular matrix (ECM). The main goal of my lab is to understand the role of a proapoptotic ECM called BIGH3 in type II diabetes and tumor progression. We study integrin involvement in synapse formation in hippocampal long-term potentiation, ECM roles in the PNS and skin damage, and degeneration of female gender temporomandibular joint ECM causing pain.

Research areas: Synaptogenesis, Synaptic Plasticity, Neurodegenerative Disorders, Learning and Memory, Bioengineering, Cell Culture, Tissue Engineering


Hyoung-gon Lee, PhD

Associate Professor, John H. Doran, M.D., F.A.C.P., Distinguished Professorship in Peripheral Neuropathy, Department of Biology, 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. By elucidating the molecular mechanisms involved in Alzheimer’s disease, we hope to contribute to the development of novel therapies.

Research areas: Alzheimer’s Disease, Brain Disorders, Brain Wellness and Aging, Neurodegenerative Disorders, Parkinson’s Disease, Learning and Memory, PTSD and TBI, Animal Models

Lindsey Macpherson, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, 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.

Research areas: Axon and Dendrite, Synaptogenesis, Ion Channels/Receptors, Synaptic Plasticity, Synaptic Transmission, Neurodegenerative Disorders, Animal Cognition and Behavior, Sensory Systems, Anatomical Methods

 


Asif Maroof, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, College of Sciences

Email: asif.maroof@utsa.edu

My research interests are centered on the functionality of human stem cell-derived neural cells and the molecular mechanisms that maintain their health or induce dysfunction with aging, injury, or disease. Major aspects of my lab’s research are focused on studying the molecular mechanisms, cellular interactions, and pathophysiological processes that occur using human pluripotent stem cell-based models for of neurodevelopmental disorders and neurodegenerative diseases. Human pluripotent stem cells, derived from healthy patients or those with neurological disease, are directed to differentiate into specified neurons and astroglia using protocols developed by myself and of my colleagues.

Research areas: Neurodevelopment, Neurogenesis, Stem Cells, Glial Mechanisms and Disorders, Neurodegenerative Disorders, Parkinson’s Disease, Cell Culture, Cell Transplantation

Marcelo Marucho, PhD

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.

Research areas: Brain Wellness and Aging, Neurodegenerative Disorders, Cell Culture, Computational Biology, Computational Chemistry, Computational Neuroscience, Imaging, Physiological Methods


Christopher Navara, PhD

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. Samples from human patients are difficult to obtain and animal models may not faithfully mimic the disease. 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.

Research areas: Regeneration, Stem Cells, Parkinson’s Disease, Cell Culture, Cell Transplantation, Imaging, Molecular, Genetic, Precision Medicine

George Perry, PhD

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.

Research areas: Alzheimer’s Disease, Blood-Brain Barrier, Neurodegenerative Disorders, Anatomical Methods, Biomarker and Drug Discovery, Cell Culture, Precision Medicine, Systems Biology


John Quarles, PhD

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.

Research areas: Virtual reality, Mixed reality, Augmented reality, Serious games, 3D user interfaces, Interactive computer graphics, Human-computer interaction, Modeling and simulation

Amina Qutub, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, College of Sciences

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.  

Research areas: Systems Biology, Neurovasculature, Regeneration, Computational Modeling


Paul Rad, PhD

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

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.

Research areas: Human Cognition and Behavior, Learning and Memory, Behavior, Brain-machine Interface, AI Tools, Computation, Modeling, Computational Biology, Computational Neuroscience

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.

Research areas: Human Cognition and Behavior, Learning and Memory, Behavior, Brain-machine Interface, Sensory Systems, Stress and the Brain, AI Tools, Computation


Gabriela Romero Uribe, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, College of Sciences

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.

Research areas: Alzheimer’s Disease, Blood-Brain Barrier, Brain Disorders, Parkinson’s Disease, Motor Systems, Bioengineering, Biomedical Materials, Precision Medicine

Jing Yong Ye, PhD

Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, College of Sciences

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.

Research areas: Brain Injury and Trauma, Bioengineering, Imaging, Precision Medicine