Universtiy of Miami Miller School of Medicine Graduate and Postdoctoral Programs

Alumni Profiles

Cindy Achat-Mendes, PhD


Mentor: Y. Itzhak
Degree Granted: 2005
Investigation of Pavlovian Conditioning Using Models of Amphetamine-induced Neurotoxicity
Assistant Professor, Biology, Georgia Gwinnett College

Stephanie Adamczak, PhD


Mentor: R. Keane
Degree Granted: 2012
Molecular Recognition of dsDNA by the AIM2 Inflammasome Induces Neuronal Pyroptosis: Implications in Infection and Host Tissue Damage
Completing MD degree, UM Miller School of Medicine

Stephen Baccus, PhD


Mentor: K. Muller
Degree Granted: 1998
Enhancement of Electrical Signaling by Neuronal Morphology: New Presynaptic and Postsynaptic Mechanisms
Associate Professor, Dept. of Neurobiology, Stanford University School of Medicine

Mara Balda, PhD


Mentor: Y. Itzhak
Degree Granted: 2008
Roles of the nNOS gene, ontogeny, and gender in the behavioral and molecular effects of cocaine
Psychiatry Resident, University of South Florida

Heather Belmont, PhD


Mentor: Masters
Degree Granted: 2001
Growth factor participation in neural crest cell patterning
Miami Dade College, Dean, School of Sciences

Gregory Bigford, PhD


Mentor: R. Keane
Degree Granted: 2009
Peripheral Nerve Regeneration after Denervation
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, UM Miller School of Medicine

George Brittain, PhD


Mentor: J. Bethea
Degree Granted: 2009
Investigation of the Alternative NF-kB Pathway in Neurons and Neuronal Cell Lines.
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Univ. of TX, MD Anderson Cancer Ctr.

William Buchser, PhD


Mentor: V. Lemmon
Degree Granted: 2009
Exploring the molecule TAG-1 as the binding partner for L-1
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Pittsburgh

Gizelda Casella, MD, PhD


Mentor: M. Bunge
Degree Granted: 2002
Cellular Changes at the Injury Site and Beyond in Response to a Moderate Contusion to the Adult Rat Spinal Cord
Associate Scientist, UM Miller School of Medicine

Florence Chaverneff, PhD


Mentor: J. Barrett
Degree Granted: 2008
Understanding BMP-induced Smad signaling in septal neurons; Involvement in neuroprotection
Associate Scientist, UM Miller School of Medicine

Raul Corredor, PhD


Mentor: J. Goldberg
Degree Granted: 2011
Role of Soluble Adenylyl Cyclase in Neuronal Survival and Regeneration
Clinical Fellow, UM Miller School of Medicine

Yenisel Cruz-Almeida


Mentor: E. Widerstrom-Noga
Degree Granted: 2011
Functional Integrity of Somatosensory Pathways in the Neuropathic Pain Conditions after Spinal Cord Injury
Research Assistant Professor, University of Florida

Gary Danton, MD, PhD


Mentor: W. D. Dietrich
Degree Granted: 2002
Cerebrovascular Consequences of Common Carotid Artery Thrombosis
Assistant Professor, Diagnostic Radiology, Jackson Memorial Hospital

Andrew Darr, PhD


Mentor: P. Tsoulfas
Degree Granted: 2009
FGF2 Maintains the Proliferation of Neural Progenitors by Actively Suppressing the CKI p27Kip1 through Regulation of Cks1b Transcription
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, UM Miller School of Medicine

Anastasia Dimitropoulou, PhD


Mentor: J. Bixby
Degree Granted: 2003
Signals Regulating Neurite Growth
Proctor and Gamble

Hirokazu Fukui, PhD


Mentor: C. Moraes
Degree Granted: 2008
Mitochondrial Involvement in the Accumulation of Misfolded Proteins In Neurodegenerative Diseases.
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Stanford University

Orion Furmanski


Mentor: J. Sagen
Degree Granted: 2009
Manipulating Embryonic Neural Precursor Cells for Therapeutic Transplantation into a Rat Model of Neuropathic Pain
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Johns Hopkins University

Kevin Golden, PhD


Mentor: M. Bunge
Degree Granted: 2005
Fellow, Dept. of Pathology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School

James Guest, MD, PhD


Mentor: M. Bunge
Degree Granted: 1999
The proliferation of human Schwann cell grafts to influence spinal cord regeneration in the nude rat
Associate Professor, Dept. of Neurological Surgery, UM Miller School of Medicine

Amy Hower, PhD


Mentor: J. Bixby
Degree Granted: 2008
Receptor functions of the receptor-type protein tyrosine phosphatase PTPRO

Ana Jimenez, PhD


Mentor: Lonsbury-Martin
Degree Granted: 2000
Characterization of age and noise-induced cochlear changes with distortion product otoacoustic emissions in four inbred strains of mice
Associate Professor, Dept. of Biology, Barry University

Andrea Johnstone, PhD


Mentor: J. Bixby
Degree Granted: 2011
Overcoming Glial-Derived Inhibition of Regeneration in CNS Neurons: From Novel Compounds to Novel Uses for FDA Approved Compounds
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

Joshua Johnstone, PhD


Mentor: J. Bethea
Degree Granted: 2011
Astrocyte-Mediated Oligodendrocyte Death Following Spinal Cord Injury: Glutamate, Zinc, and Oligodendrocyte NADPH Oxidase Dependent Mechanisms
Associate Director of Research and Development at a pharmaceutical company

Jonathan Kalkstein, MD, PhD


Mentor: K. Magleby
Degree Granted: 2002
Lifting the mask of depression to reveal augmentation of transmitter release at physiological quantal content
Psychiatry Fellow/ Postdoctoral Fellow, San Francisco VAMC Neurosciences and UCSF, Dept. of Psychiatry

Jonathan Kelley, PhD


Mentor: Yossef Itzhak
Degree Granted: 2010
The roles of nitric oxide signaling and cAMP response element binding protein in fear conditioning
Postdoctoral Fellow, Johnson & Johnson, Beerse, Belgium

Brandon Kitay, PhD


Mentor: Grace Zhai
Degree Granted: 2012
Mechanisms of NMNAT/WLDS-Mediated Axon Protection
Completing MD degree, UM Miller School of Medicine

Brandon Kucher, PhD


Mentor: J. Neary
Degree Granted: 2005
Effects of purinergic receptor activation on LPS-induced TNF-alpha release
Neurology Resident, McMaster University, Canada

Allan Levi, MD, PhD


Mentor: M. Bunge
Degree Granted: 1994
Studies on the storage and proliferation of cultured human Schwann cells with observation of their capacity to myelinate rodent axons in vivo
Chair, Dept. of Neurological Surgery, University of Miami School of Medicine

Luminita Luca, PhD


Mentor: J. Barrett
Degree Granted: 2008
Oxygen Glucose Deprivation and Hyperthermia Induce Cellular Damage in Neural Precursor Cells and Young Neurons
Resident, Dept. of Psychiatry, UM Miller School of Medicine

Lana Jones Mawhinney, PhD


Mentor: H. Bramlett
Degree Granted: 2011
A mechanistic investigation of anesthesia-induced spatial learning deficits in aged rats
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

Donald McCorquodale, PhD


Mentor: S. Züchner
Degree Granted: 2011
Identification of Novel
Phospholipid Related Functions of Mitofusin 2 in Cell Models of Charcot-Marie Tooth Disease 2A
Completing MD degree, UM Miller School of Medicine

Shannon Mendes, PhD


Mentor: D. Liebl
Degree Granted: 2006
Multiple B-class Ephrins and Eph Receptors Regulate Midline Axon Guidance in the Developing Mouse Forebrain
Scientific Affairs Liaison, Johnson & Johnson

Darcie Moore, PhD


Mentor: J. Goldberg
Degree Granted: 2010
Transcriptional control of axon growth ability
Assistant Professor, Dept. of Neuroscience, University of Wisconsin – Madison

Thomas Morrissey, MD, PhD


Mentor: M. Bunge
Degree Granted: 1994
An in vitro study on the functional capabilities of Schwann cells derived from adult rat and human peripheral nerve: regulations of proliferation and differentiation in neuron-schwann cocultures
Associate Professor, Dept. of Emergency Medicine; Assistant Program Director, Emergency Medicine Residency; Clerkship Director

Paul Morton, PhD


Mentor: J. Bethea
Degree Granted 2011
Nuclear Factor-kB Activation in Schwann Cells Regulates Regeneration and Re-myelination

Rei Nakamura, PhD


Mentor: A. Hackam
Degree Granted: 2009
Investigation of Muller Glia Derived Dkk3 During Retinal Degeneration
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Washington University, St. Louis

Khanh Nguyen, PhD


Mentor: E. Barrett
Degree Granted: 2009
Functional Deficits in Motor Nerve Terminals and Their Mitochondria in Mouse Models of Amyotrophic
Lateral Sclerosis
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, UM Miller School of Medicine

Uzoezi Ozomaro, PhD


Mentor: S. Züchner
Degree Granted: 2011
The Genetic and Functional Analysis of the Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Spectrum
Completing MD degree, UM Miller School of Medicine

Justo Pablo, PhD


Mentor: D. Mash
Degree Granted: 1999
Norbogaine: an active metabolite of the indole alkolosis ibogaineas an anti-addiction pharmacotherapy
Associate Scientist, University of Miami

Michael Passineau, PhD


Mentor: W.D. Dietrich
Degree Granted: 2001
Functional recovery following injury to the brain: therapeutic effects of environmental enrichment
Assistant Professor, Gerald McGinnis Cardiovascular Institute, Allegheny General Hospital

Julie Pendergast, PhD


Mentor: J. Bethea
Degree Granted: 2007
Estrogen receptor ß contributes to gender differences in tyrosine hydroxylase expression in the mouse locus coeruleus.
Research Associate Vanderbilt Medical School

Alexander Peyser, PhD


Mentor: W. Nonner
Degree Granted: 2010
Theoretical Studies of Structure-Function Relationships in Kv Channels: Electrostatics of the Voltage Sensor
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, UM Miller School of Medicine

Alicia Pickrell, PhD


Mentor: C. Moraes
Degree Granted: 2012
Mitochondrial Involvement in Neurodegeneration and Aging
Postdoctoral Fellow, NIH/NINDS

Gillian Reierson, PhD


Mentor: M.-L. Wong
Degree Granted: 2010
Role of the Phosphodiesterase (PDE) System in Mediating the Effects of Chronic Antidepressant Treatment in Rat Brain
Completing MD degree, UM Miller School of Medicine

Howard Rind, PhD


Mentor: Whittemore
Degree Granted: 1999
Mechanisms of raphe neuron differentiation, control by protein kinase c and cyclin adenosine
monophosphate-dependent protein kinase and regulation of tryptophan hydroxylase expression
Senior Research Scientist, AmCyte, Inc.

Craig Roberts, PhD


Mentor: S. Roper
Degree Granted: 2008
cAMP Signaling In Chemosensory Transduction
Assistant Director of the Practice, Duke Institute for Brain Sciences, Duke University

Alma Rodenas-Ruano, PhD


Mentor: D. Liebl
Degree Granted: 2008
Ephrin B3 and EPH receptors regulate hippocampal synaptic function
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Andrew Rosendahl, PhD


Mentor: R. Bookman
Degree Granted: 2005
Transactional changes in spinal motor neurons during synaptogenesis
Resident, Dept. of Psychiatry, Mt. Sinai Medical Center

Stuart Samuels, PhD


Mentor: K. Muller
Degree Granted: 2009
Role of invertebrate gap junction hemichannels in mediating glial calcium waves and the neuroimmune
response to CNS injury.
Preliminary Residency Year, Mt. Sinai Medical Center Radiation Oncology Residency, University of Michigan

Sandra Schaal, MD, PhD


Mentor: D. Pearse
Degree Granted: 2008
Therapeutic Targeting of Phosphodieterase4 with Rolipram as an Acute Neuroprotective strategy following Spinal Cord Injury.
Assistant Professor, Radiation Oncology, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

Lamya Shihabuddin, PhD


Mentor: M. Bunge
Degree Granted: 1995
Characterization of a CNS-derived neuroepithelial precursor cell line following transplantation into the intact and injured CNS
Senior Scientist, Genzyme Corporation

Michael Sinclair, PhD


Mentor: N. Chaudhari
Degree Granted: 2012
Modulation of Peripheral Taste Function by Glial-Like Taste Cells
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Utah School of Medicine

Robin Smith, PhD


Mentor: V. Lemmon
Degree Granted: 2008
Transcriptional regulation in the peripheral nervous system and the role of STAT3 in axon regeneration
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, UC San Francisco

Nancy Stagliano, PhD


Mentor: W.D. Dietrich
Degree Granted: 1996
The Pathophysiology of Thromboembolic Stroke in the Rate is Sensitive to Manipulation of the Nitric Oxide Synthesis Cascade
Associate Director of Discovery Strategy and Communications, Millenium Pharmaceuticals

Laurie Stepanek, PhD


Mentor: J. Bixby
Degree Granted: 2004
Receptor protein tyrosine phosphatases involved in axon growth and guidance
Postdoctoral Research Associate, UC San Francisco

Minh Tran, PhD


Mentor: J. Neary
Degree Granted: 2005
Evidence that P2 Purinergic Signaling in Astrocytes Regulates Expression of N-Cadherin and Thrombospondin-1: Implications for CNS Injury and Development
Research Chemist, Veterans Affairs Medical Center

Bhavya Trivedi, MD, PhD


Mentor: Kramer
Degree Granted: 1999
Dynamics of Cyclic GMP Signaling in Neuronal Cells
Pediatric Cardiologist, St. Petersburg, FL

Michael White, PhD


Mentor: J. Barrett
Degree Granted: 2005
Heat stress-induced mechanisms of neuronal apoptosis
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Pennsylvania

Ryan Williams, PhD


Mentor: M. Bunge
Degree Granted: 2010
Intrinsic and Extrinsic Factors for the Regeneration of Brainstem Axons after Spinal Cord Injury
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine