Lab members

Postdoctoral researchers

Amit Berson, PhD

Amit investigates the molecular mechanisms underlying ALS/FTD with a focus on the contribution of epigenetic mechanisms and their potential use in developing novel therapeutics.

email: amitbe at sas.upenn.edu

Leeanne McGurk, PhD

Leeanne is interested in abnormal protein aggregation and how this impacts brain aging. Learn more here.

email: lmcgurk at sas.upenn.edu


Graduate students

China Byrns, MD-PhD candidate in Neuroscience

China studies the role of glia in the pathophysiology of traumatic brain injury, using a fly model to dissect the molecular mechanisms driving inflammation and decline post-injury.

email: china.byrns at uphs.upenn.edu

Chia-Yu Chung, PhD candidate in Genetics & Epigenetics

Chia-Yu investigates the role of transcription factors and complexes in the molecular pathophysiology of ALS/FTD.

email: chiach at pennmedicine.upenn.edu

Lindsey Goodman, PhD candidate in Neuroscience

Lindsey has developed a number of novel gain of function models for C9orf72-associated ALS/FTD. Her continued work uses these fly models and human derived samples to define disease mechanisms.

email: goodmanl at upenn.medicine.edu

Alexandra Perlegos, PhD candidate in Neuroscience

Alexandra focuses on the RNA modification N6-methyladenosine (m6A) and understanding its critical role in cellular stress as well as chronic stress states in the brain, particularly aging and degenerative disease.

email: perlegos at pennmedicine.upenn.edu

Janani Saikumar, PhD candidate in Biology

Janani developed and characterized a novel model of traumatic brain injury in flies and is using it to study perturbations of the cellular stress response and its role in TBI pathophysiology.

email: sjanani at sas.upenn.edu

Ananth Srinivasan, PhD candidate in Biology

Ananth studies the impact of microRNA-34 on healthy brain aging and susceptibility to neurodegenerative disease.

email: ananths at sas.upenn.edu


Staff

Olivia Rifai, Research specialist

Olivia originally joined the lab as an undergraduate in Penn’s Vagelos Scholars Program. In her current position, she investigates the role of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerases in TDP-43 degradation and Ataxin-2 toxicity in a fly model.

email: orifai at sas.upenn.edu


Undergraduate students

Joanna Inamagua, Research assistant 

Joanna is a sophomore at Penn. She works with Ananth understanding epigenetic modifiers of brain aging.

email: zhecheng at sas.upenn.edu

Zhecheng Jin, Research assistant 

Jin is a visiting junior at Penn. He works with China characterizing novel molecular processes involved in the response to traumatic brain injury.

email: zhecheng at sas.upenn.edu

Sofiya Patra, Research assistant 

Sofiya is a junior at Penn, majoring in Biology with a concentration in Neuroscience. She works with Alex studying the role of the m6A RNA modification in aging and cellular stress.

email: spatra at sas.upenn.edu

Luis Martinez Ramirez, Research assistant 

Luis is a senior at Penn, majoring in Biology with a minor in Chemistry. He works with Lindsey and has helped define the PAF1 complex as a modifier of C9orf72-associated ALS/FTD.

email: martluis at sas.upenn.edu