Current scholars and alumni

Current scholars

Name Department Mentor Description
Justin Carthage Psychology Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience Scott Bowen and Shane Perrine Jusin is interested in understanding the neuronal mechanism behind polysubstance use and how it impacts adolescent desire for social reward.
Samantha Ely Translational Neuroscience Program Hilary Marusak Sam’s research broadly focuses on the impact of childhood adversity on cognitive and emotional processes during development. As part of her research, she hopes to use real-time neurofeedback to deliver and study the neural mechanisms involved in mindfulness interventions for youth exposed to trauma.
Kailyn Fields Chemistry Matthew Allen Kailyn is interested in the development of redox-responsive contrast agents for MRI. Her research focuses on the synthesis of europium-containing contrast agents for imaging regions of hypoxia, low-to-no oxygen, in the body. Hypoxia is associated with many different diseases including cancer, kidney disease, and endometriosis. Outside of the biomedical sciences she is also interested in lanthanide luminescence, recovery of rare earth elements and first row transition metal elements, especially for use in technologies that have traditionally used low-abundant and costly noble metals.
Rosilyn Gborogen Nursing April Vallerand Rosilyn's research will be focused on The Experience of African American women who underwent mastectomy without breast reconstruction (MWOBR). She will be conducting a qualitative study to explore the lived experience of women who had MWOBR. The result of this study will help understand the experience of mastectomy without breast reconstruction, reasons why AA women choose not to have breast reconstruction after mastectomy and the impact of mastectomy on body image and quality of life in African American breast cancer survivors who have had MWOBR. 
Tamia Hague Nursing Dalia Khalil

Tamia's area of interest focuses on medically-induced traumatic stress and the utilization of biomarkers to increase the efficacy of mental health assessments and interventions that optimize health outcomes and relationships among parents, infants, and families.  

Elissa Kim Psychology Samuele Zilioli Elissa is interested in investigating psychosocial pathways (e.g., religiosity) associated with systemic inflammation (e.g., C-reactive protein) and physical health among older African American adults. 
Alyssa Kimbrough Pharmaceutical Sciences Steven Firestine Alyssa's research interests involve pharmaceutics and medical chemistry, where she proposes the development of novel anti-infective agents. Her goal is to improve the therapeutic outcomes of bacterial infections and minimize the emergence of antibiotic resistance.
Divine Pungi Pharmaceutical Sciences Marianna Sadagurski Divine’s research is focused on determining the cellular and molecular interplay between microglia neuroinflammation and ER stress response triggered by benzene exposure.
Manessa Riser Translational Neuroscience Program Tanja Jovanovic Manessa's primary focus is on the neurobiology of trauma. Her ongoing research is dedicated to investigating the effects of childhood trauma exposure on inhibitory control and understanding the crucial role of caregiver behaviors in alleviating negative mental health outcomes during childhood and adolescence.
Destiny Weaver Clinical Psychology Lisa Rapport Destiny plans to advance research exploring and improving the psychometric properties of psychological and neuropsychological assessments. She is also interested in better understanding how psychosocial factors influence cognitive and functional outcomes, particularly following traumatic brain injury and/or in older adults.

IMSD alumni

Name Department Mentor Description
Carlie Austin Nursing Ramona Benkert Carlie's area of interest is centered around generating research that influences change within our urban communities by reducing health disparities faced by the neonatal and pediatric population.
Rachel Carey Psychology Jessica Damoiseaux

Rachel will be using fMRI to explore her research interests in the evolution of selfhood, belief maintenance, and autobiographical memory during healthy and atypical aging. Her goals are to promote intersectional aging research that highlights underrepresented groups and to ultimately share gained knowledge through active community engagement.

Mario Cornejo


Tom Linz Mario's research focuses on improving the reproducibility of biological research by developing novel viscosity-based separations of biomolecules and cells using low-cost microfluidic devices.
Herson Astacio Cuevas

Ophthalmology, Visual and Anatomical Sciences

Maria Bykhovskaia Herson's research focuses on studying the properties of spontaneous transmitter release at individual active zones.
Eric Davis Chemistry Mary Kay Pflum Eric's research focuses on the study and characterization of biological systems to understand the roles that kinases and histone deacetylase (HDAC) enzymes play in healthy and diseased cells. Using Kinase- Catalyzed Cross-linking and Streptavidin Purification (K-CLASP) and HDAC mutant substrate trapping combine with proteomic mass spectrometry he can discover unidentified substrates that are directly and indirectly involved with kinases and HDACs.
Jesse Duque Chemistry James Bour Jesse worked in an organic synthesis lab that uses crystalline porous solids to effect selective chemical transformations. His efforts focused on supramolecular control of catalytic C-H borylation selectivity. He investigated how confinement in nanopores of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) can be used to invert selectivity observed in more conventional, solution phase catalysts.
Da'Jonae Foster Psychology Noa Ofen Da'Jonae will be working on research related to predicting individual differences in cognition.
Morgan Glover Psychology Shane Perrine
Morgan is utilizing a Fos-LacZ transgenic rodent model to investigate the neuronal ensembles related to the extinction of fear memories. She will be employing a fear conditioning paradigm and advances in functional neuroimaging with the use of pre- and post-test PET imaging with class IIa histone deacetylase (HDACs). Her goal is to examine the sex effects of fear learning and extinction to eventually aid in translational neuroscience research, assisting in a deeper understanding of the molecular basis of memory.
Christopher Jemison Medical Physics Michael Joiner Christopher Is attempting to elucidate the underlying biochemical mechanism of the FLASH effect, while exploring various techniques to enhance or inhibit the observed effect.
Garry Leonard Chemistry Charlie Fehl Garry is researching the creation and utilization of synthetic carbohydrates that take advantage of bioorthoginal chemistry to enhance our ability to character and treat living systems. His goal is to increase the range of druggable proteins and enhance selectivity for currently available druggable targets.
Alixandria Mascarin Translational Neuroscience Program Shane Perrine

Alixandria's proposed research focuses on identifying the neural mechanisms that underlie motivated cocaine-taking behavior in a rodent model, as well as determining how this behavior is impacted by sex and sex hormones.


Liyah Marshall Psychology Mark Lumley

Liya's research is focused on the relationship between object relations and psychopathology in patients with features of Borderline Personality Disorder by use of the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT).

Sabrina Mayhew Nursing April Vallerand Sabrina's research focuses on breast cancer health disparities.  She is using a social ecological approach to identify and describe the activities of  African American breast cancer survivor advocates in reducing health inequities.  
Lawrence Mendoza Chemistry Jennifer Stockdill

Lawrence's research focuses on developing new synthetic methodologies to facilitate access to challenging peptide sequences of pharmaceutical interest. 

Morgan Minjares Pharmaceutical Sciences Jiemei Wang Morgan is investigating the potential pathways and impact of the GPR35 gene in the cardiovascular system. The goal is to learn more about this novel gene and why it functions in the regulation of hypertension, diabetes, and other cardiovascular diseases.
Zachary Nelson Chemistry Charlie Fehl Zachary's research is focused on creating in cellulo fusion-protein tools to examine O-GlcNAc modifications on proteins.
Cathleen Saraza Chemistry Aaron Rury Cathleen's research aims to uncover the fundamental dynamics of materials that control their macroscopic properties using ultrafast spectroscopy to aid researchers in the creation of more efficient energy storage and light-emitting technologies.
Halle Thomas Psychology Emily Grekin Halle's research focuses on substance use and utilizing technology to increase the acceptability, effectiveness, and dissemination of psychological interventions.
Brice Vanness Chemistry Tom Linz Brice's research focuses on developing microwell array devices for single-molecule detection of biomolecules in extracellular vesicles. His research seeks to increase the understanding of cellular signaling pathways in diseases such as cancer.