Our Group

Principal Investigator

 

 

Naiara Akizu, PhD

Naiara Akizu, PhD

Naiara Akizu is a faculty member of the Center for Cellular and Molecular Therapeutics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Assistant Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. She is member of the Neurosciences Graduate Group (NGG) and Cell and Molecular Biology (CAMB) graduate groups. 

In 2010, she received her PhD by the University of Barcelona for her studies on the role of epigenetic chromatin modifications in the nervous system development, a project that she developed in Dr. Marian Martinez-Balbas's laboratory under the comentorship of Dr. Elisa Marti. Motivated by her interest in neural development and neurological diseases, in December 2010 she joined Dr. Joseph Gleeson’s laboratory at the Univeristy of California, San Diego where she gained expertise in neurogenetics of pediatric diseases and modeling with pluripotent stem cells. She complemented her training by working with mouse models of neurological diseases under the co-mentorship of Dr. Ulrich Müller at The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla. 

Research Assistants

 

Garrett Otrimski

I am interested in learning more about genetic determinants of disease through investigation of animal and cell models. Specifically, I am interested in finding connections between multiple diseases and genes to draw broader conclusions which will enhance our general understanding of genetic determination of neurological development. 

Fun: I enjoy reading, rock climbing, and corny jokes. 

Contact: OTRIMSKIG [at] EMAIL.CHOP.EDU

 

 

Post Docs

 

 

Marco Flores-Mendez

I am interested in protein synthesis, purine nucleotide metabolism and protein aggregations. My interest in these topics is determine if presence of aggregates called rods and rings are related with neurodegeneration. For this purpose, I am using neural progenitor cells (NPC) and mutant mice. Since protein aggregation is the centerpiece of many neurodegenerative diseases we consider that this approach has the potential for wide-ranging therapeutic impact.

Fun: Besides science, I enjoy dancing, exercising, traveling and cooking!

Contact: floresm1 [at] email.chop.edu

 

 

Yijing Zhou

I was trained as a developmental neuroscientist. My passion lies in using animal models to investigate the etiological mechanisms of human neuropsychiatric diseases. My current project focuses on understanding how SNX14 mutation leads to spinocerebellar ataxia. My longterm goal is to identify druggable targets of the diseases and contribute to the development of therapeutics.

Fun: I enjoy reading, watching movies and exploring different cultures.

Contact: zhouy3 [at] email.chop.edu

 

 

Graduate Students

 

 

Laura Ohl

I am a graduate student in the Cell and Molecular Biology Program at the University of Pennsylvania. I am interested in genetically caused neurodegenerative diseases, and how we can use this knowledge to develop appropriate therapies for these diseases. During my PhD I intend to work on understanding how partial and complete LOF of AMPD2 can lead to two different neurodegenerative diseases: PCH9 and HSP63. In addition, we hope to better understand what these findings may infer about other neurodegenerative disorders.

Fun: When I'm not in the lab I enjoy running, biking, hiking, cooking, gardening, reading, and doing pottery.

 

 

 

Carolina Garcia-Diaz

I am a graduate student in the G&E program interested in how chromatin dysregulation is related to neurological diseases.

Fun: I enjoy reading, watching movies and exploring new places!

 

 

 

 

Students

 

 

Donna Yoo

I am interested in learning more about the function of SNX14 in cerebellar degeneration and intellectual disability. I aspire to be a Physician.

Fun: I enjoy dancing, listening to music, and eating food.

Contact: yoodo [at] sas.upenn.edu

 

 

 

Hiab Teshome

I am interested in learning more about the genetic aspects of childhood neurodegenerative disorders through molecular and animal models. I plan to pursue my MD/PhD to become a research scientist. 

Fun: I enjoy traveling, reading, and hiking. 

Contact: hteshome [at] sas.upenn.edu

 

 

 

 

Kelsey Walsh

I’m interested in learning more about genetically caused neurodegenerative disorders and applying this knowledge to neurodegenerative disorders with unknown causes. After I graduate, I would like to attend medical school and become a physician.

 

Fun: I enjoy singing and playing music, watching movies and TV shows, and drinking coffee.

Contact: kelseyaw [at] sas.upenn.edu

 

 

 

 

Come and JOIN US

 

 

Alumni

Carolina Garcia-Diaz: CAMB rotation student 01/19-03/19
Melissa Barton: CAMB rotation student 09/18-12/18
Mara Cowen: NGG rotation student 09/18-12/18
Laura Ohl:  CAMB rotation student  06/18-08/30
Yohaniz Ortega Burgos:  SUIP student 06/18-07/18
Olivia Romera Rincon:  UFV undergrad student 01/18-07/18
Laura Ballentine: research assistant 01/17-05/18
Samantha Ratakonda: undergrad student 06/17-05/18
Susmita Roy: undergrad student 06/17-05/18
Keri Cronin: undergrad student 11/17-05/18
Melanie Schaffler: NGG rotation student 19/17-01/18
Satch Baker: highschool student 06/17-08/17
Katelyn Sweeney: CAMB rotation student 04/17-06/17
Akansha Kapoor: master student 02/17-05/17