Post Doctoral Scholars
Lab: Dr. Niaz Sahizada
Education: School of Medicine, University of Pisa (Ph.D. in Biochemistry, 2019)
My long-term research interests are to study the principal mechanisms involved in the regulation of the autonomic nervous system and the neurons which play a key role in regulating homeostatic reflexes. My academic training and research experience have provided me with an excellent background in multiple scientific disciplines including chemistry, pharmacology, biochemistry, and neurophysiology. As an undergraduate I conducted research on the inhibitory effect of a new class of molecules on P-glycoprotein in an ex vivo model of Everted Gut Sac. As a predoctoral student my research focused on the neurological activity of thyronamine-like analogs for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. I obtained important information about the neuroprotective effects of these new molecules, which was recently published and on which I was the first author. In the process of this research, I gained expertise in both in vivo and in vitro models that include behavioral tests and cell culture, as well as liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry. During this time, I also developed a novel protocol for the extraction of thyronamine-like analogs from the mouse brain. My training as a scientist was further strengthened as a visiting Ph.D. student at the NIH where I learned to use a solid phase synthesizer to synthesize peptides and peptide nucleic acids. During my postdoctoral training, I have been extending my experiences in neurophysiology to include in vivo and in vitro electrophysiological techniques to examine the hindbrain vago-vagal reflex circuitries regulating gastrointestinal function. Currently, using optogenetics, I am involved in examining the role of brainstem neurons in the control of gastric motility in the laboratories of my sponsors, Drs. Stefano Vicini and Niaz Sahibzada who are internationally recognized in their respective fields.
Phone: 202.687.7825 Lab: Dr. Patrick Forcelli
Education: National Polytechnic Institute of Mexico (Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry, 2018)
Pharmacology has been her passion since she started her scientific career, and neuroscience is the cherry on top. She earned a BS in Industrial Pharmaceutical Chemistry and a MSc and PhD (July 2018) in Biological Chemistry, applied to epilepsy drug discovery, from the National Polytechnic Institute of Mexico (National School of Biological Sciences Faculty). In 2019, she joined the GU family as a postdoctoral fellow of the Forcelli research group to study the mechanisms of seizure control. She applies optogenetic techniques in different cell populations from the pedunculopontine nucleus and related structures in acute animal models of epilepsy as well as in chronic and genetic model of the disease. She is also involved in Dr. Malkova’s research on the neural substrates of memory and learning in animal models, which has been a great part of her postdoctoral experience.
Seán graduated from University College Dublin (UCD) with a BSc in Pharmacology and from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) with a PhD in Physiology and Medical Physics. Seán uses a combination of in vivo, behavioral and molecular biology techniques to analyze the changes in the neonatal brain following hypoxic seizures. He is continuing in a similar line of research as a postdoc, focusing on interactions between drugs and seizures in producing long-term outcomes after early life exposure. When he’s not in the lab you will probably either find him wandering around the Lego store or at home watching Bob’s Burgers with an Old Fashioned in hand. While at Georgetown Seán has also been co-chair of the Georgetown University Postdoc Association, an organization enhancing the postdoc experience through community learning and mentorship.
Lab: Drs. Patrick Forcelli & Stefano Vicini
Education: Aix-Marseille Université and Autonomous University of Barcelona (Ph.D. in Neuroscience, 2018)
During her postdoc, under the supervision of Dr. Patrick Forcelli and Dr. Stefano Vicini, Irene will be studying the effect of antiepileptic drugs on hippocampal neurons and circuits, using a combination of electrophysiology, calcium imaging and optogenetics.
Irene obtained a BSc in Biomedical Science from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), a MS in Neuroscience from UAB, and a PhD in Neuroscience from UAB and Aix-Marseille Université. During her PhD studies, Irene used behavioral, molecular biology and electrophysiological techniques to identify drugs that could increase the function of the potassium-chloride cotransporter type 2 (KCC2) to reduce spasticity and neuropathic pain caused by spinal cord or peripheral nerve injury.
During her postdoc, under the supervision of Dr. Patrick Forcelli and Dr. Stefano Vicini, Irene will be studying the effect of antiepileptic drugs on hippocampal neurons and circuits, using a combination of electrophysiology, calcium imaging and optogenetics
Lab: Dr. Gerard Ahern
Education: University of Bucharest (Ph.D. in Molecular Biology, 2011)
Thieu received a BS and MSc in Biochemistry from Vinh University, and a PhD in Molecular Biology from University of Bucharest. He then worked in the group of Dr. Gerard Ahern at GUMC. Thieu is interested in properties of Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) channels that regulate membrane excitability and pain signaling. Currently, he focuses on mapping the expression and function of TRPV1 in artery smooth muscle (ASM) cells throughout the mouse arterial circulation by using reporter mouse lines (TRPV1-Cre, TRPV1-ChR2, and TRPV1PLAP-nLacZ).
Lab: Dr. Dan Pak
Education: Creighton University (Ph.D. in Pharmacolgy, 2012)
Roopali holds a PhD in Pharmacology from Creighton University (2012). Prior to pursuing the Doctoral Program at Creighton University she trained in Veterinary Medicine at Pantnagar University in India and went onto complete a Residency in Veterinary Obstetrics and Gynecology from Mathura Veterinary University in India. During her PhD she focused on behavioral pharmacology, molecular and electrophysiological studies on the glutamate delta one receptor. In her current postdoctoral position under the mentorship of Dr. Daniel Pak she is studying selective inhibitors as possible therapeutics for Alzheimer’s disease. Roopali studies the effects on both Abeta and Tau employing mice models of Alzheimer’s disease and Tauopathy using molecular, cellular and behavioral methods for her studies.