The latest on our trainees

T32 Trainees Help Educate Youth on Smoking, Vaping, and Cannabis


T32 trainees gave four presentations at the Lab School to 7th and 8th graders on smoking, vaping, and cannabis. Emma Brett and Ross Mansouri-Rad presented slides and answered questions. T32 now has a survey on impressions and feedback from the middle schoolers to further develop this important outreach program!

T32 Trainee Emma Brett, PhD, Accepted as a UChicago Cancer Health Disparities Training Program Fellow

This fellowship allows her to participate in seminars, roundtables, and opportunities to network with cancer center faculty. 

Former Predoctoral T32 trainee Elisa Pabon was awarded an F31 Individual NRSA award to complete her doctoral research.

Current Trainees

Seetha Krishnan, PhD

Seetha Krishnan, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow, Sheffield Lab

Memories of places and events associated with where drugs of abuse are consumed can trigger cravings and relapse even after years of abstinence. My research aims at understanding the neural mechanisms that are involved in forming these memories and how they are influenced by the actions of different neuromodulators. I study this using mouse models, innovative behavior paradigms and record from dendrites, axons and thousands of neurons in the hippocampus with two-photon microscopy to develop a network level understanding of why drug-related memories are so strong.

Niloufar Dousti Mousavi, PhD

Niloufar Dousti Mousavi, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow, Hedeker Lab

Niloufar recently received her Ph.D. in mathematics, specializing in statistics, from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Her primary research focus lies in Model Identification and Variable Selection for high-dimensional sparse datasets and big data analysis. 

Her current research is centered on modeling addiction and substance abuse behavior using longitudinal addiction data. The main objective of her work is to uncover and understand the key differentiating factors influencing smoking behavior and to develop efficient models for analyzing the data. 

Ben Wang

Ben Wang

PhD candidate, Zhuang Lab

Karan Rai, PhD

Karan Rai, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow, Garcia Lab

Our understanding of the physiology of fentanyl-related overdose is limited solely to the presence or absence of opioid-induced respiratory depression. There is a gap between OIRD and eventual overdose that encompasses multiple distinct biological and physiological stages that are either interdependent and/or co-occur (e.g. pulmonary edema, cardio-respiratory collapse). How chronic fentanyl use influences the progression, or lack thereof, through this spectrum of overdose is the focus of my research.

My objectives are to: determine the respiratory adaptions that occur following repeated fentanyl use, and how these adaptations influence downstream physiology including hypoxia, pulmonary edema/shunting, cardiorespiratory collapse, cardiac arrest, and eventually death.

Former Trainees

Shana Augustin, PhD

Jeff Beeler, PhD

Emma Brett, PhD

Wanhao Chi, PhD

Chad Heer, PhD

Mazen Kierbek, PhD

Francis Lee, PhD

Ross Mansouri-Rad

Leah Mayo, PhD

Connor Murray, PhD

Nelson Medina, PhD

Elisa Pabon, PhD

Meera Patel, PhD

Loren Riedy, PhD candidate

Charles “Sam” Robinson, PhD

Ted Russel, PhD

Scott Schepers, PhD

Caroline Szujewski

Ashley Vena, PhD

Mathew Zammit, PhD