People

I am an Associate Professor in the department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Indiana University and have the pleasure of working with many talented people.

The two fields that I have a passion for are the neuroscience of reproduction and the biochemistry of lipid signaling.  Currently my research focus is aimed at lipid signaling at transient receptor potential (TRP) channels and orphan GPCRs in the CNS and uterus. To do this, we are targeting disease models of endometriosis, chronic pain, and neuroinflammation.  Our work suggests that aberrant lipid signaling plays a major role in each of these disease states with many shared common pathways. 

  Heather Bradshaw, PhD 
 Emma is my right hand with mass spectrometry and lipid analysis.  As a continuation of her 2013 Honor's thesis in the lab, she has completed an heroic project that characterized the brain lipidome of 4 KO systems (FAAH, MAGL, NAPE-PLD, and CB1), which uncovered a series of novel lipids that are regulated with these proteins.  These data were recently published in 2 manuscripts that collectively contain over 50,000 data points!  Her current doctoral thesis is extending these lipidomics profiles onto how the brain lipidome is effect with acute and chronic THC exposure in both the adolescent and the adult.  She will be presenting these data in a talk at the annual ICRS meeting summer of 2016. 
 Emma Leishman, BS
 
Meera started Honors student that started in the lab Spring 2013 and completed her Thesis in 2015. Her project centered on how the efficacy of multiple lipids acting on a single TRP receptor fundamentally changes the response properties of that response. It is unclear if this is allosteric modulation or something else, so she decided to stay on as a graduate student to find out.  She is fast learning multiple different assays and has a love of science that is infectious.  Her sardonic wit and stream of cultural references keeps us all laughing.  When we decided to name our cell culture hoods as we have done all our refrigerators and incubators, she had the brilliant idea to give them SouthPark names.  The incubator with the defective UV timer that has to be manually "killed" is aptly named Kenny.  :)
Meera Manchanda


 

Sally completed her Senior Honors thesis in 2014 studying the effects of structurally similar lipids to NAGly on microglial migration.  Her dedication to teach herself this methodology is a testament to her tenacious nature.  She is an excellent mentor to other students in the lab and has an unflappable nature that serves her well with such a difficult assay.  Her data are highlighting the importance of structural similarities and differences in driving receptors as well as identifying novel lipids that drive microglial migration.  Sally is working as a full time research scientist on a grant with our lab that is led by Alex Staiker here at IU. She continues to study how endogenous and phytocannabinoids drive migration of a variety of cell types including work that was recently published on corneal physiology.    

Sally Miller, BS




 
 Former Lab Members

 Jordyn is an former undergraduate Honors student (graduated May 2011) who investigated novel signaling lipids in the brain that are produced during different mating strategies in the rat using HPLC/MS/MS.  Jordyn was an Eli Lilly Scholar who double majored in Chemistry and Biology and is an expert in lipid extraction and analysis using mass spectrometry.  She headed down to Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia in Dec 2011 to begin her graduate studies in the lab of Mark Conner and was awarded her PhD in Fall of 2015!  She is currently in a Post-doctoral position at the University of Sydney and is pushing the boundaries of Phytocannabinoid analytical chemistry.  We still have on-going collaborations that keep her linked to the lab. 
 Jordyn Stuart, PhD
 

Kishan joined the lab Fall of 2012 as a STARS student and has been an incredibly active member of the group.  He worked on multiple  projects including how calcium signaling changes with of combinations of N-acyl amides at the TRPV1 receptor as well as his Honors Thesis project that characterized changes in lipid signaling after TRPV1 activation.  These data are part of a larger project that is aimed at understanding how the TRP and CB receptors work together to form different types of cellular communication.  
Kishan Sangani, BS

 
  Douglas was a post-doctoral fellow in our laboratory from 2008 to 2012 and Visiting Assistant Professor in the department of Psychological and Brain Sciences 2010-2012.  His primary research focus is on lipid signaling in microglial cells.  Douglas has been the lead author on two major publications from our lab during the past two years that demonstrated that 1) GPR18 is activated by both N-arachidonoyl glycine (NAGly) which drives microglial migration and 2) GPR18 is activated by delta-9 THC and blocked by cannabidiol (the non-psychoactive component of cannabis).  See publication lists to check out these papers. Doulgas recently started a position at Quinnipiac University.  www.quinnipiac.edu/  He will be missed!!
  Douglas McHugh, PhD 
 
 Dan completed his Honors project Neuroscience Spring 2013.  He investigated phenotypic switches in microglial cells with NAGly and THC demonstrating that they are likely acting through the same mechanism (likely GPR18).  Dan is a senior counselor for Camp Kesem IU where is known as "Shades". Dan has developed a YouTube video that helped the students he is training to learn to count cells in solution http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYoeavGYeXI&feature=g-upl.  It is an amazing example of how Dan is developing his skills to communicate science.  Dan recently finished graduate school at Columbia University in public health.  Go Dan!!!  You make us look fabulous.  :)   
 Dan Roskowski, BS
 
 
 Sisi was an undergraduate Cox Scholar who is also studying the phenotypic switches in microglial cells.  Sisi is incredibly active in philanthropic activities and is always working on a new cause.  She has her sites on medical school, so I have no doubt she will be another of the future physicians that started here at the bench. 
  Sisi Xie, BS
 

 Siham was a graduate student in Neuroscience and Biology and is investigating the activation of TRP receptors by novel endogenous lipids.  To date, Siham has identified 12 novel endogenous activators of TRPV1, TRPV2, and TRP4 collectively. These data present a novel framework to understand cell signaling in both the central and peripheral nervous system.  Siham was awarded her PhD in June 2012 and began a position at Eli Lilly Pharmaceuticals.  She recently moved with family to central Florida where she has transitioned into a lecturer role. 
 Siham Raboune, PhD
 
 Valery was a graduate student in Biochemistry and Neuroscience and is investigating the lipid signaling pathways of human endometrial cells.  Valery just completed her Master's degree in Biochemistry in Aug, 2011.  Yeah Valery!!!  Valery took a position at Baxter Pharmaceuticals directly after graduation and continues to flourish within the company. 
 Valery Benton, MS
 
 

 Kristin was an Honors student who studied the MAP kinase pathway in human endometrial cells after activation with endogenous lipids.  Kristin's work is leading to a better understanding of the cell signalling cascade involved in endometrial migration towards endogenous lipids.  Kristin was accepted to many medical schools and chose Ohio State University, where she started Fall 2012.
  
 Kristin Hines, BS
 
 
 Sara was an Honors student in Neuroscience who graduated May 2012.  Sara studied how lipid signaling changes in the brain after acute and chronic inflammation.  Sara is analyzing a large lipidomics data set to determine if there are patterns in lipid production across multiple brain areas after inflammation.  Sara was awarded a coveted Huttons Honors College summer stipend in 2011. Sara was started IUPUI medical school Fall 2012.  Yeah Sara!!
 Sara Takacs, BS
 
 
 Emily completed her honor's thesis on endometrial migration in May 2010 and is currently a medical student at Rush Medical College in Chicago, IL.
 Emily Dunn, BS
 
 
 Courtney was an undergraduate Honors student (graduated May 2011) who investigated how the endogenous cannabinoid system regulates uterine contractions. Courtney is currently a junior associate at Charles-Schwab in Indianapolis. 
Courtney Wright, BS
 
 

Cassandra "Cassie" Allard was an undergraduate Honors Student (graduated Dec 2010) who was studying endocannabinoid protein expression in the uterus.  She is currently attending medical school at the University of Kentucky in Louisville. 
Cassie Allard, BS
 
 
 Sarah was my first Master's student and graduated in 2008.  Her project investigated uterine contractions with novel lipids using organ bath assays.  After graduation she worked at the University of Chicago for a few years and then moved out west where she is currently at the University of California at Irvine.  Sarah is an amazing person and a fantastic scientist. 
 Sarah Pickens, MS
 

 Evan is an Eli Lilly Scholar Senior Honors student majoring in Neuroscience and Biochemistry. He studied the effects of lipid signaling molecules on calcium mobilization after TRP channel activation.  He is currently attending Medical School at
Quinnipiac University.
 Evan Jameyfield

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