People

I am a Professor 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 was my right hand with mass spectrometry and lipid analysis during her time in my lab from 2012-2018.  As a continuation of her 2013 Undergraduate Honor's thesis in the lab, she completed an heroic project that characterized the brain lipidome of 5 KO systems (FAAH, MAGL, NAPE-PLD, ABHD12, and CB1), which uncovered a series of novel lipids that are regulated with these proteins.  Her doctoral thesis investigated the effects of THC on the CNS lipidome and transcriptome across development.  Emma was a co-author on over 30 papers during her time with me at IU. 

Emma is now expanding her skill set in industry, specializing in small-molecule analytical method development. She is also now a co-inventor of a product that chemically destroys controlled substances. In her free time, she enjoys electronic dance music, travel, and comedy.

 Emma Leishman, PhD
 
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!  After finishing a Post-doctoral position at the University of Sydney she joined the team at Greenwich Biosciences (US arm of GW Pharmaceuticals) where she is currently on the team of Medical Science Liasons.  
 Jordyn Stuart, PhD
 

Kishan joined the lab Fall of 2012 as a STARS student was 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 started his MD/PhD program at the University of Chicago in Fall 2015. 
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.

Douglas is currently an Associate Professor of Medical Sciences and
Course Director, Schol Reflection Concentration Capstone. 

  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 finished graduate school at Columbia University in public health.  Go Dan!!!  You make us look fabulous.  :)   Dan is currently Manager of Patient Experience Programs at Stanford Health Care in San Francisco, CA. 

 Dan Roskowski, BS, MPH
 
 
 Sisi was an undergraduate Cox Scholar who studied the phenotypic switches in microglial cells.  Sisi is incredibly active in philanthropic activities and is always working on a new cause.  Sisi went on to medical school and is currently an Anesthesiology resident at the University of Texas and Galveston. 

  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 helped to identified 20 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 is currently a senior lecturer at the University of Texas at Dallas. 
 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 attended Ohio State University, 2012-2016. She is currently a Clinical Fellow  in the Geriatric Medicine Fellowship Program at Vanderbilt University.  Yeah Kristine!


  
 Kristin Hines, BS, MD
 
 
 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  started IUPUI medical school Fall 2012 and is currently a Neurology resident at IUPUI.  Yeah Sara!!
 Sara Takacs, BS, MD
 
 
 Emily completed her honor's thesis on endometrial migration in May 2010 and was a co-author on the paper that introduced THC as an activator of GPR18.  She went Rush Medical College in Chicago, IL where she completed her MD in 2014 and Neurology residency in 2018.  She is currently practicing in Illinois. 
 Emily J Dunn, BS, MD
 
 
 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 attended medical school at the University of Kentucky in Louisville. 
Cassie Allard, BS, MD
 
 
 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 was 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 attended Medical School at Quinnipiac University and is currently a Neurology resident at the University of Illinois at Chicago. 
 Evan Jameyfield, BS, MD



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