Pre-DoctoralAbout » Mentees


 

Mentees

  • Merritt, Christina

    Christina Merritt
    Doctoral Student

    Lab: Cunningham
    Emailchmerrit@utmb.edu

    Bio

    Christina grew up in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She then went on to receive her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University where she published in three peer-reviewed research journals and graduated magna cum laude with a GPA of 3.8. Christina was awarded the Presidential Scholarship Award upon being accepted into the Pharmacology and Toxicology graduate program at UTMB in 2016, and she is conducting her Ph.D. dissertation research under the mentorship of Dr. Kathryn A. Cunningham. Christina is currently supported by the Jeane B. Kempner Predoctoral Award, and her research is focused on elucidating mechanism(s) in which serotonin 2C receptors (5-HT2CR) regulate neurocircuitry critical to the rewarding properties of opioids.

    Education
    B.S. Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA

  • Miller, Sierra

    Miller Sierra17 
    Doctoral Student

    Lab: Hommel
    Email: siemille@utmb.edu 

    Bio
    Sierra Miller is originally from Canyon, Texas where she graduated magna cum laude from West Texas A&M University with a Bachelor off Science in Chemistry and minors in Biology and Mathematics. During her undergraduate career, she worked with Dr. Donna Byers investigating use of resveratrol to treat uveitis. Following graduation, she worked as a lab technician for the United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Services where she focused on nitrous oxide production from feed yards and contributed to several peer-reviewed publications. Sierra was admitted to the Human Pathophysiology and Translational Medicine graduate program at UTMB in 2018 and joined Dr. Jonathan Hommel's lab in 2019. Her research focuses on using computational network-based approaches to identify key brain regions involved in food intake and other behaviors. Sierra is also involved in the Society for Neuroscience local and national chapters and emphasizes public outreach for science. Sierra is a Presidential Scholar's Award recipient and is currently supported by the Clinical and Translational Science Award TL1 program.


    Education
    B.S.West Texas A&M University, Canyon, TX

  • Murphy, Ryan

    Murphy Ryan06 
    Doctoral Student

    Lab: Allen
    Email: rymurphy@utmb.edu  

    Bio

    Ryan was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas. In 2019, he graduated in with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, Biological Chemistry Track from Texas A&M University in College Station. As an undergraduate, he spent a year researching the iron-sulfur cluster biosynthetic pathway in Dr. David Barondeau's lab. Immediately following graduation, Ryan entered the Pharmacology & Toxicology graduate program at UTMB. With mentor Dr. John Allen, Ryan is currently exploring the signaling mechanisms of orphan receptor GPR52, as well as pharmacologically evaluating novel GPR52 ligands as potential therapeutics for neuropsychiatric diseases and substance use disorders.

     


    Education
    B.S. Texas A&M, College Station, TX

  • Ogubseye, Kehinde (Kenny)

    NoImage 
    Doctoral Student

    Lab: Hommel
    Email: koogunse@utmb.edu 

    Bio

    Kehinde received her Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Prairie View A & M University, graduating cum laude. Thereafter, she went on to completing her Master of Science degree in Physiology from the University of Michigan. Kehinde became a part of the Human Pathophysiology and Translational Medicine program at UTMB in 2018 and began conducting research under the mentorship of Dr. Jonathan Hommel. Kehinde’s research focuses on the investigation of upstream regulatory circuits and their involvement on major reward neural pathways using novel viral tracing techniques. She also serves as an officer of both the UTMB Women’s Association of Minority Scientists and Society for Translational Research, highlighting her investment in increasing diversity in science, science communication, and a long-term career in translational research.



    Education

    B.S. Prairie View A&M University, Prairie View, TX

    M.S. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

  • Smith, Jacqueline

    Smith Jacqueline18 
    Doctoral Student

    Lab: Cunningham
    Email: jacqsmit@utmb.edu 

    Bio

    Jacqueline grew up in a small-town called Pearl River, Louisiana. She then received her Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry in 2016 from the University of New Orleans where she conducted molecular dynamic simulations that led to two peer reviewed publications. Following graduation, Jacqueline participated in the Post-baccalaureate Research Education Program at the University of Washington in Seattle under Dr. Denise Galloway elucidating mechanisms of human papilloma virus (HPV16) neutralizing antibodies. Jacqueline joined the Pharmacology and Toxicology graduate program at UTMB in 2019 and joined Dr. Kathryn Cunningham’s lab in 2020. Her current research is elucidating epigenetic mechanisms underlying substance use disorders. She currently serves as an officer for both the Society for Neuroscience-Galveston Chapter and the Pharmacology and Toxicology Student Organization. 



    Education
    B.S. University of New Orleans, New Orleans, LA

  • Vasquez, Tileena

    Tileena Vasquez03 
    Doctoral Student

    Lab: Green
    Email: tivasque@utmb.edu 

    Bio
    Tileena Vasquez is a native Houstonian and graduate of Baylor University, where she received a B.S. in Neuroscience. Her research at Baylor led to publication of a peer-reviewed article and she graduated cum laude with a GPA of 3.78. Tileena was accepted into the Neuroscience graduate program at UTMB in 2017 and is enrolled in the University of Palermo Joint Ph.D. Program. She is conducting her Ph.D. dissertation research under the mentorship of Dr. Thomas A. Green. While at UTMB Tileena has given presentations over her research which have focused on developing models of behavioral and biological phenotypes that predict susceptibility to developing opioid use disorder. One of which has received First Place Presentation Award for the 4th Annual Neuroscience Student Symposium. Tileena is a member of the UTMB Student Neuroscience Organization and the UTMB Mental Health Research Group where she and others present their work and ideas. She also engages in community outreach as a member of the Galveston Chapter Society for Neuroscience and the Secretary for Board of Directors for the Bay Area Council on Drugs and Alcohol.


    Education
    B.S. Baylor University, Waco, TX

  • Zamora, Joshua

    Zamora Joshua13 
    Doctoral Student

    Lab: Cunningham
    Email: jczamora@utmb.edu

    Bio

    Joshua grew up in San Antonio, Texas. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Neurobiology from The University of Texas at Austin in 2015. During his time at UT, Joshua investigated gene-ethanol interactions that underlie craniofacial defects in a zebrafish model of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder under the mentorship of Dr. Johann Eberhart. Following graduation, Joshua worked as a research assistant in the laboratory of Drs. William Clarke and Kelly Berg at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Here, he characterized the mechanisms of action of several kappa opioid receptor and mu opioid receptor ligands. Joshua joined the Pharmacology and Toxicology graduate program at UTMB in 2019 and is conducting his dissertation studies in the laboratory of Dr. Kathryn Cunningham. His research focus is on discerning the biochemical and pharmacological properties of a novel 5-HT2A:5-HT2C receptor heteromer.

    Education

    B.S. University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX


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