Neuroscience Graduate Program News and Updates


Kathleen McDonoughCongratulations to Mrs Kathleen McDonough for being awarded an F99/K00 - NIH Blueprint Diversity Specialized Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Advancement in Neuroscience (D-SPAN) Award from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. The purpose of the NIH Blueprint D-SPAN Award is to support a defined pathway across career stages for outstanding graduate students who are from diverse backgrounds underrepresented in neuroscience research. This two-phase award will facilitate completion of the doctoral dissertation and transition of talented graduate students to strong neuroscience research postdoctoral positions and will provide career development opportunities relevant to their long-term career goal of becoming independent neuroscience researchers. Mrs McDonough is a fifth-year PhD graduate student in the Neuroscience Graduate Program. Her mentors are Dr Jun-Ho La, Assistant Professor in the Department of Neuroscience, Cell Biology, and Anatomy, and Dr Jin Mo Chung, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Neuroscience, Cell Biology, and Anatomy. Her current work focuses on investigating the spinal cord mechanisms underlying central sensitization in nociplastic pain, with a focus on sex differences. Her future career endeavors include remaining in academia as a PI to continue her efforts in pain research, as well as teaching at the university level in order to foster a passion for neuroscience research in her future students. Congratulations Mrs McDonough!

Elizabeth CroftonClass of 2017 NGP alumnus Elizabeth Crofton has been appointed Assistant Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Emmanuel College in Boston.

Anita RandolphClass of 2018 alumnus Anita Randolph has been named the director of Community Engagement and Education for the newly established Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain (MIDB) at the University of Minnesota.

In her new role, she will design and co-direct the community engagement and education core for MIDB.

She holds two PhD’s from the dual program in biomedical sciences and neuroscience from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston in collaboration with the Università degli Studi di Palermo.


Congratulations to the 2019 NGP Graduates, who celebrated their achievement on May 17, 2019.

2019 NGP Graduates

Pictured, from left to right, Dr. Francesco Cappello (Unipa), Whitney Franklin, Kara Barber, Wenjuan Ru, Emanuele Mocciaro, Filippa Lo Cascio, Claudia Marino, Dr. Owen Hamill (not present Dr. Hossein Khanamiri)


The 2018 Beall Lecture was given by Jeffrey Noebels on September 5th, 2018, titled 'Dissecting the Genetic Borderland of Epilepsy and Alzheimer’s Disease'.noebels-photo

Pictured is Kathleen McDonough, Jeffrey Noebels and Amanda Shaw.


The winners of the Dr. and Mrs. Seymour Fisher Academic Excellence Awards in Neuroscience will give oral presentations of their winning papers and receive their awards at a special ceremony at 12 on the 16th of July.

  • Michele Comerota-Near infrared light decreases synaptic vulnerability to amyloid beta oligomers

  • Filippa Lo Casio- Azure C targets and modulates toxic tau oligomers

  • Claudia Soto- In vitro and In vivo analyses of novel peptidomimetic disruptors for the serotonin 5-HT2C receptor interaction with phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN)


The 2018 Fisher Academic Excellence Award Winners are: Michele Comerota, Filippa Lo Casio, and Claudia Soto.


Congratulations to the 2018 NGP graduates! On 5/18/2018 the following NGP students were awarded their PhD: Michele Comerota, Ibdanelo Cortez, and Anita Randolph.


We are all looking forward to the Summer NGP student symposium to be held on the 16th and 17th 0f July.


Congratulations to Dr. Elizabeth J. Crofton for successfully completing her dissertation defense on July 11, 2017. "Cellular mechanisms of environmental enrichment: Novel discovery-based strategies for target identification for neuropsychiatric disorders