Principal Investigator-Dr. Murray Blackmore
Dr. Murray Blackmore received his undergraduate degree from Stanford University, and his graduate degree in neuroscience from the University of Minnesota. During his postdoctoral training at the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, Dr. Blackmore studied axon regeneration and adopted High Content Screening methods to identify new gene targets to promote neural repair. Later, as a Research Assistant Professor at the Miami Project, Dr. Blackmore used a gene therapy approach to test these new gene targets for the ability to promote axon regeneration in the injured spinal cord. Dr. Blackmore is continuing this line of research at Marquette University, using viral delivery of genes to injured neurons in rodent models of spinal injury in order to foster repair.
Research Assistant Professors
Dr. Zimei Wang
Dr. Zimei Wang earned a degree in medicine from Shanghai Second Medical University and a PhD in Neuroscience from Shanghai Jiao Tong University. She was briefly a postdoctoral fellow at Virginia Commonwealth University, and then joined Dr. Blackmore while he was still a Research Assistant Professor at the Miami Project. She moved with Dr. Blackmore to Marquette University in 2011 and was instrumental in establishing the new lab. She is lead author on a number of lab publications and has a wide range of lab skills, most notably surgical expertise. When the lab wants to move in a new direction with animal models, it is Dr. Wang that makes it happen.
Dr. Naveen Jayaprakash
Dr. Naveen Jayaprakash earned his undergraduate degree in Biotechnology from Anna University, India. His combined masters and PhD in Neuroscience from Central Michigan University (2013) focused on the neurophysiology of transplanted stem cells in animals models of neurodegenerative disorders. He joined the lab in 2013 and pioneered an optogenetic approach to measure synapse formation by regenerated CST axons. He has now added stem cell transplantation approaches, and is pushing to incorporate electrical stimulation therapies. It's an impressive combination of techniques, and in 2017 he received support from a three year “Wing for Life” postdoctoral fellowship.
Dr. Ishwariya Venkatesh
Dr. Ishwariya Venkatesh received her Bachelors degree in Engineering & Biotechnology from BIT (Anna University) in India (2009) and her PhD in Molecular Neuroscience from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (2014). Her dissertation research focused on the identification of gene regulatory pathways that underlie successful optic nerve regeneration in Zebrafish. She joined the lab in the Fall of 2014 with a strong interest in epigenetic and transcriptional regulation. Besides her bench work she has dedicated herself to mastering in a range of bioinformatic techniques, which are now yielding a number of manuscripts and exciting new gene combinations for the lab. She has been supported since 2016 by a postdoctoral fellowship from the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation. She transitioned to a Research Assistant Professor position in March 2018.
Advaita Chakraborty received his Bachelors in Biotechnology from AMITY University in India (2013) and his Masters in Biomedical Sciences from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (2017). His master’s thesis research focussed on amyloid beta protein toxicity in Alzheimer’s disease. He joined the lab in the Summer of 2017 and is responsible for cell culture growth assays, high content screening, gene expression analysis, and keeping the lab running smoothly.
Erik Eastwood received his bachelors degrees in biochemistry and biophysics from Marquette University (2018). He transitioned from an undergrad researcher to surgical technician in the Summer of 2018. He is primarily responsible for performing in vivo surgeries and assisting with behavioral analyses. His future plans include pursuing a medical degree.
Audra Kramer received her Bachelors degree in Biochemistry & Microbiology and French from Marquette University (2010). She received her Master’s degree in Cell Biology from The Medical College of Wisconsin (2014). Her masters thesis research focused calcium binding proteins in pre-frontal cortex-hippocampal dependent learning and memory. She joined the lab in the Fall of 2014 with a strong interest in synaptic integration and cells-specific targeting of regenerated axons. She also engages in scientific outreach activities including mentoring high-school students in protein chemistry and judging local science fairs.
Lyndsey Holan is majoring in Biomedical Sciences with a disciplinary Honors in Research. She plans to attend dental school to become a pediatric dentist. Lyndsey's Honor project centers on transcription factor over-expression for axon growth, looking at both histological and behavioral outcomes.
David Nowak is majoring in biomedical sciences and applied economics. He hopes to pursue a medical degree and continue research in his career. Lab responsibilities include optogenetic data processing, axon quantification, behavioral assessment, and general animal care