About Us: Faculty & Staff
Eva L. Feldman, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.A.N.
Russell N. DeJong Professor of Neurology
Throughout her career, Dr. Eva Feldman, the Russell N. DeJong Professor of Neurology at the University of Michigan, has made it her mission to use scientific discoveries to understand and cure human diseases.
In January 2008, Dr. Feldman was named the first Director of the A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute, which was created to support fundamental research into a wide range of human diseases. Under her leadership, the Taubman Institute funds senior-level scientists in a diverse spectrum of diseases – adult and childhood cancer, ALS, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and hearing loss.
In her own work, Dr. Feldman is on the forefront of applying stem cell research to human disease. Most notably she is the Principal Investigator of the first clinical trial of intraspinal transplantation of stem cells in patients with ALS.
In addition to running an active clinical practice at the University of Michigan, Dr. Feldman directs a team of 30 scientists who collaborate to understand and find new treatments for a wide variety of neurological diseases, including ALS, diabetic neuropathy, Alzheimer’s disease, and muscular dystrophies.
She is the author of more than 220 articles, 50 book chapters and 2 books. She is the Principal Investigator of 4 major National Institutes of Health research grants, 3 private foundation grants and 5 clinical trials focused on understanding and treating neurological disorders, with an emphasis on ALS and diabetic neuropathy. She is President of the American Neurological Association and recent Past President of the Peripheral Nerve Society.
Dr. Feldman has received many honors including the Early Distinguished Career Award from the University of Michigan, several scientific achievement awards in the field of diabetes and in May of this year, was elected to the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars. Additionally, she has been listed in Best Doctors in America for 10 consecutive years.
Among Dr. Feldman’s greatest accomplishments is her training of both scientists and neurologists. Eight scientists have received their Ph.D. degrees under her, she has trained 40 postdoctoral fellows in her laboratory to become neuroscientists, and 36 neurologists have trained under her to specialize in the understanding and treatment of neuromuscular diseases, with an emphasis on ALS.
Norman D. Hogikyan, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Chief, Division of Laryngology, Rhinology, and General Otolaryngology
Professor of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, Professor of Music, University of Michigan
Dr. Hogikyan’s clinical and academic interests are in the human voice, voice disorders and laryngeal (voice box) surgery. His basic science research is in the area of laryngeal paralysis and reinnervation, and his clinical research focuses on the measurement of voice-related quality of life and the treatment of voice disorders. Dr. Hogikyan graduated from the University of Michigan magna cum laude with highest distinction in Cellular and Molecular Biology. He went on to medical school at the University of Michigan and graduated cum laude with distinction in research. While in medical school, Dr. Hogikyan was awarded a prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute-National Institutes of Health Research Scholar fellowship to work at NIH in a molecular genetics laboratory. He went on to complete his residency in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Washington University in St. Louis, and a fellowship in Laryngology with Dr. Robert Bastian at Loyola University of Chicago. He joined the faculty of the University of Michigan in 1995. Dr. Hogikyan and colleagues in Otolaryngology have a well-established collaboration with the Program for Neurology Research and Discovery. Areas of investigation include laryngeal paralysis and reinnervation, peripheral nerve grafting, bulbar manifestations of ALS, and use of stem cells and growth factors in neural regeneration.
Nicholas Boulis, M.D.
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Neurology
Dr. Nicholas Boulis, neurosurgeon at the Cleveland Clinic Center for Neurological Restoration, is a physician scientist whose research interests include biological neurorestoration and neuromodulation through the use of cell, protein, and gene delivery to the nervous system. Dr. Boulis graduated summa cum laude from Yale University with distinction in the intensive Biology and Philosophy majors. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Medical School winning the Harold Lamport Biomedical Research Award. Dr. Boulis has developed a clinical program focusing on peripheral nerve regeneration, spasticity, pain and Parkinson's Disease. He applies advanced microsurgical, radiosurgical, as well as ablative and neural augmentation approaches. He is currently working on strategies for gene based motor neuron protection for ALS, neural targeting of gene delivery, and gene-based neuromodulation. He collaborates with Nicholas Mazarakis, Ph.D., of Oxford Biomedica as well as Michael Imperiale, PhD. and Eva Feldman, M.D., Ph.D., at the University of Michigan in the field of ALS gene therapy. His work on neural targeting of biological therapies involves an active collaboration with Tom Brown, Ph.D., of Massachussetts General Hospital. Finally, his lab collaborates with Imad Najm, M.D., (CCF) on epilepsy neuromodulation,T Subramanian, M.D., (CCF), on Parkinson's neuromodulation, and Michael Davis, Ph.D., (Emory), on anxiety neuromodulation. In the last year, Dr. Boulis has presented his work at the American Society for Gene Therapy, Society for Neuroscience, The Congress of Neurological Surgeons, and The American Association of Neurologic Surgeons. He is the author of 46 publications. For the past seven years, Dr. Boulis has independently organized and secured funding for an outreach/teaching mission to provide surgical therapy to patients in Guatemala requiring treatment for hydrocephalus and spina bifida. To date, "Project Shunt" has provided 186 free operations to impoverished Guatemalan children. Dr. Boulis is an integral member of the Center's innovative neurosurgical team, equally skilled in clinical and laboratory settings.
Bhumsoo Kim, Ph.D.
Assistant Research Professor
Bhumsoo Kim, Ph.D., is a research investigator in the Department of Neurology. Dr. Kim received his Ph.D. in the Neuroscience Program from the University of Michigan with Dr. Feldman. He was awarded an Outstanding Student Publication Award from the Neuroscience Program and a Young Investigator Education Enhancement Award from the American Society for Neurochemistry. He completed his post-doctoral fellowship at the Joslin Diabetes Center of Harvard University before returning to Dr. Feldman's laboratory. Dr. Kim has authored or co-authored 25 research articles. His current research focuses on the relationship between diabetes and Alzheimer's disease. The incidence of both diabetes and Alzheimer's disease are increasing rapidly in the United States and there are strong evidences that diabetes is a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease. Dr. Kim is specifically interested in the regulation of the proteins involved in Alzheimer's disease in diabetic conditions.
Dr. Cheng is an Assistant Professor of Neurology and Anesthesia. He is board certified in both Neurology and Pain Medicine. Dr. Cheng graduated from Taipei Medical College. He received his Ph.D. from the Neuroscience Program of the University of Michigan under the mentorship of Dr. Feldman. Dr. Cheng had his Neurology residency training at Wayne State University. He also finished subspecialty training at the Pain and Palliative Care Program of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and a research fellowship in Pain Medicine at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University.
Dr. Cheng returned to the University of Michigan as faculty in 2006. Currently, He treats patients with a variety of pain syndromes, including painful diabetic neuropathy, at the Back and Pain Center of the University of Michigan. In the laboratory, he uses animal models of type 1 and type 2 diabetes to study the molecular and signaling events that mediate the devastating neuropathic pain in diabetic patients. His goal is to determine the key molecules for the development of painful diabetic neuropathy. By identifying these key elements, mechanism-specific treatments will then be developed. Dr. Cheng is the primary author or coauthor of 17 peer-reviewed articles. Dr. Cheng works closely with Dr. Feldman and other scientists of PNR&D to study diabetic pain. Dr. Cheng’s research is funded by the National Institue of Health to study the molecular mechanisms of painful diabetic neuropathy. He has presented his work at the annual conferences of the American Pain Society and the Society for Neuroscience.
Adam Rubin, M.D.
Director, Lakeshore Professional Voice Center
Adam Rubin, M.D., graduated summa cum laude from Yale College with degrees in Theater Studies and Economics. He received his medical doctorate from Harvard Medical School. Following his residency in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Michigan, he completed a fellowship in Laryngology and Care of the Professional Voice under the direction of Robert T. Sataloff, M.D., D.M.A., in Philadelphia. Prior to specializing in Laryngology, Dr. Rubin enjoyed a life-long passion for the human voice. Before attending medical school, he was a professional actor and singer, performing in musicals, and plays at off-Broadway and regional theaters, as well as in a national tour. He is also an accomplished rock and roll singer, and a classical violinist. Dr. Rubin’s basic science interests include viral gene therapy and laryngeal nerve regeneration. He began his collaboration with Dr. Feldman and the PNR&D as a resident, during which time he received the University of Michigan Merle Lawrence Basic Science Research and the John L. Kemink Clinical Research Awards. He currently practices at Lakeshore Ear, Nose and Throat Center in St. Clair Shores where he is Director of the Lakeshore Professional Voice Center, and is thrilled to continue working with the PNR&D.
Rodica Pop-Busui, M.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Internal Medicine
Rodica Pop-Busui, M.D., Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology and Diabetes at the University of Michigan. She is actively involved in both basic-translational and clinical research in diabetes and diabetes complications, with a focus on diabetic autonomic and peripheral neuropathy. Dr. Pop-Busui's basic research project concerned with the role of Cycooxygenase-2 activation and oxidative stress in peripheral nerve dysfunction in diabetes is funded the National Institutes of Health. She is principal investigator in multiple clinical trials funded by National Institutes of Health, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and Industry. Dr. Pop-Busui is a recipient of a Fulbright Award in 1995, American Diabetes Association Endocrinology Fellow of Excellence Award in 2001 and of the University of Michigan Clinical Science Scholar Award in 2005. She serves as member of the Council for Clinical Research of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and of the Peer Review Committees of the American Heart Association. Dr. Pop-Busui received her M.D. and Ph.D. summa cum laude at the University of Timisoara in Romania. After completing internal medicine training and obtaining board certification in Internal Medicine in Romania, she completed postgraduate training in diabetes at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield UK and a Fellowship in Endocrinology and Metabolism at the University of Michigan and joined the faculty of the University of Michigan in July 2005. She has authored peer-reviewed articles and book chapters related to diabetes, diabetic autonomic and peripheral neuropathy and diabetes complications.
Stephen I. Lentz, Ph.D.
Laboratory Director / Research Assistant Investigator
Stephen I. Lentz, Ph.D., is a Research Assistant Professor in the Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology and Diabetes of the Department of Internal Medicine. Dr. Lentz is also the Laboratory Director of the Morphology and Image Analysis Core in the Michigan Diabetes Research and Training Center. He actively collaborates with Dr. Feldman's laboratory in their studies of diabetic neuropathy. Current research uses high resolution confocal microscopy to examine the effects of high glucose on mitochondrial dynamics and biogenesis in sensory neurons. Dr. Lentz received his Ph.D. in the Cellular and Clinical Neurobiology from Wayne State University. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Washington University in St. Louis, MO, investigating the effects of growth factors on peripheral nerve outgrowth. He came to the University of Michigan in 1998 and has served as the Laboratory Director of the Morphology Core since 2001. He has authored or co-authored 16 peer-reviewed research articles.
James Dowling, M.D., Ph.D.
Clinical Lecturer, Department of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases
Co-Director, Muscular Dystrophy Association/Pediatric Neuromuscular Clinic
Jim Dowling, M.D., Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Child Neurology in the Department of Pediatrics. Dr. Dowling received his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Chicago. His doctoral research, performed in the laboratory of Dr. Elaine Fuchs, Ph.D., focused on the role of integrins in epidermal and neuronal development. He performed his clinical fellowship at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. His research efforts are focused on understanding and treating childhood muscle diseases. He is currently using the zebrafish model system to study Myotubular Myopathy and Congenital Myotonic Dystrophy, two severe myopathies of infancy that have no cure or modifying treatments. He has authored or co-authored 19 publications. He is also the Co-Director of the University of Michigan’s Muscular Dystrophy Association/Pediatric Neuromuscular Clinic.
Brian Callaghan, M.D.
Fovette E. Dush Professor
Assistant Professor Department of Neurology
UMHS ALS Clinic Director
Brian Callaghan, M.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Neuromuscular Division within the Department of Neurology. Dr. Callaghan completed his M.D. and neurology residency at the University of Pennsylvania. He performed his clinical fellowship at the University of Michigan. His current research efforts are focused on determining the optimal evaluation of peripheral neuropathy. Projects include a survey of physicians and a medical claims database project to understand current clinical practice. Another main research interest includes amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Ongoing projects include an epigenetic analysis to discover modifications of the DNA that may explain why patients develop ALS, an exposure survey to look into which environmental chemicals may predispose patients to this disease, and a stem cell project delving into the cellular biology of neurons and glia derived from patient with this devastating condition.
Catrina Robinson, Ph.D.
Catrina Robinson is a Research Investigator who received her Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences with a specialization in Pharmacology/Toxicology from Auburn University in 2007. For her doctoral research, Robinson characterized the modulation of polysialic acid on glutamatergic synaptic transmission. During her graduate work, Robinson earned numerous recognitions for academic excellence and merit including “Outstanding Graduate Student” and the honor of being the “Graduation Marshal” for the Harrison School of Pharmacy. As a postdoctoral research fellow in the Feldman Laboratory, she was awarded a position on the Neurology Training Grant and the Biogerontology Training Grant. Robinson’s research interest involves understanding the mechanism of diabetes accelerated Alzheimer’s disease progression, focusing on the role of cellular dysfunction, specifically endoplasmic reticulum stress. Robinson also has interest in the role that oxidative stress plays on the aging neuromuscular system.
Stacey Sakowski, Ph.D.
Deputy Managing Director, A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute
Stacey Sakowski, Ph.D., joined the Taubman Institute as the Deputy Managing Director in 2011. Her role includes supporting the operation of the organization and managing scientific programs and communications of the Taubman Institute and the Program for Neurology Research & Discovery.Dr. Sakowski received her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology & Genetics from Wayne State University in 2006, where her graduate research training focused on the biochemical characterization and analysis of post-translational modifications of proteins involved in serotonin biosynthesis. She joined the laboratory of Dr. Eva Feldman at the University of Michigan in 2006 as a postdoctoral research fellow, and then advanced to Research Investigator in 2011. In the Feldman laboratory, her research was focused on understanding the mechanisms of motor neuron degeneration in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and examining the neuroprotective mechanisms of growth factor therapies using primary cellular models of ALS. She also developed and utilized zebrafish models of ALS to examine and investigate disease onset and progression. Dr. Sakowski is the author/co-author of 14 manuscripts.
Claudia Figueroa-Romero, Ph.D.
Claudia Figueroa-Romero, Ph. D. is a postdoctoral research fellow who received her Ph. D from the Department of Biological Chemistry at the University of Michigan in the laboratory of Dr. Anne B. Vojtek. Her thesis research on the regulation of the Ras Trafficking and Ras Signaling was awarded with the Dziewiatkowski Award given to the most outstanding Ph.D. dissertation in the Department of Biological Chemistry. Dr. Figueroa-Romero continued her postdoctoral training in Dr. Vojtek’s lab characterizing the binding between the scaffold protein POSH and the serine/threonine kinase Akt2 and the biological significance of this interaction as regulator of the JNK signaling pathway. Dr. Figueroa-Romero joined the Feldman lab in 2007. Her current research focuses on identifying regulatory mechanisms, triggered by hyperglycemia, of molecules important for mitochondria biogenesis. This research will contribute to our understanding of the molecular players involved in diabetic neuropathy. She has authored or co-authored 10 publications.
Lucy Hinder, Ph.D.
Lucy Hinder received her Ph.D from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, UK in 2007. Her graduate research focussed on the neural control of altered skin blood flow and behavioral responses in experimental diabetes; assessing the efficacy of antioxidant, vasodilator and growth factor therapeutic strategies on functional and quantitative indices of diabetic neuropathy. Dr. Hinder began her postdoctoral career under the mentorship of professors Cotter and Cameron in Aberdeen, using electrophysiology and confocal microscopy to study the role of electric fields in diabetic wound healing. Dr. Hinder joined the Feldman lab in 2009 as part of the ‘Mouse models of Diabetic Nephropathy and Neuropathy’ NIH grant, specifically working towards the development of robust mouse models for the evaluation of potential therapeutic interventions in human patients.
Junguk Hur, Ph.D. is a postdoctoral research fellow who received his Ph.D. from Bioinformatics Graduate Program at the Center for Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics (CCMB), University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 2010. His graduate work, under mentorship of Dr. Eva Feldman (Dept. of Neurology) and Dr. Hosagrahar Jagadish (Dept. of Computer Science), focused on developing biomarker discovery system integrating literature mining technology and systems biology approaches. Dr. Hur developed SciMiner, a web-based literature mining tool, and applied SciMiner to the examination of a topic critical to diabetic complications, reactive oxygen species (ROS), revealing known and novel genes and proteins. Using his discovery system, Dr. Hur identified gene expression signature of diabetic neuropathy and developed computational prediction models that predict the progression of diabetic neuropathy. His current research as a postdoctoral research fellow in the Feldman lab focuses on validation of the computational prediction models in a larger cohort and extension of the discovery system to include diabetic nephropathy, another major diabetic complication.
Simon Lunn, Ph.D.
Simon Lunn, Ph.D., received his Ph.D. from the University of Dundee, Scotland, UK in 2005. His doctoral work was carried out in the Department of Cell and Developmental biology under the mentorship of Dr. Kate Storey. There, Dr. Lunn investigated the role of growth factor signals crucial in the first steps during the formation of nervous system during development. Dr. Lunn then moved to the United States to pursue his postdoctoral work. Dr. Lunn’s research interests focus on the mechanisms of neurological disease. Current research focuses on developing effective treatments for Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS. Dr. Lunn uses models for ALS developed in the Feldman laboratory that allow him to investigate neuron disease and the role of growth factors such as IGF and VEGF that may provide vital neuroprotective properties for motor neuron survival. Dr. Lunn is part of the Stem Cell Initiative. Dr. Lunn works with a multi-system approach investigating the properties of both human and mouse stem cells in conjunction with directed differentiation and growth factor treatment to develop potential therapeutic application of stem cells in ALS
Phillipe O’Brien, Ph.D.
Phillipe O’Brien, under the mentorship of Dr. Howard Fearnhead, received his Ph.D. in Pharmacology in 2011 from the National Centre for Biological and Engineering Sciences (NCBES) located at the National University of Ireland, Galway. His graduate research, which comprised of in vitro and cell-free systems, focused on the investigating cellular targets of the serine protease inhibitor, TPCK, in order to clarify the correct use of the inhibitor in apoptotic studies. In the same year as completing his Ph.D. Dr. O’Brien moved from Ireland to join the Feldman lab and is currently involved in understanding the cellular mechanisms of diabetic neuropathy. Using mouse models of diabetes, his research interests include investigating how endoplasmic reticulum stress induced by hyperglycemia and/or dyslipidemia contributes to the disease in order to identify potential therapeutic interventions.
Catherine Stables, Ph.D.
Catherine Stables, Ph.D., received her Ph.D. from King’s College London, UK in 2009. She was the recipient of a British Heart Foundation 4-year PhD studentship. Her doctoral work was carried out in Cardiovascular Division under the mentorship of Dr. Michael Curtis. There, Dr. Stables developed and characterized a mouse isolated heart model of sudden cardiac death (ischemia-induced ventricular fibrillation). Dr. Stables then came to the University of Michigan to pursue her postdoctoral work. Dr. Stables’ research interests focus on the mechanisms of cardiac arrhythmias. Dr. Stables joined the Feldman lab in 2011, and was awarded a 3-year postdoctoral fellowship by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation to study the link between diabetic autonomic neuropathy and cardiac arrhythmias.
Research Associate II
Carey Backus received her BA in Molecular and Cell Biology from UC Berkeley in 1991. She joined Dr. Eva Feldman's laboratory in 2001 from UCSF to assist in ongoing research on neuronal dysfunction in diabetes and ALS. Carey cultures primary sensory, motor and cortical neurons to use as in vitro disease model systems. Recently she has begun working with human embryonic stem cells and is focusing on how to differentiate them into motor neurons, which could then be used as a potential therapy for a rat model of ALS.
Lisa L. Baiz
Research Assistant I
Lisa Baiz is a Research Assistant I in the Department of Neurology. She is currently involved in three ongoing clinical trial studies taking place at the University of Michigan, along with other sites across the nation. She does data entry for the IGF-I study, which is for people with ALS, the IGTN study, which is for glucose intolerance and neuropathy and the JDRF study for diabetic neuropathy. Most of her time is dedicated to the IGF-I study where, along with data entry, she also works with Dr. Feldman and the research team in all aspects of the clinical trial.
Judith Bentley, B.B.A.
Judith Boldt is executive assistant to Dr. Feldman, responsible for grant and manuscript submissions, as well as daily correspondence and administrative activities for the Taubman Institute and the Program for Neurology Research and Discovery laboratory. Boldt also assists Dr. Feldman in her work on the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Center for the Study of Complications in Diabetes. Ms. Boldt received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Eastern Michigan University.
Angela Busta, M.S.
Angela Busta received her MS in Animal Science from Michigan State University in 2007. Before coming to the University of Michigan, she worked in the Cellular Reprogramming Laboratory at MSU where she gained experience working with zebrafish. She joined the Department of Neurology at UM in 2008 to help with the development of zebrafish models of myopathy and ALS.
Jacqueline Dauch received a bachelors degree in Pre-medical Studies and Spanish from the University of Michigan in 2009. In the laboratory, she uses animal models of type 2 diabetes to study the molecular and signaling events that mediate diabetic neuropathy pain (DNP). Her goal is to determine the key molecules for the development of DNP. By identifying these key elements, mechanism-specific treatments will then be developed. Jacque works closely with Dr. Cheng to study DNP.
Research Lab Tech Senior
John Hayes received a B.A. degree from Oakland University in 1999. He joined the laboratory in the spring of 2000 to assist in ongoing research within the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Center for the Complications in Diabetes. Mr. Hayes performs immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridization, transmission electron microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, confocal microscopy, nerve conduction studies, analgesia testing and animal dissections. Mr. Hayes also works with the Animal Models of Diabetic Complications Consortium characterizing diabetic neuropathy in mice.
Research Associate I
Yu Hong received her MS in Molecular Biology from University of Maryland at College Park. In 2002, she worked at Biotherapies Inc. and Pfizer Inc., studying a growth inhibitor of breast cancer and using siRNA technology to silence a lipoprotein candidate gene involved in cardiovascular disease. In 2003, she joined the program for PNRD at University of Michigan. Her current efforts involve investigating gene regulatory profiles for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) disease and Diabetes.
Research Associate I
Lisa McLean joined the laboratory in April 2001 as a member of the JDRF Oxidative Stress Core to assist in ongoing research to determine oxidative stress damage found in tissue, cells, plasma and urine. She came from the UMCCC Prostate Cancer SPORE Program where she was involved in developing and characterizing animal models of prostate cancer. She is currently supported by a research grant from the American Diabetes Association to explore lipid-induced neuronal injury. Lisa is experienced in primary cell culture and prepares the adult DRG neurons cultures for researchers weekly. She is the lab specialist on the functions/operations of the Fluoroskan and Multiskan plate readers and she performs assays specializing in Oxidative Stress measurements using absorbance, fluorescence and luminescence. She also does cell culture, immuno-histochemistry, Western blotting and image capture using confocal microscopy. In addition, she is in charge of supplies, accounting and managing the day to day operations of the laboratory.
Sang Su (Alex) Oh
Originally from South Korea, Alex moved to the United States in November 2003 to join the laboratory and gain hands-on research experience in the field of neurology. Alex received his D.V.M. in 2001 at Konkuk University and his masters of neuroscience degree in February 2003 at Ajou University. He works directly with all senior staff members to investigate stem cells as a novel therapy in the treatment of animal models of ALS and artificial nerve grafts to treat nerve injury.
Clinical Research Coordinator Health
Crystal received her B.S. degree in Molecular Biology from Michigan Technological University in 1998. She has been at the University of Michigan since 2002 and joined the Feldman lab to help start up Human Embryonic Stem Cell (hESC) work. She will be working closely with other research investigators studying various stem cell lines in order to study the mechanisms behind neuron disease and degeneration of ALS. She is also actively involved in the clinical aspect of the laboratory, and also responsible for building and maintaining the largest ALS patient sample biorepository.
Director of Development PNR&D
Stephanie Peterson has worked at the University of Michigan Health System and became involved with the Program for Neurology Research & Discovery (PNR&D) fundraising activities in November, 2000. Her current work involved initiating and coordinating major and planned gifts from individuals, foundations and businesses to support Dr. Feldman's research and scientists of PNR&D. In addition, Ms. Peterson works with community organizations such as Champions for Charity, A2A3 and Executive Women's Golf Association on their annual fund raising events. Prior to coming to PNR&D, she worked at MCARE in the Partnership Health Program and other departments within U-M Health System. She has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Michigan.
Research Specialist, Lead
Susan Pietropaolo received her bachelors degree in Microbiology from Colorado State University in 1988. She joined the laboratory in the fall of 2006 after spending 11 years at the University of Pittsburgh studying autoimmune type 1diabetes. Her current research studies involve using histology, molecular biology, and phage-microarray technology to identify neuronal proteins reactive with sera from Type 1 diabetic patients who have autoimmune neuropathy. The identification of these proteins should yield insights into the role of the immune system and candidate molecular pathways that are inflamed or damaged in the nervous system. In addition, identified marker(s) will be used to develop an assay that has the potential to offer a more accurate diagnosis and/or predict the progression rate of this often debilitating complication of type 1 diabetes.
Aaron Reifler is a graduate student in the Neuroscience Program at the University of Michigan. A native of Michigan, he also completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan Residential College, with a dual B.S. in Biopsychology and French. Aaron is currently working on his dissertation research under the mentorship of James Dowling, M.D., Ph.D. His research focuses on the mechanisms of phosphatidyl inositol (PtdIns) regulation and its signaling pathways. Several important genes involved in PtdIns regulation have been linked to myopathic diseases, and one of the goals of his research is to gain a better understanding of how defects in the regulatory systems can cause such devastating results, using zebrafish and mice to model human disease.
Andrea L. Smith, M.S.
Clinical Research Coordinator and Genetic Counselor
Andrea is Clinical Research Coordinator and Genetic Counselor in the Department of Neurology at the University of Michigan Health System. She has a B.S. in Neuroscience from the College of William and Mary and a M.S. in Genetic Counseling from the University of Pittsburgh. She is involved in numerous clinical research studies regarding both amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and neuropathy and serves as the primary research coordinator for the University of Michigan’s ALS Clinic. She also provides clinical genetic counseling to adults with inherited neuromuscular disorders.
Arden received a B.S. in Neuroscience with Honors and Distinction from the University of Michigan in 2011. She joined the laboratory in Fall of 2009 as an undergraduate Program for Neurology Research and Discovery Scholar. After graduation, Arden became a full time research technician and works closely with Elizabeth Gibbs, Ph.D., to examine the cellular mechanisms that give rise to congenital myopathies and neuropathies. Their work utilizes the zebrafish as a model of study. Arden also assists on projects directed towards the understanding of diabetic neuropathy pain using a murine model.