Anne Milasincic Andrews, Ph.D.
Dr. Andrews is Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is a member of the Semel Institute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior, the Hatos Center for Neuropharmacology, the California NanoSystems Institute, and the organic division of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Dr. Andrews received her B.S. in Chemistry from the Pennsylvania State University and earned her Ph.D. in Chemistry as a U.S. Department of Education Fellow working at the National Institute of Mental Health, where she was later a postdoctoral fellow and senior staff fellow. At the NIMH, Andrews and her mentor, Dr. Dennis Murphy, discovered and characterized a novel serotonin neurotoxin, 2’-NH2-MPTP. Dr. Andrews was also instrumental in early studies on serotonin transporter-deficient mice. Andrews is a member of the Society for Neuroscience, American Chemical Society, Society for Electroanalytical Chemistry, and American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. She has been the recipient of an NIH Fellows Award for Research Excellence, an Eli Lilly Outstanding Young Analytical Chemist Award, an American Parkinson’s Disease Association Research Award, and a Brain & Behavior Research Foundation (NARSAD) Independent Investigator Award. She is a fellow of the Collegium Internationale Neuropsychopharmacologicum and a Serotonin Club elected councilor. Recently, Dr. Andrews became Associate Editor for ACS Chemical Neuroscience and the Richard Metzner Endowed Chair in Clinical Neuropharmacology at UCLA.
At UCLA, Andrews leads efforts in basic and translational research on anxiety and depression, and at the nexus of nanoscience and neuroscience. Andrews’ interdisciplinary research team of neuroscientists, biologists, chemists, and engineers focuses on understanding how the serotonin system and particularly, the serotonin transporter, modulate neurotransmission to influence complex behaviors including anxiety, mood, stress responsiveness, and learning and memory. Genetic and pharmacologic mouse models and human genetic variants are studied to understand the molecular basis of serotonin system function associated with the etiology and treatment of mood and anxiety disorders. Key proteins (e.g., brain-derived neurotrophic factor) and neuronal architectures regulated by serotonin are also investigated. Nanomaterials are designed for fundamental studies on neurotransmitter recognition by native and nonnative binding partners (aptamers) and for the development of in vivo nanobiosensors and functionally directed proteomics.
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Senior Scientists/Postdoctoral Fellows
Dr. Hongyan Yang
Dr. Yang earned a B.S. in Biology & Applied Electronics (1997) and a Ph.D. in Molecular Neuroscience (2002) from East China Normal University in Shanghai. Her doctoral work, titled “Function of NMDA receptors in the development of the central auditory system”, was carried out under the supervision of Prof. Xinde Sun. In 2002, she joined Prof. Liangyou Rui’s group as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Molecular & Integrative Physiology at the University of Michigan. There, she studied the mechanisms of obesity and type II diabetes. In 2003, Dr. Yang joined the laboratory of Prof. Jill Becker in the Molecular & Behavioral Neuroscience Institute at the University of Michigan. Under Dr. Becker’s guidance, she focused on investigating gender differences in drug abuse, rapid effects of estradiol in the brain, and sex chromosome effects in Parkinson’s Disease. In 2011, she joined the laboratory of Prof. Andrews where she is currently investigating the influences of neonatal serotonin transporter disruption on adult serotonin system circuitry. Dr. Yang is also working on fast scan cyclic voltammetry to study serotonin system function in vivo.
Dr. Liane Slaughter
Liane Slaughter joins the Weiss and Andrews groups after finishing her Ph.D. in chemistry at Rice University under the guidance of Prof. Stephan Link. Her graduate work used correlated electron and optical microscopy to examine gold nanoparticles and their assemblies one at a time to reveal sensitive and otherwise unknown relationships between their geometries and their optical properties. Before her graduate studies, Liane earned her B.A. in chemistry from Cornell University. While she was there, she researched mesoporous metal materials with potential applications for fuel cells under the mentorship of Scott Warren, who was co-advised by Profs. Ulrich Wiesner and Francis Disalvo. Liane’s interests include self-assembly and patterning of molecules and nanoparticles on surfaces, single particle microscopy and spectroscopy, and understanding the consequences of molecular adsorption on the structural and electronic properties of their underlying surfaces.
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Graduate Student Researchers
Brendan S. Beikmann
Brendan Beikmann graduated from Colorado State University in 2007 with a B.S. in Biology and minors in Chemistry and Biomedical Science. He is currently working as a Staff Research Assistant with Dr. Anne Andrews at UCLA while concurrently pursuing a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the Pennsylvania State University. Mr. Beikmann's graduate research is focused on characterizing peripheral blood cells as biomarkers for predicting serotonin selective reuptake inhibitor antidepressant treatment efficacy in depressed individuals. This project is being carried out in collaboration with Professor Andrew Leuchter at UCLA. Using chronoamperometry, Brendan is also examining serotonin transporter function in peripheral blood cells from healthy individuals having immune system stimulation via a low dose of endotoxin. Professors Naomi Eisenberger and Michael Irwin, UCLA collaborators on this project, have found that brief immune stimulation induces transient depressed mood. Brendan also works on developing a flow cytometry-based assay for examining monoamine transporter function in platelets and peripheral blood mononuclear cells utilizing fluorescent substrates synthesized in the laboratory of Professor Sandra Rosenthal at Vanderbilt University.
Huan H. Cao
Huan Cao graduated summa cum laude in 2008 with a B.S. in Chemistry from Marshall University where he also minored in Mathematics and Physics. Mr. Cao carried out undergraduate research under Professor Michael Norton to develop strategies to attach DNA to Au nanostructures on Si substrates using dendrimer chemistries. Currently, he is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry at UCLA. Mr. Cao works jointly between the Andrews’s group and Professor Paul S. Weiss’s group at the California NanoSystems Institute. His graduate research is focused on developing advanced nanoscale surface chemistries for small-molecule neurotransmitter functionalized substrates. Together, he and Dr. Wei-Ssu Liao are using microfluidics to create multiplexed surfaces having different neurotransmitters tethered and addressed on a single substrate. In addition, they developed chemical lift-off lithography, a novel high-resolution chemical patterning method. These and other multiplexed platforms fabricated using microcontact insertion printing enable capture and sorting of neurotransmitter biomolecule binding partners, such as G-protein-coupled receptors, for structural and functional studies. Mr. Cao is currently a training fellow in the UCLA NeuroImaging Training Program (NITP) sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and was the recipient of an Incoming Graduate Student Award for excellence in coursework and teaching at the Pennsylvania State University, prior to relocating with Andrews and Weiss to UCLA.
Nako graduated from Fordham University with a BS in Chemistry and a minor in French in 2012 . She carried out undergraduate research under the mentorship of Professor Ipsita Banerjee and her bionanotechnology research focused on design, synthesis and assembly of peptide bolaamphiphiles for potential tissue engineering and drug delivery applications; using elastin and collagen functionalized peptide nanotubes as potential scaffolds for cartilage regeneration; generating soy-peptide hydrogels that encapsulate and release various drugs incited by pH environment. In addition, she explored specifically designed peptide sequences for cell penetration and examined the effect of size, charge and specific amino acid moieties for cellular penetration. Additional work involved gene therapy with siRNA bound microtubular networks, as well as biomimetic formation of gold, platinum and silver nanoparticles using specific peptide sequences. Nako's joint graduate research between Dr. Anne Andrews' and Dr. Paul Weiss' labs focuses on developing nanoscale surface chemistry for small-molecule such as neurotransmitters, in addition to capturing multiple molecules on the surface to create a multiplexed neurochip (working with Huan and Wei-Ssu). In her off time, she likes to compete in triathlons.
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Maureen Sampson (Molecular Toxicology)
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Undergraduate Student Researchers
Chloe is currently studying Biochemistry at UCLA with plans to graduate in 2017. She is interested in the development of pharmaceuticals and improved delivery systems especially for the treatment of neurological disorders.
Drumil is a sophomore at UCLA majoring in Neuroscience. He is currently investigating biofouling at carbon fiber microelectrodes using fast cyclic voltammetry. Drumil also works with Brendan Beikmann to study serotonin uptake using chronoamperometry and boron-doped diamond microelectrodes.
Diana is an undergraduate Psychobiology major at UCLA. Her interests include studying the biological and social bases of psychological disorders. She analyzes serotonin levels in the mouse brain using HPLC in studies on postnatal tryptophan hydroxylase inhibition with Lee Gilman.
Juliette is majoring in Psychobiology at UCLA and plans to graduate in June 2014. She is extremely interested in psychology, neuroscience and global health. Her work under Lee Gilman includes analyzing the social behavior of mice with manipulated levels of serotonin synthesis during postnatal development.
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Christopher J. Evans (Director, Brain Research Institute, Semel Institute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior, UCLA)
Julie G. Hensler (Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, UT Health Science Center San Antonio)
Michael E. Jung (Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, UCLA)
Andrew F. Leuchter (Director, Laboratory of Brain, Behavior & Pharmacology, Semel Institute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior, UCLA)
Pablo Moya (Department of Neurobiology, Universidad de Valparaiso)
Michael Murphy-Corb (Department of Molecular Genetics & Biochemistry, University of Pittsburgh)
Aydogan Ozcan (Department of Electrical Engineering, Engineering, UCLA)
Sandra J. Rosenthal (Director, Vanderbilt Institute of Nanoscale Science and Engineering and Department of Chemistry, Vanderbilt University)
Damla Senturk (Department of Biostatistics, UCLA)
Greg M. Swain (Department of Chemistry, Michigan State University)
Kent E. Vrana (Chair, Department of Pharmacology, Penn State College of Medicine)
Steve G. Weber (Department of Chemistry, University of Pittsburgh)
Paul S. Weiss (Director, California NanoSystems Institute, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, and Department of Material Science & Engineering, UCLA)
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Wei-Ssu Liao, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor of Chemistry at National Taiwan University
T. Lee Gilman, Ph.D. - Postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Psychology at Kent State University, Kent, OH
Stefanie C. Altieri, Ph.D. - Postdoctoral researcher at the Rangos Research Center at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
Sarawut Cheunkar, Ph.D. - Faculty at the School of Bioresources and Technology, King Mongkut's University of Technology
Amanda Bressler, Ph.D.
Mitchell Schuster, Ph.D. - Staff Scientist, Intel Corporation
Amit Vaish, Ph.D. - Postdoctoral Fellow, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIH), Bethesda, MD
Yogesh Singh, Ph.D. - Process Engineer, Intel Corporation, Hillboro, OR
Walter Jackson, III, M.S. - Ph.D. student, Biomedical Sciences at Pennsylvania State University, Hershey, PA
Stefan Pajtek, M.S. - Research Associate in fMRI imaging, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh Medical School, Pittsburgh, PA
Beth Luellen, Ph.D.- Freelance Science Writer
Xiomara Perez, Ph.D.- Research Neuroscientist, SRI International, Menlo Park, CA
Matthew E. Szapacs, Ph.D. - Principal Scientist, Glaxo Smith Kline, King of Prussia, PA
Erica Unger, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor of Biology, Lebanon Valley College, Annville PA
Tiffany A. Mathews, Ph.D. - Tenure-track Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
Angela C. Chisnell, M.S. - Pfizer Pharmaceuticals
Denise E. Fedele, M.S. - Ph.D. completed in Switzerland
Jeffrey A. Lee - graduated from UCLA with B.S. in Biochemistry, June 2014
Woonwoo R. Choi - graduated from UCLA with B.S. in Neuroscience, June 2014
Pasha Dabiri - graduated from UCLA with B.S. in Psychobiology, June 2012
Hannah J. O'Brien - graduated from UCLA with B.S. in Biology, June 2012
Jeffrey Xu - graduated from UCLA with B.S. in Molecular, Cell & Developmental Biology, June 2012
Brian D. Ezekian - currently a med student at University of Virginia School of Medicine
Roya Nezarati - currently a Ph.D. student in Chemistry at Texas A&M
Michelle Martinez-Rivera - currently a Ph.D. student at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Daniel J. Ramos - currently a med student at UMDNJ Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
Shoba A. Belegundu - currently a med student at University of Cincinnati
Jason B. Ochroch - currently a med student at Jefferson Medical College
Lauren E. Sawarynski - recently graduated from Yale's Physician Associate Program, currently working as P.A. in Hartford, CT
Chubi A. Ihunnah - currently a Ph.D. student in Pharmacology at University of Pittsburgh
Claudia A. Rodriguez
Brooke B. Osborne - recently graduated from Colorado State University with Master's in Environmental Science, enrolling in Brown University's Ph.D. Ecology program Fall 2013
Alexandra R. Lewis - studying Veterinary Medicine at Colorado State University
Laura B. Taylor - received M.D. from University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, currently a resident at St. Margaret in Pittsburgh, PA
John E. McManigle - pursuing an M.D. at Duke University and a Ph.D. at Oxford University
Tara N. Chrzanowski - currently a Research Scientist at MPI Research
Ashley L. Gibb - NSF graduate fellow in Chemistry at University of California, Berkeley
Lisa U. Dudek - currently a Ph.D. student in Chemistry & Biochemistry at UCLA
Kaycee M. Hulet - completed degree in International and Family Law at Brigham Young University
Lindsey M. Schneider
Jacqueline F. Morris - received Ph.D. in Neuropharmacology from University of Pennsylvania
Christopher K. Materese - received Ph.D. in Chemistry from University of North Carolina, Postdoctoral Fellow at NASA Ames Astrophysics & Astrochemistry Laboratory
Dawn E. Rupp
Christian M. Squillante
Kristen E. Seabright
Kenneth J. Sowinski
Adam L. Numis - received M.D. from Harvard University, residency at University of California, San Francisco
Eric D. Horowitz - received Ph.D. in Chemistry from Georgia Tech, Postdoctoral Fellow at University of North Carolina
Corey M. McCann - entered M.D./Ph.D. program at Harvard University
Katherine Sixt - received Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology from Johns Hopkins Medicine, Postdoctoral Fellow at National Cancer Institute
Robert S. Bridges - graduate school in Pharmacology at Columbia University
Francesca A. Coppelli - received M.D. as Howard Hughes Fellow from University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, currently practicing Internal Medicine at Philadelphia VA Medical Center
Marimar D. Aponte - received a Ph.D. in Immunology from University of Pittsburgh
George M. Jawahar
Erin J. Steck - Research Scientist at DuPont
Douglas L. Sheridan - received Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Yale University, working in new therapeutic biologics at Alexion
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