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Alumni

Joe Udeochu – BMS Graduate Student (2012-2017)

I graduated from UCLA with a BS in Physiological Sciences. During my time at UCLA, I worked on identifying neuronal populations in the upper cervical spinal cord that are involved in the transmission of pain stimuli. This experience formed my foundation in basic science research and greatly motivated my decision to further my science education in graduate school. As a student in the biomedical sciences program, I hope to study the role of immune cells and signaling factors on cognitive function. As a graduate student in the Villeda lab, I am working on characterizing changes in microglia in the ageing brain with the goal of identifying cell intrinsic and extrinsic pathways that result in aberrant cognitive function and decreased neurogenesis with age.  

Current position: Post-doctoral Fellow in Dr. Li Gan's Lab at UCSF.

 

 

 

Cassie Zuckerman – SFSU undergraduate student (2016-2017)

 

I’m currently in my senior year of undergraduate studies at San Francisco State University, working towards my B.S. in Cell and Molecular Biology. During my time as an undergraduate, I’ve developed a strong interest in regenerative and aging sciences. In the Villeda lab, I’ll be exploring the role classical immune molecules play in regulating adult neurogenesis. After graduating, I plan to pursue graduate studies and continue focusing on aging research. 

 

 

Xuelai 'Shelly' Fan – Post-Doctoral Fellow (2015-2017)

 

I initially trained as a research pharmacist at Peking University with a focus on cancer pharmacology. I received my doctoral degree in neuroscience at the University of British Columbia, where I studied novel ways to eliminate pathogenic proteins in the brain that are involved in neurodegenerative diseases and stroke. For my postdoctoral work I seek to elucidate the cellular and molecular pathways of rejuvenating factors. I hope to further our mechanistic understanding of age-related cognitive decline and potentially delay or reverse its onset.

 

 

 

 

Hank Garcia – Post-Doctoral Fellow (2014-2016)

 

In 2009 I graduated with a B.S. in Molecular Genetics from the University of Rochester in Rochester, NY. Afterwards, in 2014 I received my PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology and Cancer Genetics at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) through the University at Buffalo. My research focused on FACT, the target of a class of anti-cancer drugs called Curaxins, and its critical role in cancer cells versus normal cells. I find aging research extremely fascinating, and as such my interests shifted from cancer to aging. I joined the Villeda lab as a post-doctoral fellow to investigate the role of factors in the blood that contribute to rejuvenation of the aging brain. 

 

Cedric Snethlage – Master's Student (2013-2016)

I graduated with a B.S. in Biology from UC Santa Cruz in 2010. After taking 2 years off to work as a tutor and teacher I am currently pursuing a Master's Degree in Biomedical Sciences at San Francisco State in the Professional Science Master's (PSM) program with a concentration in Stem Cell Biology. Since starting work at UC San Francisco, I have become more interested in adult neurogenesis and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's. I plan to study the role of immune molecules in adult neurogenesis.
Current position: Graduate student at UC San Diego

 

 

 

Manasi Iyer – Research Assistant (2014-2016)

 

I graduated with a B.A. in Biology with a concentration in neuroscience from Williams College. During my time at Williams, I worked on characterizing addiction and arousal neural circuits regulated by the neuropeptide hypocretin. As an undergraduate, I was primarily interested in learning about the neural circuits that control homeostatic behaviors. More recently, I have become interested in the interaction between the nervous and immune systems and how that interaction affects the brain as it ages. As a research associate in the Villeda lab, I will examine specific epigenetic changes that regulate adult neurogenesis in the adult brain. 
Current Position: graduate student in the Stanford Neuroscience PhD program


 

Jill Bouchard – Post-Doctoral Fellow (2013-2015) 

I graduated with a B.S. in Biochemistry and Cell Biology from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). Throughout this time, I worked as a research technician at the Salk Institute of Biological Sciences in a molecular neurobiology lab, where I gained valuable experience in molecular and biochemical techniques. More recently, I obtained my Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). It was during this time I became very interested in how immune responses contribute to neuronal function. As a post-doctoral fellow in Dr. Saul Villeda’s lab, I would like to understand the signaling mechanisms between glial cells and neurons in the context of cognitive impairment in the aging brain.

 

 

 

 

 Kris Plambeck – Master's Student (2012-2014)

 

 

I graduated from the University of California, Merced in 2011 with a B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology. Currently, I am a graduate student at San Francisco State University pursuing a Master's Degree in Biomedical Sciences within the Professional Science Master's (PSM) program with a concentration in Stem Cell Biology. During my time at UC Merced I worked in stem cell research on breast cancer and breast cancer metastasis. . Within the Villeda lab, I will aim to elucidate specific molecular mechanisms underlying the ability of the aging brain to rejuvenate. Through the identification of these mechanisms, we will be able to potentially halt the aging process in hopes of preventing neurodegenerative diseases before their onset.

Current position: PhD Student at UC Davis (BMCDB)

 

 

 Abby Rowlands – Research Assistant (2012) 

 

I am a graduate of St. Mary's College of Maryland. At SMCM my research primarily focused on animal models of schizophrenia and drug addiction, utilizing numerous behavioral testing techniques, highlighted by a senior capstone research projects entitled Effects of Isolation Rearing on the Motivational Properties of Cocaine in the Conditioned Place Preference Test. I graduated SMCM with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Neuroscience in 2010. I then joined the Tyler Lab at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute and was involved in projects using a variety of noninvasive neuromodulation approaches such as TMS, tDCS, and ultrasonic neuromodulation, as well as neurophysiological approaches such as EEG, MRI, and fMRI to characterize brain activity patterns in response to tasks of modulation paradigms. I am eager to begin research in the Villeda Lab aimed at understanding the mechanisms involved in the rejuvenation of plasticity and cognition by young blood in the old brain.