OUR TEAM

ERIK S. MUSIEK, MD, PhD

Principal Investigator

Charlotte & Paul Hagemann Professor of Neurology, Washington Univ. School of Medicine

Previous Training: BS, College of William & Mary; MD, PhD, Vanderbilt Univ. School of Medicine; Residency in Neurology, Hospital of the Univ. of Pennsylvania; Dementia Fellowship, Washington Univ. School of Medicine.

Erik grew up in Hanover, NH, played football in high school, and ran hurdles in high school and college (and a bit in med school). He completed his PhD in Pharmacology with Drs. Jason Morrow and BethAnn McLaughlin at Vanderbilt, and worked in the lab of Dr. Garret FitzGerald at Penn during residency. He came to WashU as a postdoctoral fellowship in David Holtzman's lab, and a clinical dementia fellow in the Knight ADRC. He started his own laboratory at WashU in 2014. In addition to his basic research, Erik sees patients in the Memory Diagnostic Center and is an investigator in the Knight Alzheimer's Disease Research Center.

Erik is also Co-Director of the Center On Biological Rhythms And Sleep at WashU, a multidisciplinary research center focus on understanding the role of sleep and circadian rhythms in human health.

Click here for WUSTL Neurology biography 

JULIE DIMITRY, MS

Senior Lab Manager/Scientist

Previous training: B.S. and M.S., Univ. of Illinois.  Julie joined the lab in 2015 after many years in the department of Biochemistry managing the lab of Dr. Bill Frazier.  Julie brings experience and molecular biology expertise to the lab, and beyond her bench research projects, she also manages the lab and takes care of most things.

 

PATRICK SHEEHAN

Ph.D. Student - Neuroscience

Previous training: B.S., Clarion University. Pat joined the lab in Spring 2018 as a PhD student in Neuroscience. Pat had previous research experience at Brandeis University and the NIH prior to coming to WashU.

 

CELIA MCKEE

Ph.D. Student - Neuroscience

Previous training: B.A., Vassar College. Celia joined the lab in Spring 2018 as a PhD student in Neuroscience. As a tech at Duke University and the University of Virginia, she has studied retinal neurodegeneration, traumatic brain injury, and meningeal lymphatic function. 

 

JIYEON LEE, PhD

Postdoctoral Associate

Previous training: Ph.D., Seoul National University. Jiyeon joined the lab in Spring 2019. She majored in Circadian biology and completed Ph.D training in Dr. Kyungjin Kim's laboratory at Seoul National University, and at Asan Medical Center.  Her research is focused on a role of circadian molecules, especially REV-ERBα, in Alzheimer's disease.

 

MELVIN KING

Ph.D. Student - Neuroscience

Previous training: B.A., Dartmouth College. Melvin joined the lab as a PhD student in Neuroscience in Spring 2019. Originally from Fort Worth, TX, Melvin studied Chemistry at Dartmouth and completed a post-bacalaureate research program at the Univ. of Rochester before coming to WashU.

 

MICHAEL KANAN

Research Technician

Previous training: B.A., St. Louis Univ.  Michael worked in the lab as an undergraduate for two summers, studying the impact of Bmal1 deletion on alpha-synuclein pathology. He then joined the lab as a technician in August 2019. He grew up in Detroit and Chesterfield, MO.

 

JENNIFER LAWRENCE

Ph.D. Student- Neuroscience

 

Previous training: B.S., Univ. of Delaware. Jen joined the lab in Spring 2020 as a PhD student in Neuroscience. She grew up in Newport News, VA. She is a Fulbright Scholarship awardee and used that year to study Alzheimer's Disease at Radboud Univ. in Nijmegen, The Netherlands. She is a recipient of an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.

 

ASHISH SHARMA, PhD

Postdoctoral Associate

Previous training: Ph.D., School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Shoolini University, India. Ashish joined the lab in Spring 2021. He completed his PhD thesis research on the effect of constant light on AD-like neuropathology in rats in the lab of Dr. Rohit Goyal.  His current research examines the effects of different form of circadian disruption and sleep inducing drugs on amyloid and tau pathology in mice.

 

CYNTHIA CHEN

Ph.D. Student- Neuroscience

 

Previous training: B.S., UCLA. Cynthia joined the lab in Spring 2021 as a PhD student in Neuroscience. After graduating form UCLA, she worked as a technician in the lab of Dr. Berislav Zlokovic at USC, modeling the blood-brain barrier using iPSCs.

 

COLLIN NADARAJAH

MSTP student

Previous Training: B.A., Washington University.  Originally from Dallas, Collin completed an Honors Thesis in the lab as an undergraduate and stayed on as a technician in the lab for two years before departing in Summer 2019 to  become an MSTP student at Washington University. Now he has returned to pursue his PhD in the lab!

 

LAB ALUMNI

LUCY COHEN

Former Position: Undergraduate Researcher

Lucy hails from Clayton, MO, and worked an undergraduate student at Washington University from 2018-2020. She joined the lab as a sophomore, and has worked with Jacob Basak and Pat Sheehan on projects related to neuroinflammation. She graduated in 2021 and is now pursuing further research and plans to for medical school.

 

SHIRLEY CAI

Former Position: Undergraduate Researcher

Originally from China, Shirley joined the lab as a sophomore at Washington University.  She worked on astrocyte circadian clocks, first with Brian Lananna, and more recently with Celia McKee and Jen Lawrence. She graduated in 2021 and joined the lab of Dr. Dennis Selkoe at Harvard as a technician, with a plan to pursue a PhD.

 

PERCY GRIFFIN, PhD

Former Position: Ph.D. Student, Molecular Cell Biology

Current Position: Director of Scientific Engagement, Alzheimer's Association

Percy was the second PhD student to graduate from the lab, successfully defending his thesis in June 2020. His thesis work focused on regulation of neuroinflammation (Griffin P et al, PNAS, 2019) and microglial synaptic phagocytosis (Griffin P et al, eLife, 2020) by the circadian REV-ERB proteins. He was a recipient of an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.

 

ASHLEY DODD

Former Position: Research Technician

Current Position: Psychometrics researcher, Hassenstab Lab, WashU

Ashley worked as a technician in the lab from early 2020 until summer 2021. She studyed the effects of novel therapeutic agents in mouse models of AD. She moved on to join Jason Hassenstab in the Kinght ADRC to pursue her interest in neuropsychology.

 

JACOB BASAK, MD, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow, Anesthesiology

Current position: Assistant Professor, Univ. of Colorado School of Medicine

Previous training: B.A., Univ. of Chicago; MD and PhD, Washington University MSTP, Residency in Anesthesiology, Barnes Jewish Hospital. Jacob joined the lab in Summer 2017, and spent 18 months in lab. His research interests focus on dementia and cognitive impairment after critical illness.  He departed in Summer 2019 for a faculty position at the Univ. of Colorado. His work from the lab on experimental sepsis and amyloid plaque deposition was published in 2020.

 

BRIAN LANANNA, PhD

Former position: PhD student, Neuroscience.

Current position: Postdoctoral Fellow, Lab of Dr. Shin-Ichiro Imai, WashU.

Brian was the first graduate student to join the lab, and successfully defended in April 2019.  His work demonstrated that Bmal1 regulates astrocyte activation (Lananna et al, Cell Rep, 2018), and that the AD biomarker Chi3l1/YKL-40 is clock-controlled and influences glial activation and AD pathogenesis in mice and humans (Lananna et al, STM, 2020). He stayed on at WashU to pursue post-doc training on his primary interest, aging, in the lab of Dr. Shin Imai. While in the lab, he was the recipient of the 2018 John E. Majors award from the Dept. of Biochemistry.

GERRY KRESS, PhD

Former position: Instructor in Neurology

Current position: Assistant Professor, Dept. of Neurology, Washington Univ. School of Medicine

Gerry joined the lab after completing a successful post-doc in the lab of Dr. James Surmeier at Northwestern.  In our lab, she published an important first-author J Exp Med paper showing that Bmal1 deletion alters amyloid-beta dynamics and plaque deposition. She received a K01 award from the NIA, and now has her own R01-funded lab at here at WashU.

 

MICHELLE CEDENO

Former position: Research Technician

Current position:Design Strategist Consultant, Boston Consulting Group

 

DAVID XIONG, MD

Former position: Research Technician

Current position: Dermatology Resident, Case Western Reserve University Hospitals

LAURA QI, MD

Former position: Research Technician

Current position: Neurology Resident, Univ. of Missouri

 

Lab circa 2019. Updated picture delayed due to COVID