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VA Palo Alto
The TWC- Lab is located at the Hospital of Veterans Affairs in Palo Alto. Click here to get directions.

Lab News

02-04-14 Jian and Ching each publish!
Congratulations to Jian for publishing in Frontiers in Neurology and Ching (Zhaoqing) on publishing in JEM!  You can read Jian's paper here and Ching's paper here!
10-10-13 Tony receives a Transformative R01!
Congratulations to Tony for being a 2013 Transformative R01 Award Recipient!  You can read more about it here
09-04-13 Kurt publishes in Neuron!
Congratulations to Kurt for his beautiful paper in Neuron.  It was also featured on Alzforum!
06-10-13 Jinte wins award!
Congratulations to Jinte for winning a (well-paid) Alzheimer's Association Award for Young Scientists. There was a strong competition this year so this is really awesome.
06-05-13 Kira's thesis defense!
Congratulations to Dr. Kira Mosher for reaching this milestone in her bright career!

Current Labmembers

  Name Position Email  Research Keywords

Rachelle Abbey Research Assistant This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Autophagy, Neurodegeneration

Daniela Berdnik Research Associate This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Proteomics, Aging, Neurodegeneration

Mike Betley Graduate Student This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Exercise, Aging

Joseph Castellano Postdoctoral Fellow This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Neurodegeneration, Aging

Eva Czirr Postdoctoral Fellow This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Alzheimer's, Complement System, Neurodegeneration
Kira Irving Mosher Graduate Student This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Neuroinflammation, Microglia, Aging
Liz Kirby Postdoctoral Fellow This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Neural Plasticity, Neurodegeneration

Benoit Lehallier Postdoctoral Fellow This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Bioinformatics, Alzheimer's
Jian Luo Instructor This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it EAE, Neurodegeneration

Vidhu Mathur Postdoctoral Fellow This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Neurodegeneration, Protein Degradation
Takeshi Matsui Postdoctoral Fellow This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Neurodegeneration, Aging

Jinte Middeldorp Postdoctoral Fellow This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Neural stem cells, aging, chemokines

Andy Nguyen Research Assistant This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Parkinson's Disease and traumatic brain injury
Caitlin O'Brien Graduate Student This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Autophagy, Microglial Activation
Jadon Shen Research Assistant
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Proteomics
Alicia Shiu Graduate Student
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Aging, Microglia, Neurodegeneration
Trisha Stan Graduate Student This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Proteomics, Frontotemporal Dementia
Hui Zhang Lab Manager This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it TGF-beta, Neurodegeneration






Rachelle Abbey

I am a graduate of University of California Irvine, with a BS degree in Biological Sciences. During my last two years there I worked in a hormone receptor signaling laboratory and my project focused on primary neurogenesis. I am happy to continue working on research related to this field in the Wyss-Coray lab, where currently I assist Dr. Kurt Lucin, investigating the role of autophagy in Alzheimer's disease. 

Education:
2011 University of Irvine-San Diego, CA: BS in Biology

Daniela Berdnik

I was trained as a Cell Biologist in Vienna (Austria) at the Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP) where I worked on asymmetric cell division. In 2003, I joined the lab of Liqun Luo as a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University working on developmental neurobiology, particularly interested in the assembly and maintenance of neural circuits.
I joined the Wyss-Coray lab in January 2011 and work now on proteomics using the microarray technology. My main interest is to decipher how blood signatures in humans and mice change during disease and aging with the goal to understand neurodegenerative diseases and the process of aging. 

Education:
2002 University of Vienna, IMP, Austria: PHD in Genetics and Cell Biology
2003-2007 Stanford University, Dept. of Biology, Luo Lab: Postdoctoral Fellow
2008-2010 Stanford University, Dept. of Biology, Luo Lab: Staff Scientist

Fellowships:
EMBO (2003-2004)
HFSPO (2005-2007)

Mike Betley

My research interest is in how peripheral changes can alter brain function. Exercise is known to increase hippocampal neurogenesis as well as improve learning and memory. Currently, I am examining exercised animals to understand how signals from the periphery mediate these beneficial effects. Through this project, we not only seek to gain a better understanding of basic physiology, but we hope our work may prove beneficial to producing therapeutic treatments for conditions which display impairments in learning and memory. 

Education:
2007 St. Louis University: BA in Biology
2011 University of Missouri: DVM

Joseph Castellano

During my Ph.D. studies at Washington University, I worked with David Holtzman to understand the mechanism by which APOE ε4, the strongest genetic risk factor for sporadic Alzheimer’s disease, influences amyloid-β (Aβ) accumulation. I found that human apoE isoforms differentially regulate brain Aβ clearance, suggesting that apoE4 is impaired in its ability to clear Aβ from the brain relative to other isoforms of apoE. My interest in neurodegeneration and aging motivated me to understand factors that regulate aging in unconventional ways. I am currently interested in exploring the role the periphery plays in influencing aging of the brain, both in normal aging and in the context of neurodegeneration. Given the challenges presented by designing therapeutics that act directly in the brain, we hope to target pathways in the periphery to impact the health of the brain.

Education
2006 University of Maryland, Baltimore County: B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
2011 Washington University in St. Louis: Ph.D in Neuroscience

Eva Czirr

I want to understand how the immune system influences neurodegenerative disease onset and progression, and how we can modulate it towards a beneficial outcome in patients. My interest in neurodegeneration was sparked during my Ph.D., where I worked on the effects of familial Alzheimer’s mutations on the efficacy of gamma-secretase modulators and inhibitors. After joining the Wyss-Coray lab, I started working in the exciting field of neuroimmunology, trying to understand the role of complement proteins in Alzheimer’s disease. More recently I got involved in the immunology of Fronto-temporal lobar degeneration.

Education:
2002 Temple University Philadelphia, USA: Exchange student Cell Biology (Fulbright Scholarship) 
2004 Georg-August University Goettingen, Germany: MS in Developmental Biology 
2008 Johannes-Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany: PhD

Yingbo He

In my Ph.D. career, my main focus was on uncovering the biochemical and biophysical mechanisms of protein misfolding and its role in neurodegeneration. When I joined the Wyss-Coray lab I became interested in cell signaling and in vivo studies with transgenic mouse models. Currently I am investigating the signaling network related to TGF-beta in neuronal cells. I am interested in uncovering the subtle regulation mechanisms of neuron cells against neurodegeneration.

Education:
2002 China Pharmaceutical University: BS in Biopharmaceutics
2008 Tsinghua University: PhD in Biology

Kira Irving Mosher

I became drawn to neuroscience during my undergraduate education at Vassar College, which emphasized perspectives in both biology and psychology to the study of the brain and behavior. At Vassar I worked with Dr. John Long studying interactions of the brain, environment, and behavior in the context of evolution. My interest in neurodegeneration grew during an internship in lab of Dr. Nikolaos Robakis at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. I am now pursuing these interests as a graduate student in the Stanford Neuroscience Program. I joined the Wyss-Coray lab in July of 2008, and I am currently investigating how aging processes may regulate neuroinflammation. Specifically, I am using proteomic, in vitro, and in vivo methods to examine how changes in the aging systemic environment may affect microglial phagocytosis.

Education:
2007 Vassar College, NY, USA: BS in Neuroscience and Behaviour

Fellowships:
National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (2008-2011)

Liz Kirby

For my PhD at UC Berkeley, I investigated the regulation of adult hippocampal neural precursor cells by emotion. I found that emotion information from the basolateral amygdala both supports NPC proliferation in the adult hippocampus, and modulates new neuron integration into fear memory circuits. For my post-doctoral work, I wanted to continue working on adult neural plasticity, but with more focus on neurodegeneration. I joined the Wyss-Coray lab in Fall 2012 to work on the interaction of neural precursors with neurodegeneration in the adult brain. Specifically, I am focusing on the therapeutic potential of precursors in the face of neural injury.

Education:
2006 Duke University, NC, USA: BS in Psychology/Neuroscience
2011 UC Berkeley, CA, USA: PhD in Neuroscience

Benoit Lehallier

During my Ph.D. studies at the Blaise Pascal University, I used MEMRI (manganese-enhanced MRI) to try to understand how biologically relevant odors are processed in the brain of small animals. Then, I started a postdoc which is collaboration between Roche Ltd (Basel, Switzerland) and the lab of Tony Wyss-Coray. We want to test the hypothesis that alterations in a multitude of markers measured in blood and CSF together with certain underlying genetic factors are linked to the pathological changes of the AD brain and can be used to predict progression. Through this project, we not only seek to increase our understanding of Alzheimer’s disease, but we hope to find new biomarkers which can be used for early diagnosis or monitoring the disease progression.

Education
2007 Paul Sabatier University, Toulouse, France: MSc in Biostatistics and modeling
2011 Blaise Pascal University, Clermont Ferrand, France: PhD in Neuroscience

Vidhu Mathur

I am originally from India, and my background is in cell and molecular biology. I am interested in understanding how protein quality control systems are affected during aging and in neurodegenerative diseases. While studying for my Ph.D, I used yeast as a model system to study prions and amyloids, which is how I developed an interest in neurodegeneration and protein degradation pathways. I am excited to learn more about neuroscience and to work with cell cultures and mice.

Education:
2003 University of Delhi: BS in Microbiology
2005 Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay: MS Biotechnology
2011 University of Illinois, Chicago: Ph.D Biological Sciences

Takeshi Matsui

As a medical student and resident, I became interested in neuronal disorders such as stroke, neurodegeneration and brain aging.  For my Ph.D. I developed a method of direct induction of neural stem cells from somatic cells in order to further understand and hopefully develop treatments for these diseases.  Currently, my primary interest is the relationship between age-related immune-factors and brain aging. To that end, I am working on the role of microglia in brain aging and neurodegeneration.

Education:
2005 Tohoku University, Japan: M.D.
2012 Keio University, Japan: Ph.D. in Physiology

Fellowships:
Grant-in-Aid for Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (2010-2012)
Toyobo Biotechnology Foundation (2013-2014)

Jinte Middeldorp

I started my postdoc in the Wyss-Coray lab in February 2011. I am originally from the Netherlands, where I did my Ph.D. studies in the lab of Dr. Hol at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience on astrocytes in the human brain, during development, aging and in Alzheimer’s disease. Part of my project was focused on neural stem cells and adult neurogenesis, which became one of my main research interests. After my Ph.D. I looked for an interesting position to pursue my career abroad. I am very happy that I got the opportunity to explore my scientific interests and develop my experimental skills in the Wyss-Coray lab in the inspiring environment of Stanford University in sunny California! My research currently focuses on the molecular interactions that control neurogenesis during aging with a focus on chemokines.

Education:

2005 Utrecht University, The Netherlands: MS in Neuroscience
2010 Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands: PhD

Fellowships:
Rubicon, Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (2011-2013)

Andy Nguyen

Having been involved with aging research most of my career, I was drawn to the Wyss-Coray lab after attending Dr. Saul Villeda's thesis defense. I am currently working with Dr. Jian Luo to search for therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases using animal models.

Education:

2004 University of California-San Diego, CA: BS in Bioengineering
2007 Rice University, Houston, TX: MS in Bioengineering

Jian Luo

I moved to the States for graduate school in 1999. My thesis work focused on the role of oxidative injury in spinal cord injury and the protective effects of membrane repair on oxidative injury and mitochondria function. After I finished my Ph.D. project, I focused my research on neurodegeneration. I joined the Wyss-Coray's lab in June of 2004 to pursue postdoctoral training and enjoy the California sunshine. I am interested in the cellular and molecular mechanisms of TGF-β signaling in brain injury and neurodegeneration. My current projects focus on (1) bioluminescence imaging of TGF-β signaling in the brain and (2) the role of TGF-β signaling in neurodegeneration and autoimmune encephalomyelitis.

Education:
1990 Xiangya Medical College, Central South University, Hunan, China: MD
2003 Purdue University, IN, USA: PhD

Caitlin O'Brien

My interest lies in the mechanisms by which cells deal with stress, and how and why those systems become overwhelmed in disease. My interest in this began as an undergraduate at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia where I explored the role of HSP70 in a cancer model.  I then turned to neurodegenerative disease as a model to study cell stress in general, and in particular, protein aggregation. I worked as a technician at the Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research at the University of Pennsylvania under Virginia Lee and John Trojanowski where I worked most closely with the group studying TDP43 in ALS and frototemporal dementia. Now at Stanford, I am a graduate student in the Cell and Molecular Biology program. I am studying beclin 1, a protein involved in initiating autophagy, a bulk cytoplasmic degradation pathway that can clear aggregated proteins. I am looking at the effects of beclin reduction in Alzheimer disease and at potentially novel functions of beclin.

Jadon Shen

I graduated from University of California, San Diego with a BS in Molecular Biology in 2010. I have worked in molecular biology, viral immunology, and in industry. Now I am working with Dr. Daniela Berdnik on proteomics/microarray projects.

Alicia Shiu

As a graduate student in the Neuroscience program at Stanford, I became interested in the interaction between the immune system and the brain, particularly in relation to aging and neurodegenerative disease. I joined the Wyss-Coray lab in February 2013 and am interested in the role of microglia in aging and disease, as well as how immune factors in the periphery affect the brain.

Education:
2011 Washington University in St. Louis, MO: BS in Biomedical Engineering

Fellowships:
National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (2011-2014)
Stanford Graduate Fellowship

Trisha Stan

Having always been intrigued by both immunology and neuroscience, I decided to join the Wyss-Coray lab in Fall 2010 to learn about how the two interact in dementia. I am making use of my training in the Stanford Immunology Program to investigate how the immune system changes in frontotemporal dementia and how these changes may contribute to disease pathology.

Education: 2009 William Jewell College, MO, USA: BA in Oxbridge Molecular Biology, Philosophy
Fellowships: National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (2010-2013)

Hui Zhang

Over-expression of TGF-β1 has been demonstrated by Dr. Wyss-Coray to reduce Aβ deposition in brain parenchyma of APP transgenic mice. I am currently working on a drug-screening project searching for small-molecule compounds that mimic the beneficial effect of TGF-β1.

Education:
1998 Boston University, MA, USA: PhD in Chemistry