Giulio Maria Pasinetti, M.D., Ph.D.
The Saunders Family Chair and Professor of Neurology
Giulio Maria Pasinetti is the Chief of the Brain Institute Center of Excellence for Novel Approaches to Neurodiagnostics and Neurotherapeutics and is the Saunders Family Chair and Professor in Neurology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Pasinetti also serves as the Director of the Basic and Biomedical Research and Training, Geriatric Education and Clinical at the Bronx VA Medical Center. Dr. Pasinetti’s research on lifestyle factors and metabolic co-morbidities, including diabetes, influencing clinical dementia, neurodegeneration and Alzheimer’s disease has made him a top expert in his field. Dr. Pasinetti is the recipient of several academic awards, including the Zenith and Temple awards from the Alzheimer’s Association, the Nathan W. and Margaret T. Shock Aging Research Foundation Award of the Gerontological Society of America, and the Foundation Queen Sofia of Spain Research Center Award on Alzheimer’s Disease. Most recently, Dr. Pasinetti received The Faculty Council Award for academic excellence at Mount Sinai and The Charles Dana Alliance for Brain Research Award from the Dana Foundation, recognizing productivity and worldwide leadership in his field.
Lap Ho, Ph.D.
Dr. Ho is trained in nutrition, biochemistry, and molecular biology, with more than 20 years of experience in translational neuroscience research in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Dr. Ho’s work has generated insights on the molecular mechanisms underlying the onset and progression of AD, and this information has been translated into multiple therapeutic developments. To date, his research has resulted in over 80 papers published in peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Ho has extensive experience with experimental and preclinical studies characterizing the bioactivities of polyphenol components in the brain and the beneficial impacts of dietary supplementation with polyphenol preparations in reducing AD mechanisms in mouse models.
Hanna Redding, Ph.D.
Dr. Redding’s main research interests are in the areas of neurodegeneration, tau protein structure, and biochemistry, with an outstanding expertise in tau protein phosphorylation and proteolytic degradation in Alzheimers disease and other neurodegenerative disorders, including progressive supranuclear palsy and corticobasal degeneration. She is a pioneer in the application of modern technologies to study neurodegeneration and ultrastructural changes associated with abnormal fibrillary aggregation of tau protein. More recently, Dr. Redding is focusing on the role of polyphenols in preventing intracellular accumulation of tau protein in aggresomes and interfering with abnormal aggregation and phosphorylation of tau protein in cultured cells and transgenic mouse models.
Jun Wang, Ph.D.
Dr. Wang is a trained molecular biologist and biochemist with extensive knowledge of polyphenol bioactivities. Dr. Wang has carried out many efficacy and mechanistic studies to identify specific polyphenol compounds that might interfere with disease mechanisms (including those pertinent to Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and type II diabetes mellitus). Dr. Wang led these investigations, ultimately allowing some of the compounds identified to successfully progress to clinical trials.
Shrishailam Yemul, Ph.D.
Dr. Yemul has worked in the lab for last 15 years supporting various aspects of different projects including cloning and construction of transgenic vectors for the generation of transgenic mouse models in study of neurodegenerative diseases. He has also worked on protein profiling of brain tissue, CSF and serum from Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson disease, Autism, Schizophrenia using Surface -enhanced Laser Desorption -ionization Mass Spectrometry (SELDI), Western blotting, mRNA etc for Biomarker discovery.
Ali Sharma, Ph.D.
Dr. Sharma was recruited to the Pasinetti lab from Weill Cornell Medicine, where he was a Clinical Staff Associate and performed preclinical and clinical preimplantation genetic diagnosis procedures for cytogenetics and molecular testing, including microarray and next-generation sequencing. He graduated from Albert Einstein College of Medicine with a PhD degree in neuroscience, and his work focused on identifying a novel role of the mTOR signaling pathway in synaptic plasticity of Fragile X syndrome. After graduation, he joined Weill Cornell Medicine for his postdoctoral training in the Department of Pharmacology, where he studied epigenetic regulation of the hippocampus and striatum during development. He is interested in working on epigenetic traits across generations and the role of DNA methylation in response to certain polyphenol treatments.
Aaron Bell, Ph.D.
Dr. Aaron Bell was recruited to the lab from the New York Blood Center where he was the Head of the electron and confocal microscopy core facility. He graduated from Albert Einstein College of Medicine with a Ph.D. degree in cell biology and the focus of his work was the identification of signal transduction proteins in cilia. Following graduation, he joined a lab at Albert Einstein College of Medicine for his postdoctoral training. His work in the lab was focused primarily on the pharmacologic dissection of the mTOR signaling pathways utilizing a Drosophila model system. He is currently interested in studying polyphenol metabolites for use in alleviating cognitive impairment utilizing optogenetics and electrophysiological techniques.
Dr. Frolinger is trained in behavioral neuroscience with educational and research background ranging from physiological sciences to behavioral sciences, psychopharmacology and neuroscience. Her main research area during the last few years is novel animal models for affective and neurodegenerative disorders. In that context Dr. Frolinger was successful in developing and using appropriate animal models to link basic physiological and molecular findings in this field to behavioral outcomes and her work is a part in collaborative efforts that are exemplary for biological psychiatry research. Dr. Frolinger will join the lab with emphasis on studying gene expression and optogenetics in animal models of stress.
Chad Smith, Ph.D.
Dr. Smith is trained in molecular biology and received his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Dallas in 2015. His field of research was to investigate the role of molecular chaperones such as heat shock proteins in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s Disease, and their potential to suppress proteinopathic stress. He is particularly interested in how early synaptic deficiencies modulate memory and cognitive impairments. Dr. Smith works to establish optogenetic models to study how diverse polyphenols alter gene expression, signaling pathways, and synaptic plasticity involved in physiological resilience against stress.
Ms. Tiano has a master’s degree in Biomedical Research from Imperial College London university. She is interested in the field on Neuroscience. She has experience in cell culture and molecular biology. She is working on two projects; in one project she will be investigating the relationship between diet, gut microbiota and Alzheimer’s disease. In the second project she will investigate the effect of polyphenols in the inflammatory responses of primary cell cultures obtained from the intervertebral discs of mice models.
Ms. Singh recently graduated with a Neuroscience degree from Washington University in St. Louis. She is now working as an Associate Researcher in the Pasinetti lab while taking a gap year before medical school. She is contributing to various projects in the lab and assisting with grant and paper writing.
Ms. Valcarcel recently graduated with a Neuroscience degree from Washington University in St. Louis. She is now working as an Associate Researcher in the Pasinetti lab while taking a gap year before medical school. She is contributing to various projects in the lab and assisting with grant and paper writing.
Ms. Ward recently graduated with a biology degree from Washington University in St. Louis. She is now working as an Associate Researcher in the Pasinetti lab while taking a gap year before medical school. She is contributing to various projects in the lab and assisting with grant and paper writing.
Mr. Brathwaite graduated from Columbia University in May 2014 with a Bachelor’s in Chemistry. His ultimate goal is to be a physician scientist focusing on neurological conditions. Mr. Brathwaite is being trained in the characterization of novel brain bioavailable phenolic metabolites from complex botanical supplement mixture from in vitro studies consistent with the goal of Project 2 of the Center for Molecular Integrative Neuroresilience. Following identification and characterization of these novel metabolites, he will be trained in testing the molecular mechanisms using optogenetics techniques to visualize and eventually interpret different molecular pathways in brain regions associated with learning and memory function.
Mr. Sims recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a focus in neuroscience on a pre-medical track from The Florida State University. He is currently an Associate Researcher in the Pasinetti Lab while taking a gap year before medical school. He is contributing to various projects involving certain bioactive bioavailable botanical dietary supplements, in particular polyphenols, to promote resilience against psychological stress and sleep disorder induced cognitive impairment as well as clarifying the role of gastrointestinal microflora in the microbiome of mice at the genomic level. His ultimate goal is to participate in a Medical Scientist Training program and one day become a neurosurgeon.
Medical Exchange Student
Ms. de Boer is a medical exchange student from the Vrije Universiteit van Amsterdam in the Netherlands, and is participating in a scientific research training program in the Pasinetti Lab as part of her MD degree. She is interested in Neuroscience as well as Neurology, and is currently working on studying the effects of polyphenols on genetic expression and neuroplasticity. After the research training program in the Pasinetti lab, she will finish her doctorate at the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam.
PhD Candidate Exchange Student
Ms.Esteban-Fernandez graduated from Francisco de Vitoria University in June 2012 with a Bachelor’s in Biotechnology. She got her Masters of Science from the Autonomous University of Madrid in 2013 and is now working towards her Ph.D., at the Institute of Food Science Research of the Spanish Council for Scientific Research. Her thesis is focused on the study of the physiological effects of grape polyphenols on gut microbial metabolites at different levels, including brain, gut and oral health. During her fellowship at the Pasinetti lab, she will be testing the effect of novel brain bioavailable phenolic metabolites in an animal model through the use of optogenetic techniques in order to elucidate different molecular pathways in brain-specific regions associated learning and memory function.
Research Program Coordinator
Ms. Gursahai has more than ten years of experience in the Department of Finance as a Funds Manager and over seven years of experience as a Project Manager for Research Grants in the Research Centers at Mount Sinai directed by Dr. Pasinetti. Ms. Gursahai has extensive experience in fiscal management of large NIH grants and is well trained in managing administrative and fiscal issues relating to grants. Ms. Gursahai has also been very instrumental in the renewal of several NIH and privately funded grants in our Center.
Ms. Chaudhari attends Briarcliff High School and is a part of the INTEL Science Research Program. Through her studies, she has developed an interest in the molecular causes and effects of cognitive decline. She has been interested in studying cognitive decline since the start of high school and is eager to participate in research on this topic in the Pasinetti Lab.
Ms. Chen is a sophomore at Horace Greeley. She hopes to enter the field of dermatology or another speciality of medicine in the future. She is excited to participate in research in the Pasinetti lab this summer.
Ms. Ye is a rising sophomore at the Brearley School. She is interested in biochemistry, and is passionate about competition math and fencing. She hopes to enter the field of medicine in the future.
Mr. Louis is currently a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania. He is studying Biology with a concentration in Mechanism of Diseases. He aspires to obtain both a M.D. and a Ph.D. in the future.
Ms. Pierre is a part of the graduating class of 2016 at The Chapin School and will be attending Yale University in the fall. Jasmyne plans to study psychology and neuroscience. She is particularly interested in molecular neurobiology and its implications in human social behavior and mental illness. She would like to eventually attend medical school and become a psychiatrist. Jasmyne is looking forward to her work in the Pasinetti Lab.
Mr. Veeramreddy has a Masters in Pharmacology and Toxicology from LIU Brooklyn. He is interested in how various compounds affect the human body on the molecular level. His research interests include Pharmacodynamics and therapeutics. At Mount Sinai in Dr. Pasinetti’s lab, he is a part of a team studying the expression of various stress-related proteins in social defeat stress model in mice and used polyphenol salts for the treatment.
Ms. Kunala worked in the lab as a high school student. She attends Somers High School and she is part of the Science Research program. She pursues interest in the areas of Neuroscience and Neurology. She hopes to apply her knowledge and experience in Neuroscience in her future. She spent two summers at the lab working on two different projects. One project looked at the expression of mRNAs after exposure to IL-1Beta, a proinflammatory cytokine, with the goal to develop an in vivo model of Traumatic Brain Injury. The second study looked at the gene expression in the hippocampal formation of stressed mice to evaluate the effect of chronic stress on cognitive function.
Ms. Chaudhry worked in the lab as a high school student. She attends Yorktown High School and is interested in polyphenolic dietary therapy in Alzheimer’s DIsease. Ms. Chaudhry worked on a project studying gene expression in the hippocampal formation of stressed mice to evaluate the effect of chronic stress on cognitive impairment.