Lab Members

P.I.

Michael D. Burton

Assistant Professor

Neuroscience

Dr. Burton is an Assistant Professor in the Systems Neuroscience Program at The University of Texas at Dallas, since the fall of 2017. His research focuses on how the immune system modulates peripheral sensory neurons to regulate pain and energy homeostasis. Dr. Burton received his BS and PhD at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He then moved to Dallas, TX to begin his postdoctoral fellowship at UT Southwestern Medical Center and UT Dallas. He has been recognized as an early career award winner by the Endocrine Society, the American Pain Society, the American Society for Cell Biology, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), and the Rita Allen Foundation.  He believes in order to traverse the gap between basic research and clinical application to patients, we must realize and appreciate pre-clinical research. He is excited at the notion to play a role in this process and help humankind through his research in pain development, obesity, and metabolic disorders that we deal with every day. His long-term goal is to develop a leading research program and dedicate his career to studying neuroimmune interactions, as well as mentor highly motivated undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral trainees.

972-883-7273 BSB 10.546

 

PostDocs

Nilesh Agalave

Postdoctoral Researcher

Dr. Agalave is Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Neuroimmunology lab. He completed his Doctoral Education in Molecular Pharmacology from Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden in 2017.  As a Research associate at UTD, he is focusing on the inflammatory role of fibroblasts  in peripheral nerve tissue.  Outside the lab, he likes running, listening to music and playing cricket, beach volley, and all other sports activities

BSB 10.542

Prapti Mody

Postdoctoral Researcher

Dr. Mody is a postdoctoral research associate at the Neuroimmunology lab in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences at UTD. She completed her doctorate in Molecular Biology from Texas Woman’s University in Denton, TX. Her focus in the lab is the role of aging on neuroinflammation and behavior. Outside of the lab, she loves reading crime thrillers, nature and night sky photography, and travel.

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Researchers

Luz Barron

Research Assistant

Luz earned her Bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience from the University of Texas at Dallas. Her interests in neuroscience focus on therapies that improve recovery and pain after injury as well as immunology and its role in neuropathy. In her leisure time, she enjoys dancing and karaoke.

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Jessica Tierney

Research Assistant

Jessica Tierney received her joint BS/MS in Applied Cognition and Neuroscience from UTD. She has worked with Dr. Burton for 4.5 years. She is deciding whether she would like to pursue an MD, or PhD, or both. Jessica researches the role dietary components in the western diet play in pain and diabetic peripheral neuropathy. She is interested in whether the interactions of free fatty acids sensitize or directly activate nociceptors. In her free time she likes to watch television shows and movies, read books, and play volleyball.

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Bethany Nottingham

Research Assistant

Bethany Nottingham has been in the lab for over 2 years. She has her B.S. in Biology and is on a pre-medical path. She currently plans to go into psychiatry or clinical psychology to assist those with mental disorders, which correlate to the projects she is working on in the lab. In her free time, she enjoys reading, listening to music, and traveling when possible.

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Graduate

Natalia Lucia dos Santos

PhD Candidate

Natalia joined the Burton Lab in the Summer of 2018. Natalia is a trained biologist from Brazil who has broad interest in biodiversity and animal behavior. She’s worked with bacteria and rats in the lab and frogs and bats in the Atlantic Rain Forest in Brazil! In the lab, Natalia’s project focuses on how Age and Sex are important factors to an organism’s response to acute pain from surgery and the transition to chronic pain states. Outside of the lab Natalia enjoys traveling, any outdoor activity, and working out.

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Thomas Szabo-Pardi

PhD Graduate Student

Thomas Szabo-Pardi graduated from The University of Texas at Dallas in 2017 with a bachelor’s in Neuroscience. His research involves the sexually dimorphic role of Toll-Like Receptor-4  in various cell types on the development and maintenance of chronic pain states. His interests lie primarily in the realm of neuroimmunology and the interactions between immune cells with central and peripheral neurons and their importance in various pain states. Outside of the lab, his hobbies include: exercise, video games, and playing with his two cats; Charlie and Marie.

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Katherine Garner

PhD Graduate Student

Kathy Garner was born and raised in Dallas, Texas.  She came to UT Dallas to study neuroscience as a freshman in Fall 2013, and started as a PhD student in Fall 2017. She became interested in pursuing a career in research when she learned that although females are more likely to have a chronic pain condition, they have historically been excluded from pre-clinical research. She chose to pursue the study of sex differences in development, maintenance, and treatment of chronic pain the when she learned of the rich discussion regarding relevant studies.

 

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Melissa Lenert

PhD Graduate Student

Melissa is currently a 2nd year Systems Neuroscience PhD student at UTD and started working in the Burton lab in the summer of 2018 as a Master’s student. She graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University in 2017 with a Bachelor’s in Biology and Psychology.  Her current projects include studying the effect of estrogen and the estrous cycle on aging, the role of atypical cells in inflammation, and the role of neuronal and nonneuronal cells in the development of chronic musculoskeletal pain. Outside of the lab, Melissa enjoys spending time with her dogs, Oscar and Luna, cooking, and reading.

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Karen Morales

PhD Graduate Student

Karen is an incoming PhD-track Graduate Student with experience in our Aging Projects with  interests in integrative immune activation and affective behaviors.

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Vivien Lai

Master's Research Intern

Vivien is a 1st year Master’s student in the ACN program. Vivien conducts behavior experiments and is interested in researching the role of TLR4 in response to sickness and depression. In her free time, Vivien enjoys watching movies and cooking, she also likes to travel both domestically and abroad.

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Undergraduate

Micaela Chaparro

Undergraduate Research Intern

Micaela Chaparro is a second year undergraduate student pursuing her bachelor’s degree neuroscience. She is on a pre-medical path. Micaela assists on projects investigating the disruption of the estrous cycle and experimentally induced colitis. She is a Cultural Scholar and a member of the Honors College. In her free time, she like to write short stories, read, and play volleyball.

Zachary Castillo

Undergraduate Research Intern

Zach is a fourth year undergraduate student studying Neuroscience at UT Dallas. He woks with Natalia and Prapti on the aging and pain projects in the lab. After graduating he hopes to further his education in pursuit of a PhD and a career of research. Beyond research he enjoys reading, exercising, and traveling.

Calvin Uong

Undergraduate Research Intern

Calvin Uong is a 2ndyear undergraduate student who is currently studying Biochemistry at UT Dallas. He is an aspiring pre-health student who participates in several club activities on campus, and is keen on expanding his knowledge in the medical field. Outside the lab, Calvin enjoys reading, watching shows on Netflix, and playing with his cat, Watson.

Michelle Hagenimana

Undergraduate Research Intern

Michelle is a second year undergraduate student who was our Clark Scholar last summer and works on a project observing sex differences in diabetic neuropathy. She is on the pre-med path. Outside of research her interests include reading, violin, and photography.

 

Alumni

Ashley Andrew

Undergraduate Research Intern

Ashley worked in the Burton lab from 2017-2019. She is currently on her way to medical school at UTMB Galveston.

 

Ashley’s published contribution to the lab:

 

Szabo-Pardi TA, Agalave NM, Andrew AT, Burton MD. In Vivo Two-Color 2-Photon Imaging of Genetically-Tagged Reporter Cells in the Skin. J Vis Exp. 2019 Jul 11;(149). doi: 10.3791/59647. PubMed PMID: 31355792.

Emma Wentworth

Research Intern

Emma worked in the Burton-Price/Dussor Labs from 2015-2017.  Currently, Emma is attending the University of Connecticut where she is pursuing her DMD/PhD.

 

Emma’s published contributions to the lab: 

 

Inyang KE, Szabo-Pardi T, Wentworth E, McDougal TA, Dussor G, Burton MD, Price TJ. The antidiabetic drug metformin prevents and reverses neuropathic pain and spinal cord microglial activation in male but not female mice. Pharmacol Res. 2019 Jan;139:1-16. doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2018.10.027.

 

Inyang KE, Burton MD, Szabo-Pardi T, Wentworth E, McDougal TA, Ramirez ED, Pradhan G, Dussor G, Price TJ. Indirect AMP-Activated Protein Kinase Activators Prevent Incision-Induced Hyperalgesia and Block Hyperalgesic Priming, Whereas Positive Allosteric Modulators Block Only Priming in Mice. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2019 Oct;371(1):138-150. doi: 10.1124/jpet.119.258400.

Amber Milligan

Master's Research Intern

Amber worked with Dr. Burton from  2016-2019 investigating cannabinoid modulation of neuropathic pain in the peripheral nervous system. She is finishing her master’s in UTD’s Applied Cognition and Neuroscience program.

 

Amber’s published contribution to the lab:

 

Milligan AL, Szabo-Pardi TA, Burton MD. Cannabinoid Receptor Type 1 and Its Role as an Analgesic: An Opioid Alternative? J Dual Diagn. 2020 Jan-Mar;16(1):106-119. doi: 10.1080/15504263.2019.1668100.

Umar Syed

Undergraduate Research Intern

Umar worked as a research assistant under Dr. Burton on projects aimed at understanding the role of aging, sex, and neuroimmune interaction in the development of neuropathic pain. He also worked on projects using methods to optically clear tissues. Umar is currently a DO candidate at KCUMB.

Mariam Astarabadi

Graduate Research Intern

Mariam was a member of the lab from Summer 2015 to Spring 2016. She is currently a MD Candidate at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson and hopes to pursue a career in orthopedic surgery.

 

MoreAlumni

Marisa Williams

Research Intern

Marisa worked as an undergraduate and master’s intern for 2 years. She was a Terry scholar and neuroscience major with a minor in Criminology and an ACN masters.

 

Marisa’s published contributions to the lab: 

 

Inyang KE, McDougal TA, Ramirez ED, Williams M, Laumet G, Kavelaars A, Heijnen

CJ, Burton MD, Dussor G, Price TJ. Alleviation of paclitaxel-induced mechanical

hypersensitivity and hyperalgesic priming with AMPK activators in male and female

mice. Neurobiol Pain. 2019 Sep 27;6:100037. doi: 10.1016/j.ynpai.2019.100037.

 

Isaiah Swann

Undergraduate Research Intern

Isaiah spent time in the Burton lab during the 2017-2018 school year. He is a MD/PhD hopeful!

Dana Jenkins

Undergraduate Research Intern

Dana was on the Burton Team from Fall 2016-Summer 2018. She worked on the multiple projects exploring the chemical physiology of macrophages. She is currently a PhD student at UT- Austin.

Warona Mathuba

Undergraduate Research Intern

Warona interned in Dr. Burton’s Lab from 2017-2019. Her project studied inflammation and sensitization related to high fat diet and how this relates to diabetes. She is currently in medical school.

Armin Tutnjic

Research Intern

Armin worked in the lab for a year. He has a B.S. double major in Biology and Neuroscience from UTD and a M.S. in Biochemistry from UNT. Armin is a Medical School hopeful.

Kortne Banks

Undergraduate Research Intern

Kortne worked in the lab for a year. Her interest is in the study of the regulatory role of TLR4 receptors in correlation to neuropathic pain with a career goal of becoming a physician scientist.

Han Saim Jeong

Research Assistant

Han Saim Jeong graduated from The University of Texas at Dallas in 2016 with a Bachelor’s in Neuroscience. He worked as a research assistant in Dr. Burton’s lab from 2017 until 2020.

Ruchira Gundlapally

Undergraduate Research Intern

Ruchira was in the lab for 2 years and was a Biochemistry major.  Her projects revolved around ex-vivo macrophage culturing and imaging. She is currently headed to UT Health School of Dentistry in Houston.