Lab Members

Director

Michael D. Burton

Assistant Professor

Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Dr. Burton is an Assistant Professor in the Systems Neuroscience Program at The University of Texas at Dallas. 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 work in the Department of Hypothalamic Research at UT Southwestern Medical Center. He then moved to UT Dallas for a 2nd postdoc in Pain Neurobiology.

 

He believes in order to traverse the gap between basic research and clinical application to the patient, 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. He also enjoys the opportunity to listen to great music, cook a great meal, and watch/play football. His long-term goal is to develop a leading research program and dedicate his career to studying neuroimmune modulation, as well as mentor  undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral trainees.

972-883-7273 BSB 10.546

 

PostDocs

Nilesh Agalave

Postdoctoral Researcher

Dr. Agalave is Research Associate in the Neuroimmunology lab at the University of Texas at Dallas. He completed his Doctoral Education with Camilla Svennson in Molecular Pharmacology from Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden in 2017. He has previously studied the central and peripheral role of high mobility group box 1 protein (HMGB1) in collagen antibody-induced arthritis associated pain model. As a Research associate at UTD, he is focusing on the pro-inflammatory and anti-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

 

Researchers

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 is currently working as a research assistant in Dr. Burton’s lab. His future goal is to pursue a PhD and become a professor. Outside of the lab, Han’s enjoys reading, playing computer games, and watching cooking videos.

BSB 10.550

Luz Barron

Research Assistant

Luz recently graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience from the University of Texas at Dallas. She was previously a research intern with the Texas Biomedical Device Center at UTDallas studying Vagus Nerve stimulation and neural plasticity after brain/spinal cord injury. 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.

BSB 10.550

 

Graduate

Thomas Szabo-Pardi

Graduate Student

Thomas Szabo-Pardi graduated from The University of Texas at Dallas in 2017 with a bachelor’s in Neuroscience. As of 2017 he is a first year PhD student working in Dr. Burton’s lab. 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.

BSB 10.550

Natalia Lucia dos Santos

Graduate Student

Natalia joined the Burton Lab in the Summer of 2018 off of a joint project with the Thompson lab. Natalia is a trained biologist from Brazil who has broad interest in biodiversity and animal behavior in the context of ecology and neuroscience. 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.

BSB 10.550

Katherine Garner

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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Jessica Tierney

Master's Research Intern

Jessica Tierney is in the joint BS/MS fast track program working towards her Master’s in Applied Cognition and Neuroscience. She has worked with Dr. Burton since the fall of 2015 in the Price/Dussor lab. 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.

BSB 10.550

Melissa Lenert

Master's Research Intern

Melissa is currently enrolled in the Master’s Program in Biotechnology at UTD and started working in the Burton lab in the summer of 2018. 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 translation control in the development of pain phenotypes. Outside of the lab, Melissa enjoys spending time with her dogs, Oscar and Luna, cooking, and reading.

BSB 10.550

 

Undergraduate

Ashley Andrew

Undergraduate Research Intern

Ashley is a 3rd year student pursuing a degree in biochemistry.  She is a member of the Collegium V Honors Program, AED pre-health honor society, and recipient of the Academic Excellence Scholarship. Ashley is a joint Dussor-Burton lab member conducting research in the role of TLR4 and Migraine. Aside from research, Ashley enjoys volunteering at Agape Medical Clinic and playing tennis.

BSB 10.550

Bethany Nottingham

Undergraduate Research Intern

Bethany Nottingham is a 3rd year undergraduate student studying Biology. She is on a pre-medical path and she currently plans to go into psychiatry or clinical psychology to assist those with mental disorders. She was on the Dean’s List at UT Dallas in Fall 2016 and Spring 2017, and participates in various clubs. In her free time, she enjoys reading, listening to music, and traveling when possible.

BSB 10.550

Ruchira Gundlapally

Undergraduate Research Intern

Ruchira is a 3rd year undergraduate student studying Biochemisty at UT Dallas. She is on the Pre-health track currently deciding between medicine and dentistry. Besides research, her interests include neuroscience and biology as well as traveling, painting, and volunteering.

BSB 10.550

Vivien Lai

Undergraduate Research Intern

Vivien is a 4th year undergraduate at UTD majoring in biochemistry. She is currently working with Dr. Burton on collaborative projects. She is planning on applying for a molecular biology master’s program after graduating. Vivien does behavior experiments with research assistants and is interested in researching the role of TLR4 in response to pain. In her free time, Vivien enjoys watching movies and cooking, she also likes to travel both domestically and abroad.

BSB 10.550

 

Alumni

Mariam Astarabadi

Graduate Research Intern

Degrees:
University of California, Irvine – BS in Biological Sciences (2013)
The University of Texas at Dallas – MS in Applied Cognition and Neuroscience (2016)

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.

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. Dana is now a  graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin.

Amber Milligan

Master's Research Intern

Amber worked with Dr. Burton from  2016-2017 investigating cannabinoid modulation of neuropathic pain in the peripheral nervous system. She is continuing her education at The University of Texas at Dallas through the master’s program in Applied Cognition and Neuroscience.

Emma Wentworth

Undergraduate Research Intern

Emma Wentworth is a former undergraduate and graduate researcher from the Burton-Price/Dussor Lab. She worked on several projects, mainly focusing on how AMPK activation modulates pain. Currently, Emma is attending the University of Connecticut where she is pursuing her DMD/PhD.

Umar Syed

Undergraduate Research Intern

Umar worked as a UG research assistant under Dr. Burton in the Pain Neurobiology lab at The University of Texas at Dallas on projects aimed at understanding the role of aging and its association with the development of neuropathic pain. He also worked on projects using Sca/e, a method to optically clear tissues to visualize genes regulating axonal guidance in depth. Umar is currently a DO candidate.