Lab Members

P.I.

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, 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 at the University of Texas at Dallas. He completed his Doctoral Education 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

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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 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.

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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.

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Graduate

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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Natalia Lucia dos Santos

PhD Graduate Student

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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Melissa Lenert

PhD Graduate Student

Melissa is currently a 1st 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 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.

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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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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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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 for 3.5 year. 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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Undergraduate

Bethany Nottingham

Undergraduate Research Intern

Bethany Nottingham is a 4th 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.

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Ruchira Gundlapally

Undergraduate Research Intern

Ruchira is a 4th year undergraduate student studying Biochemisty at UT Dallas.  Her projects revolve around ex-vivo macrophage culturing. She is on the Pre-health track and has decided on dentistry. Besides research, her interests include neuroscience and biology as well as traveling, painting, and volunteering.

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Donatella Voss

Undergraduate Research Intern

Donatella Voss is a undergraduate student in her second year of pursuing a bachelors degree in neuroscience . She is interested in depression, other mental illnesses, and pain. She plans on earning a PhD to pursue research in neuropsychopharmacology. Outside of the lab, she enjoys reading, hiking, and painting.

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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.

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.

Michelle Hagenimana

Undergraduate Research Intern

Michelle is a first year undergraduate student who was our Clark Scholar the summer before she started at UT Dallas studying neuroscience. She is on the pre-med path. Outside of research her interests include reading, violin, and photography.

 

Alumni

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.

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 continuing her education at The University of Texas at Dallas through the master’s program in Applied Cognition and Neuroscience.

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.

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.

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.

Ashley Andrew

Undergraduate Research Intern

Ashley is a 4th year student pursuing a degree in biochemistry.  Ashley worked on joint Burton-Dussor projects looking into  the role of TLR4 and Migraine. Ashley is a med. school hopeful!

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