People

Principal Investigator

Ben Kolber, PhDBENEDICT J. KOLBER, PHD
benedict.kolber@utdallas.eduFull Kolber CV

Ben Kolber serves as an Associate Professor in the Department of Neuroscience in the School of Behavior and Brain Sciences at The University of Texas at Dallas. Dr. Kolber came to UT Dallas in 2020 after starting his faculty career at Duquesne University (Pittsburgh, PA) in 2011. In Pittsburgh, Dr. Kolber was affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Center for Pain Research. Kolber received his PhD in neuroscience from Washington University in St. Louis. Dr. Kolber has over 17 years of experience doing neuroscience research.

His graduate work with Dr. Louis Muglia, MD, PhD looked at the role of the endocrine stress response in the modulation of stress adaptation, depression, and anxiety. His post-doctoral work with Dr. Robert Gereau IV, PhD focused on understanding the role of the amygdala in the modulation of acute and chronic pain. Dr. Kolber also has extensive experience teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels. His teaching interests focus on teaching neuroscience, endocrinology, physiology, and utilizing innovative teaching techniques in the classroom.

Professional Affiliations

In his spare time, Dr. Kolber likes to do home renovations and read books that contain indexes (i.e. non-fiction).

Post Docs and Staff

Lakeisha Lewter, PhDLAKEISHA LEWTER, PHD
Lakeisha.Lewter@utdallas.eduKeisha is a post-doctoral research fellow in the Kolber Lab and joined the lab in March 2019. She received a BS in biology from Morgan State University and a PhD in neuroscience from the University at Buffalo. Diana Ross once sang to her on her birthday. She is the only person (ever?) who has a phobia of seahorses.

Mauricio Gil-SilvaMAURICIO GIL-SILVA
Mauricio.GilSilva@utdallas.eduMauricio started working as a technician in the lab in July 2019. He received a BS in neurobiology and music technology from Carnegie Mellon University. He is the lab’s only guitalele player.

Vianie HenriVIANIE HENRI
henriv@duq.eduVianie was an undergraduate student in Duquesne’s biology program. She worked in the lab from May 2017 to October 2018 and graduated in May 2019 before re-joining the laboratory as a technician in December 2019.

Gabrielle MajeticGABRIELLE MAJETIC
majeticg@duq.eduGabbie was an undergraduate student in Duquesne’s biomedical engineering program. She began working in the lab in January 2018. She is currently a technician in the laboratory working on computational modeling.

Anny Treat, PhDANNY TREAT, PHD
Anny.Treat@utdallas.eduAnny is a post-doctoral research fellow in the Kolber Lab and joined the lab in July 2019. She received a BS in biology from the University at Buffalo and a PhD in pharmacology from the University of Pittsburgh. Her pet corn snake is named Helios.

Graduate Students

Heather AllenHEATHER ALLEN
allenh1@duq.eduHeather is a graduate student in Duquesne’s biology PhD program, rotated in the lab Fall 2016, and joined in Spring 2017. She received a BS in biology from Wofford College in Spartanburg, SC.

Veronica HongVERONICA HONG
Veronica.Hong@utdallas.eduVeronica is a graduate student in UTDallas’ Systems Neuroscience Track in the Cognition and Neuroscience PhD program. She rotated and joined the lab in Fall 2020.  She received a BS in biology from the University of Washington and a Masters degree in Brain and Cognitive Science from Ewha Womans University (South Korea).

Undergraduate and High School Students

Olivia BabyokOLIVIA BABYOK
babyoko@duq.eduOlivia is an undergraduate student in Duquesne’s biology program. She began working in the lab in January 2018 and continues to work remotely on her honors thesis mentored by Dr. Kolber and Dr. Kyle Selcer (Duquesne University). She loves to take apart old and new watches.

Alumni

Megan AthertonMEGAN ATHERTON

Megan was a technician in the Kolber Lab from 2018 to 2020. She received a BS in biology from University of North Carolina at Ashville and a BA in philosophy with a history of science focus from St. John’s College. She is currently a laboratory manager at the Hillman Cancer Institute (Pittsburgh, PA).

Barathi BalasubramonianBARATHI BALASUBRAMONIAN

Barathi is a graduate student in Duquesne’s biology PhD program. She rotated through the lab in Fall 2018.

Grant BarberGRANT BARBER

Grant was a technician and worked in the lab from August 2016 to March 2019. He received a BS in biology and a minor in biochemistry from Duquesne University and currently works at UT Southwestern.

Marissa BehunMARISSA BEHUN

Marissa was an undergraduate student in Duquesne’s biomedical engineering program. She worked in the lab from January 2016 until December 2017. She participated in the Pain Undergraduate Research Experience (PURE) during the summer 2016 and 2017.

Harley Bobnar, MSHARLEY BOBNAR, MS

Harley was a graduate student in Duquesne’s biology program and received her master’s degree in 2020. She rotated and joined the lab in Spring 2018. She received a BS in biology from Washington and Jefferson College in Washington, PA. She is currently a nursing student at Duquesne University.

Devon BurkholderDEVON BURKHOLDER

Devon was an undergraduate student in Duquesne’s biology department and worked in the lab from September 2012 to April 2013.

Abby CoxABBY COX

Abby was a technician in the lab. She began working in the lab in May 2015 as an undergraduate student. She graduated with a BS in biology in December 2017. While still an undergraduate She was an awarded summer undergraduate fellowship from the American Physiological Society (2016), participated in the Pain Undergraduate Research Experience (PURE) for two summers, received a research grant from Tri-Beta, and received a fellowship from the IES Brain Research Foundation. She is currently an MD student at the University of Pittsburgh.

Patrick CunninghamPATRICK CUNNINGHAM

Patrick was an undergraduate student in Duquesne’s biology program. He worked in the lab in Aug 2015 to May 2016. He is currently a PhD student at Lehigh University.

Brooke DealBROOKE DEAL

Brooke is a graduate student in Duquesne’s biology department and rotated in the lab Spring 2018. Brooke received a BS from Drexel University. She is currently a PhD student in the laboratory of Dr. John Pollock.

Kyle EmersonKYLE EMERSON

Kyle is a graduate student in Duquesne’s biology PhD program. He rotated in the lab in Spring 2019. He received a BS in biology from Allegheny College.

Antoinette FryeANTOINETTE FRYE

Antoinette was an undergraduate student in Duquesne’s psychology Department. She worked in the lab from May 2014 to August 2014.

Shyann GajcowskiSHYANN GAJCOWSKI

ShyAnn was an undergraduate student in Duquesne’s biology program. She worked in the lab from May 2015 to August 2015.

Andrew GeorgeANDREW GEORGE
georgea2@duq.eduAndrew is an undergraduate student in Duquesne’s biology program. He worked in the lab from January 2019 to August 2020. He was the fastest person in the lab (short distances).

David GeorgeDAVID GEORGE

David was an undergraduate in Duquesne’s pre-med and biology programs. He worked in the lab from January 2012 to May 2013 when he graduated with a BS in biology. While at Duquesne, David was an Undergraduate Research Program fellow. He is currently serving his country in the United States Marine Corps as an Officer.

Gage GladyszGAGE GLADYSZ

Gage was an undergraduate student at Thiel College studying neuroscience. He worked in the lab May-August 2019 as part of the summer NSF CIRCLE research program.

Adrianna GulliADRIANNA GULLI

Adriana was a high school student at Allderdice High School in Pittsburgh when she worked in the lab from December 2014 to May 2016. She is currently an undergraduate student at Duquesne University.

Alyah HeathALYAH HEATH

Alyah was a high school student at the Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy and worked in the lab in fall 2017.

Edward HiltonEDWARD HILTON

Eddie was an undergraduate student in Duquesne’s biochemistry program. He began working in the lab from May 2014 to May 2017 when he graduated with a BS in biochemistry. He was part of the inaugural Pain Undergraduate Research Experience (PURE) program. He was also in the PURE program in summer 2016. He received the Clarkston Consulting PA Undergraduate Award in 2015 and a US Airforce Health Professions Scholarship in 2017. He is currently a dental student at Harvard University.

Dr. Christopher IgnatzCHRISTOPHER IGNATZ, DO

Chris was an undergraduate student in Duquesne’s biology department, worked in the lab from February 2012 to May 2014 when he graduated with a BS in biology. While at Duquesne, he was an Undergraduate Research Program fellow, received a Tri-Beta Research grant, and won the John C. Johnson Award for Excellence in Student Research. He received his medical degree from LECOM in 2018 and is currently a resident.

Dana IncelliDANA INCELLI

Dana was an undergraduate student in Duquesne’s biology program. She worked in the lab in Fall 2016.

Marisa JohnsonMARISA JOHNSON

Marisa is an undergraduate student in Duquesne’s biology program. She worked in the lab from January 2019 to August 2020. Before coming to Duquesne, she played soccer at THE Ohio State University.

Kara JonesKARA JONES

Kara was an undergraduate student in Duquesne’s biology program. She worked in the lab from January 2015 to August 2015. While in the lab, she was a Pain Undergraduate Research Experience (PURE) fellow. She is currently a medical student at West Virginia University.

Vishnu Rahul KannanVISHNU RAHUL KANNAN

Vishnu graduated from Duquesne’s biotechnology MS program (2015) and worked in the lab from March to August 2014. Previously, she received a B.technology in electronics and instrumentation at Amrita University, India.

Tom KellyTOM KELLY

Tom is a graduate student in Duquesne’s biology PhD program and rotated through the lab in Spring 2017. He received a BS in biology from Mercyhurst University.

Mary KimmelMARY KIMMEL

Mary was a professional student in Duquesne’s Pharmacy School and graduated with a PharmD in 2018. She worked in the lab from September 2012 until November 2013.

Jack KlensJACK KLENS

Jack was an undergraduate student in Duquesne’s physician assistant program. He worked in the lab from January 2017 to May 2017. He is from Dayton, which makes him great.

Bri KriegerBRI KRIEGER

Bri was an undergraduate student in Duquesne’s biology program. She worked in the lab from May to August 2017.

Neil Lax, PhDNEIL LAX, PHD

Neil was a graduate student in Duquesne’s biology PhD program and received his PhD in 2018. He received a BS in chemistry, ecology, and evolution at the University of Pittsburgh. He is currently an assistant professor of neuroscience at Thiel College.

Sara LeepSARA LEEP

Sarah was an undergraduate student in Duquesne’s biology program and graduated in Dec 2018. She began working in the lab from January 2017 to October 2018. She is currently a medical student at West Virginia University.

Caela LongCAELA LONG

Caela was an undergraduate student from Swarthmore College and worked in the lab from May 2013 to June 2016 (primarily in the summer URP and PURE programs). She worked as a research technician at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) in the lab of Dr. Jeffrey Roizen before joining the UPenn neuroscience PhD program.

Antonio LopezANTONIO LOPEZ

Antonio was an undergraduate student at Boston University studying neuroscience. He worked in the lab from May to August 2018 as part of the summer PURE research program. He is currently an MD student at Drexel University.

Ifra MalikIFRA MALIK

Ifra was an undergraduate student at the University of Pittsburgh’s neuroscience program. She worked in the lab from January to May 2017.

Lauren MartinezLAUREN MARTINEZ

Lauren was an undergraduate student in Duquesne’s biology program. She worked in the lab from September 2019 to December 2019.

Neal McQuaid, MDNEAL MCQUAID, MD

Neal was a graduate student in Duquesne’s biotechnology MS program and joined the lab in December 2014. He received a BS in mechanical engineering with a concentration in biomedical engineering from the University of Colorado Boulder. He received a medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh.

Anna Polaski, PhDANNA POLSKI, PHD

Anna was a graduate student in Duquesne’s biology PhD program and rotated in the lab Fall 2014 before joining the lab full-time in April 2015. She received a BS in Biology from Mercyhurst University in Erie, PA. She defended her PhD in June 2019. She is currently a clinical trial coordinator at Allegheny General Hospital Singer Neuroscience Institute.

Rani Rajaram, MDRANI RAJARAM, MD

Rani was an undergraduate student in Duquesne’s biology department and worked in the lab from January 2013 to May 2015 before graduating with a BS in biology. While at Duquesne, she was an Undergraduate Research Program fellow. She received a medical degree from Temple University.

Austin RamseyAUSTIN RAMSEY

Austin was an undergraduate student in Duquesne’s psychology department and worked in the lab from September 2013 to December 2014 when he graduated with a BS in psychology (minor in biology). While at Duquesne, he received a Irene and Eric Simon Brain Research Foundation summer research grant. He is currently a PhD student in neuroscience at the University of Maryland.

Zach ReskoZACH RESKO

Zach was an undergraduate student in Duquesne’s biology department and worked in the lab from August 2014 to May 2016. He is currently getting his PhD in microbiology.

Sadie RiskusSADIE RISKUS

Sadie worked in the lab before her BS in Duquesne’s biology program and then worked as a technician in the lab until May 2019. She is currently a neuroscience PhD student at the University of Pittsburgh.

Anne RobertsANNE ROBERTS

Anne was an undergraduate student in Duquesne’s biology program. She worked in the lab from January 2017 to May 2017 and August 2017 to May 2019.

Nadina RobustoNADINA ROBUSTO

Nadina was a technician and joined the lab in June 2016. She received an MA and BA in psychology from Duquesne University and worked as a clinical psychologist.

Kate Sadler, PhDKATE SADLER, PHD

Kate was a graduate student in Duquesne’s biology PhD program and joined the lab in January 2012. She received her PhD in 2017 and was funded during her doctoral work by a NIH/NIDDK F31 NRSA fellowship. She is currently a post-doctoral researcher at the Medical College of Wisconsin working with Dr. Cheryl Stucky.

Muzamil Saleem, PhDMUZAMIL SALEEM, PHD

Muzamil was a graduate student in Duquesne’s biology department and rotated in the lab Spring 2013. Muz received a BSc in clinical sciences from King’s College, London and a MSc in neuroscience from the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College, London. He received his PhD in the laboratory of Dr. John Pollock in September 2019.

Alicia SerafinoALICIA SERAFINIO

Alicia was an undergraduate student in Duquesne’s biology program. She worked in the lab from September 2017 to May 2018.

Youstina SelimanYOUSTINA SELIMAN

Youstina was an undergraduate student in Duquesne’s biology program. She worked in the lab from August 2015 to December 2017. She entered medical school at LECOM in Fall 2017.

Alexis StevensonALEXIS STEVENSON

Alexis was an undergraduate student in Duquesne’s physician’s assistant program. She worked in the lab in spring 2020.

Jarred StrattonJARRED STRATTON

Jarred was an undergraduate student in Duquesne’s biology program. He worked in the lab from December 2011 to December 2013 when he graduated with a BS in biology. While at Duquesne, he was an Undergraduate Research Program fellow and was an American Physiological Society Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow. He received an MS in neuroscience from Thomas Jefferson University.

Allison TroutenALLISON TROUTEN

Allison was an undergraduate student in Duquesne’s biology department and worked in the lab from January 2014 to May 2015. She received an MS in biotechnology at Case Western Reserve University and is currently in a PhD program at the University of South Carolina.

Melissa Wolz, MDMELISSA WOLZ, MD

Missy was an undergrade student in Duquesne’s biology department and worked in the lab May 2013 to May 2015 when she graduated with a BS in biology. She received a medical degree from West Virginia University.

Nick VernaNICK VERNA

Nick was an undergrade student in Duquesne’s biology department and worked in the lab from May 2013 to August 2013.

Zach VernerZACH VERNER

Zach was a graduate student in Duquesne’s post-baccalaureate program. He worked in the lab from September 2018 to May 2019. He received a BS in exercise science from the University of North Georgia.

Anna VietmeierANNA VIETMEIER

Anna is a graduate student in Duquesne’s biology PhD program. She rotated in the lab in Fall 2019. She received a BS and MS from Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH.

Meeraal ZaheerMEERAAL ZAHEER

Meeraal was an undergraduate student at Vassar College studying neuroscience. She began working in the lab in May 2018 as part of the summer PURE research program and was funded through an American Physiological Society Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship.

Analise ZapakdaANALISE ZAPAKDA

Analise was an undergraduate student in Duquesne’s biology program. She began working in the lab in May 2016. She graduated in May 2017 with a BS in biology and continued to work in the lab until September 2017.