Jefferson Kinney, PhD
Chair, Neuroscience Division
Department of Psychology, UNLV
Affiliate Faculty Nevada Institute of Personalized Medicine
Dr. Kinney earned his Ph.D. in 2000 from Colorado State University. He was then awarded an Intramural Research Training Fellowship at the National Institute of Mental Health working in the Section of Behavioral Genetics directed by Dr. Jacqueline Crawley. Research topics in the laboratory focused on both behavioral pharmacology projects as well as extensive behavioral phenotyping of several transgenic mouse models. In October of 2002, Dr. Kinney was awarded the Helen Dorris Fellowship in schizophrenia research in the Department of Neuropharmacology at The Scripps Research Institute in the laboratory of Dr. Tamas Bartfai. Research projects in the laboratory focused on the cellular and molecular alterations in not only schizophrenia but also several other neurological disorders. In August of 2007, Dr. Kinney joined the Department of Psychology at the University of Nevada Las Vegas.
Contact Dr. Kinney: Jefferson.Kinney@unlv.edu
Senior researchers & Lab managers
Arnold Salazar, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow, Assistant Director
Arnold graduated from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. His research interests fall in the broad field of molecular biology of diseases. His current projects focus on the mechanisms of microglial responses to neuroinflammation.
Contact Arnold: firstname.lastname@example.org
Amanda Leisgang, BS
Senior Researcher, Lab Manager
Amanda joined our lab as a graduate student in Fall 2017. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in 2015 with degrees in biology, psychology, and chemistry. Amanda has previously worked in the laboratory of Dr. Devinder Sandhu specializing in plant genetics and is excited to focus her attention on her passion for neurodegenerative diseases.
Contact Amanda: email@example.com
Andrew S. Murtishaw, MA, PhD(c)
Senior Researcher, Lab Manager
Andrew joined our lab in 2009 as an undergraduate researcher and transitioned to a graduate student in 2011. He earned his MA in Neuroscience in 2014 and is currently nearing the completion of his PhD. His research focuses on overlapping mechanisms between diabetes and Alzheimer's disease. Andrew is currently keeping an eye out for the next exciting opportunity.
Contact Andrew: firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrew A. Ortiz, BA
Senior Researcher, Lab Manager
Andrew A. Ortiz graduated with a bachelors in Psychology and a minor in neuroscience on May 2017 and is accepted into our lab as a graduate student Fall 2018. Andrew has previously worked in Dr. James M. Hyman's in vivo electrophysiology laboratory where he specialized on how multiple brain areas interact and synchronize. Andrew is now interested on how glial cells and neuroinflammation affect neurodegenerative diseases.
Contact Andrew: email@example.com
CURRENT Research Assistants
James Toughlian, Head Research Assistant
James is a nontraditional undergraduate student currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Pre-Professional Biology with a minor in Psychology and Neuroscience. After graduating, he wants to pursue a medical degree specializing in the field of neurology, while engaging in clinical research. His research interests include neurodegenerative and psychological disorders.
Robert is a senior undergraduate at UNLV pursuing a degree in Biology and a minor in Psychology. he hopes to attend medical school and pursue a career in neurology. His research interests include animal models of neurodegenerative disease in pursuit of new treatment options.
Megan graduated in 2013 with a Masters of Science in Mental Health Counseling Degree. Her current academic and career goals are focusing on the prospect to conduct neuropsychological research in conjunction with molecular biology and genetics as it pertains to brain function and cognitive decline. Her ultimate academic and career goal is to obtain candidacy for a Ph.D. within the field of clinical or experimental psychology working within various forms of neuroscience or pharmacological research.
Renzo is an undergraduate student pursuing a degree in Kinesiology and a minor in Biology at UNLV. His academic interests include neurological degenerative diseases, orthopedics, and sports physiology. He wishes to someday investigate the effect of physical activity on mental health and cognitive decline. After graduating, Renzo intends to further his education and attend medical school: specializing in either Neurology or Orthopedic Surgery.
Michelle is a junior undergraduate at UNLV pursuing a degree in Psychology with a minor in neuroscience. She intends on pursuing a PhD in clinical psychology with an emphasis in Neuropsychology, in hopes of becoming a neuropsychologist. Some of her research interests include neurodegenerative and psychological disorders
Hailey is a sophomore undergraduate pursuing a degree in Psychology with a minor in neuroscience. She intends to pursue a PsyD or a PhD in clinical psychology, hoping to become a neuropsychologist one day. Hailey loves to travel and takes every opportunity to get out of town and explore new places.
Emily is currently a post-baccalaureate student at UNLV who originally obtained her Bachelors in Neuroscience, minor in Studio Art from the University of Nevada, Reno. While her research interests include neurological and psychological disorders, after graduating she wanted to pursue becoming a medical and scientific illustrator and is working in the lab to better understand neurodegenerative disorders and how to combat communicating such ideas to different audiences
Alex is a senior undergraduate at UNLV pursuing a degree in Biological sciences. He intends to go into neuroscience academia to explore and to further understand how neural communication works.
Choi is currently a second year undergraduate student at UNLV, pursuing a bachelor of science degree in nursing with a minor in biological sciences. Her myriad of interests and aspirations include attending graduate school to become a nurse practitioner, working in a forensics lab for the police department, and conducting research in the field of molecular biology and genetics as it pertains to degenerative diseases. She also accompanies her academic studies with both music education on the violin and performing arts in ballroom dance.
CURRENT LAB PHOTO
PREVIOUS LAB PHOTOS
FALL SEMESTER 2017
(Left to right)
Back: Renzo Chuapoco, Logan Myers, Andrew Murtishaw
Middle: Amanda Leisgang, Robert Sotille, Chelsea Tran, Hailey Bergman, Marie Hernandez, Andrew Ortiz, Emily Chau
Front: James Toughlian, Arnold Salazar, Dr. Kinney
SPRING SEMESTER 2017
(Left to right)
Back/Middle: Dr. Kinney, Renzo Chuapoco, Andrew Murtishaw, William Kim, Austin Boren, Megan Yoon, James Toughlian, Michelle Strong, Choi Tsang, Andrew Ortiz
Front: Arnold Salazar, Emily Chau, Monica Bolton, Alex Goslar
Spring Semester 2016
(Left to right)
Back: Hailey Bergman, Kirsten Calvin, Monica Bolton
Middle: Robert Nagele, Andrew Murtishaw
Back: James Toughlian, Dr. Kinney, Austin Boren
Not pictured: James McClinch
former Senior Researchers & Lab Managers
Chelcie Heaney, PhD
Chelcie received her Ph.D. from UNLV in Spring 2015. She joined the Experimental Psychology program with an emphasis in Neuroscience in the fall of 2009, having previously obtained a B.A. in Psychology and Biology from Boston University in 2007. She earned her M.A. from the program in the spring of 2012. Her research interests include inhibitory mechanisms of learning and memory, focusing on hippocampal circuitry, and how alterations within these circuits contribute to disease states. Chelcie is currently a post-doctoral scholar in the laboratory of Dr. Kimberly Raab-Graham at the Center for Learning and Memory at the University of Texas at Austin, which is currently in the process of relocating to Wake Forest School of Medicine in North Carolina.
Contact Chelcie: firstname.lastname@example.org
Monica Bolton, PhD
Monica received her PhD in January of 2017 with her dissertation entitled, "An Evaluation of GABAB Receptors on Modulating Neuroinflammation in a Non-Transgenic Animal Model of Alzheimer's Disease." She is currently a Medical Science Liaison at Teva Pharmaceuticals, where she is a field-based medical expert responsible for scientific exchange on headache/migraine disease states and products.
Contact Monica: email@example.com
Jonathan Sabbagh, PhD
Jonathan entered the Experimental program in 2007 with a B.S. in Neuroscience from Tulane University. His research interests include elucidating mechanistic features of Alzheimer's disease. Jon graduated in the spring of 2013 with his Ph.D. and worked as post-doctoral scholar in the Department of Molecular Medicine USF Health Byrd Alzheimer's Institute in the laboratory of Dr. Chad Dickey. Jon is currently working for NIH in the NINDS as a Health Program Specialist.
Contact Jon: firstname.lastname@example.org
Austin Boren, BA
Austin Boren graduated from UNLV in Fall 2015 with a B.A. in psychology and a minor in neuroscience. He began the Experimental Program in Fall 2016. His research interests include learning and memory, the role of GABA in neuropyschological disorders, and the pathology of neurodegenerative disorders. Austin transferred to the Hines Group Laboratory in August 2017.
Contact Austin: email@example.com
FORMER SENIOR RESEARCH ASSISTANTS
Isaac Santa Ana, BS
Isaac, our first Head Research Assistant, has been participating in neurodegenerative research at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, NV, since 2011.
Isaac is currently a research coordinator for Alzheimer’s disease clinical trials under the direction of Dr. Kate Zhong and principal investigators, Dr. Gabriel Léger and Dr. Charles Bernick. Isaac is also an advocacy member of the Alzheimer’s Association Desert Southwest Chapter, since 2015.
Contact Isaac: firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Langhardt, MS
Michael, a former Kinney Lab Head Research Assistant, graduated from UNLV in 2014 with a B.S. in biology. While at UNLV, he was a recipient of a McNair Scholars Summer Research Institute scholarship. He is currently a graduate student in the Neuroscience Program at Tulane University, where he has earned his M.S. and is now working towards his Ph.D. He works in the Mostany Lab focusing on mechanisms of learning in the aged brain.
Contact Michael: email@example.com
Krystal Belmonte, BS
Krystal graduated from UNLV in 2014 summa cum laude, with university and department honors. She is currently working as a research technician at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida with Dr. Jungsu Kim. She was a recipient of a McNair Scholars Summer Research Institute scholarship, as well as an NIH INBRE UROP scholarship. Krystal was featured on KNPR for her academic excellence while at UNLV.
Contact Krystal: firstname.lastname@example.org
James McClinch, BS
James recently graduated from UNLV with a B.S. in biology with a minor in psychology. James i a recipient of the 2015 NIH INBRE UROP award. James will be attending medical school in Las Cruces, NM. His research and professional interests include neurology, neurosurgery, and neurodegenerative disorders.
Contact James: email@example.com
Christy Magcalas, BA
Christy graduated from UNLV in 2012. She was a recipient of a McNair Scholars Summer Research Institute scholarship. Christy is currently a graduate student at the University of New Mexico working towards her Ph.D. She works in Dr. Derek Hamilton's laboratory focusing on the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure.
Contact Christy: firstname.lastname@example.org
Stephanie Nagl, BA
Stephanie graduated from UNLV in 2013 with a B.A. in Psychology. She is currently a graduate student in the Cognition and Neural Systems Ph.D Program at the University of Arizona. She works in the Computational and Experimental Neuroscience Laboratory of Dr. Jean-Marc Fellous, where she performs in vivo electrophysiology recordings in rodents to investigate neural mechanisms of memory consolidation during sleep. She is also interested in mechanisms of memory reconsolidation, which is the process by which reactivation of memories can return them to a dynamic and labile state even after they have been consolidated. This allows for the updating of memories with new information but can also render them susceptible to interference, which may have implications for the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Contact Stephanie: email@example.com
Patrick Hagins, BA
Patrick earned his B.A. in Psychology at UNLV. Patrick was a recipient of a 2014 NIH INBRE UROP scholarship. He intends to pursue a Ph.D. in neuroscience. Patrick's research interests include hippocampal function, memory consolidation, and the role of insulin signaling and other presymptomatic factors in early hippocampal pathology and the onset of neurodegenerative disease.
Contact Patrick: firstname.lastname@example.org