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
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: email@example.com
Amanda Leisgang, BS
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrew S. Murtishaw, PhD
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: email@example.com
Andrew A. Ortiz, BA
Graduate Student /Lab Technician
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
CURRENT Research Assistants
James Toughlian (Senior RA)
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.
Ibrahim is an undergraduate at UNLV pursuing a bachelor's degree in psychology with minors in neuroscience and public policy. His current goal is to understand the basic neurological pathway of mental issues and their treatment within private and public health care systems. Ibrahim's ultimate career goal is to work within the healthcare industry in management or as a consultant. His interests include star wars, hip-hop, and the Golden Knights!
Megan Yoon (Senior RA)
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 Chuapoco (Senior RA)
Renzo is an undergraduate student at UNLV pursuing dual-degrees in Biology and Kinesiology. His academic interests include research on Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases; specifically, he wishes to understand the effects of neuroinflammation and prolonged activated microglial responses. He wishes to someday investigate the effects of exercise interventions on these neurological conditions. After graduating with his degrees, Renzo intends to further his education and attend medical school specializing in either neurology or orthopedic surgery.
Chelsea Tran (Senior RA)
Chelsea is pursuing a bachelors in biology and minoring in neuroscience, psychology, sociology, and public health. Her research interest include neurodegenerative diseases, in particular, Alzheimer's disease. After graduation, she plans on going to graduate school to further pursue her research interest.
Ava is a nontraditional undergraduate student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Neuroscience. Ava is interested in neuropsychology and how molecular and cellular processes are altered in psychopathology, substance abuse, and neurodegenerative disorders. Additionally, she is interested in how physical activity improves mental health. Ava is a yoga instructor at the UNLV Campus Recreation and Wellness Center and has a passion for helping others live a healthy lifestyle. Avais traveling to Jerusalem, Israel this upcoming summer for an internship where she will be working at the Landau Lab at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem under the mentorship of Dr. Ayelet Landau to research time perception, attention, and brain rhythms. After graduating, Ava intends to further her education by pursuing a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.
Emily Chau (Senior RA)
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
Marie is a nontraditional student pursuing a bachelors in Pre-Professional Biology and Psychology and a minor in Neuroscience. Her academic career goals and interests center around seeking treatment options for neurodegenerative diseases, understanding the effects of brain injury and trauma, and learning about various psychological disorders impacting society. After graduation, Marie plans on furthering her education through medical school.
Myguan is a junior undergraduate at UNLV pursuing a degree in Biology with a minor in Psychology and Neuroscience. After graduation, she hopes to attend medical school and pursue a career in the field of neurology. Her research interests include the effects of neuroinflammation and preventive treatments for neurodegenerative disorders.
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: email@example.com
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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