Contact Us

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The Kinney Lab: kinneylab@gmail.com

Dr. Jefferson Kinney: Jefferson.Kinney@unlv.edu

 

           

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Personnel

Director

Jefferson Kinney, PhD

Associate Professor

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

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: arnold.salazar@unlv.edu             

 
Andrew O2 - kinneylab.JPG

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: ortiza8@unlv.nevada.edu

 
 
Amanda Leisgang.JPG

Amanda Leisgang, BS

Graduate Student

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: amandaleisgang17@gmail.com

 
Logan Website Photo.jpg

Logan Myers, Ph.D.

Doctorate in Cellular and Molecular Biology

Logan Myers received his Ph.D. in August 2017 from the University of Nevada, Reno. His dissertation focused on cellular mechanisms driving the formation and function of central and stomatogastric nervous systems in invertebrates via RET proto-oncogene. Logan's current work is looking at the effects that neurodegenerative disease has on the structure and function of the enteric nervous system in relation to changes that occur in the CNS.

Contact Logan: loganmyers@nevada.unr.edu 

 

 

 

 

CURRENT Research Assistants

 
 
 
 James Toughlian

James Toughlian

 

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 Bhatti 

Ibrahim Bhatti 

 

Ibrahim Bhatti

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

Megan Yoon

 

Megan Yoon, MS (Senior RA)

Megan is a future candidate for the clinical psychology Ph.D. program. Her research focus is understanding the molecular mechanisms that drive clinical pathology. Megan graduated in 2013 with a Masters of Science and is excited to continue her academic career within the biological sciences in conjunction with translation clinical research. 

Megan is also an active member of the STREAM (Sex-Differentiated and Translational Research in Eating, Anxiety, and Mood) laboratory under the supervision of Dr. Kristen Culbert

Contact Megan: MegankMac@gmail.com

 
 Renzo Chuapoco

Renzo Chuapoco

 

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. 

 Nicholas Kolch

Nicholas Kolch

Nicholas Kolch

Nicholas attends University of Nevada Las Vegas as a junior undergraduate majoring in Biology and minoring in Neuroscience and Psychology. He is interested in research regarding neurodegenerative diseases and hopes to attend medical school to study neurology or psychiatry.

 

 Michelle Perez

Michelle Perez

Michelle Perez

Michelle is a junior undergraduate pursuing a degree in Biology and a minor in Neuroscience at UNLV. Her academic interests include learning about neurodegenerative disease and how these diseases relate to physiological processes. She plans on attending medical school with hopes of becoming a pathologist.

 
 
 
 Chelsea Tran

Chelsea Tran

 

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 Platt

Ava Platt

 

Ava Platt

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. Ava spent summer 2018 completing an clinical internship in Jerusalem, Israel 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

Emily Chau

 

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 Hernandez

Marie Hernandez

Marie Hernandez

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 Trinh

Myguan Trinh

 

Myguan Trinh

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.

 Josh Gordon

Josh Gordon

Josh Gordon, High School Intern

Josh is a rising Senior at Liberty High School with aspirations to be a doctor. Born and raised in Las Vegas, Josh plays golf and tennis and volunteers in his spare time at St Rose Hospital. Josh considers himself An expert in the subjects of In n Out Burger, comic book stores, science fiction and Greek mythology.  He plays a mean game of chess and monopoly — just ask his younger sister


CURRENT LAB PHOTO

Kinney Lab 2018 Website Photo.JPG

PREVIOUS LAB PHOTOS

KINNEY LAB - 2017.jpg
 

SPRING SEMESTER 2018

(Left to right)

Back: Nicholas Kolch, Amanda Leisgang, Dr. Jefferson Kinney, Logan Meyers, Emily Chau, Andrew Ortiz

Front: Ibrahim Bhatti, Chelsea Tran, Renzo Chuapoco, Arnold Salazar, Myguan Trinh, Megan Yoon, Marie Hernandez, Michelle Perez

 

 

 

 

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

Chelcie Heaney

 

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: chelcie.heaney@gmail.com

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/chelcie-heaney-510321b5/

 
 Monica Bolton

Monica Bolton

 

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: monicabolton@gmail.com

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/monicambolton/

 
 Austin Boren

Austin Boren

 

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: austin.boren@unlv.edu 

 
 Jonathan Sabbagh

Jonathan Sabbagh

 

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:  jonathan.sabbagh@nih.gov

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/jonathan-sabbagh-a128779a/

 

 
 
 Andrew Murtishaw

Andrew Murtishaw

 

Andrew Murtishaw, PhD

Andrew received his PhD in July 2018. His dissertation work is entitled "An Evaluation of Alzheimer's Disease-Related Pathology in Two Different Models of Diabetes in Immune-Challenged Mice." His research in the lab focused primarily on overlapping mechanisms between diabetes and Alzheimer's Disease. Andrew is currently working as a Research Associate in the UNLV School of Nursing's Applied Biomedical Research Laboratory.

Contact Andrew: andrew.murtishaw@gmail.com

Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/andrewmurtishaw


FORMER SENIOR RESEARCH ASSISTANTS

 
 
 Isaac Santa Ana

Isaac Santa Ana

 

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: isaac.santaana@gmail.com

 

 
 Michael Langhardt

Michael Langhardt

 

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: mlanghar@tulane.edu

 
 
 Krystal Belmonte

Krystal Belmonte

 

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: krystalbelmonte@gmail.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: mcclinch@unlv.nevada.edu 

 Christy Magcalas

Christy Magcalas

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: magcala4@unm.edu

 
 
 Stephanie Nagl

Stephanie Nagl

 

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: nagl@email.arizona.edu

 
 Patrick Hagins

Patrick Hagins

 

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: haginsp@unlv.nevada.edu