About our Team

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Dr. Joe Abisambra

Principal Investigator 

I obtained a BS in Biology (2002) at Saint Leo University in FL, and then relocated to Tampa, FL, where I earned a MS in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (2004). I then joined Dr. Huntington Potter’s lab at the Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute, which was affiliated with USF, and defended my PhD in 2009 (dissertation “On the involvement of the LDL Receptor on the pathogenesis and progression of Alzheimer’s disease”). After realizing that a common feature of neurodegenerative diseases was aberrant protein folding, I stayed in Tampa to join Dr. Chad Dickey’s lab for a three year postdoc where I developed expertise in tau biology, published 15 papers, and was awarded two grants (thanks Chad!). In March 2013, I joined the faculty of the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging at the University of Kentucky. My research program expanded our focus on Alzheimer’s disease by fostering our core concept of the pathological tau-endoplasmic reticulum relationship into many disorders including traumatic brain injury, epilepsy, and progressive supra nuclear palsy.

Daylin Barroso

Lab Manager and Coordinator 

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Dr. Sakthivel Ravi

Postdoctoral Associate

I earned my Ph.D in Biotechnology from Alagappa University, India. I have been working as a postdoctoral associate in Abisambra’s lab since 2020. My research focuses on screening of functional outcomes of mild repetitive traumatic brain injury (mrTBI) and its role in neurodegenerative diseases. My long-term research goal involves screening of diagnostic markers and the development of potential therapeutic agents to alleviate the effect of TBI. Besides my research, I enjoy playing with my kid, cooking, music and gardening.

Dr. Christian Lessard

Research Assistant Professor

Dr. Maria Criado-Marerro

Research Assistant Professor

I enjoy simple things in life, observing nature, and finding patterns in daily activities. My innate curiosity and tendency to find connections drives my passion for understanding how stress and traumatic events impact normal brain function, affects mental health, and promotes the development of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's Disease. My scientific work is focused on investigating behavioral and molecular mechanisms underlying trauma brain injury (TBI) and Alzheimer's disease.

Bryan Alavara

Co-Mentored Graduate Student 

I am a 2nd-year graduate student co-mentored by Dr. Jose Abisambra and Dr. Karyn Esser. My primary interest is in the association between muscle weakness and Alzheimer’s Disease, and how muscle weakness could be signaled to the brain. Beyond research, I am a huge swiftie and love raccoons.

John J. Koren, III, PhD

Research Assistant Professor