About our Team
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Dr. Joe Abisambra
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.
Lab Manager and Coordinator
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Dr. Sakthivel Ravi
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.
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.
I'm a first-year biomedical neuroscience PhD student in the Abismabra lab. My current research aims to identify the molecular mechanisms of repeated mild traumatic brain injury (rmTBI). Once I've established said mechanisms, I hope to work with biomarkers of rmTBI in the context of athletic concussion. In my free time I watch and play a substantial amount of soccer!
Co-mentored Graduate Student
I'm a graduate student of both the Abisambra and McIntyre labs, and my research is primarily focused on the potential effects of tau on neuronal primary cilia. Currently, my project is focused on investigating any changes in neuronal primary cilia in the brains of Alzheimer's Disease patients.