The team

Donahue Lab 2023

Members of the Donahue lab and collaborators in June of 2023

  • Manus was trained at Duke University (BS: Physics; BA: Philosophy), Johns Hopkins University (PhD: Biophysics), and the University of Oxford (post-doc: Neurology). He joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 2009 and in 2010 moved to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where he is currently a Professor of Neurology, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and Radiology and Radiological Sciences.

  • Paula Trujillo Diaz is a research fellow in the Neurology Department focusing on image-based biomarkers for neurodegenerative diseases. She received her bachelor's degree in Electronics Engineering from Pontifica Universidad Javeriana, Bogota, Colombia, Masters of Science in Biomedical Engineering from Politecnico di Torino, Italy, and PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Politecnico di Milano, Italy. Her doctoral research proposed a quantitive assessment of the severity of Parkinson's disease, and differentiation between individuals with the disease and healthy subjects through the analysis of MRI. After her PhD, she worked at the Institute of Molecular Bioimaging and Physiology of the Italian National Research Council, with activities in the field of neuromuscular diseases, motor and exercise rehabilitation, and focused on the analysis of biomedical signals and images (EEG and MRI). In February 2017, she joined the Neurology Department at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and her current research includes investigating quantitative MRI methods to asses brain changes associated with neurodegeneration. She helps to support many projects involving mechanisms of neurodegeneration, including most recently the possible role of the recently-identified glymphatic system in these disorders.

  • Kilian is a senior post-doctoral fellow in the Neurology department. He is focusing on developing machine learning algorithms for neuroimaging analysis. He received his bachelor’s degree in computer sciences and his master’s degree in bioengineering from Université de Strasbourg, France. Kilian obtained his PhD in Computer Science from Université de Bordeaux, France. During his doctoral research, he worked on new machine learning methods for the early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and prognosis of subjects suffering from amnesic mild cognitive impairment. His current research includes studying developing new methods for the study of the glymphatic system. In addition, he is involved in other projects that use imaging techniques to assess changes occurring with the course of neurodegenerative diseases.
    In his free time, Kilian likes skateboarding around campus and educating the team about French wines.

  • Hi, my name is Megan Aumann and I am a post-doctoral Research Fellow in the Neurology Department. I am interested in utilizing non-invasive MRI methods to identify biomarkers that can be used to assess disease progression in neurological and cerebrovascular diseases. Additionally, I am interested in understanding how maintaining a routine care schedule (or lack of) can impact health outcomes in patients with chronic and progressive diseases such as Sickle Cell Disease. My doctoral research focused on understanding the role of the cerebellum in modulating dopamine networks in neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Essential Tremor. In my free time, I enjoy playing competitive sand volleyball, paddleboarding, and rooting for the Atlanta Braves baseball team. 


  • Wesley started as a post-doctoral fellow in the Neurology department in Fall of 2022 after completing his PhD in the joint Medical College of Wisconsin/Marquette University Biomedical Engineering Department, doing research using MRI to better understand hemodialysis-related neurodegeneration. He is interested in developing and using quantitative cerebrovascular MRI techniques to understand pathophysiology and disease progression, to help clinicians make more informed decisions. Currently, Wesley is working primarily on sickle cell anemia and moyamoya disease projects. In his free time, Wes is an avid cyclist and enjoys going to concerts at The Basement East, movies at the Belcourt theater, and playing pickup basketball.

  • Maria is a Clinical/Translational Research Coordinator III in the Department of Neurology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She earned both her bachelor’s and MBA degrees from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. Maria joined the Donahue Lab in 2019, where most of her work centers around perfusion and glympathics studies. Her efforts focus on data collection processing, management, and organizational efforts, as well as recruitment and patient interactions. Previous studies she has worked on focused on nutrition and behavioral interventions in underserved communities. Additionally, Maria assists other labs and collaborators across departments at VUMC during study development and close-out.  

  • Samantha Davis graduated in 2016 from Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Chemistry. She is currently working on her Masters in Biomedical Science at Barry University. She joined the Donahue lab in 2022 as a research coordinator for the sickle cell, lymphedema, and stroke projects. In her free time, Samantha enjoys traveling, spending time with family and friends, and almost anything adventurous. 

  • Katie Hay is a Senior Program Manager in the Department of Neurology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She earned her MS degree in Clinical Psychology from Loyola University Maryland, with a concentration in neuropsychology. Her research background started at Johns Hopkins University in the Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit, where her work focused on researching more efficacious treatments for individuals with substance use disorders. Currently, she is serving at Vanderbilt exploring the effect of neurodegeneration on cognition, behavior, and movement symptoms through studies that utilize neuroimaging techniques such as MRI and PET. Her studies focus on Parkinson's Disease, Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, Multiple Systems Atrophy, Dementia with Lewy Bodies, and others.

  • Caleb Han is a Clinical Coordinator in the Donahue Lab. He graduated from Vanderbilt University in 2022 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Neuroscience. He has been involved in the Donahue Lab since his sophomore year of college. Currently, he is studying cerebrovascular reactivity in moyamoya patients and working with MRI-compatible EEG equipment to explore physiological changes of the brain during sleep.  

  • Maeve Curtin is a Clinical/Translational Research Coordinator II for the Division of Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology. She earned her bachelor’s degree in neuroscience and psychology from Skidmore College. She joined the Claassen and Donahue Labs in 2024 following a research assistantship at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Under Dr. Donahue, she is implementing innovative neuroimaging to investigate biomarkers of Moyamoya disease as well as the role of glymphatics in elevated levels of beta-amyloid. After VUMC, she will pursue an education and career in clinical neuropsychology.

  • Jarrod Eisma is a PhD student in the Chemical and Physical Biology program at Vanderbilt. He graduated from the University of Arkansas in 2020 with a BS in Biomedical Engineering, where his research focused on applying quantitative methods to optimize optical imaging techniques and to differentiate cognitive control mechanisms on their electrophysiological profiles. In the Donahue lab, he is interested in using and developing structural and functional MRI techniques to better understand the glymphatic system in both neurodegenerative and healthy control subjects.

  • Alex Song is a PhD student in the Neuroscience Graduate Program at Vanderbilt University. He earned his BA degree in Neuroscience and Economics from Vanderbilt University. After graduating, he worked at Vanderbilt University Medical Center as a research analyst and coordinator in Dr. Daniel Claassen’s lab where his work focused on the biological determinants of impulsivity in Parkinson’s disease. His current research work focuses on assessing PET measures of Aβ accumulation with imaging biomarkers of neurofluid circulation in neurodegenerative disorders. He is also interested in developing MR imaging methods to improve quantification of cerebral tissue oxygen extraction efficiency for use in patients with sickle cell anemia.

  • Gabriela Pierobon Mays is an undergraduate student pursuing a major in Neuroscience and Medicine, Health, and Society graduating in May 2024. She plans to apply to medical school in the summer of 2024. She joined the Donahue lab in April 2021. On campus, she is a member of the Varsity Vanderbilt Women’s Swim Team, Vice-President of Engagement for Vanderbilt Dance Marathon, co-chair of shadowing for the Vanderbilt Pre-Medical Society, and enjoys volunteering as a Crisis Text Line Counselor.

  • Bryce Keating is an undergraduate student pursuing a major in Psychology and a minor in Quantitative Methods graduating in May 2025. He plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in the years following his graduation from Vanderbilt. He is a member of the SyBBURE Searle Undergraduate Research Program, an instructor for WilSkills, a student-led outdoor organization that runs backpacking, caving, climbing, and paddling trips for Vanderbilt students, and a volunteer with Vanderbilt Student Volunteers for Science (VSVS).

  • Mackenzie Horne is an undergraduate student pursuing a major in Neuroscience and minors in Spanish and German graduating in May 2024. She plans to apply to medical school after taking a year or two to further pursue research and other experiences. On campus, she is a member of Camp Kesem and Alpha Delta Pi and a learning assistant for Introduction to Biological Sciences. Off-campus, she volunteers with Salt Wagon and Siloam clinics.

Lab dinner at ISMRM in Toronto (2023)

Lab dinner ISMRM 2023

Ferry ride completed (2023) 

Ferry Ride completed

Lab ferry ride in Toronto (2023)

Ferry Ride 2023

Dr. Richerson mentoring Caleb at VUMC offices (2023)

Wes mentoring

Alex presents his poster at ISMRM in Toronto (2023)

Alex presenting his poster at ISMRM 2023

Schitts Creek visits Villages at Vanderbilt (2022)

Halloween 2022

Maria, Sky and Dr. Waddle discover pubs upon London arrival (2022)

london pub

Drs. Donahue, McKnight and Aumann enjoy Mediterranean food in London (2022)

London Dinner

Dr. Waddle & Jarrod mourn the closing of the historic The Eagle and Child in Oxford (2022)

Eagle & Child

Dr. Hett presents at ISMRM in London (2022)

Kilian @ ISMRM

Dr. Donahue visits his old campus while Maria pretends shes about to be sorted in Oxford (c. 2022)


Jarrod & Maria enjoy a West Ham United game in London (c. 2022)

West Ham game

Maria Garza & Dr. Waddle say goodbye in Hamburg (c. 2022)

spencer & maria in Hamburg

Sky Jones & Dr. Hett looking down on St. Louis (c. 2021)

Sky & Killian

Sky Jones seconds before Jenga collapse (c. 2021)


Dr. Kalen Petersen (c. 2021)

Dr. Kalen Petersen

Lymphatics Team and Collaborators (c. 2020) 

Lymphatics Team

The Cast of Ferris Beuller's Day Off (Halloween; c. 2020)

COVID-19 Halloween 2020

Donahue Lab Members and Collaborators (c. December 2019).

holiday party 2019

Sickle Cell Disease Imaging Team (not pictured: Chelsea Lee)

scd team

Current and Former Lab Members at 2020 International Stroke Conference


Manus and Carlos. Black's, Bethesda. (c. March 2020).


Annual Awards Table. These Prestigious Awards are Presented to Core Lab Members and Key Study Personnel in Good Standing.


The Cast of Mean Girls (Halloween; c. 2019).

Mean Girls Halloween (c. 2019)

Fantasy Football Draft Night (c. 2019).

fantasy football

Donahue Lab Holiday Party (c. 2019).

2019 Donahue Lab Holiday party

Megan Strother and Manus Donahue Pose for a Picture for the Newspaper During a Scan on a Moyamoya Patient (c. 2012).


Late Spring Happy Hour in Nashville (c. 2019).

Happy Hour (c. 2019)

Sodium MRI Preparations. Taken After Restarting the Multi-nuclear Amplifier (c. 2018).


Manus' 29th Surprise Birthday Celebration (c. 2019). 


Shelly Reporting at the Lipedema Foundation Annual Meeting (c. 2018).


Spencer Considers the Impact of Reduced Reactivity While Staff Discuss Available Options.


Preparing for Blood Relaxation Time Experiments.


Skylar Receives Some Food and the ISMRM Ribbon for Being #1.


Manus Donahue Returning 10 Years After Leaving Johns Hopkins University (c. 2019).


Moyamoya Revascularization Surgery.


Post-Mortem Human Brain Preparations.


The Original Lymphatic Imaging Group Posing by the Mock Scanner for the Newspaper (c. 2014).


Lab Members Add Their Thoughts While Considering New Results (c. 2017).


Multi-nuclear Imaging Not Working after 3 Tesla Ingenia Upgrade.

not working

Multi-nuclear Imaging Working after 3 Tesla Ingenia Upgrade


Radiology Wisdom from Men's Health. Josh Kopelman has Consistently Been Ranked in the Top 20 for Venture Capitalists and in 2000 Sold to EBay.


Donahue Lab and Collaborators at First Holiday Party (c. 2014).

lab group

Vanderbilt University Campus in the Spring (c. 2018).


Richad Edden and Manus Donahue (Graduate School, Johns Hopkins, c. 2006).

richard and manus

Johns Hopkins Easter Egg Decorating Competition (c. 2005).


Katie Works in the Center for Cerebrovascular and Physiological Imaging (c. 2017).

perometer room

Human Lymph Node with Afferent Vessel (c. 2018).

lymph nodes

High Spatial Resolution 7 Tesla Arterial Spin Labeling MRI at Baseline and During Hypercapnia (c. 2015).

7t asl

Lab Super Bowl Party (c. 2018).

super bowl

Paula and Shelly Interpret Images from a Patient with Breast Cancer Treatment Related Lymphedema (c. 2018).


Spencer Waddle


Group Holiday Party (c. 2018).

holiday party

Niral's Baby Shower (c. 2018).

baby shower

Manus Donahue Before Talk at Epic Medical Records Headquarters, Wisconsin.


Spencer and Maria Raise Their Arms Above Their Heads at Happy Hour (c. 2019).

happy hour

A Compressed Cylinder Containing a New Medical Grade Hypercapnic Normoxic Respiratory Stimulus.


Paula Diaz Provides Insight on Neurodevelopment (c. 2017).


Control Room of the PET/CT VUIIS Scanner (c. 2017).


Carlos Faraco, PhD (c. 2018).


Lab Members in Paris, 5th Arrondissement (c. 2018).


Lab Happy Hour at Saint Anejo Cantina, Nashville (c. 2019).

happy hour

Manus Donahue and Members of the van Zijl Lab (c. 2007)