Principal Investigator

Research Assistants

  • Edom Seyoum, MS

    Research Assistant II

    Edom assists with maintaining our mouse colony and is optimizing antibodies for detection of transcription factors during ENS development.

Graduate Students

  • Justin Avila

    Neuroscience PhD Program, Vanderbilt Brain Institute

    Justin is working to understand the mechanisms by which Sox10 alters the balance of neuronal fates in the enteric nervous system. 

  • Joseph Benthal

    Human Genetics PhD Program, Vanderbilt Genetics Institute

    Joe is analyzing effects of Sox10 on chromatin accessibility during enteric nervous system development

Undergraduate Students

  • Kathryn Spears

    Undergraduate Research Assistant

    Kate is quantifying effects of mutations in the Type 3 Serotonin Receptor (Htr3a) on development and differentiation of pelvic ganglia neurons that innervate the bladder.  She help with lots of things in lab in addition to working on her project goals.  Thanks Kate for all you do!!

  • Helen Yang

    Undergraduate Research Assistant

    Helen has been developing vectors for in vitro and in vivo manipulation of genes in developing enteric neural progenitors.  She is great a molecular biology and keeps things on track for us in the lab.  Thanks Helen!!

Lab Alumni

  • Aaron May, Ph.D.

    Postdoctoral Fellow
    Medicine / Division of Genetic Medicine

    Aaron headed the ENSMap effort to derive a global gene expression atlas of human enteric ganglia.  He has now taken on the new role of Senior Bioinformaticist at FluidBio

  • Karen Deal

    Former Research Specialist

    Karen worked with our team and generated amazing images that show how neural progenitors colonize the lower urinary tract during development.  Karen retired from research in 2022.  We miss you Karen and hope those grand babies are keeping you busy!

  • K. Elaine Ritter

    Graduate Student
    Neuroscience PhD Program

    Elaine completed her thesis work on the role of Htr3a in bladder innervation and function.  She is now working with Donna Martin at the University of Michigan. 

  • Makenzie completed her undergrad honors thesis with us and has moved on to medical school at Duke University.  Way to go Makenzie!!

  • Melissa A. Musser

    Graduate Student
    Medical Scientist Training Program

    Melissa used mouse models during her Ph.D. studies to analyze lineage diversification in the enteric nervous system and determine how this relates to gastrointestinal dysmotility and variability in Hirschsprung patient phenotypes.  Melissa matched to Boston Children's Hospital for her residency training in Peds GI and is now in a Faculty position after completing her Fellowship.  Congrats Muss!!

  • Jenna Brown

    Former Research Assistant

    Jenna worked with us for a short while before retiring from research to start her family.  She was using mouse models to map neuromodulatory cells in relation to developing innervation in the lower urinary tract using a variety of flourescent transgenes and Cre lineage drivers. 

  • Anoop Chandrashekar

    Former Undergraduate Research Assistant

    Anoop graduated from Vanderbilt with highest honors and is now in medical school at Vanderbilt.  Congratulations Anoop!!  We miss you - stop by any time. 

  • Meena Halaka

    Former Research Assistant

    Meena had been characterizing novel alleles taht disrupt development and function of the enteric nervous system.  Meena entered medical school at Saint George’s University School of Medicine. 

  • Jessica Do

    Former Research Assistant

    Jessica let our group to attend Maharry medical school and is now in Pediatric residency at Stanford!  Way to go JD!!

  • Kate Jones

    Former Undergraduate Research Assistant

    During her time with our team, Kate worked to define genome sequence variants that affect ENS development.  Kate graduated from medical school at Temple University and completed her surgery residency at Lankenau Medical Center.  She is pursuing research as a Post Doctoral  Fellow in the Surgical Oncology Research Training Program at the University of Pennsylvania.  Way go Kate!!

  • Carrie Wiese

    Former Research Assistant

    Carrie left the lab to pursue her PhD in Molecular Physiology and Biophysics at Vanderbilt.  She has transitioned to a Post-doctoral Fellowship at UCLA. 

  • Lauren Walters

    Former Graduate Student

    Lauren completed her PhD then began a Fellowship in Clinical Molecular Genetics.  She is now the Senior Cytogenetics Director for Quest Diagnostics.  You're rocking Lauren!!

  • Stephanie Byers

    Former Research Assistant

    Stephanie left to pursue training in genetic counseling and is now the Associate Director of Genetic Counseling and  linical Program Administrator at University of Pennsylvania. 

  • Sara did great work with us on the GUDMAP project and left us an amazing legacy of really high quality images for her analysis of developing innervation in the lower urinary tract.  Sara transitioned to UTSouthwestern where she earned her PhD with Nancy Monson's group.  Sadly Sara passed away in 2022. 

  • Ashley Cantrell

    Former Research Assistant

    Ashley was one of our first RAs and had golden lab hands.  She left research to pursue life as an event coordinator in the Nashville music scene.  Ashley - we hope Music City is treating you well and appreciates you!

  • Sarah Owens

    Former Graduate Student

    Sarah completed her PhD and is now working on science outreach in Cape Town, South Africa.  Miss you Sarah!!

  • Jennifer Corpening Rosebrock

    Former Research Assistant

    Jen left the lab to pursue a career in clinical research and is now a mom in South Carolina raising adorable Ben!  Miss you Jen!

  • Alexander Nickle

    Former Research Assistant

    Alex left research to enter medical school at Wake Forrest University and is now an attending physician at Williamson County Medical Center in Franklin, TN. 

  • Emily Ferguson

    Former Research Assistant

    Emily entered medical school at Duke University and is now a pathologist working in the Nashville area.  Congrats Emily!!

  • Ron Chandler

    Former Research Assistant

    Ron was our very first Research Assistant and developed all sorts of new procedures in the lab.  After completing his PhD in Molecular Physiology and Biophysics at Vanderbilt, Ron did Post-doctoral study at UNC Chapel Hill and is now an Associate Professor at Michigan State University!  So proud of you Ron!! 

  • Hannah Sullivan

    Former Undergraduate Research Assistant

    Hannah graduated and entered medical school at the University of Iowa.  Congrats Hannah - we know you'll do great things!!