Principal Investigator:

Kathryn Lenz, PhD. Associate Professor of Psychology.

Contact: Email: Address: Psychology Building Rm 45, 1835 Neil Ave, Columbus, OH 43210 USA. Ph: 614-292-8565  Twitter/Bluesky: @neurokaty LinkedIn:

Bio: Katy received her undergraduate education at Northwestern University and Kalamazoo College (BA, Psychology, 2003). She received her graduate training from Indiana University, Bloomington (PhD, Psychology and Neuroscience, 2009) and completed her postdoctoral training at the University of Maryland School of Medicine from 2009-2013. She has been a faculty member at Ohio State since 2013, and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2020. Dr. Lenz is a member of the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research (IBMR), an affiliated faculty member with the Chronic Brain Initiative (CBI). Dr. Lenz currently serves as the Director of the Neuroscience Undergraduate Program and as Co-Director of the interdisciplinary Neuroscience Graduate Program (NGP).


Postdoctoral Scholars:

Marissa Smail, PhD.  

Contact:  Email:; Twitter: @MarissaSmail; LinkedIn:; ResearchGate:

Bio:  Marissa received her undergraduate education at Saint Vincent College (BS, Biology, 2017).  She completed her graduate training at the University of Cincinnati (PhD, Neuroscience, 2023) where she studied the molecular mechanisms underlying psychological loss in the lab of Dr. James Herman.  Marissa joined the Lenz lab in 2023 and is currently working on projects related to the interaction of early life stress and pediatric traumatic brain injury.  Particularly, she is interested in the role of neuroimmune signaling in the long-lasting molecular and behavioral consequences of these early life experiences.  Marissa has received an OK-PROS Postdoctoral Award to support this research.


Graduate students:

Michaela Breach, MS.

Contact: Email:; Twitter: @MichaelaBreach; Linkedin:; Researchgate:

Bio: Michaela received her undergraduate degree in psychology and neuroscience from Indiana University Bloomington before joining the NGP at OSU and choosing the Lenz lab for her PhD research. She is broadly interested in immune regulation of neurodevelopment, behavior, and sex differences. Michaela’s primary project in the lab looks at how prenatal allergic inflammation alters brain and behavior throughout development. She is also involved in a project investigating neuroimmune contributions to juvenile traumatic brain injury. Michaela is the recipient of a NSF GRFP award as well as the Ohio State Presidential Fellowship.


Elizabeth Dybas, BS. 

Contact: Email:

Bio: Liz is a first year NGP student co-mentored by Dr. Lenz and Dr. Benedetta Leuner. She received her BS in Biology from the University of Vermont and worked as a research technician at Albany Medical College prior to graduate school. She is working on projects related to plasticity in the female brain.




Courtney Dye, MS. 

Contact: Email:

Bio: Courtney is an NGP student co-mentored by Dr. Lenz and Dr. Benedetta Leuner. Courtney is working on projects related to neuroimmune function in the maternal brain during pregnancy and a gestational stress model of postpartum depression. She is currently supported on the Department of Neuroscience’s T32 through NINDS, Training Program in Neuroimmunology.




Ale Zaleta-Lastra, BS

Contact: Email:

Bio: Ale is a first year NGP student. Ale received her undergraduate BS in Neuroscience degree from The Ohio State University. Ale is working on projects related to early life stress and traumatic brain injury effects on neuroimmune function and the development of brain and behavior in mouse models.