December Birthdays!

Benjamin NobleLevi Todd

Sarah Light photo

Happy birthday to all our NGP friends born in December! Pictured from left to right: Lars Nelson, Ben Noble, Levi Todd, Sarah Light, and Josh Foster.

Congrats to Yasmine Cisse on passing her dissertation defense!

Yasmine CisseYasmine defended her dissertation titled “Multigenerational Consequences of Pre-conception Circadian Disruptions by Light at Night” on Friday, November 17th.

Yasmine graduated from the University of Chicago in 2012 with a B.A. in Biology, specialization in Endocrinology, and a minor in the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of the Sciences and Medicine. In 2013, she joined Dr. Randy Nelson’s lab and has since has worked on several projects addressing the effects of circadian disruption by light at night on physiology and behavior at different developmental stages, circadian disruption by misaligned feeding on immune function, and behavioral phenotyping of transgenic mice. Yasmine has authored thirteen publications, with primary authorship on six research papers and one book chapter. During her graduate studies, Yasmine was awarded numerous honors and fellowships, most notably a pre-doctoral NRSA fellowship, and served as the Treasurer of the student-run neuroscience outreach group (NEURO) for three years. She has presented her work at both national and international conferences. Following graduation, Yasmine will begin a postdoctoral position in the lab of Dr. Tracy Bale at the University of Maryland Medical Center, investigating the effects of the parental stress on epigenetic mechanisms involved in programming reproductive tissues and the offspring brain.

Congrats to Levi Todd on passing his dissertation defense!

Levi ToddLevi defended his dissertation titled “The Signaling Pathways that Regulate the Proliferative and Neurogenic Capacity of Muller Glia” on Tuesday, November 7th.

Levi graduated from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 2012 with a Bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience. In the Fall of 2012 he joined the neuroscience program and the lab of Dr. Andy Fischer. During his time in the program, he has worked on a variety of projects relating to retinal regeneration in the chick and mouse. Levi has presented his work at international conferences and authored a total of 12 papers with 7 being first author. His dissertation work focuses on the cell-signaling mechanisms that regulate the ability of Müller glia to reprogram into neurogenic progenitor cells. Following graduation, Levi will start a post-doctoral position at the University of Washington-Seattle in the labs of Dr. Tom Reh and Dr. Rachel Wong to continue studying retinal regeneration.

Congrats to Luke Russell on passing his dissertation defense!


Luke Russell photoLuke defended his thesis titled “Preclinical Brain Tumor Research on HSV-P10, an Immune-Stimulating Oncolytic Herpesvirus” on Tuesday, October 31st.

Luke joined the lab of Balveen Kaur after completing his BS in Microbiology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and enrolled in the Neuroscience Graduate Program the following year. During his time in the NGP, Luke presented his work at multiple national and international conferences including several oral presentations, contributed to 5 published papers including one first-author paper in Neuro-Oncology, as well as several currently in submission, and served as secretary and chair of professional development within the Neuroscience Graduate Student Organization. Luke was awarded a Pelotonia Graduate Fellowship in 2016 for his research on brain tumor therapy, and a $1000 travel award from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in 2017. Following graduation, Luke’s plan is to work on the clinical development of viral therapies for cancer, helping to translate novel therapies from the bench to the bedside.