Lab Members


Orly Lazarov, PhD

Principal Investigator


Trongha Xuan Phan, PhD

Research Assistant Professor

Trongha received a Ph.D. at the University of Washington in Molecular Pharmacology/Neuroscience. He completed his postdoc training at MIT Picower Institute for Learning and Memory. Subsequently, he was a research faculty at Northwestern University. His scientific background, as a molecular neuroscientist has always focused on elucidating the role of sleep/circadian rhythm on long-term memory formation. His current projects aim at gaining a better understanding at the cellular and molecular levels, how long-term memory is formed (and failed) in the Alzheimer’s disease models.


Muskan Gupta, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Muskan received her Ph.D. in Life Sciences from Guru Nanak Dev University, Punjab, India. She worked with Prof. Gurcharan Kaur and studied the immunomodulatory role of medicinal plant Withania somnifera against lipopolysaccharide-induced neuroinflammation, subsequent neurodegeneration and cognitive impairments. She has joined Prof. Lazarov's Lab as a postdoctoral research fellow. Her current project is focusing on exploring the role of caveolin-1 (Cav1) in inflammation linked with aging or Alzheimer and how it affects neurogenesis and learning and memory functions.


Rachana Mishra, PhD

Postdoctoral fellow

Rachana received her Ph.D. in Life sciences from Guru Nanak Dev University, Punjab, India, where she worked with Professor Gurcharan Kaur and studied the anti-proliferative and differentiation inducing potential of medicinal plant Tinospora cordifolia in Glioblastomas and Neuroblastomas, as well as its anti-anxiolytic and neuroprotective effect on sleep deprived rats. She joined the Lazarov Lab as postdoctoral research fellow. Her main area of interest is to explore the regulatory mechanism of adult neurogenesis, Its effect on hippocampus and Entorhinal cortex circuitry in relation to Alzheimer's disease".


Karen Rakowiecki

Graduate Student

Karen graduated with a B.S. in Biochemistry from Georgia Institute of Technology where she worked in the Shuyi Nie Lab investigating molecular mechanisms that contribute to Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. She is pursuing her Ph.D. in the Lazarov Lab at the University of Illinois at Chicago as part of the Graduate Program in Neuroscience. Her thesis work focuses on investigating the role of APP in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's Disease in Down Syndrome through the use of patient derived induced pluripotent stem cells.


Terilyn Stephen

Graduate Student

Terilyn graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks with a B.S. and M.S degree in Chemistry and is now a member of the Medical Scientist Training Program at UIC. Her dissertation work is focused on understanding the role of PICALM, an Alzheimer’s Disease risk factor gene, in the development of cerebrovascular pathology related to AD and cognitive decline. Terilyn is using induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), animal models and multiomic approaches to investigate PICALM signaling and function at the blood brain barrier.


Zach Morrissey

Graduate Student

Zach received his B.S. in Biochemistry-Molecular Biology and Minor in Philosophy from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Graduate Program in Neuroscience. He is currently working with Dr. Alex Leow in the Department of Psychiatry and in collaboration with Dr. Lazarov as part of the T32 Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementia Training Program studying MRI connectomics and environmental enrichment-mediated neurogenesis in the context of Alzheimer's disease using transgenic mouse models as well as human AD patient neuroimaging data. He is interested in using computational neuroscience and molecular biology for studying how brain networks are altered as a result of Alzheimer's disease, and studying how enrichment and neurogenesis may affect these network dynamics across age to improve memory and cognition.


Aashutosh Shetti

Graduate Student

Aashu completed his Master’s degree in Biotechnology from SASTRA University, Thanjavur, India. As a graduate student in Lazarov Lab at UIC, he is interested in understanding how loss of a protein, Caveolin-1 in Type II Diabetes Mellitus is linked with development of Late onset Alzheimer’s disease. He is looking at the multifaced role of Caveolin-1 in neurovascular dysfunction, development of insulin resistance and impairments in neurogenic niche overall leading to Alzheimer’s disease.


Ahmed M. Disouky

Graduate Student
Program: Graduate program in Biological Sciences

Ahmed has a B.pharm degree from the school of pharmacy at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt. Where he worked in developing novel antibiotics against MRSA ( Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus). He has Joined Dr. Lazarov's lab as a Ph.D. student Investigating the alterations of CREB signaling pathways and its effect on memory formation in the context of Alzheimer’s disease and developing novel assays for screening drugs in vitro to investigate their potential effects on neurogenesis.

Past Lab Members

Caryn Davis, PhD (graduate student)

Jackie Bonds, PhD (graduate student)

Matt Tobin, MD/PhD (graduate student)

Yeshwant Kurhe, PhD (Postdoctoral fellow)

Nancy (Long) Bartolotti, PhD (graduate student)

Carolyn Hollands, PhD (Postdoctoral fellow)

Archana Ghadadhar, MSc (graduate student)

Michael Demars, PhD (graduate student)

Yuan-Shih (Jennifer) Hu, PhD (graduate student)

Yafit Kuttner, Ph.D (Postdoctoral fellow)

Bich Dong, Ph.D. (Research Specialist)

Shantel Olivaries, B.Sc. (Research Specialist)

Michael Pizzi, MD, Ph.D. (Visiting scientist)

Michael Chen, MD (Visiting scientist)

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