Former Lab Members
Below is a list of lab members that have come and gone. Click on a name to read an account of their time spent in the Lombroso Lab, or click on a current position to learn more about what they're doing now. If you are on this list and you've moved on to newer things, let us know! We'd love to hear from you. Please email Paul with your updated information.
|Chimezie Ononenyi, MS||2010 - 2013||Research Assistant||Medical Student, Howard U. (starting 2014)|
|Susan Goebel-Goody, PhD||2008 - 2012||Associate Research Scientist||Principal Scientist, Pfizer|
|Carole Nasrallah, MS||2011 - 2012||Postgraduate Associate||Graduate Student, Yale University|
|Evan Wallis||2010 - 2012||Research Assistant||Software Developer|
|Nikisha Carty, PhD||2009 - 2011||Postdoctoral Fellow||Evotec|
|Stephanie Fernandez, PhD||2009 - 2011||Postdoctoral Fellow||Scientist|
|Celeste Greer, BS||2010 rotation||Graduate Student||Tae Hoon Kim Lab, Yale University|
During the winter of 2010, I did a rotation in the Lombroso Lab. My project was on how the phosphorylation of STEP is involved in protection against glutamate excitotoxicity after treatment with the glutamate receptor agonist, (RS)-3,5-dihydroxyphenylglycine (DHPG). With the guidance of the postdocs in the lab, I purified STEP from cultured cells, and sent it for mass spectrometry analysis to identify phosphorylation sites within the protein that were induced after DHPG treatment.
There is a strong emphasis in the lab on developing students into scientists. While in the lab, I learned a lot about scientific communication through writing, reading, and discussing my project with Paul and the postdocs of the lab. I was also able to see how the lab put together publications, since the members of the lab were working together to finish several manuscripts during my time there. The lab works well as a unit, and I felt warmly welcomed into the group while I was there.
|Danielle Krasner, BS||2010 rotation||Graduate Student||Patrick Sung Lab, Yale University|
|Iris Park||2009 - 2010||Research Assistant||Research Assistant II, NYU School of Medicine|
|Sara Royston, BA, MS||2008 - 2010||Research Assitant||MD/PhD University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign|
As a member of Jan Naegele’s lab at Wesleyan University, I collaborated with Drs. Lombroso and Susan Goebel-Goody to test whether a genetic reduction in STEP could rescue the audiogenic seizure phenotype associated with fragile X syndrome. Nearly all students interested in pursuing a career in science and/or medicine are encouraged to take time off after undergrad to gain more experience. This stretch of time frequently ends up being a limbo period, heavy on methodology, but lacking in substantive input. However, the time I spent working with Dr. Lombroso before beginning my M.D./Ph.D. was productive, and I always felt that my ideas and opinions were both heard and considered. I gained a greater understanding in experimental design and learned to focus more on the questions I wanted to ask, rather than the procedures I already knew how to do. Most importantly, Dr. Lombroso’s commitment to translational neuroscience has been and continues to be a great motivator for me as I begin my own career as a physician scientist.
|Paulo Correa, MD||2008 - 2009||Psychiatric Fellow||Psychiatrist, Bristol Hospital|
|Yongfang Zhang, PhD||2006 - 2009||Postdoc||Associate Professor, Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine|
My project in the Lombroso lab was to test the hypothesis that reducing STEP levels in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease would reverse the biochemical and cognitive deficits. I was very fortunate to be able to show this and it was a very exciting translational project (Zhang et al., in press). One implication of these finding is that STEP inhibitors may prove therapeutic for this devastating disorder. Since I came to the lab, Dr. Lombroso helped me gain various skills, not only in research, but also to improve my speaking and writing skills. The best part of working in the Lombroso Lab was the team of people with whom I worked. They all love science so much, and I learned a lot from them. Dr. Lombroso encouraged communication amongst us, which in the end is very helpful. He provided us the freedom to consider conflicting views and to make our own evaluation of data. As a PI, he was always pushing us forward and keeping us focused, but it helped us make great progress on the research. I am very lucky to have been in this lab for three years.
|Xuping Li, PhD||2007 - 2009||Postdoc||Postdoctoral Fellow, Baylor College of Medicine|
My brief training at Lombroso’s lab was a valuable experience. During this period, I was engaged in 2 projects. (1) Screening a small compound library by high throughput enzyme-based in vitro assay, with the aim to identify selective STEP inhibitors, and (2) Study protein-protein interactions between STEP and its substrates, including the C-termini of NR2A, NR2B, NR1 and GluR1, by using classical immunoprecipitations and a Luciferase-based Protein Complementary Assay in mammalian cells.
Professor Lombroso was an excellent supervisor with enthusiasm for the translational research program in the lab. He helped teach me not only how to study a novel protein with unknown functions but the importance of our work for clinical disorder, which has been extremely helpful for my career development. Although I am no longer in New Haven, each time I pass a Pizza Hut, or see the sign “WATCH YOUR STEP” on a campus shuttle, Paul and my friends at SHM-I come back to my memory. Then I realize that the STEP in my hippocampus still works normally and feel relieved.
|Li Ding, BA||2005 - 2008||Research Assistant||Medical Technologist Department of Lab Medicine, Xijing Hospital, Xi'an, China|
I spent more than three years in Dr. Lombroso's lab as a research assistant. I think I was fortunate to have worked with such a great group. People there were so friendly, creative, and productive. I learned new working and social skills in the lab, and the time spent was a treasure and an unforgettable experience in my life. It seems like just the other day when I recall the wonderful time at the lab. I know all the hard work in the lab will pay off eventually.
|Deepa V. Venkitaramani, PhD||2005 - 2008||Postdoc||Research Scientist, Beckman Institute|
|Yang Zhang, PhD||2004 - 2007||Postdoc||Pharmacist, Boston|
My research in Lombroso lab focused on the relationship between STEP and glutamate receptor trafficking. Paul is a mentor who encouraged us to have our own ideas and to prepare for the day when we would be independent scientists. On my first day in the lab, Paul threw about 10 projects my direction. He encouraged me to pick the project that I would really like. He totally respected my choice about what I was really interested in. The lab is well supported financially and I got chances to try and develop many different techniques. The project that I chose turned out to be a very successful one. I have two papers published as the first author during the three years that I was there. Being both a postdoc in training and a mom with a little kid, I did feel at times that my life as a woman scientist could be very hard. Paul was understandable about this and my working schedule in the lab was always flexible. When I was about to leave the lab for Boston, Paul helped me get a fellowship in Harvard so it could be a nice transition to me. I have wonderful memories of the three years that I spent in Yale. I still miss the bi-weekly pizza gatherings and the traditional STEP family dinner at the neuroscience meetings.
|Roman Tashev, PhD||2004 - 2007||Postdoc||Asst Professor, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences|
|Paula Moura, BA||2006 - 2007||Graduate Student, University of Sao Paulo||Postdoc, University of Massachusetts, Amherst|
|Yaer Hu, PhD||2004 - 2006||Postdoc||Professor, Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine|
The Lombroso lab consists of an international group of scientists working in translational neuroscience. Sometimes we debate vigorously around a research problem, but often we unify behind decisions. I am excited to have been a part of the team. Professor Lombroso is a fabulous PI. He is well-organized, a great teacher and an extremely intelligent man. He is demanding, but always fair. More importantly, he always spent time discussing with us and helped us to develop problem-solving skills. His knowledge, sense of humor and intellectual insights adds to making the lab a fun and top-notch scientific environment.
Since I left Paul’s lab in December of 2006, I was employed by Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine as a Professor and Director of Experimental Nuclear Medicine, Research Laboratory of Cell Regulation and the Key Laboratory of Traditional Chinese Medicine. My chief research area is receptors and signal transduction pathways that are disrupted in chronic neurodegenerative diseases. The emphasis is on the regulatory mechanisms of the active components from traditional Chinese Medicinal herbs are effective in treating these disorders. Dr. Lombroso remains extremely helpful and supportive for both research and career advice. I am lucky to continue to count him as a mentor, and look forward to future collaborations.
|Evan Mills, MA||2004 - 2006||Research Assistant||Sales and Applications Specialist, Molecular Devices|
My time in the Lombroso lab provided me with the foundation for my career in the life sciences. Dr. Lombroso immediately allows members of his lab to contribute their ideas regardless of their degree or experience. The atmosphere in the lab provided an incredible amount of learning opportunities as people of different ages, cultures and levels of experience all collaborated. I acquired a diverse range of skills from my time there that helped me land a job at a Biotechnology company and I use to this day in my current position selling life science research equiptment. The freedom and independence that Dr. Lombroso afforded me during my time in the lab were instrumental in my growth not only as a scientist, but as a person entering the job market.
|Lyal Tressler, BS||2004 - 2006||Research Assistant||Research Assistant, US Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases|
|Irina Ruchkina, MD||2003 - 2006||Postdoctoral Fellow||Residency in Geriatric Psychiatry|
|Shawn Hakim, BA||2003 - 2005||Research Assistant||Research Assistant, Harvard Medical School|
|Kathy Burke, PhD||2002 - 2005||Postdoc||Research Associate, University of California|
|Surojit Paul, PhD||1998 - 2004||Postdoc and Associate Research Scientist||Assistant Professor, University of New Mexico|
During my tenure in Dr. Lombroso’s lab, my research focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms involved in the regulation of the neuron-specific tyrosine phosphatase, STEP. The findings established that reversible phosphorylation plays a role in regulating the activity of STEP. The two neurotransmitters dopamine and glutamate regulate the phosphorylation status and activity of STEP (J. Neurosci., 2000; Nat. Neurosci., 2003). The studies further demonstrated that ERK MAP kinase is a substrate of STEP. Based on these findings I proposed that STEP might play a role in the regulation of fear memory formation through its regulation of ERK and received the NARSAD Young Investigator Award in 2004 (Biol. Psych., 2007). In collaboration with Pfizer I also generated the STEP knockout mice, which we later used to demonstrate that knockdown of STEP leads to increased basal activation of ERK (Synapse, 2009). In addition, I also participated in several collaborative research projects, which established the role of STEP in the regulation of NMDA receptor function (Neuron, 2002; PNAS, 2005; Nat. Neurosci., 2005). Current research in my laboratory at the University of New Mexico focuses on the role of STEP in modulating signaling pathways involved in neurodegenerative disorders related to excitotoxicity, with emphasis on cerebral ischemia and Huntington’s chorea.
|Natalie Tronson, BS||2004||Graduate Student in Lombroso Seminar||Postdoc, Jelena Radulovic, MD/PhD Lab, Northwestern University|
During graduate school, I was extremely lucky to have Dr. Lombroso as a mentor and chair of my thesis committee. In addition to collaborations with his lab, Dr. Lombroso provided our predominantly behaviorist-trained lab with an informal “Biochem for Dummies” seminar. He is an excellent teacher, and this seminar was invaluable for me, providing a framework to start to think about cell signaling, and contributing to the direction for my subsequent post-doctoral research. Since I have left Yale, Dr. Lombroso has remained extremely helpful and supportive for both research and career advice. I count myself lucky to be able to continue to count him as a mentor, and look forward to future collaborations.
|Shari Wiseman, BS||2004||Graduate Student in Lombroso Seminar||Postdoc, Angus Nairn Lab, Yale University|
Dr. Lombroso's commitment to teaching and mentorship is unparalleled, even at Yale. He is very generous with his time when teaching, both in formal classes and informal meetings. His explanations are always clear and detailed, and he encourages students to participate and ask questions. He is particularly skilled at teaching biochemistry and molecular biology to those with little educational background in these areas.
|Dan Zhou, PhD||2001 - 2002||Postdoc||Postdoc, Albert Einstein College of Medicine|
|Takatoshi Karasawa, BS||1998 - 2002||Graduate Student||Senior Research Associate, Oregon Health and Science University|
I was fortunate to have a mentor like Paul. Although my thesis project was not closely related to what everyone else was doing in the lab, he took his time and learned about my research field to give me good advice. He trusted that I could work independently, and I was able to do any experiments I wanted to do. Paul and I had a weekly one-hour meeting, and we talked about a latest paper of my field, or discussed about my project. Sometimes we argued at our meeting because of our differences in scientific views or opinions, but this helped me to become a better scientist.
I am a Senior Research Associate at Oregon Health & Science University now, and conducting research in the molecular biology of ototoxicity. Specifically, I am interested in the antibiotics gentamicin and cisplatin, and how these drugs kill the cochlear cells. I have identified a possible mechanism of how the drug enters the cell, and am now identifying the intracellular mechanisms of their actions using molecular biology and biochemistry methods.
|Syed Morshed, MD/PhD||1997 - 2003||Postdoc||Research Associate, Mt Sinai Medical Center|
|Salina Parveen, MD/PhD||1998 - 2003||Postdoc||Research Associate, Rockefeller University|
|Marcos Mercadente, MD/PhD||2000 - 2001||Visiting Professor||Professor, Federal University of Sao Paulo|
I joined the Lombroso laboratory at the beginning of the 2000. At that time I was a Brazilian child psychiatrist looking for an improvement in my research skills. I was studying patients with rheumatic fever and Tourette syndrome and obsessive compulsive disease, when the lab opened the doors to the antibodies, animal models, immunological system that were there at the Child Study Center. I had a great opportunity to learn molecular biology, intracellular signaling, animal models, and immunology during my time with Dr. Lombroso. That experience changed the way that I conduct my academic work, and today, I can say that the experience influences the progress of child and adolescent psychiatry in Brazil. Translational neuroscience and the perspectives of developmental psychiatry are more clearly stated today, but at that time it was impossible for a child psychiatrist to understand the potential of these fields. Due to the multicultural environmental (I shared the lab with wonderful colleagues from the US, Russia, Bangladesh, India, China, Japan) and the scientific mind of Dr. Lombroso (the Friday lab meetings where we discussed the results of the week and planned our next steps) that experience was one of the most enjoyable ways of learning (it is also fair to include the squash games in which I thoroughly demolished him, although he probably has the opposite memory). Currently, I co-direct the National Institute of Developmental Psychiatry (http://inpd.org.br/), and I am sure that important aspects of my time in the Lombroso lab have helped build this important Brazilian Institute of Child Psychiatry.
|Akira Okamura, MD||1999 - 2001||Postdoc||Deceased|
|Hisayuki Yokokura, MD/PhD||1998 - 2000||Postdoc||Neurologist, Tsushima Central Hospital|
|Tri Hung Nguyen, PhD||1996 - 2001||Postdoc||Scientist, Genzyme Corporation, MA|
|Youhan Wu, PhD||1997 - 1999||Postdoc||Associate Research Scientist, Yale University|
|Dan Tucker, MD||1994 - 1996||Postdoc||Chief, Child Psychiatry Division, University of Florida|
|Abel Bult-Ito, PhD||1993 - 1996||Postdoc||Professor, University of Alaska|
|Ela Sharma, PhD||1992 - 1994||Postdoc||President, GTech Solutions, N.J.|
|Feisha Zhao, MD||1992 - 1995||Research Assistant||Research Associate, Tolerx, Inc|
I actually was the first person to join Dr. Lombroso’s lab in 1992. Dr. Lombroso’s lab was located at the time in the Boyer Center of Yale University Medical School. It was a wonderful place to do research. I enjoyed working in Dr. Lombroso’s lab, as I was lucky to get involved in the research project of STEP as it was getting off the ground. Under his guidance, I successfully isolated three novel STEP molecular, STEP64, STEP38, and STEP20 from mouse brain cDNA library. Gene sequence analysis suggests that STEP is a family that contains transmembrane, cytosol and trunked isoforms, alternatively spliced from a single gene. The STEP-family is turning out to be involve in multi-signaling pathways in neurons and play a key role in cognition, learning and memory. Dr. Lombroso let me take courses while I worked in the lab to support my long-term goals to advance my career in science.