LAB MEMBERS

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR

 

CHRISTOPHER FORD, PH.D

christopher.ford@ucdenver.edu

Chris received his BS in Biology and his PhD in Neuroscience. He did his graduate work in Peter Smith’s lab at the University of Alberta examining how peptide transmitters regulate the expression and function of ion channels in the sympathetic autonomic system.  Following graduation, he moved to Portland to join John Williams’ lab at the Vollum Institute. In 2011, Chris moved to the shores of Lake Erie to start his own lab at Case Western. In the fall of 2017 the lab packed up and moved west to the slopes of the rocky mountains to join the Department of Pharmacology at UC Denver. The lab’s main focus is on the synaptic mechanisms that regulate transmission by neuromodulators.


GRADUATE STUDENTS

 

APHRODITI MAMALIGAS

aphroditi.mamaligas@ucdenver.edu

Didi joined the Ford Lab in January of 2012.  Didi did her undergraduate in Psychology at Case Western. After graduating in 2011, she began working in the lab as a technician.  After about six months, she decided to stay at Case Western and join the Department of Neuroscience for her PhD in the lab.  Didi is interested in understanding how muscarinic receptors in the striatum encode the release of ACh from cholinergic interneurons.  She is also interested in seeing how loss of dopamine in animal models of Parkinson’s Disease drives plasticity of cholinergic transmission in the dorsal striatum.

 

YUAN CAI

yuan.cai@case.edu

Yuan joined the lab in January of 2016.  He graduated from Capital Medical University in China in 2014 with a Bachelors degree in Medicine.  Deciding not to pursue medicine he moved to the US in 2014.  After spending a year at Ohio University he moved to Case Western to join the lab in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics.  Yuan is interested in understanding how substantia nigra dopamine neurons regulate the dynamics of cholinergic interneuron activity.  Yuan likes doing experiments and is happy to be done with classes so he can get back to experiments.

 
 
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SARAH ZYCH

sarah.zych@ucdenver.edu

Sarah is a MD/PhD student in the UC Denver MSTP program.  Formerly of the CWRU MSTP, she transferred programs as part of the lab move to join the Neuroscience graduate program.  Sarah is currently looking at the connectivity of circuits in the VTA and SNc.  

 

SHENG GONG

sheng.gong@ucdenver.edu

Sheng joined the lab in 2017. After earning his bachelor’s degree from Jilin University, Sheng joined the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at Case Western Reserve University. Sheng’s current investigative work focuses on understanding how dopamine signals are encoded by D2-receptors across mesolimbic and striatonigral circuits. 

 

TECHNICIANS

 
 

LAB ALUMNI

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PAMELA MARCOT, PH.D.  (Graduate Student, 2013 - 2017)

Pam is a MD/PhD student and joined the Ford Lab in the summer of 2013.  Originally from Cincinnati, she graduated from Wake Forest in 2010 with a major in Mathematics. She came to Case Western in 2011, and after completing her first two years of medical school joined the lab in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics. Pam completed her PhD in 2017 and rejoined the 3rd year of medical school.  Pam studied how striatal dopamine release leads to the activation of D2-receptors and how drugs of abuse differentially alter dopamine receptor signaling in the dorsal striatum and nucleus accumbens.

 
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NICHOLAS COURTNEY, PH.D.  (Graduate Student, 2011- 2015)

Nick was the fist graduate student to join the lab.  Nick did his undergraduate and masters degrees at Case Western.  After working for a bit in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at Case he enrolled in the PhD program.  After doing his rotations, he started in lab in the fall of 2011.  Nick graduated in 2015, after studying local somatodendritic circuits in the VTA, LC and dorsal raphe.  He is currently pursuing his post-doctoral work in Ed Chapman's lab at HHMI University of Wisconsin 

 

SUHANTI BANERJEE.  Suhanti was our research technician in the lab at Case Western from June of 2016 until the lab moved to Denver in in 2017.  She kept us organized.

SANTOSH COORG.  Santosh was a Case Western undergraduate who spent the summer of 2016 in the lab as summer student.  She worked with Pam doing fast-scan cyclic voltammetry and is now in medical school at Rutgers.

SAMANTHA SIMPSON.  Samantha was an undergraduate summer student who spent two summers in 2011 and 2012 when she was at Cedarveill University.  She then came back again for her research rotation during medical school at the Cleveland Clinic Learner School of Medicine.  She is currently pursuing her residency.