PhD Students

Pain Neurobiology Research Group Members

Amanda Avona

 Amanda Avona is a PhD student in Cognition and Neuroscience, working on mechanisms of migraine with Greg Dussor. Previously, she obtained an MS in Applied Cognition and Neuroscience from UT Dallas.

amanda.avona@utdallas.edu

Eric David

Eric studies under Dr. Ted Price studying the mechanisms of chronic pain. Eric earned his bachelors degree from Sam Houston State University in Biomedical Sciences with Honors in 2019. As an undergraduate, Eric focused his research on the mechanisms of Temporomandibular joint syndrome leading him into the neuroscience field. He will graduate with his master’s in Applied Cognition and Neuroscience in the Fall of 2020 from UTD. Outside of the lab, Eric enjoys sports, hiking, and going to concerts.

Eric.David@UTDallas.edu

Moeno Kume

Moeno Kume is a Research Assistant in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences. She works with Ted Price and Greg Dussor on models of chronic pain.

mxk132430@utdallas.edu

Jacob Lackovic

Jacob Lackovic is a PhD student in Cognition and Neuroscience, working on mechanisms of migraine with Greg Dussor.

jxl152930@utdallas.edu

Hao-Ruei Mei

Hao-Ruei Mei earned his bachelor’s degree from National Central University in Taiwan. He is a PhD student in Cognition and Neuroscience, working with Greg Dussor on mechanism of migraine.

hao-ruei.mei@utdallas.edu

Juliet Mwirigi

 Juliet Mwirigi completed her undergraduate degree in the Biological Sciences department at UT Dallas. She works with Ted Price on mechanisms of chronic pain and will begin the PhD program in fall 2020.

jmm160030@utdallas.edu

Dhananjay K. Naik

Dhananjay K. Naik earned his bachelor’s in Biotechnology from the University of Mumbai. He then obtained his Master’s in Molecular Sciences and Nanotechnology form the Louisiana Tech University. He is currently a PhD student in Cognition and Neuroscience, working with Ted Price on mechanisms of Chronic Pain.

dhananjay.naik2@utdallas.edu

Candler Paige

Candler started her doctorate in the lab of Dr. Theodore Price in 2015 where her current dissertation research focuses on the sex-differences underlying the transition from an acute to chronic pain state. Prior to starting her PhD, Candler earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of South Carolina where her undergraduate research examined potential gene therapies to combat opioid tolerance in chronic pain patients. In 2019 Candler earned a DSPAN Fellowship from the National Institutes of Health which will allow her to continue her research using RNA sequencing and computational methods to uncover novel pharmacological targets for chronic pain. When she’s not in the lab Candler enjoys spending time outside with her husband and 2 dogs

candler.paige@utdallas.edu

Ishwarya Sankaranarayana

 Ishwarya Sankaranarayanan obtained her bachelors in Biotechnology from Sri Venkateswara College of Engineering, and her Masters in Molecular Microbiology and Immunology from University of Southern California. She is working on her PhD in Cognition and Neuroscience in the field of nociception and pain, and is advised by Ted Price.

Ishwarya.Sankaranarayanan@utdallas.edu

Andi Wangzhou

Andy joined the lab of Dr. Theodore Price in 2016 as a Ph.D. student. Andy’s research focuses on the computational analysis of RNA-seq data to predict potential pharmacological targets for the treatment of chronic pain. Prior to starting his Ph.D., Andy earned his bachelor’s degree from Tianjin University in China focused on yeast genome editing and construction, and his master’s degree from the University of Texas at Dallas which focused on developing portable sensor for the diagnosis of lupus. Outside of research, Andy loves playing computer games, building computers, building plastic models, and watching movies.

axw131330@utdallas.edu

Rachel Wilhelm

Rachel is passionate about helping to better the lives of people and animals through her research and was excited to join the Price lab in the Fall of 2019 to study the neuroscience of pain. Prior to joining UTD Rachel completed a bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of North Texas, then worked for several years as a user interface and website developer with her own company. She received her master’s in Applied Cognition and Neuroscience at UTD in 2016 and continued on as a doctoral student that same year gaining experience in different labs that study vision, memory, and aging. When she’s not in the lab or teaching, Rachel enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, and songwriting.

rachel.wilhelm@utdallas.edu

Neuroimmunology and Behavior Lab Members

Natalia Dos Santos

Natalia joined the Burton Lab in the Summer of 2018. Natalia is a trained biologist from Brazil who has broad interest in biodiversity and animal behavior. She’s worked with bacteria and rats in the lab and frogs and bats in the Atlantic Rain Forest in Brazil! In the lab, Natalia’s project focuses on how Age and Sex are important factors to an organism’s response to acute pain from surgery and the transition to chronic pain states. Outside of the lab Natalia enjoys traveling, any outdoor activity, and working out.

BBS 10.550

NataliaLucia.DosSantos@utdallas.edu

Katherine Garner

Kathy Garner is researching the contributions of neuronal metabolism to a chronic pain state under the supervision of Dr. Michael Burton. She is particularly interested in how metabolism contributes to the differences in the development and maintenance of chronic pain seen between sexes. Outside the lab, she enjoys rock climbing, exploring local coffeehouses and restaurants, and live theater.

katherine.garner@utdallas.edu

Melissa Lenert

 Melissa is currently a PhD student at UTD and started working in the Burton lab in the summer of 2018 as a Master’s student. She graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University in 2017 with a Bachelor’s in Biology and Psychology and from UTD in 2019 with a Master’s in Biotechnology. Her projects look at female-specific mechanisms in neuroendocrine disorders and chronic pain development.

mel170330@utdallas.edu


Thomas Szabo-Pardi

 Thomas Szabo-Pardi graduated from The University of Texas at Dallas in 2017 with a bachelor’s in Neuroscience. His research involves the sexually dimorphic role of Toll-Like Receptor-4 in various cell types on the development and maintenance of chronic pain states. His interests lie primarily in the realm of neuroimmunology and the interactions between immune cells with central and peripheral neurons and their importance in various pain states. Outside of the lab, his hobbies include: exercise, video games, and playing with his two cats; Charlie and Marie.

Thomas.Szabo-Pardi@utdallas.edu

RNA Control Lab Members

Nikesh Kunder

Nikesh is a PhD student in the RNA Control lab.

NikeshPrakash.Kunder@utdallas.edu

Tarjani Shukla

I am interested in understanding the role of translational control in the context of neuronal plasticity. My current project focuses on manipulation of protein synthesis with a variety of pharmacological and genetic approaches to identify factors required for acute pain. I also have a strong interest in neurodevelopment. I am broadly interested in the improvement of patient care through translation of basic science. I received my undergraduate degree in neuroscience at UT Dallas and I recently received an honorable mention on an NSF Graduate Research Fellowships Program (GRFP). Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with friends and family, running, and traveling

Tarjani.Shukla@utdallas.edu

Patrick Smith

The ribosome catalyzes protein biosynthesis and is required for long-lived changes in neuronal function. Pain is exemplary. Disruption of nascent translation attenuates certain pain associated behaviors in pre-clinical models. I am interested in understanding how ribosome availability is controlled and how this ultimately impacts neuronal plasticity. Before starting my PhD, I completed a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology at UTD. When not at work, I enjoy rock climbing, playing ice hockey, and reading science fiction.

prs150630@utdallas.edu

Emre Yetkin

Emre Yetkin is a PhD student in the RNA Control Lab.

Celal.Yetkin@utdallas.edu