Dr. Baraban’s research is focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms mediating learning and memory and how intraneuronal signaling pathways orchestrate this process. His laboratory has investigated several key signaling pathways central to this process, including the phosphoinositide system, the MAP kinase pathway and immediate early genes. More recently, his laboratory has focused on understanding how the microRNA system regulates synaptic function and identified the translin/trax RNAse complex, as a key component of the microRNA system in neurons. He has a 30-year history of actively mentoring trainees at both the graduate student and post-doctoral level. Furthermore, during the summers, he has mentored high school and undergraduate students in his lab. This group of trainees includes many students from racial and ethnic minorities and/or disadvantaged backgrounds.
Jay Baraban, MD, PhD, Professor of Neuroscience, JHU
Solange Brown, PhD, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience, JHU
The long-term goal of her laboratory is to understand the functional organization of the mammalian neocortex in the healthy brain and the alterations in electrophysiological, synaptic and circuit properties that underlie neurologic and psychiatric disease. She is focused on how circuit organization and function sculpt neuronal computations using a wide range of techniques including calcium imaging, extracellular recordings, whole-cell patch clamp recordings, stereotaxic surgery, quantitative analysis of neuronal structure, viral approaches for driving selective expression in subsets of neurons and optogenetics. Since establishing her own laboratory at Johns Hopkins in 2010, she has placed great emphasis on mentoring the trainees in her laboratory. Trainees at all levels – postdoctoral, doctoral and undergraduate – have been awarded fellowships or research funds based on proposals written while in her laboratory.
James Knierim, PhD, Professor of Neuroscience, JHU
Research in the James Knierim Laboratory attempts to understand the flow of information through the hippocampal formation and the computations performed by the various subfields of the hippocampus and its inputs from the entorhinal cortex. To address these issues, he uses multi-electrode arrays to record the extracellular action potentials from scores of well-isolated hippocampal neurons in freely moving rats in addition to behavioral and computational approaches. More recently, his lab has begun to investigate the selective role of changes in the LEC and its downstream hippocampal targets in the development of age-related cognitive dysfunction. He is the Co-Director of the Neuroscience Training Program at Johns Hopkins University, serves on the neuroscience program admissions committee, and was Chair of the Neuroscience Program Steering Committee, Course Director for the Current Topics in Systems and Cognitive Neuroscience and the Neuroscience and Cognition II courses, and has been Co-Director of the Neuroscience Graduate Program since August 2014. At the Marine Biological Laboratory, he was Co-Director of the Neural Systems & Behavior summer course from 2007-2012, providing a unique and often career-defining educational experience for 100 students.
Alex Kolodkin, PhD Professor of Neuroscience, JHU
Dr. Alex Kolodkin joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 1995, and he is currently the Homcy and Margolis Professor of Neuroscience. He and his colleagues have focused on understanding how the nervous system is wired up during development. As a postdoctoral fellow, he discovered the first member of the semaphorin family of neuronal guidance cues, and his group continues to investigate molecular mechanisms that direct connectivity in many neural systems, including in the context of adult neuronal regeneration. Recent work includes a focus on mammalian visual system development, function, and work to direct injured retinal ganglion cell axons to their targets in the brain.
Amanda Lauer, PhD, Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology-HNS, JHUSOM
The overall goal of the Lauer Lab is to understand how abnormal auditory input from the ear affects the brainstem, and how the brain in turn affects activity in the ear through efferent feedback loops. The emphasis is on understanding the effects of different forms of acquired hearing loss (genetic, conductive, noise-induced, age-related, traumatic brain injury-related) and environmental noise. The lab is particularly interested in plastic changes in the brain that compensate for some aspects of altered auditory input, and how those changes relate to central auditory processing deficits, tinnitus, and hyperacusis. Understanding these changes will help refine therapeutic strategies and identify new targets for treatment. The lab collaborates with other labs in the Departments of Otolaryngology, Neuroscience, Neuropathology, the Wilmer Eye Institute, and the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins, in addition to labs outside the university to increase the impact and clinical relevance of the research. Dr. Lauer’s work has received support from the NIH, American Hearing Research Foundation, National Organization for Hearing Research, Capita Foundation, Action on Hearing Loss, Tinnitus Research Consortium, Johns Hopkins University Catalyst Award, and the David M. Rubenstein Fund for Hearing Research. Dr. Lauer serves as a key faculty member in the Structure and Function of the Auditory and Vestibular System course at Johns Hopkins and teaches in other Neuroscience-related courses. She also serves as part of the organizing faculty for the Jackson Laboratory Mouse as an Instrument for Ear Research and as a faculty member for the Marine Biological Laboratory Biology of the Inner Ear course.
David Linden, PhD, Professor of Neuroscience, JHU
His research examines the cellular substrates of memory storage and recovery of function following brain injury among other topics. His lab has been a leader in cellular electrophysiology and live-tissue imaging for many years and has an established track record for persevering to accomplish some of the most challenging experiments in this field. In this regard, his laboratory invented the techniques of neuronal BAC transfection and perforated dendritic macropatch recording and discovered several new synaptic and intrinsic plasticity mechanisms. Dr. Linden has authored four neuroscience books for general audiences. He is an elected fellow of the AAAS and the American Physiological Society.
Brett Morrison MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Neurology, JHU
Dr. Brett Morrison specializes in neuromuscular disorders in adults including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, motor neuropathies, myasthenia gravis and muscle diseases including myopathy and muscular dystrophy. His research interests include investigations into the basic mechanisms of acute denervation and the development of treatments for chronic denervating diseases such amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or motor neuropathies. In respect to peripheral nerves, he is particularly interested in the role of metabolic energy in supporting nerve regeneration. His laboratory focuses on the role of oligodendrocytes in ALS, particularly focusing on mechanisms leading to oligodendrocyte dysfunction or failure of metabolic support from oligodendrocytes to neurons. In his brief career as a faculty member at Johns Hopkins, he has mentored a number of students at various educational levels.
Ernst Niebur, MSc, PhD, Professor of Neuroscience, JHU
Dr. Ernst Niebur uses rigorous quantitative methods to understand how nervous systems can cope in complex environments. He developed computational models and refined them in close collaboration with experimentally working colleagues an approach that was successful to understand a broad range of questions in computational neuroscience, from development to cognition to technological applications, as highlighted by his publications. His publications have attracted more than 15,000 citations, with about 8,000 in the last five years. He teaches the Theoretical Neuroscience class for graduate students and is invested in training individual students at all levels, from high school to postdoctoral.
Mark Wu, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Neurology, JHU
His research focuses on the basic mechanisms underlying circadian rhythms and sleep, as well as the clinical impact of these processes on neurological disease. His laboratory studies the genes and circuits that underlie circadian rhythms and sleep in Drosophila and mice. From a clinical perspective, he has a specific interest in the interplay between circadian rhythms and sleep with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in humans. As a board-certified neurologist and sleep medicine physician, he sees patients with circadian rhythm disorders and sleep disorders, as well as patients with neurological diseases such as AD. Moreover, this clinical exposure has prompted him to investigate how sleep and its dysregulation affects AD. He has had a long-standing commitment to mentoring trainees and individuals from underrepresented backgrounds in science.
Professional Development Team
Clara Giles Carter, Ed.D.
Dr. Clara Giles Carter is known across the country for her knowledge, skills, expertise and commitment to youth mentoring. As a former Director of the Maryland Mentoring Resource Center, she contributed to the successful efforts in making mentoring an integral part of Maryland’s social fabric.
Cathleen Hanson, Director, International School of Protocol
Ms. Hanson provides training for business executives, corporations, politicians, groups, schools and colleges and has appeared on radio and television talk shows. Prior to founding The International School of Protocol, Cathleen Hanson was a university professor of communication and nationally recognized speech and debate coach. In addition to coaching national champions in speech and debate, she taught courses in the area of public speaking, business communication, group communication, and nonverbal communication. She is an award winning speaker and writer whose syndicated columns appeared in over 30 publications nationwide. As a fully engaging top-notch teacher, her emphasis is on teaching adults, teens and children what she considers to be skills for life. Ms. Hanson holds a Masters in Communication Theory and Research and is also a founding partner of Road to Success: Career Development Program.
Heather Thomas, M.B.A.
Mrs. Thomas provides research management for sponsored and non-sponsored grants funded federally by the NIH, as well from other philanthropic donors. She excels at program creation, planning, operation, and advancement, especially for programs related to high school and university-level medical training, basic and clinical research, and mentoring the next generation of scientists.
Asante Kamkwalala, PhD
Dr. Asante Kamkwalala is a Research Associate in the Department of Neurology, Division of Neuroimmunology and Neurological Infections. A Maryland native, she trained as a cognitive and behavioral neuroscientist and received her Bachelors of Science (B.S.) in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology from Emory University in 2009, and her Doctorate (Ph.D.) from Vanderbilt University in Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience in 2019.
Dr. Kamkwalala returned to Maryland as a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Johns Hopkins Department from 2019-2022. Her research experience in the past has focused on the effects of chronic stress and disease on neurocognitive functioning and mental health symptoms. Her previous work has investigated neurophysiological biomarkers of stress, the effects of age and HIV on cognitive function, and determining biological, medical, and epidemiological factors that contribute to improved neurobehavioral outcomes in people with HIV.