McLaughlin Lab

The Boss, Cozette and a Buddy depicted at the 2012 PD SymposiumPD Cartoon

 The 2012-14 Clinical Neuroscience Scholars from VBI have been named!

grasshopperNEW!! Young Grasshoppers in need of advice on school, lab and science, check out our new ADVICE links next to the labbies to hear pearls of wisdom on pulling it all together.


BethAnn McLaughlin interviewed on On the Home Stretch about the myth of autism MMR connection and the real concerns about environment and children's health.

The McLaughlin lab now has more photos!  Check out our sister site on Shutterfly for labbies having fun outside of lab.



Current Members

Pouya Ameli


Pouya is a finishing his neurology residency and is interested in leveraging the power of Vandy's DNA database to understand stroke outcomes. Pouya hails from the great-ish city of Orlando, Florida. He grew up close to all the famous Orlando theme parks and would be down for a day trip to Disney pretty much whenever. He's a big fan of the Orlando Magic, where many of the NBA's best players are groomed before they achieve great success with other teams. In his free time, he loves to play sports (especially basketball), trying new restaurants, reading about technology, and pretend to be cool at farmer's markets, food truck rallies, etc. 

                                                                                                  Here is a picture of Pouya is saying goodbye to his youth as he starts his internship.

Arulita Gupta

arulitaI am a junior at Vanderbilt on the pre-med track majoring in Neuroscience with a possible double major in Cognitive Studies. On campus, I am in Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity, Nachde Nashville, which is hosts Vanderbilts Bhangra (traditional Indian dance) Competitions, VSVS, which brings hands-on, awesome science lessons to middle school students, and the Multicultural Leadership Council, in which we spread cultural awareness, often luring people in with the best of food. I love crafting and exploring the unknown.

Max Heinrich

maxMax is one of our newest lab members hand selected by ubber picky Amy to be the newest 'little' in the lab. Our littles spend a year tagging onto experiments, finding the things in lab and trying not to blow things up before we launch them into experiments on their own. We like Max's humor, can do attitude and height because the rest of us are too short to reach things on high shelves.

Max Says: I am majoring in neuroscience on the pre-med track. My goal is to one day become a surgeon, but more importantly I just want to help people find happiness. I'm especially passionate about sports, namely basketball, and music and coffee keeps my world turning. I'm just really excited to learn as much as I can in my first semester of research!

Sharon Klein

sharonSharon is a member of the Class of 2017 and came to us with an crazy amount of lab experience from high school and so we happily scooped her up a the job fair. She's proven to be a favorite 'little' because of her fabulous can-do attitude and super genius when in it comes to tackling tough literature. 

Sharon says: I am a undergraduate student at Vanderbilt University. Currently, I am hoping to major in Economics on a pre-med track. The brain and it's many mysteries never cease to fascinate me, and for this reason I am excited to join the team as an undergraduate researcher. Apart from the academic life, I enjoy cycling, skiing, and reading any type of novel. On campus, I plan to join the Hillel and fencing organizations. As of now, my plans after graduation involve hopefully going to medical school.

Amy Kleman Palubinsky

amyAmy is a tour-de-force in the lab and in her 5th year as a dissertation student member of the Clinical Neuroscience Scholars class AND recipient of an American Heart Association grant. She comes from Pennsylvania and is a Phillies fan, passing the Stanwood boys screening criteria. She also talks smack with the best, is great for a 'oh snap' and kills it at the bench. At some point, the boss suspects she may actually need some of her guidance, but up until now she just keeps busting it out growing killer cells, making excellent staining and recovering from the beatings of the insane Bavarians'.

Amy offers life advice here

Amy Says: I received my B.S. in Biochemistry from Susquehanna University in 2004 and my M.S. in Biotechnology from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 2008. After working at Hopkins for 6 years, I decided to return to school to pursue a PhD in Neuroscience. I met Dr. McLaughlin and her lab during my initial interview at Vanderbilt and upon completing a rotation in the lab pretty much fell in love. My project focuses on mitochondrial metabolism as it relates to ischemia and neurodegeneration, something close to my heart and I'm sure close to the hearts of many of you reading this as the prevalence of stroke and neurodegenerative diseases is constantly on the rise.

Britney Lizama Manibusan

britneyOh Britney, you crazy scamp! Who in their right mind actually works out with The Boss? NO ONE! And yet this is why we love you. After a rocking first few years in the IGP, Britney is set for greatness. She crushes experiments, thinks outside the box and is pathologically Type A. She'll call you on your crap, has a big arse sword (yes, that is what she's holding) and slays experiments. What's not to love??

Britney says: I'm a graduate student in the Neuroscience program, and I am very interested in advancing research in neuroprotection. My project focuses on the roles of the chaperone response and mitophagy in making cell fate decisions under ischemic stress. In addition to the molecular basis of neuroprotection, I am also interested how my basic science research can impact development of new therapy for CNS injury. The HHMI/VUMC Clinical Program in Molecular Medicine and my clinical mentor, Dr. Derek Riebau, have been terrific resources for me to learn more about the potential clinical applications of my research and the gaps we need to fill in developing better treatment options for stroke patients. As for hobbies, I like to spend time fiddling with paint and charcoal hoping to delve more into science-art and make it a thing!

Dominique Elizabeth Szymkiewicz 

Dominique is our new lab dynamo. She pipettes like a champ, is always eager to help and we love, love, love her smart questions in lab meeting and can-do attitude. Dominique is working on biochemical techniques to understand chaperone biology and keeping the Boss in line and on schedule. We are stoked she's here and hope she'll stay a looong while. Also, did we mention she's a dancing machine? She is. Cuz that's how we roll. Check it out HERE.

Ama Jean Winland

amaAma WAS the quiet one. Now she's the break out lab rebel who cut her hair, pulled feathers out of birds (which ended up in her hair - go figure) and got tattooed. And that was just in the first 3 months of college. Needless to say, we are saving for bail. Ama enjoys playing soccer, cycling, and discovering new places both on and off campus. She will be heading out for medical school in the near future but is a rock star queen of organization, humor, sanity and biochemistry. Not so much on memory. But she probably won't remember I said that.


  David Wu


David is a new addition to the team having recently left Johns Hopkins to join Vanderbilt's MD/PhD training program. David is keenly interested in stroke, preconditioning and finding a good place to get a haircut in Nashville.

David says: I am a first year MSTP student at Vanderbilt University with a background in biomedical engineering from Johns Hopkins University.   I am an avid gym-goer and love getting people excited about exercise and nutrition.  Stroke isvery personal subject for me, so I am very excited to be working in Dr. Mclaughlin’s lab, where the research is very meaningful to me!


Nick Lindner

I actually like this photoNick says: I am a second year undergrad at Vanderbilt, hoping to major in biological sciences providing my sanity and junk food supplies hold out. Unless Organic Chemistry renders me asunder like so many before me, I plan to go on to medical school, because more school seems appealing to me for some reason. I like to play music, probably to an annoying extent depending on who you ask. I play the guitar, double bass, mandolin, banjo, drums, electric bass, harmonica, piano, ukulele, and probably something else in a few days. When I’m not desperately trying to fit all my equipment in my room, I can be found embarrassing myself at the rec or on my VandyRadio show. 

Labbies take in a Vibe Dance show featuring Stacy Yanofsky. "We can see you Stacy!!" Oddly, we haven't been invited back to anymore shows since Amy made such a spectacle of herself.





kimKim Grelli, M.D. 2013 Graduate

Kim couldn’t wait to race back to west coast to be close to the mom of all moms, Sandi Grelli (who needs to stop doing your laundry now, Kim). Kim is an ubber genius ‘just get all the things done’ kind of go-getter we love in lab. She crushed out a great project on Krebs Cycle regulation during oxygen and glucose deprivation isolating the specific stressors that cause changes in protein expression. She’s now a Seattle based pediatric resident and we miss her loads.

Gail Ingle - Retired 2012

Ms. Gail is a Vanderbilt veteran, with 39 years on the job.  She's a great source of humor, support an

Titans information to everyone on the 8th floor and a wonderful person to boot.  The only one who can stomp down BethAnn with a simple "Hush!", she is the envy of all for this great power she yields.  She retired to spend more time at home yelling at her husband Johnnie. See pictures of her retirement party here

Erin Albers, M.D. 2010 Graduate

Dr. Albers came to our lab with many accolades including her election to the prestigious Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society base on her training at the University of Virginia School of Medicine.  Erin is a testament that you should always hire folks who are smarter than you.  Her passion for children has lead her to the University of Washington in Seattle in Pediatric Cardiology.  You can find her biosketch Here

erikErik Musiek, M.D., Ph.D. 2009 Graduate (Vanderbilt University, 2007)

Bound by a Skull and Bones covenant to provide a home to those who have left the oppressive regime of the Hanover New Hampshire, Dr. Musiek sought asylum and neurobiology research in the McLaughlin lab from 2005-2007 during his MSTP years with his mentor Jason Morrow. At a young age, Dr. Musiek's fate was sealed to the McLaughlin Dynasty by Bernadette McLaughlin, elementary school principal, who saved Erik from a pack of roving fifth graders while he was serving time at the Bernice A. Ray School.   These experiences molded Dr. Musiek into a bright and independent scientist who is one of the best writers we have had the pleasure of working with in the lab.  Dr. Musiek and his much better half Dr. Amy Musiek are currently living in Philadelphia where they are doing fellowships at The University of Pennsylvania in Neurology and the far more lucrative Dermatology departments.  In spite of his efforts to channel a grumpy and pessimistic 80-year old man, Erik's outlook will surely be more up-tempo with the birth of the tremendously cute Trifecta of Musiek Tots. 

Lauren Rhea Mitchell, M.D.

Lauren joined the lab as a member of the Emphasis program exploring the metabolic dysfunction and compensation that occurs in response to ischemia.   She's a smart multi-tasking machine and tells some really horrific stories reminding basic scientists why medicine is super oogy at times :-) 

jimboJeannette Stankowski, Ph.D. 2011 Graduate

Jeannette is the most recent graduate of our team having joined the lab in 2006.  She is irrepressible, intense and an outstanding role model for graduate students.  Known for her love of gangster rap, freakish knowledge of all things MTV and CHIP as well as intense love of family and science, we are planning on riding her coat tails to glory and a Nobel Prize which she believes will be awarded to us for her project in 2012.

Jeannette's LIFE ADVICE can be found here!

Stephanie Hayden Zeiger, Ph.D.  

Dr. Zeiger graced us with her humor, science and turtle for 3 years as a fellow in the lab leaving in 2010 to pursue outreach and education work on behalf of Vanderbilt through the Office of Research.  

Honorary Neurosciency Degrees to: Jennifer McKenzie, Ph.D. in Chemistry 2011 

Jennifer received her B.A in Chemistry from Hendrix College and came to Vanderbilt in 2006 and began collaborating with our lab in 2009. She is currently back at Vanderbilt  after a stint in Miami.  Jennifer specializes in bioanalytical electrochemistry. Interested in instrumental and novel technique development, Jennifer joined David Cliffel’s laboratory to develop new methods to measure real-time metabolic changes to cells in vitro. The multi-analyte microphysiometer (MAMP) allows for simultaneous, real-time measurement of glucose, lactate, oxygen, and acid.


Vanderbilt graduates Class of 2010. 


josh2e and jimbo


Evan Cohen

aka "The E-Meister" Evan came to the lab serendipitously while a sophomore in high school.  His good nature, willingness to help and maturity beyond his years made him a lab favorite.  We are working hard to 'bring Evan to the dark side' and make him a full out science geek but it appears that southern California has claimed him.  And, just for the record, not everyone needs to mow the McLaughlin/Stanwood lawn to join the lab (but it sure doesn't hurt either!).

Jess Cohen

We were honored to have the second of the Cohen’s, Jess, in the lab as a in high school and between time in Nashville and joining brother Evan at USC.  Jess was lead in our blood brain barrier research program funded thru the JB Marshall lab and was instrumental in helping us check out all kinds of biofilms, culture systems and stressors to mimic the vascular/brain interface.  Jess is the happiest and coolest of the cool kids and, in spite of the fact that she taught The Bosses daughter how to do whipits from whipped cream cans, we still love and miss her.


Jane says:  I was lucky enough to be placed in Dr. McLaughlin's lab, my first choice, for the summer as part of the Vanderbilt Summer Science Academy, a program for undergraduates interested in biomedical research.  I think my time is the lab will be a great opportunity for me to pursue my interests and, of course, to learn as much as possible.  I look forward to becoming a part of this lab and getting to know its accomplished members.  I am a native of the Nashville area and have always been a Vandy fan, despite my current UGA status.  In my free time, I like to read, to watch all sorts of movies, to listen to music, and to enjoy the outdoors. 



Vanderbilt voted one of The Top 10 Places to Do a Post Doctoral Fellowship.  Find out more here

Vanderbilt has an history of mentoring including the Women on Track program.  Dr. McLaughlin also works as a mentor for the Society for Neuroscience.  Find out more here.

We support the excellent position statement of the Society for Neuroscience on the ethical and humane use of animals in lifesaving medical research.  Find out more here

Control Group

Figure out fast who is on call at Vandy using the new Synergy System 

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