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

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

NEW!! 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

Jessica Cohen 

Jessica Cohen is our "Ubber-Go-To Ubber Geek" (??) extraordinaire.  The bosses official 'right hand chick" Jessica shows maturity, humor and a willingness to take on any challenge that we all adore.  But since the boss adored her first, she mostly gets to kidnap her.  Jess is working on a project looking at the effects of standard medical therapies for clot busting in stroke on bioenergetic homeostasis and neuronal stress set points following short and long term exposures.  While we know folks have a number of predisposing factors making them vulnerable to having strokes (diabetes, hypertension for example), we don't do a great job of modeling that in labs.  Jess is going to fix that.  Before she goes to college.

Jess says:  In the McLaughlin lab, my work focuses on the effects of long term exposure to medical management for clotting disorders on neurodegeneration induced by acute strokes.  I love spending time in lab and the bossmeister often kidnaps me because I'm almost as OCD as she is, and her files, protocols and editing keep the lab humming along, so I do my best to keep it all together.  I plan on studying either Special Education or Environmental Sciences and in my free time, I enjoy sports, going to the movies, reading and going to concerts.  My trip to Guatemala this past summer has brought out my love of new cultures and passion for the Spanish language.  La ciencia es divertida!  

Kim Grelli

Kim is a great addition to our post graduate student posse in the lab having come on board in the fall of 2010.  Cited by her mentors at Emory as a spit-fire and serious competitor, she recognized the immediate wisdom of not shooting the boss in laser tag (take note Jake "Kitten" Martin).  She is part of a great initiative to integrate research into medical student training.  We're looking forward to bringing her over to the dark side of pipetting.

Kim says: I am a recent graduate of Emory University where I received a B.S. in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology (NBB) as well as a B.A. in Chemistry. At Emory, I played left defense for the women’s varsity soccer team and volunteered with the Emory EMS squad. When I am back home in Northern California, I enjoy water skiing and snow skiing. Currently, I am beginning my first year as a medical student at Vanderbilt, and I am excited to be working in Dr. McLaughlin’s lab for my Emphasis project.

Cozette Kale

Cozette says:  I work on projects related to the E3 ubiquitin ligase CHIP.  When I'm not in the classroom or studying, I love to travel and be outdoors.  I enjoy hiking, running, scuba diving and snowboarding during the winter.  Also, I love to play soccer and continuing to play her at Vanderbilt on the women's club team.  In addition to soccer, I am also involved in an a cappella group on campus called Voice and I am a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority.  After I graduate, I would like to work with Doctors Without Borders or a similar program.

Ted Katner, M.D. Ted is our first line of medical genius and current stroke fellow for the Neurostroke Division. In addition to being one of the nicest people you could ever meet, he's also a new dad (WOOT!) and a gem at sharing his insight of the relevance of potential therapies to clinical circumstances.  

Ted KatnerTed Says I was born in Lafayette, Louisiana and then moved to Macon, Georgia where I stayed till starting my undergraduate education at the University of Georgia. Although I was always a pre-medicine major throughout my undergraduate training, I was initially a biology major but found myself having a strong interest in the field of psychology. I eventually changed majors and graduated with a bachelor of science in psychology. I then began my medical career at Mercer University School of Medicine. Initially, I had aspirations of pursuing a career in the field of infectious diseases. However, it was during my first two years of medical school that I developed a strong interest in the field of neurology. During my final years of medical school I had difficulty in choosing between the two fields which delayed starting residency. I took one year in between finishing medical school and starting residency to teach gross human anatomy at the medical school level as well as doing basic science research in the field of neuroscience. It was during this time that I decided to pursue a career in the specialty of neurology. I began my residency training at the University of Kentucky in 2009. It was during this time that I developed a particular interest in neurovascular diseases. After finishing my residency in 2013, I came to Vanderbilt University to complete a vascular neurology fellowship. Post-fellowship plans for me include going into private practice where I can focus on my main interests of inpatient neurology and stroke. 

kathryn hook

Kathryn Hook Kathryn is our newest labbie joining in Summer 2014 from the elite Vanderbilt Summer Science Academy SERPENT. Hopefully she will be able to find her way from Belmont down to Vandy with no problems (that's a Nashville joke - we are about a mile away!). She comes HIGHLY recommended and our last VSSA student, Jane Hettinger, ended up as a co-author on a paper pressure!

Kathryn says: My name is Kathryn Hook and I am currently a sophomore undergraduate neuroscience major at Belmont University. I'm pretty much obsessed with neuroscience and have a passion for helping people. I am leaning toward pursuing the medical side of a career in neuroscience (possibly neurology with clinical research). At Belmont, I am a member of the Student Activities Programming Board, Psychology club, AED, Pathways STEM Scholarship program, Towering Traditions Leaders, and I am a tutor for the athletic department. Outside of school, I have been jump roping competitively for the past twelve years. I absolutely love the sport of jump rope! It has led me to many different areas of the world, introducing me to all kinds of people! I'm all for adventures-trying new things, meeting new people, and traveling. I couldn't be more excited to get to work in the McLaughlin Lab this summer! 

Samara Lieberman We grabbed up Samara right off the undergrad truck in her first week on campus as a freshman.  She knew she was excited about lab work, science and human health from the get-go and has been a real thought leader in mitochondrial localization of proteins and a rock star microscopist. We're hoping to keep her around in the undergraduate research program this summer and thru 2015 so she can get all kinds of fabulous data looking at modulators of mitophagy and neurodegeneration.


Samara says:  I am a junior undergraduate here at Vanderbilt on the pre-med track majoring in English Literature and minoring in Chemistry. I enjoy playing the piano, reading novels, both trashy and classic, obnoxiously hipster obscure indie music (but at least I admit it), outdoor adventuring and travelling wherever the food is good. On campus, I tend to a bunch of unruly freshman as the Head Resident of West House on the Commons, am a member of the Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for women, stress with other pre-meds in AED, a pre-health professions fraternity, and serve the community both young (reading with kids in an after-school program called TAP) and old (bonding with the ladies in retirement communities through an organization called Glamour Gals). I’m excited to be a member of the McLaughlin lab team, on which you’ll find me playing with a microscope or subjecting cell lines to oxygen glucose torture and willing them to live.

Amy Kleman Palubinsky

Amy is a tour de force in the lab and in her 4th year as a dissertation student member of the Clinical Neurosciece 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. 

Ankita Khanda

Inspite of what her picture would have you believe, we have not, in fact, made Ankita hang upside down from the lab.  She does, however, excel in all other areas of lab work.  Shes' learning the ropes (get it? The hanging off things analogy?) and crushing her project on protein oxidation status in CNS during development.  We are looking forward to having her smiling face and super fast thinking skills around for a long time to come. 

Ankita says: I am a double major in Molecular and Cellular Biology and Medicine, Health and Society with a minor in Religious Studies. I have an older brother who raised me on science fiction and comic books, so I'm the biggest nerd ever, but I also have a huge passion for dance. I've been a learning a style of Indian classical dance called Odissi since I was four years old and I'm on board for Remix Movement, a club that teaches free hip hop classes to the Vanderbilt and Nashville community. In the future I want to work in global health and open an Odissi dance school of my own! 


Sharon KleinSharon pix

Sharon is a member of the Class of 2017 and came to us with an crazy amount of lab experience from highschool and so we happily scooped her up a the job fair. She' proven to be a favorite 'little' because of her fabulous can-do attitude and super genius when in it comes to tackling tough literature. We look forward to having her in the lab for a long time to come!

Sharon says: I am a freshman 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.


Britney Lizama Manibusan

Oh 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 year 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 first year graduate student in the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program (IGP) and currently doing a rotation in the McLaughlin Lab. I received my B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Arizona, and supplemented my spare time there with equal doses of lab experience through the MARC program and social life through Delta Chi Lambda. I’m originally from Guam, but – although very different from both Guam and Tucson – I enjoy Nashville and all it has to offer. As far as a career, I plan to stay in academia and find cures for the neurodegenerative diseases that haunt your nightmares.

Christina Wang


Christina is a new and wonderful addition to the lab with a great smile and a knack for attention to detail. She's was a hit from the beginning not only because she's super smart and helpful, but also because she's taller than all the rest of us and can reach those pesky high shelves with no problem! Christina is looking foward to taking on some cell culture curation and additional biochemistry in 2014. 

Christina Says: I am a newly arrived freshman here at Vanderbilt, and I am on the pre-med track with plans on majoring in biomedical engineering.  I am also a serious swimmer, so you will find me working out with the varsity team at 6 a.m.--before the rest of campus is awake. In my spare time since moving in, I've enjoyed exploring Nashville and playing Catan with my fellow Hank House members. At home in Georgia, I love hiking with my family and just being outdoors. I'm excited to work my first year at McLaughlin Lab!

Ama Jean Winland

Ama 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 tatoo'd.  And that was just in the first 3 months of college.  Needless to say, we are saving for bail.

Ama says: I’m a freshman undergraduate here at Vanderbilt. I plan on majoring in Medicine, Health, and Society. I’m also on a Pre-Med track. I enjoy playing soccer, cycling, and discovering new places both on and off campus. On campus I plan on getting involved in club or intramural soccer, musical theatre, and Honor Council. I’m very excited to join the team and get involved in undergraduate research.  While Ama is in Kiwi land in Spring 2014, you can follow her blog here!


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.

Occasional Guest Stars:

Jake is currently a med student in New York  after completing his honors thesis in the lab under the combine mentorship of Dr. McLaughlinDr. Terry Page and Dr. Robert Singer.   

Jake offers life advice here.

Stumpy and Lengthy

We have two new additions to the lab: Stumpy and Lengthy. While they vary in size, thickness, and length, they are quite the pair of trustworthy companions for Amy Kleman and have been officially named as members of the Amy Kleman Clan. However, they do have a quite a feud emerging between the two of them and sources had determined that it is all Amy Kleman’s fault. She tends to neglect Lengthy (nicknamed humpy by Sour Kraut) often, while Amy’s mouth and teeth attend to Stumpy entirely too often as if it were her puppy’s chew toy! The latest news on the rift, however, is that the tides of attention have turned! Amy has beautifully polished Lengthy with a French manicure and left Stumpy dull, spurned, and desperate for an opportunity to grow and live his life as a normal fingernail. Bless Stumpy’s heart.



Gail Ingle - Retired 2012

Ms. Gail is a Vanderbilt veteran, with 39 years on the job.  She's a great source of humor, support and 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 prestigous Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor socieity 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


Erik 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 MorrowAt 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

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 :-) 

Jeannette Stankowski, Ph.D. 2011 Graduate

jeannette and bossJeannette 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 in Miami for her post doctoral degree after completing her Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry.  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. Recently, Jennifer began studying preconditioning in the MAMP with mixed cultures and neurons from Jacquelynn and Stephanie, focusing on the effects of glucose deprivation on neuron survival.

Vanderbilt graduates Class of 2010. 


Summer 2009

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 (preferably at Vanderbilt!).  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!).


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. 

Jocelyn Howard graduated from Columbia and spent her summer in the lab prior to starting her degree. 

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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This page was last updated January 23, 2013 and is maintained by McLaughlin Lab