Where Have They Gone and What Are They Up To?
She was born Lafayette, Louisiana, and has always loved to learn, read, and explore her surroundings. Leila graduated from Tulane University studying Neuroscience and Cell Biology. She finds the field of pediatric oncology immensely interesting and wants to learn more of how genetics and neurodevelopment interplay. She also enjoys playing tennis, reading, playing the piano, and traveling. Leila is currently attending LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine.
Mariza Francis is a recent graduate from Tulane University studying neuroscience and anthropology. She was attracted to the BANGL's translative research and direct clinical implications, which is the type of research she hopes to do as a future physician-scientist. She is especially interested in how external stressors, such as COVID-19, affect epigenetic and cellular factors in both mother and child. Mariza is currently enrolled in the University of Wisconsin MD-PhD Medical Scientist Training Program.
Samantha Covey is a recent graduate from Tulane University with a major in Neuroscience. As a pre-med student, was Samantha is drawn to the BANGL Lab for its dedication to understanding and promoting health equity. She believes that BANGL’s research on epigenetics and health disparities is critical for the development of holistic and intersectional approaches to patient care. Outside of the lab, Samantha is a member of Phi Delta Epsilon medical fraternity and Waves for Warriors, an undergraduate club with the aim of connecting military veterans with Tulane students in the New Orleans Community.
A New Orleans local, Sofia graduated in May 2020 from Swarthmore College with a B.A. in Biology. During her spring 2019 semester, she participated in research, investigating the impacts of economic development on community wellbeing in the Peruvian Amazon. Sofia became interested in BANGL for the lab's focus on the link between adversity, epigenetics, and disparity, particularly its work with mothers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Outside of lab, she enjoys hiking, reading, and tutoring high schoolers in science. She is currently attending LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine.
Katherine is from Kensington, Maryland and is currently attending Drexel University College of Medicine. She was drawn to BANGL because of her passion for exploring connections between external conditions and their effect not only on behavior but on biological mechanisms as well.
Hailing from Mississippi, Ivanna Adams studied neuroscience, psychology and social innovation and social entrepreneurship as an undergraduate. She was drawn to BANGL because it intertwined her passions for maternal and infant health and development, neuroscience, and equality. Ivy is attending medical school at the University of Mississippi, class of 2024.
Sophia Borne, B.A.
Sophia graduated from Sewanee: The University of the South in psychology and economics. She started her work in the BANGL lab during her senior project. She looks forward to expanding her understanding of molecular genetics and neuroscience. She is attending the New School for Social Research where she will continue her studies in psychology.
Zoe Brett, Ph.D., M.S.Ed.
This Australian born citizen of the world joined the BANGLaboratory as a postdoctoral fellow from January, 2012 – May 2014. In addition to dancing salsa, Zoë's interests include investigating interactions between genetics and early life experiences that are associated with differential susceptibility to a range of neurodevelopmental outcomes. Zoë is now an Assistant Professor in Neuroscience at Ross University School of Medicine on the island of Commonwealth of Dominica, in the sunny Caribbean.
Tegan Clarke, B.A.
Tegan earned her Bachelors in Chemistry and French from the University of New Mexico. After graduating, she worked in analytical environmental chemistry for a few years before moving to New Orleans and joining Dr. Drury's lab. She was drawn to the lab through her interest in environmental health and development, and she discovered her passion for research working for BANGL. Tegan is currently attending medical school at the University of New Mexico, class of 2024.
Andrew Dismukes, M.S., Ph.D.
Andrew completed an internship with Dr. Drury and the BANG Lab while earning his Ph.D. from Iowa State University in Human Development and Family Studies. Previously he received a bachelors degree from Auburn University in Biochemistry, and a Masters Degree from the University of New Orleans in Biological Psychology. Andrew is interested in the way that early environmental context and behavior interact with endocrine axes and the activity of hormones such as cortisol, testosterone, estrogen, DHEA, oxytocin, and vasopressin. His currently working as a postdoctoral fellow at Pennsylvania State University in the Gene Environment Interplay Across the Life.
Kyle Esteves, B.S., M.P.H.
Kyle managed the BANGLaboratory from 2014 – 2019 after receiving his Master of Public Health from Tulane in 2013. He is currently working on his Master of Business Administration at Tulane while working as the Senior Section Administrator of the Clinical Neuroscience Research Center in the Center for Clinical Neurosciences in the School of Medicine.
Sophia Foroushani, M.S.
Sophia is a medical student at Tulane. Before making the move to New Orleans, she received her B.S. in Human Physiology from Boston University and her M.S. in Physiology and Biophysics from Georgetown University. Sophia is particularly interested in research outcomes following early-life adversity and works on the Tulane Lullaby Project assessing the impact of music on opioid-exposed infants. When not in the lab, she enjoys cooking, trying new NOLA restaurants, and exploring the city’s green spaces with her two dogs.
Megan Haney, B.S.
Megan graduated with her neuroscience degree from Tulane in May 2018. She was initially drawn to the interdisciplinary approach of the BANGL lab and the opportunity to contribute to both the "wet" and "dry" projects in the lab. Her previous volunteering experiences have fueled her passion to learn more about neuroscience as it relates to stress response systems in the body and neurodevelopment.
Ginny Hatch, M.S.
Ginny received a B.S. in Psychology from Tulane University and a M.S. in Developmental Psychology from University of New Orleans. She is interested in the impact of the parent-child relationship and contextual risk on children’s developing social-emotional skills and later school readiness. Specifically, she is interested in how parent-child interactions act as a buffer to early life stress. Ginny has joined the Doctoral School Psychology Program at Tulane under Dr. Sarah Gray.
Caitlin Henry, B.S., M.S.
Caitlin Henry received a B.S. from Tulane University in May 2012 and pursued a Masters degree in Neuroscience. As a member of the BANGL team, she explored the complex etiology of behavioral and pathological development. She used a neurobiological approach to analyze the role of genetic profiles in individually-unique experiences of disease. Caitlin started medical school at Louisiana State University in New Orleans in the fall of 2014 and is currently a Radiology Resident.
Louisiana born and raised, Cade Herman studied Neuroscience and French at Tulane while working in the BANGL lab. In the BANGL lab, Cade focused on sexually transmitted infections and perinatal illicit substance abuse. He hopes to gain a greater understanding of systemic health inequalities in order to implement targeted campaigns and mitigating interventions. Cade started medical school at Tufts School of Medicine in 2020.
Kyaw Zin Htet, B.S.
Kennis is an international student from Myanmar/Burma who double majored in Cell & Molecular Biology and International Relations at Tulane. Kennis used his time in lab to learn new things every day and he believes that it is important to understand early life experiences and the relationship between parent-child in order to help foster children. Kennis loves animals, exploring New Orleans and traveling around the world; he is currently at Tulane University School of Medicine.
Meghan Howell, M.D.
Dr. Howell is a pediatrician who joined the Department of Pediatrics as faculty in 2015 after completing both her medical school and residency here at Tulane. As the clinical director of the Tulane NICU Graduate Clinic, which she founded in 2017, she has worked to enhance the long term medical, social and developmental care of high-risk neonates through a multidisciplinary team approach. More specifically, her interests include both short-term care and long-term implications of intra-uterine substance exposure, and she is currently serving as PI alongside Dr. Drury on the Tulane Lullaby Project - a collaboration with Loyola University's graduate music therapy program evaluating the role of music therapy in the care of opiate exposed infants. In October 2018, she was accepted into the Physician Scientist Pipeline Program, a mentored program through Tulane designed to support early career clinician scientists.
Kate Humphreys, Ph.D., Ed.M.
Kate completed her post-doctoral fellow in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health at Tulane after earning her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles. She completed a second post-doctoral fellowship at Stanford University and is currently an Assistant Professor at Vanderbilt University. When not in the laboratory she studies child development from her children, Alice and Winslow.
Edward Jones, M.D.
Dr. Jones graduated from Tulane University School of Medicine. Driven by his work as a former TFA teacher and his aspirations for a career in pediatrics, he was excited to work in the BANGLaboratory researching the interactions between early life experiences and neurodevelopmental outcomes. As an excessively proud Duke University alum, he enjoyed irritating Dr. Drury with statistical lines from Duke basketball games. After completing his Pediatric Residency in Texas, he is a practicing pediatrician in Houston.
Christopher Jones, Ph.D.
Christopher graduated from Tulane University with a Ph.D in Neuroscience. Before coming to Tulane, he worked at the University of Pennsylvania in the Unit for Experimental Psychiatry, where he researched the neurobehavioral consequences to sleep deprivation. He is now interested in the epigenetic modifications resulting from stressful life events, as well as genetic allelic variants that modulate psychophysiology. He is also fascinated by the transmission of experience dependent genetic traits from generation to generation. Currently, he is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Pennsylvania.
Sasha graduated from Isidore Newman High School where her many science classes inspired her to seek out a position in the BANGLaboratory. She enjoyed the cake and the learning experiences she had as part of the laboratory. She is currently attending medical school at the University of Southern California class of 2024.
Rachel Lee, B.S.
Rachel joined the BANGL team as a project coordinator. She hails from the Pacific Northwest, where she gained most of her research experience working with neonates, infants, and children. She received her B.S. in Psychology from Pacific Lutheran University, and later worked at the University of Washington, where she helped investigate infant brain development using MEG, EEG, and MRI technology. Rachel is currently attending nursing school at LSU. Rachel spends her free time rock climbing and learning how to navigate around New Orleans' potholes while biking.
Alyssa Lindrose, B.S.
Alyssa managed BANGL from 2019-2021 after moving to New Orleans from Bethesda, MD. Her primary interests are in emerging infectious diseases and neglected tropical diseases, and while in the lab she contributed to projects investigating the indirect effects of infectious disease on mental health and long-term health outcomes. Alyssa is currently finishing her Master of Public Health in Epidemiology at Tulane University School of Public Health & Tropical Medicine and working as a Clinical Research Coordinator for All of Us. In her free time, Alyssa enjoys hiking, gardening, trying new restaurants, and hanging out with her cats.
Livia Merrill, M.S.
Livia is currently working as a psychometrist at a Pediatric Neuropsychology Clinic in Austin, TX, doing neuropsychological evaluations of children. Originally from Houston, TX, Livia received her B.S. and M.S. in Neuroscience from Tulane. Her neuroscience passions include developmental disorders, addiction, and epigenetic influences on behavior. Her other interests include the interface between the criminal justice system and mental health. In her free time, Livia enjoys painting and attempting to do yoga.
Vanessa Jill Meyer, Ph.D.
Vanessa received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience at University of Illinois at Chicago in 2013. She is a native Midwesterner who moved to New Orleans and joined the BANGLaboratory as a postdoctoral researcher. After two years she began working for BioTek and still spends her free time jumping out of airplanes.
Melissa Middleton, Ph.D.
Melissa is a licensed clinical psychologist with specialized training in Infant and Early Childhood Mental health. After completing her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the University of Central Florida, she completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in infant mental health. Her interests include understanding the impact of the infant-caregiver relationship on infants development as well as examining the role of early exposure to stress and adverse experiences on child developmental outcomes.
Saihariharan Nedunchezhian, B.A.
Saihariharan, also known as Sai, studied Neuroscience and French at Tulane. He was drawn to the BANGL community due to the interdisciplinary focus of neuroscience and public health as well as the immediate effects the research has on understanding development in infants. Sai is currently getting his M.D. at Tulane School of Medicine, class of 2023.
Hanan Rimawi, B.S.
A proud New Orleans local, Hanan was immediately drawn by the applicability and accessibility of the research initiatives launched at the BANGLaboratory. During her Tulane undergraduate years, she sought to better understand the neurobiological and epigenetic effects of early adversity and develop ways to improve health outcomes for children both here at home and beyond. Labeled an old soul at birth by her beloved mother, Hanan is happy to say that a majority of her friends are more than four times her age. She enjoys singing at the top of her lungs when no one's watching and spending time with her sweet cat, Mocha. She is currently a Fullbright Fellow in Amman, Jordan.
Alison Sebold, B.S.
Aly studied neuroscience and sociology at Tulane and graduated in May 2018. BANGL initially interested her because of the implications the work could have on improving health outcomes for kids and because it allowed her to work both in a wet lab and with the children and their families personally. Aly is currently attending New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine (Class of 2025).
Brittney Sheena, B.S.
Brittney graduated in May 2018 with a major in Neuroscience and a double minor in public health and Spanish. She was interested in BANGL because of the lab's interdisciplinary nature and emphasis on childhood development and improving health outcomes. After working for the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, Brittney is pursuing a M.P.H. at the University of Washington in Seattle.
Sam Shovers, M.S.
Sam, a proud Wisconsinite, double majored in Neuroscience and Africana Studies at Tulane University and graduated from Tulane's Masters of Neuroscience program. He has worked with children who are cognitively disabled since he was six, which sparked his interest in Neuroscience. In the fall of 2016, he studied abroad in Cape Town, South Africa. His experience piqued his interest in studying how experiences shape the brain. He is currently pursuing a Masters in Social Work at the University of Pennsylvania.
Andrew Shachat, M.Ed.
Andrew is a graduate of the University of Virginia, class of 2014. Born and raised in New Orleans, he attended Metairie Park Country Day School and the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. Having worked in the BANGLab for two summers during college he was particularly drawn to better understand the lasting impact of early adversity on children. After graduating from UVA he completed a Masters of Education from Lipscomb University and currently works for the recovery school district in New Orleans.
Sarah Shin, M.D.
Sarah conducted research in the BANGLab during medical school, and received her MD from Tulane University School of Medicine (TUSOM) in 2017. Sarah recently finished her pediatric residency and is now in private practice in Olympia, Washington.
Natasha Topolski, B.S.
Natasha started with the BANGLab in the summer after her freshman year and completed her Senior Honors Thesis project on a mediation of the relationship between the experience of corporal punishment and DNA methylation by behavioral symptoms in New Orleans youth. Her work with the lab earned her an honorable mention by the Goldwater Foundation in 2015. She recently presented a poster at the 2018 Organization on Human Brain Mapping Conference in Singapore. Natasha worked at the NIH looking at methods to improve behavioral prediction and is currently pursuing her M.D.-Ph.D. at McGovern Medical School and UT Health Science Center.
Devin Videlefsky, B.S.
Devin graduate from Tulane University with a major in Neuroscience and a minor in public health. He is interested in a career within the medical profession and shares a passion for research. He has traveled extensively and has witnessed first hand the importance of family and environment on early child development. His desire to investigate their biological and genetic effects on the development of infants made the BANGLab a perfect fit. He is currently pursuing a medical degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.
Jasmine attended Tulane as an international undergraduate student (from Myanmar/Burma), and is studied economics and philosophy on top of her premed track. Her experience of babysitting her nephew for 4 years inspired her to work in BANGL lab, as she observed the importance of parent-child relationship in the early years of childhood. Jasmine is attending Tulane School of Medicine in the class of 2024.
Hannah Wiggins, B.S.
Hannah received her B.S. in Neuroscience and Public Health from Tulane University. Her previous years of experience working with infants and children, combined with her passion for biology and neuroscience fueled her enthusiasm to work in the lab. She enjoyed participating in research that aims to improve infant health and child health outcomes. She also enjoys running, working in a nursery school, and volunteering at local hospitals and schools. Hannah graduated from the P.A. program at LSUHSC in the class of 2020.
Margaret Woodbury, M.D.
Meg worked in the BANGLab for a summer as part of an AACAP summer research fellowship. She previously was a research assistant in the laboratory of Dr. Nathan Fox as part of the Bucharest Early Intervention Project. She has now completed medical school and a psychiatry residency at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. She is currently completing a Child Psychiatry fellowship at University of Maryland.
Winnie Yeates, B.A.
Winnie was born and raised in New Orleans, and is happy to still call New Orleans her home. She attended Vassar College for her undergraduate degree, where she majored in English with a minor in Chemistry and played on the Varsity Women’s Tennis Team. In the BANGLab, Winnie conducted research on perinatal illicit substance exposure and its effects on neonates. Winnie is currently attending Tulane Medical School and plans to pursue a career in pediatrics.