Lab Members

Photo of Shahranaz Kermal

Shahrnaz Kemal, Ph.D.
Research Fellow

Shahrnaz attended Mt Holyoke College for her undergrad in Biochemistry, then worked for a couple of years at The Rockefeller University before moving on to grad school at Columbia University, where she focused on the role of motor proteins in brain development in Richard Vallee’s lab. She did her postdoc at Northwestern University in Bob Vassar’s lab, studying cellular and molecular mechanisms of Alzheimer’s Disease in mouse models. She received the BrightFocus Foundation Postdoctoral Followship. In the Fu Lab, Shahrnaz wants to further explore the impact of amyloid and tau on the glial and neuronal cytoskeleton, and understand how the pathogenic forms of these proteins influence oligodendrocyte-specific processes that may be altered in disease states. Along with her research interests, Shahrnaz enjoys teaching and is involved in STEM higher education. She also has a long list of writing-related side projects (science, history, comedy) and loves cooking.

Headshot of Andrii Kopach

Andrii Kopach, Ph.D.
Postdoc (Visiting Fellow)

Andrii received his Ph.D. for work on biomolecular condensates in the laboratory of Prof. Simon Alberti at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG). He then moved to Poland to receive training in molecular and cellular neuroscience in the laboratory of Prof. Jacek Jaworski at the International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Warsaw (IIMCB), where he worked on gene editing and manipulation of transcription in cultured neurons using CRISPR-Cas9. In the Fu Lab, Andrii wants to study the mechanisms that underlie cytoskeletal organization, motor regulation, mRNA transport, and local translation in oligodendrocytes by using techniques such as recombinant protein purification and in vitro TIRF motility assays. Apart from working on research projects, Andrii's hobbies include reading interdisciplinary scientific texts about brain function, improving programming skills, and participating in outdoor sports.

Headshot of Will Barclay

Will Barclay, Ph.D.
Postdoc IRTA Fellow

Will received his B.S. in Biology at Case Western University, before beginning his Ph.D. studies in Immunology at Duke University in the laboratory of Mari Shinohara. Will worked to understand the involvement of innate immunity in a mouse model of Multiple Sclerosis. As this work progressed, he focused on glia and identified activation of the inflammasome in astrocytes. From this, he became interested in fundamental questions of glial structural elements and subcellular organization, and in defining how their interactions underlie nervous system function. In the Fu lab, Will wants to pursue these topics while applying his training in traditional immunology and neuroimmunology to more fully realize an image of the central nervous system in both disease and in health. Outside of the lab, Will is passionate about scientific education and advocacy, and often finds himself in nature with his dog or playing the highland bagpipes.

Headshot of Joan Reger

Joan Reger
Individual GPP Student

Joan is a Biology PhD candidate at Georgetown University who is currently working on a project examining the influence of TPPP on protein aggregation under the co-mentorship of Drs. Meng-meng Fu and Jeffrey Huang. Joan has a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Emory University. As an undergraduate, she worked in the Wilkinson Lab where she investigated how PTMs of cytoskeleton-associated proteins influence yeast prion induction. She also completed a summer research project in the Eisenberg Lab at UCLA that examined the structural biology of TDP-43 aggregation. Outside of the lab, she is passionate about teaching and educational outreach. She is the recipient of a Georgetown University Graduate Student Teaching Award in Science and a GradGov Research Project Award. She has also worked at the USDA in the Office of Public Health Science and studied abroad at King’s College London. She loves scary movies, sour candy, and late-night conversations.

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Hunter Richardson
Post-bac IRTA Fellow

Hunter earned her bachelor’s degree in Biological Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA. She is currently looking at TPPP and alpha synuclein aggregation in multiple system atrophy brains. She is also learning many new techniques in the Fu Lab that will be helpful for her future career goals. In her free time she likes to bake, play video games, and take care of her two cats and two dogs. 

Headshot of Joseph Nowacki

Joseph Nowacki
Post-bac IRTA Fellow

Joseph earned his bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience and Behavior from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. He joined the lab in January 2021 where he is investigating the role of myosins in Mbp mRNA transport and local translation in oligodendrocytes. While with the Fu Lab, he plans to develop his research skills in order to apply them to a career in medicine. In his free time, he loves to cook and play rugby.

Photo of Johanna Bergstrom

Johanna Bergstrom
Post-bac IRTA fellow

Johanna earned her bachelor’s degrees in Biology and Psychology from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. She joined the lab in July 2022 and hopes to further develop both her research knowledge and technical skills in preparation for entering graduate school to study Neuroscience. In her free time, she plays the flute and enjoys crafting, music, podcasts, and exploring new places.

Lab Alumni

Ashley Fields, Ph.D. (Postdoc)               FDA, Toxicologist

Eric Dyne, Ph.D. (Postdoc)                      Roche, Diagnostic and Clinical Specialist