Meet The Team
Galit Pelled, Ph.D.
I received my Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel. In 2004, I joined Dr. Alan Koretsky’s lab at NINDS/NIH as a postdoc fellow. In 2008, I joined Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Kennedy Krieger Institute as a tenure-track Assistant professor, and in 2014 I was promoted to Associate professor. In 2017 I was recruited as a tenured Full-Professor to Michigan State University to establish a new Neuroengineering program. My research focuses on developing and leveraging transformative technologies for enhancing neuro-performance. Through holistic and multidisciplinary approaches my lab works toward developing marine-inspired technologies for artificial sensing and adaptive-prosthetics; restoring sensory-motor performance after traumatic brain injury (TBI), peripheral nerve injury and epilepsy; and improving athletic performance and cognitive capabilities by using genetic-based neuromodulation and non-invasive brain stimulation
Petra Telgkamp, Ph.D.
I received my Ph.D. from the University of Chicago (Biological Sciences Division and Pritzker Medical School), studying central respiratory rhythm generation and modulation in a mouse model. Other research projects in my past include investigations of cellular excitability and synaptic plasticity in different model systems. During my Master’s thesis at the University of Kaiserslautern, Germany, I was introduced to electrophysiological patch-clamp recordings, and I characterized AMPA/Kainate receptors in rat cerebellar astrocytes. As a postdoctoral fellow in the Raman Lab at Northwestern University I applied electrophysiological techniques to study cerebellar neuronal plasticity, and in the Smith lab at Indiana University I extended my research focus considering evolutionary adaptations and adjusted the focus of my research to include neuroethological considerations (using the weakly electric fish as a model system). In the Pelled lab, I plan to conduct research aimed at guiding the development of novel genetic and molecular-based neuromodulation techniques.
Ron Israeli, B.S.
I got my B.S. in Mathematics from Penn State. I then worked at Microsert Ltd. in Israel developing intraocular implants for sustained drug release. In March 2020, I joined Pelled Lab, where I research the use of electromagnetic perceptive gene (EPG) in the visual cortex for the creation of synthetic vision.
Abby Metto, B.S.
I received a Bachelor of Science degree in Neuroscience from Michigan State University in 2018. As part of my undergraduate research experience, I worked at the Krishnan Lab in the Department of Computational Math, Science & Engineering. While there, I analyzed gene expression data to investigate age- and sex-specific gene expression in brain biology and disease. Additionally, I worked at the Computational Basis for Cognitive Control Lab in the Department of Psychology. I focused on understanding age-related and individual differences in memory retrieval, utilizing Electroencephalogram recordings and computational approaches. Currently, I am a graduate student in the Biomedical Engineering Program. I was particularly drawn to the Pelled Lab because of the interdisciplinary nature of our work as well as my interest in applying engineering principles and computational methods to solve unmet medical needs/ problems. My research project is aimed at developing a genetic-based therapy for seizures and epilepsy. My goal is to continue establishing research that will improve on current anti-seizure therapies.
Alesa Hughson, B.S.
I received a Bachelor of Science in neuroscience from Alma College in 2014. After graduating, I worked at a neurorehabilitation facility in northern Michigan, caring for patients suffering from traumatic brain injury. After one year, I returned to academia as a laboratory research technician in the University of Michigan’s biopsychology department where I studied incentive salience attribution and how it relates to drug addiction. I joined the Pelled lab in Fall 2018 as a Ph.D. student and Graduate Research Assistant. My research involves developing therapies to improve functional outcomes after traumatic brain injury in large animal pediatric models of TBI.
Lauren Wade, B.S.
I graduated with my Bachelor’s degrees in Cognitive Science and Psychology as well as a certificate in Clinical Psychological Science from Indiana University in 2019. While at Indiana University, I researched semantic, phonemic, and organizational pattern differences expressed between individuals, specifically in those on various points of the psychotic spectrum. After graduating, I worked as a laboratory technician in the IU Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience lab at Indiana University, where I researched (1) action understanding in infants and (2) the continuity and consistency of social-cognitive development in infants and toddlers. I joined the Pelled lab in the summer of 2021 as a Neuroscience Ph.D. student. My main project investigates the functional outcomes following traumatic brain injury (TBI) in mini-Yucatan pigs as a translational model of pediatric concussion, with the hopes of developing therapies to help improve these detrimental outcomes following TBI.
Autumn McLane-Svoboda, B.S.
I received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering with a concentration in Biomedical Engineering from Michigan State University in 2021. I am currently a graduate student in the Biomedical Engineering program and joined the Pelled Lab in November 2021. My research project surrounds electrophysiology, specifically within the Octopus species, using tactile, sensory, and motor stimulation. My goal is to identify and characterize neural patterns within the octopus related to movement. Quantifying these patterns, along with the unique movement seen in the octopus, will aid in the development of improved neuroprosthetics.
Rita Martin is a Research Administrator in the Pelled Lab. She identifies potential sources of funding, assists with preparing grant applications and annual research performance progress reports for funded projects, provides editorial assistance for research manuscripts and abstracts, and coordinates technology transfer agreements for collaborative research activities. Rita also assists with managing administrative functions for the Pelled Lab.
Rita earned a master’s degree in Zoology with specialization in Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics, and graduated with a master’s degree in Higher Education Administration from Michigan State University.
Fermin Jimenez, B.S.
I went to MSU for undergrad in Chemistry and Food Science. While as an undergrad I worked in the Cellular Reprogramming Lab run by Dr. Cibelli helping out in the lab and with zebrafish husbandry. There I gained an interest in working with aquatic animals in the lab setting. After graduating, I continued working for Dr. Cibelli by helping keep the fish colony healthy and within EHS, AAALAC, and IACUC regulations. This has led me to work for Dr. Galit Pelled and with the octopus. I have worked here for a little over a two years where I help make sure the octopus are healthy and within the same regulations. Working with the octopus has been a great experience and I look forward to learning more about them in the future.
Sumer Pakray, B.S.
I graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Science in Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience as well as Psychology in 2022. I joined Dr. Pelled’s lab as an undergraduate due to my interest in neuroplasticity and the development of neurorehabilitation interventions. Currently, I work as a laboratory technician assisting in research of magnetogenetics as a remote technique for neuromodulation. Additionally, I assist in studying the effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in a pediatric porcine model to help develop therapeutic practices for the improvement of functional outcomes.
I am a senior at Michigan State University majoring in Mechanical Engineering with a Biomedical Concentration. After my undergraduate degree, I plan on attending medical school. The link between engineering and medicine is what drew me to the Pelled Lab. I assist in the research and analysis of octopus motion and neural responses to eventually design better prosthetic devices.
I am a freshman at Michigan State University majoring in Physiology and Psychology. My interest in cognitive behavioral analysis and translational work within various mental disorders drew me to join the Pelled Lab. I assist in work that focuses on outcomes post-TBI, specifically work with mini-Yucatan pigs.
Pelled Lab Alumni
Carolina Cywiak. Ph.D. PhD Student 2018-2022
Tyler VanBuren, MS: Masters’ candidate 2018-2021
Ryan Ashbaugh, MS: Master’s candidate, 2018-2021
Vijai Krishnan, Ph.D.: Postdoctoral fellow 2016-2021
Ming Zhong, B.S.: Post-Baccalaureate Student, 2018-2020
Josue Franco, B.S.: Post-Baccalaureate Student, 2019-2020
Xiang Liu, M.S. M.D.: PhD Student, 2019-2020
Shengqiang Xu, Ph.D.: Postdoc fellow, 2015-2019
Samuel Shin, M.D., Ph.D.: Postdoc fellow, 2016-2018
Jariel Ramirez-Virella, B.S., Post-Baccalaureate Student, 2018-2019
Sarah Park, Ph.D.: Postdoc fellow, 2012-2014
Yan Jouroukhin, Ph.D.: Postdoc fellow, 2012-2014
Ya Yang, Ph.D.: Postdoc fellow, 2012-2014
Tali Kobilo-Moav, Ph.D.: Postdoc fellow, 2013-2015
Mary Sorrell, Ph.D.: Postdoc fellow, 2014-2016
Nan Li, Ph.D.: Ph.D. student, 2008-2013
Yang Han: M.A. student, 2011-2012
John Downey: Undergraduate student, 2008-2011
Albert Mendoza: Summer student, 2014
William Stokes: Laboratory technician, 2015-2017
Anna Heeyun Schwarz: Undergraduate student, 2015-2017
Benjamin Thiesen: M.D. Student, 2015-2017