Mazei-Robison Group Photo

Mazei-Robison Lab Members

Post-Doctoral Fellows


Vedrana Bali

Vedrana Bali

I received my MD from the University of Zagreb School of Medicine in Croatia and my PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham under the mentorship of Zsuzsanna Bebok. My doctoral thesis focused on identifying consequences of the synonymous codon change for isoleucine 507 on protein folding and function in the most common disease-causing mutation in cystic fibrosis, as well as mechanism of action of corrector-potentiator combinations. In my current efforts I aim to understand molecular mechanisms that underlie neuropsychiatric disorders using mouse models of addiction and depression in combination with biochemical, behavioral, and surgical techniques.

I enjoy spending free time with family and friends, reading, and travelling.

Graduate Students


Sarah Cooper

Sarah Cooper

I graduated from the University of California, San Diego with my B.S. in Human Biology in 2009. I spent several years after graduation as a research technician at UC San Diego, studying a variety of research topics from proteolytic pathways of neurodegenerative diseases to the pathology of autoimmune diseases such as Lupus and Rheumatoid arthritis. In 2012 I discovered my passion for neuroscience while working under Dr. Ruth Wood at the University of Southern California studying the effects of chronic anabolic androgenic steroid abuse in a rodent model. I then enrolled in the Neuroscience Ph.D. program at Michigan State University in 2013, and joined Dr. Mazei-Robison’s lab in the summer of 2014. Outside of the laboratory, I am an internationally competitive highland bagpiper in both solo and bagpipe band competitions, and have been an active member of the Greater Midwest Pipe Band since 2013.

Marie Doyle

Marie Doyle

I graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 2012 with a B.S. in Biological Sciences. During my time at Carnegie Mellon, I interned at Merck & Co. in the lab of Dr. Lili Zhang and explored tau hyperphosphorylation in the rTg4510 mouse model of Alzheimer's Disease. After graduation and a brief career as an IT consultant, I returned to research and joined the lab of Dr. Eric Nestler at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, which studies the epigenetic regulation of genes involved in addiction and depression. I enrolled as a Ph.D. student in the Neuroscience Program at Michigan State University in 2015. My current work in the Mazei-Robison lab focuses on how drugs of abuse alter serum-and glucocorticoid-regulated kinase 1 (SGK1) signaling in the VTA.

Sophia Kaska

Sophia Kaska

I am a dual major Ph.D. student in Pharmacology and Toxicology and Environmental Toxicology at Michigan State University. I received a B.S. in Biochemistry and minor in Chemistry from the University of Kansas in 2010. While at KU, I worked in and received two Undergraduate Research Awards for a laboratory in Chemistry and in Pharmaceutical Chemistry. After graduation, I immediately began work as a Research Assistant in Pharmacology, Toxicology, and Therapeutics in the laboratory of Dr. Bryan Copple at the University of Kansas Medical Center, where I investigated the mechanisms of inflammation, fibrosis, and coagulation in cholestatic liver disease. I then worked for Dr. Jed Lampe in the same department at KUMC on a project to develop a high-throughput fluorescence anisotropy assay for finding potential inhibitors for an anti-apoptotic protein. My current project in the Mazei-Robison lab focuses on elucidating the molecular mechanisms by which drugs of abuse mediate structural plasticity and reward in the DA neurons of the VTA. By identifying and understanding these changes, we hope to identify potential therapeutic targets for drug addiction and other neuropsychiatric diseases.

Undergraduate Students


Kaite Wheeler

Katie Wheeler

I am a sophomore majoring in behavioral neuroscience and I am currently working with Sarah Cooper, a graduate student in the Mazei-Robison lab. I am in the MSU Osteopathic Medical Scholars Program and hope to become a neurologist. I love photography, Harry Potter, my sorority Delta Gamma, and learning about the brain.

Staff


Ken Moon

Ken Moon

I studied aquatic & fisheries biology and photography at Grand Valley State University. After graduation I began working as a chemistry quality assurance analyst at Mead-Johnson Nutritionals in Zeeland, MI; followed by some research and development work in a cell culture lab at Alticor in Ada, MI. My academic career began at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic medicine where I was fortunate enough to study nicotine and alcohol addiction pathways with Dr. Chris Butt. I enjoyed my first three years at MSU working in the lab of Dr. Barbara Atshaves studying biochemical mechanisms of obesity before joining Dr. Robison and Dr. Mazei-Robison’s labs. I enjoyed a very successful career rowing competitively at the intercollegiate and international levels as well as coaching at Forest Hills Northern high school and GVSU, and still find the opportunity to study photography in my free time.

Alumni


Barbara Fallon

Barbara Fallon

Graduated 2014, M.S. in Pharmacology and Toxicology, MSU.
Currently a trainee in the FBI’s Visiting Scientist Program.

Megan Kechner

Megan Kechner

Former undergraduate researcher. Graduated with B.S. in Neuroscience from MSU, 2016.
Now enrolled in Medical School at MSU.”.