Staff

Staff

Dr. Craig Powell, Lab Director

Craig Powell, M.D., Ph.D.
Lab Director

Dr. Craig Powell is a tenured Associate Professor in the Departments of Neurology & Neurotherapeutics and Psychiatry. He is also an active member of the Neuroscience Graduate Program. His basic laboratory research is focused on the molecular mechanisms of learning and memory, synaptic plasticity, and neuropsychiatric disorders such as autism, mental retardation, and Alzheimer’s. Dr. Powell's clinical Neurology practice is on the inpatient Neurology services at the University Hospitals and Parkland Memorial Hospital.Dr. Powell also supervises and teaches Neurology Residents as they see patients at the Parkland Memorial Hospital outpatient clinics.

Learn more about Dr. Powell.

Felipe Espinosa-Becerra, Ph.D.

Felipe Espinosa-Becerra, Ph.D.
Sr. Research Scientist

Dr. Felipe Espinosa was trained as an electrophysiologist and received his Master in Biotechnology and Ph.D. in Basic Biomedical Research from Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico. His main interest is to understand how the electrical activity in neurons influences both the function of neuronal networks and of behavior. Dr. Espinosa was awarded a fellowship from the Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation and joined UTSW in 1999 as a postdoctoral researcher under the direction of Dr. Rolf Joho. He discovered and characterized a sleep and motor pathology in a mouse model where two potassium channels had been deleted.  In 2006, Dr. Espinosa joined the laboratory of Dr. Ege Kavalali where he discovered that, contrary to what is believed in the field, a specific type of glutamate (excitatory) receptor, the NMDA receptor, can be functional when neurons are at rest. Currently, Dr. Espinosa is a Sr. Research Scientist studying the correlation between repetitive/perseverative behaviors and the physiological changes in the basal ganglia of the NL1-mouse model of Autism. Recently, he discovered an imbalance in neurotransmission between the so-called direct and indirect pathways that may, in part, explain the behavior in this mouse model as well as related symptoms in patients.

Tom Jaramillo, Ph.D.

Tom Jaramillo, Ph.D.
Research Scientist

Dr. Tom Jaramillo is a postdoctoral fellow in the Powell lab. His focus is the use of biochemical and behavioral techniques to characterize novel mouse models of Autism. Dr. Jaramillo earned his Ph.D. in Neuroscience at Northwestern University in Chicago, IL, and his undergraduate degree in Biology and Neuroscience at the University of Texas at San Antonio. While at Northwestern, he studied the role of H-channels in absence epilepsy in the lab of Dr. Dane Chetkovich.

Haley Speed, Ph.D.

Haley Speed, Ph.D.
Assistant Instructor

Dr. Haley Speed is an Assistant Instructor investigating physiological deficits in mouse models of autism. Dr. Speed received her B.S. in Microbiology at Auburn University in 2001 before earning her Ph.D. in Neurobiology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2008 with Dr. Lynn Dobrunz. She specializes in acute slice electrophysiology with a background in synaptic plasticity and postnatal development. Currently, she is investigating the roles of synaptic proteins in the onset of autism in the striatum, cortex, and hippocampus of mice expressing autism-associated genetic mutations.

Learn more about Dr. Speed.

Zhong Xin Xuan, Ph.D.

Zhong Xin Xuan, Ph.D.
Senior Research Associate

Shunan Liu, Ph.D.

Shunan Liu, Ph.D.
Research Associate

Shunan Liu is a Research Associate in the Powell lab. She was born and raised in Beijing, China where she earned her M.D. degree from Capital Medical University. She also completed a residency at Capital before moving to the United States.

Jeremy Reimers, Ph.D.

Jeremy Reimers, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Jeremy Reimers is a postdoctoral fellow in the Powell lab. He earned his Ph.D. in Neuroscience at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in North Chicago, IL, and his undergraduate degree in Biology and Neuroscience at Carthage College in Kenosha, WI. While at RFUMS, he studied the role of AMPA-type glutamate receptors in cocaine addiction in the lab of Dr. Marina Wolf. After earning his Ph.D., Dr. Reimers taught high school science in the Dallas area. It was here that he developed his interest in Autism research. In Dr. Powell’s lab, he is focused on synaptic biochemical analysis of the genetic mouse models of Autism.

Mehreen Kouser

Mehreen Kouser
Graduate Student

Mehreen Kouser is a graduate student working on a Ph.D. in neuroscience at UT Southwestern.  She earned her B.S. in Neuroscience from the University of Texas at Dallas.  As an undergraduate, she worked with Dr. Craig Powell at UT Southwestern as a Green Fellow and then as a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow (SURF).  During her time in the Powell lab, she investigated the role of mTOR kinase in the consolidation and reconsolidation of long term memory and showed its viability as a novel treatment target for Post-traumatic stress disorder.  Her later work with Dr. James Bibb at UT Southwestern focused on a new synaptic signaling mechanism by which the neuronal protein kinase Cdk5 controls cAMP-dependent signaling through the regulation of phosphodiesterase 4 and its involvement in depression.  Currently, Mehreen is working on a project involving shank3 and its implications in Autism. Her focus is to characterize the behavioral and biochemical consequences of shank3 mutations in mice in order to find novel therapeutic targets for Autism.

Christine Ochoa Graduate Student

Christine Ochoa
Graduate Student

Christine Ochoa is a graduate student pursuing a Ph.D. in neuroscience. She earned her Bachelors of Science in Biology from the University of Texas at San Antonio. During her time at UTSA, Christine completed an Honors Thesis studying the effects of methylene blue on long term potentiation and protein conformation in the rat hippocampus under Dr. Edwin Barea-Rodriguez and Dr. George Perry. During the summer of 2011, Christine participated in the Baylor College of Medicine SMART Program where she worked with Dr. Fred Pereira to study the prestin motor protein. As a member of the Powell lab, Christine will be working to identify how mutations in Shank3, a protein associated with Autism Spectrum Disorders, affects synapse function, circuitry, and behavior in genetic mouse models of autism.