About Us

About Us




Peter Douglas, Ph.D., was born in San Antonio, Texas, and lived in Dallas, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and St. Louis, Missouri, before receiving his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from the University of Colorado in Boulder. Peter earned his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill in the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology. As a graduate student in the laboratory of Dr. Douglas Cyr, Peter used different methods in biochemistry, genetics, and cell biology to understand the mechanisms by which protein homeostasis machinery detoxifies misfolded, aggregation-prone proteins. During this time he was awarded a predoctoral fellowship from the American Heart Association. 

Peter completed his postdoctoral studies in the laboratory of Dr. Andrew Dillin at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, and the University of California in Berkeley, California. During this time he was awarded fellowships from the National Institute of Health on the Neuroplasticity of Aging and the George E. Hewitt Medical Foundation. He also received a Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00) from the National Institute of Health.

In 2015, Peter joined the faculty at UT Southwestern Medical Center as an assistant professor in the Department of Molecular Biology.






Sonja Arneaud, PhD

Laboratory Manager & Postdoctoral Researcher

Sonja earned her PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia in the laboratory of Dr. John R. Porter. Her graduate work focused on the investigation of two key enzymes involved in the podophyllotoxin biosynthetic pathway of the endophytic fungus Phialocephala fortinii. As a postdoctoral researcher in the Douglas laboratory, her research efforts are focused on aging and neurodegeneration in C. elegans. In her spare time, Sonja enjoys traveling, photography, biking and cooking.



Patrick Metang, MS

Research Associate I

Patrick earned his Master of Science in Biotechnology at the University Pierre et Marie Currie in Paris, France. For his Masters defense Patrick focused on constructing targeted antibodies to elicit specific CD8 responses against the cancer antigen WT1. As a researcher in the Douglas Lab, Patrick works on understanding the mechanism(s) of neurodegeneration caused by traumatic brain injury using mouse models as well as in vitro cell culture. Patrick enjoys spending time with his wife and son. He also enjoys carpentry and sports.




Rene Solano Fonseca, PhD

Postdoctoral Researcher

Rene was born in Mexico and earned his PhD in Cellular and Structural Biology from UT Health San Antonio. His graduate work focused on investigating the role of microglia and inflammation on the aging ventricular-subventricular zone neurogenic niche. His postdoctoral research is focused on elucidating the cellular and molecular mechanism of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in a novel mouse model of TBI. Rene enjoys going on long walks with his wife and his dog, listening to loud music and watching a lot of basketball.




Pauline Wales, PhD (ABD)

Research Associate

Pauline's doctoral work was focused on characterizing a novel process by which calcium mediated actin reset (CaAR) mediates acute cell adaptations. Her current postdoctoral research is focused on exploring molecular mechanisms underlying age-dependent actin phosphorylation via heat shock factor 1 (HSF-1) and resulting implications for tissue aging, barrier disfunction and pathogenesis. Outside of the lab, she very much enjoys hiking, climbing backpacking and yoga.



Wu Yu, MD

Visiting Scholar

Yu is a PhD student from Suzhou City in China. He will graduate in 2019 from Soochon University after completing his training at UT Southwestern Medical Center as a Visiting Scholar. Dr. Yu is a seasoned neurosurgeon who worked at the First Affiliated Hospital of Soochon University for 15 years. His research is focused on the molecular mechanisms of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in a closed-head mouse trauma model. Dr. Yu is interested in driving and cooking delicious Chinese food. He also loves his wife, Dr. Xue and his children.


Nathan “Nate” Egge, BS 

MD/PhD Graduate Student 

Nathan earned his BS in Bioengineering from the University of Washington. He performed his undergraduate work in the lab of Dr. Kim Woodrow with a focus on engineering novel core-shell nanoparticles for delivery of hydrophobic and transmembrane protein components as vaccine antigens. As a graduate MSTP student in the Douglas Lab, Nate is interested in neuronal cellular mechanisms perpetuating degeneration and loss of function following traumatic injury or other stressors.



Jacob McClendon, BS

PhD Graduate Student

Jacob received his BS in Neuroscience from UT Austin (2015) and then moved to California to work as a technician in the laboratory of Dr. Laura Attardi at Stanford University. His research at Stanford focused on characterizing the developmental consequences of activating the tumor suppressor p53 in specific cell types during mouse embryogenesis. Currently, Jacob’s research focuses on determining the molecular mechanisms underlying how neuronal overexpression of HSF-1 regulates cell non-autonomous growth factor signaling. Outside of lab, Jacob enjoys all things outdoors and sharing a good meal with family and friends. 



Charles "Charlie" Savelle, BS

Laboratory Technician II

Charles earned a BS in Biology from UTD and a BA from UT Austin. He is currently investigating the molecular mechanism through which HSF-1 mediates cytoskeletal dynamics in the C. elegans intestine and the role this plays in microbial invasion and aging. Charlie's interests include philosophy, mathematics, and writing.





Melina Mihelakis, BS

Research Scholar

Melina obtained her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Muenster in Germany. Currently, she is a Master's student working on HSF-1-mediated regulation of the actin cytoskeleton within the context of aging and disease. Melina grew up in Greece, studied in Germany, and recently moved to the U.S. She is excited to explore this country, experience new things, and conduct her Master thesis work in the Douglas lab.



Ashleigh Chuah

Green Fellow

Ashleigh currently studies neuroscience at UT Dallas and joined the Douglas lab as a Green Fellow. She is currently investigating the neuroprotective effects of electron transport chain uncoupling following neurotrauma.





Atossa Ghorashi - Graduate Student (Spring, 2018)

Katie Poinsatte - Rotation Student (Fall, 2017)

Cesar Gonzalez - SURF Student (Summer, 2017)

Nauman Hussain - Intern (Summer, 2017)

Jenny Smith - Rotation Student (Spring, 2017)

Annie Ryan - Rotation Student (Spring, 2017)

Sidra Shah, BS - Research Technician I (2016-2017)

Ian Gonzalez, BS  - Research Intern (2015-2017) 

Juan “JJ” Jaramillo, BS - Research Technician II (2015-2016)

Kylie Borden - Research Intern (Summer, 2016) 

Anish Narayan - Medical Student Researcher (Summer, 2016)