Louisiana Tech Biomedical Engineering-DeCoster Lab

Cellular Neuroscience Lab                

Laboratory: Principal Investigator, Mark A. DeCoster, Ph.D. Associate Professor (Tenured). James E. Wyche III Endowed Professor of Engineering


Our Lab is focussed on Cellular Neuroscience. We use and develop nanotechnology tools to study the normal and diseased nervous system including cancer. Below are some current and past personnel.

Lab Personnel:

03 July 2016
  • Dr. Charla Poole, M.D., Ph.D. Visiting Research Scientist-
  • Nam Nguyen, Ph.D. student. Modeling of 3D spheroid growth and cellular dynamics.
  • Miles Delahoussaye, Master's student. Nanomaterials-cellular interactions.
  • Urna Kansakar, Ph.D. student. Magnetics for controlling materials-cellular interactions.
  • Kahla St. Marthe, Ph.D. student. Brain cell signalling dynamics in health and disease. Kahla was also recently the Entrepreneurial Lead (EL) on an NSF-funded I-Corps Teams grant award to our lab (see funded projects below).
  • Zach Norcross, Master's student. Just joining our group in Fall 2015- welcome Zach!
  • Anik Karan, Ph.D. student. Anik is studying methods for assessment of nano- and micro-materials interactions with cells.
  • David Milam, undergraduate student- David is just joining our lab in Fall of 2015, welcome David!
  • Kyle Rugg, undergraduate student- Kyle is working on 3D printing of components for bioreactors.
  • Alumni (28):
  • 01. Dr. Jamie Newman, Ph.D.; former Postdoctoral Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor in our Lab. Stem cells and development, including neural stem cells. She is now in a faculty position in Biology at LaTech.
  • 02. Dr. Kinsey Cotton Kelly, earned her Ph.D. in our lab. Signal transduction in brain cells. Kinsey completed a postdoctoral fellowship at LSU Health in Shreveport, LA, and is now at Centenary College.
  • 03. Dr. James McNamara, earned his Ph.D. in our Lab; Graduated, May 2011. Currently enrolled in Medical Studies at William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine, Hattiesburg, MS.
  • 04. Dr. Senaka Kanakamedala, earned his Ph.D. in our Lab. Microdevices, micromixing, enzyme-biosensor detection. Graduated, November 2011. Just started a new job in California! Congrats Senaka!
  • 05. Haidar Alshakhouri, Master's Student, Molecular Sciences and Nanotechnology (MSNT). Development of biosensors for brain cells. Graduated, May 2011.
  • 06. Michelle Sibille, studies as an undergraduate in our lab. Recently graduated from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine (2013). Nano and micropatterns for brain cell growth and repair.  Was supported by NASA-LURA grant.
  • 07. Dr. Dustin Green, Master's student, Biology.  Nanopatterning for attachment and differentiation of neuronal cell lines.  Completed his Ph.D. student at UT San Antonio and is now in a PostDoc fellowship at Johns Hopkins University.
  • 08. Si Chen, Master's student.  2D and 3D matrices for tissue engineering of brain cells. 
  • 09. Richard Davis, Master's student.  Currently enrolled in MEDICAL SCHOOL at LSU Health Sciences Center in Shreveport, Louisiana.
  • 10. Chitra Jeyasankar, Master's student, Graduated Nov. 2010.  Agonist Induced Calcium Signaling in Rat Brain Microvascular Endothelial Cells.   
  • 11. Sowgandhi Maddi, Master's student. Graduated Nov. 2010.  Cell methods for apoptosis.   
  • 12. Dr. Ruturaj Masvekar, Master's student, graduated. Completed his Ph.D. at Virginia Commonwealth University/Medical College of Virginia, School of Medicine, Ph.D. program.   Inflammatory responses in brain cells. 
  • 13. Vivek Dutta, Master's Student.  Cellular imaing & Image analysis.
  • 14. Bharat Karumuri, Master's Student.  Study of Inflammatory action on Astrocytes, completed. Currently Ph.D. student studying epilepsy.
  • 15. Jessica Wasserman, M.S.  Biocompatibility of 2 dimensional matrices for brain cell growth. You can find her in the Chemistry Dept. at LaTech!
  • 16. Gina Hegyi, undergraduate student from Rutgers University carried out research in our lab (summer 2013) as part of NSF-funded REU program (Dr. Steve Jones, PI).
  • 17. Enkhjin Bayarsaikhan, Undergrad. ALUMNUS!   Image Analysis Apoptosis.  Was supported by an NIH-LBRN grant in collaboration with Dr. Andrei Paun.
  • 18. Kris Chain, Undergrad. ALUMNUS!  Image Analysis Apoptosis.  Was supported by an NIH-LBRN grant in collaboration with Dr. Andrei Paun. 
  • 19. Christin Denmon, undergraduate student carrying out research in our lab. Christin graduated May 2014 with her Bachelor of science in biomedical engineering. Christin is now a product development intern at Smith and Nephew.
  • 20. Chris Campbell (see below- NSF-funded RET program, Drs. D. Mills, PI; M. DeCoster, Co-PI).
  • 21, Chaitanya Joshi, Master's Degree.  Development of automated cell analysis/ cell shape changes. Chai is currently working on his Ph.D. at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth, Texas.
  • 22. Sneha Deodhar, Master's Degree.  Development of novel nanomaterials for biological applications.  Sneha is currently a Research Associate at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth, Texas.
  • 23. Manish Pawar, Master's Degree. Application of 3D systems for studying modulation by neurotransmitters.
  • 24. Ali Navaei, Ph.D. student. Joined us at Louisiana Tech University in Fall 2013. Cellular scaffolds in 2D and 3D.  Ali is now working on his Ph.D. at Arizona State University.
  • 25. Charuta Ulhas Agashe, Master's Degree.  Application of 3D systems for studying cancer drug treatment. Charuta is now working in New York City at the Mount Sinai Hospital, Icahn School of Medicine.
  • 26. Justin Huckaby, undergraduate student, completed research in our lab, and graduated May 2015. Justin has now moved on to UNC (North Carolina) to start his Ph.D. work- good luck, Justin!
  • 27. Mark Gragston, M.S. Mark has successfully defended his Master's thesis from our lab (summer 2015) and has moved on to Univ. of Tennessee to start his Ph.D. work- good luck, Mark!
  • 28. Umamaheswari Manoharan, Master's student. Studied materials processing in 3D spheroids and integration with engineered devices. Uma graduated 11/21/2015 with Master's Degree. Congratulations Uma!

Summer High School Teacher Program:

  •   Chris Campbell,   Simsboro High School Science Teacher, 2007 & 2008. Past: Einstein Fellow at the National Science Foundation.
  •   Version 1c.2016 (M. DeCoster-16). Original Web design created with the assistance of Dustin Green, Ph.D. Previous Authors: M.A. DeCoster; B. Karumuri.
    1. Current Research Projects, Publications, and General information:

      1. "Generation of Scalable, Metallic High-Aspect Ratio Nanocomposites in a Biological Liquid Medium", by Kinsey Cotton Kelly, Jessica R. Wasserman, Sneha Deodhar, Justin Huckaby, and Mark A. DeCoster; published in: JoVE (Journal of Visualized Experiments), Issue 101, pages e52901 (July 2015).--- Over 1,000 views so far from more that 66 institutions world-wide.

      2. "High-Aspect Ratio Bio-Metallic Nanocomposites for Cellular Interactions", by Sneha Deodhar, Justin Huckaby, Miles Delahoussaye, and Mark A. DeCoster; published in: IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering, Vol. 64, Issue 1. Pages 012014. [Full text content available online]. --- Over 180 downloads of this manuscript so far.

      GROUP LAB MEETINGS: Summer 2016-- Weds., NOON-1:30 P.M.

      The Lab currently has funding from the following sources:

      1. National Science Foundation Award #1463098: I-Corps Team award: $50,000.00

      2. NSF EAGER award: $300,000.00

      3. Louisiana Board of Regents OPT-IN award: $20,000.00

      4. Dept. of Defense (Army Research Labs) award: $120,000.00

      Dr. DeCoster's Offices: Biomedical Engineering Center (BEC) room 210 (phone: 318-257-5233); Institute for Micromanufacturing (IFM), room 215, (phone: 318-257-5118).