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

08 June 2015

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:

08June 2015
  • Umamaheswari Manoharan, Master's student. Studying materials processing in 3D spheroids and integration with engineered devices.
  • 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.
  • Mark Gragston, Master's student. Glial signalling and function in normal and diseased brain.
  • 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.
  • Justin Huckaby, undergraduate student carrying out research in our lab, graduated May 2015. Justin will be working in a lab a couple of more months then on to UNC (North Carolina) to start his Ph.D. work!
  • John Smith, undergraduate student- starting in our lab in Summer 2015. He is part of the Grand Challenges program at LaTech and has chosen reverse engineering of the brain as his topic area.
  • Alumni (25+):
  • 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 is currently a postdoctoral fellow at LSU Health in Shreveport, LA.
  • 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. Dustin Green, Master's student, Biology.  Nanopatterning for attachment and differentiation of neuronal cell lines.  Was an NSF GK-12 fellow and also supported by an ANS mini-grant. Currently Ph.D. student at UT San Antonio.
  • 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. Ruturaj Masvekar, Master's student, graduated. Currently enrolled at the Virginia Commonwealth University, 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.

Summer High School Teacher Program:

  •   Chris Campbell,   Simsboro High School Science Teacher, 2007 & 2008. Past: Einstein Fellow at the National Science Foundation.
  •   Version 1c.2015 (M. DeCoster-9). Original Web design created with the assistance of Dustin Green, Ph.D. Previous Authors: M.A. DeCoster; B. Karumuri.
    1. Current Research Projects:

      National Science Foundation (NSF) Funded Program: Award # 1116707. This project is integrating computational and experimental efforts to better understand the dynamics of neuronal cells and astrocyte cells from the brain. Graduate students Kahla St. Marthe and Mark Gragston are now working on this project.