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

19 March 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:

19 March 2015
  • Umamaheswari Manoharan, Master's student. Studying materials processing in 3D spheroids and integration with engineered devices.
  • Nam Nguyen, Master's student. Modeling of 3D spheroid growth and cellular dynamics. Nam has been accepted into the Ph.D. program in Biomedical Engineering at LaTech. Congratulations Nam!
  • 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.
  • Charuta Ulhas Agashe, Master's Student.  Application of 3D systems for studying cancer drug treatment.
  • Justin Huckaby, undergraduate student carrying out research in our lab. Summer 2014: Justin is taking part in the LaSigma REU program (LaTech)- he is at Tulane University for his research experience.
  • Alumni (20+):
  • 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 Student.  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 Student.  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 Student. 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.

Summer High School Teacher Program:

  •   Chris Campbell,   Simsboro High School Science Teacher, 2007 & 2008. Past: Einstein Fellow at the National Science Foundation.
  •   Version 1b.2015 (M. DeCoster-8). 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.