Meet Our Lab Members

Daayun Chung, Rotating NUIN PhD student

I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 2017. I joined Northwestern University Interdepartmental Neuroscience (NUIN) PhD program to study molecular and cellular processes leading to aging-associated neurodegenerative disorders. In my free time, I enjoy traveling, taking photos, watching movies, and painting watercolor.

Clayton Pedigo, Research Tech (past member)

I received my Bachelor’s in Biology from Roosevelt University Chicago, where I also minored in Chemistry. As an undergraduate I was involved in multiple research programs, two of which were “Design and synthesis of coumarin 3-carboxylate derivatives as potential antitubercular drug candidate” & “Seedling Rain and its effects on Reforestations in terms of Native vs. Exotic Plant Species”. Through these research programs I have developed an interest in incorporating both Biology and Chemistry into my present and future work. My long-term goal is to achieve a PhD in Organic Chemistry. In my free time I’m either playing with my dog in the park or traveling around the world with family.

Bharanidharan Shanmugasundaram, PhD, Postodoctoral fellow

I am working on a project that aims to explore the genetic causes of Parkinson’s disease as well as discover drugs that will help to reduce or possibly overcome the pathology of the disease.  I did my under graduate studies in Anna University, Chennai and continued research in the field of Neuroscience at Medical University of Vienna from where I obtained my PhD. I like thinking about what we perceive through our senses, the materials around us and am trying to apply the principles of science to develop novel tools and ideas that benefit mankind as well as our planet earth as a whole.

Chuyu Chen, PhD, Postdoctoral fellow

I completed my undergraduate studies at China Medical University, ROC, and I received my Ph.D. form Change Gung University, ROC. I joined the Molecular Neuroscience Laboratory at Chang Gung University for my graduate studies and postdoctoral training, I was focused on the familial Parkinson’s Disease. My studies there gave me the interest of using genetic and genomics approaches to understand neurodegenerative diseases. I am working as a postdoctoral researcher in the laboratory of Dr. Loukia Parisiadou, and furthering my studies of Parkinson’s Disease. When I am not doing research, I like to travel around the world by myself.

Deenis Echavarria, Rotating PhD NUIN student

I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology from Washington University in Saint Louis . I have had several different research experiences ranging from personality psychology to the cellular mechanisms involved in Alzheimer’s Disease pathogenesis. After completing my undergraduate degree I was involved in research at WashU using a zebrafish model along with CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing to study the molecular and genetic mechanisms of synapse formation and vesicle trafficking. In graduate school I hope to continue using gene-editing technologies to investigate the mechanistic link between phenomena at the genetic and cellular level to large-scale behavioral patterns, particularly in the context of diseases like Parkinson's. In my free time I enjoy exercise, travel, and eating delicious food.

Kamila Wisniewska, Research Tech (past member)

I received my Bachelor’s degree in Molecular Biology from Loyola University Chicago, where I also minored in Neuroscience. During my time as an undergraduate, I more closely researched the genetic mutations in neurodegenerative diseases and colon cancer, and how they related to macroautophagy. In my free time I can be found training for a powerlifting competition, or hiking with my dog.  

Chrissy Makariou-Pikis, Summer Intern

Currently I am a second year medical student at Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine. I received my B.A. from Case Western Reserve University in Psychology and Sociology and completed a pre-medicine post-baccalaureate certificate program at Northwestern University. I have been working with Dr. Parisiadou since Spring 2013. In the lab, I am administering experiments to further explore the physiological role of LRRK2 in the progression of Parkinson's disease. My hobbies include painting, traveling, and experiencing new cultures. 

Clare Wieland, Summer Intern

I just completed my sophomore year at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where I am majoring in Brain and Cognitive Sciences and Biology. I'm excited to expand on what I've learned there, both in my classes and in doing autism research, this summer in the Parisidou Lab. In my free time, I can be found at swim or water polo practice or playing with my dogs.

Khusbu Patel, Summer Intern

I am currently a senior at Kalamazoo College completing my B.A. and studying biology and biochemistry. I have a passion for working in laboratory settings as it allows me to gain hands-on experiences outside of the classroom. I hope to further my skills in the Parisiadou lab this summer. My hobbies include traveling, hiking, and learning languages. 

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