Meet Our Lab Members

Shuo Kang, Ph.D. Postdoctoral fellow

I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biopharmaceutics from a joint degree program in China Pharmaceutical University and Nanjing University. Then I received a Master of Science in Neuropharmacology from Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and my Ph.D in Neuroscience from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I have a broad research interest revolving around the role of dopamine and synaptic plasticity in normal cognitive functioning and mental disorders. I joined Parisiadou lab in 2018 to study the molecular and cellular processes potentially underlying the early phase of Parkinson’s disease. In my free time I enjoy watching movies, long-distance biking and listening to Buckethead’s music.   

Giuseppe Scesa, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow

I received my Ph.D in Pharmacology of metabolic disorders at University of Milan, discussing a thesis about neuroregeneration in spinal cord injuries. I later moved to UIC to study autophagy and lysosomal trafficking in Krabbe disease, as well as to generate in vitro model of the disease by using iPS cells. I finally joined Dr. Parisiadou’s lab at Northwestern, where I am involved in studying the correlation between autophagy, protein deposition and neurodegeneration. My project’s main goal is to enhance degradation of toxic aggregates, as well as to eventually promote tissue regeneration.

In my free time I like reading, cooking, playing violin and enjoying anything Chicago has to offer.

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.

Bharanidharan Shanmugasundaram, PhD, Postodoctoral fellow (past member)

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.

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.

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. 

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. 

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.