Lianne Klaver (Interim Chair)
Past members: Jessica Strickler, PhD ; Alex Thomson; Earl Gilbert ; Tré Mills; Lara Dahora; AnnaLin Woo
Keaton Unroe: The moment I knew I was meant to do science was when I spent almost an hour watching amoeba swim around under the microscope while in a in my high school marine biology class. Determined to continue learning more about life sciences, I went to Longwood University, where I studied biology, chemistry, and neuroscience. I started my research career at Longwood, which is where I became fascinated with the biological factors that drive behavior. Currently, I am a graduate student at Virginia Tech, where I am researching brain development and its importance for regulating emotional and social behavior.
Lauren Fritsch: I grew up near Baltimore, Maryland and graduated from Virginia Tech with Bachelor’s degrees in physics, biological systems engineering, and clinical neuroscience in 2018. While I started college planning on going to medical school, after a couple of semesters of undergrad research I quickly realized that biomedical science, rather than practicing medicine, was my true passion. I’m currently a Translational Biology, Medicine, & Health PhD student in the VT School of Neuroscience where I use a mouse model to study the immune response to traumatic brain injury. I am a strong believer that a critical part of being a scientist is learning to effectively explain why your research is important to the general public, and am an active member of the communicating science community.
Elizabeth Shupe: As a high school student, I developed a love for science after being inspired by my educators in biology and chemistry. I went on to study biology and biochemistry at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, a small, public liberal arts college, where I became passionate about exploring research in neuroscience. After college, I worked in neuroscience laboratories studying addiction and how we respond to stressful events. I am now a graduate student at Virginia Tech researching early brain development and factors that shape risk for developing mood and anxiety disorders.
Lianne Klaver: I was born in the Netherlands (Europe), which is where I started my adventure in neuroscience fourteen years ago. This has been a great match, since I am quite chatty – and so is the brain. The different parts of the brain are constantly talking to each other, so all parts are informed about what is going on and can act on it, a little bit like working on group projects in class. This helps you to learn how to ride your bike home or to remember what cheese is your favorite, for example. I currently study memory systems by looking at electrical signals and circuits in the brain in a lab at VT’s School of Neuroscience.
AnnaLin Woo: I’ve always been interested in science and biology, but it was competing with other varying interests until I began studying neuroscience during my undergraduate career at Virginia Tech. I quickly realized that I loved many aspects of scientific research, and applied to graduate school, moving straight from my undergrad to my Ph.D. program. Currently a grad student in one of the core Center for Glial Biology labs, I am looking at a part of the brain called the extracellular matrix (all the stuff in your brain that isn’t cells) in order to investigate how it interacts with astrocytes in health and disease models- specifically epilepsy.
Allie Kaloss: I grew up in Frederick, Maryland and always dreamed of becoming a veterinarian. To pursue this career, I went on to the University of Maryland where I graduated in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in Animal and Avian Sciences. While in undergrad, I worked in a research laboratory studying equine nutrition. It was there that I realized I wanted to partner my passion for veterinary medicine with research. I am currently a DVM/Ph.D. student in the Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences program through the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. As a graduate student, I use a mouse model to study pial collateral blood vessel remodeling following ischemic stroke.