Andres Buonanno headshot.

Andres Buonanno

Principal Investigator

Background: Dr. Buonanno's training as a molecular neuroscientist began at Washington University in St. Louis, where he developed a long-lived fascination for understanding how experience (i.e., activity) and genes interact during neurodevelopment to influence the plastic properties of synapses and neurocircuits. The main focus of his lab has been mostly in two areas of research: 1) understanding how the activity-dependent functions of the Neuregulin-ErbB4 signaling pathway regulates the plastic properties of synapses and cortical neurocircuits, and 2) investigating how distinct patterns of motorneuron activity regulate the fiber-type-specific properties of skeletal muscles during exercise. Understanding the functions of the NRG-ErbB4 signaling pathway is important because variants of these genes have been identified as major risk factors for schizophrenia and other neurodevelopmental disorders. In 2001 Dr. Buonanno was inducted as a member of the Latin American Academy of Sciences (ACAL).

Phone: 301-496-0170
Address: 35 Convent Dr Room 2C1000, MSC 3713 Bethesda MD 20892-3713
Detlef Vullhorst headshot.

Detlef Vullhorst

Staff Scientist

Background: Dr. Vullhorst received his Ph.D. in 1998 from the University of Bielefeld, Germany, where we worked with Harald Jockusch and Joerg Bartsch on activity-dependent expression of voltage-gated ion channels in skeletal muscle. He joined the SMN in 1999 as a postodoctoral fellow on a scholarship from the German Research Foundation to explore the transcriptional mechanisms underlying fiber type-specific expression of Troponin I genes, and became Staff Scientist in 2006. His current research interest is in understanding the functional role of Neuregulin isoform diversity in the CNS.

Phone: 301-451-0942
Address: 35 Convent Dr Room 2C1002, MSC 3713 Bethesda MD 20892-3713
Irina Karavanov headshot.

Irina Karavanov

Senior Biologist

Background: Irina Karavanov, biologist, expert in transgenic mice. Irina graduated from the Moscow State University (Russia) with the master’s degree in embryology. She did her Ph.D. in Oncology at the Cancer Research Center, Russia. Irina continued as a developmental biologist at the Department of Pedodontics and Orthodontics, University of Helsinki, Finland. She joined the SMN in 1999.

Phone: 301-496-3298
Address: 35 Convent Dr Room 2C1002, MSC 3713 Bethesda MD 20892-3713
Miguel Skirzewski headshot.

Miguel Skirzewski

Postdoctoral Fellow

Address: 35 Convent Dr Room 2C1002, MSC 3713 Bethesda MD 20892-3713
Tanveer Ahmad headshot.

Tanveer Ahmad

Postdoctoral Fellow

Address: 35 Convent Dr Room 2C1002, MSC 3713 Bethesda MD 20892-3713
Sonu Singh headshot.

Sonu Singh

Postdoctoral Fellow

Background: Sonu received his Ph.D from CSIR-Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI), Lucknow-India in October 2017. He studied the role of canonical Wnt/b-catenin signaling in adult neurogenesis in 6-OHDA induced rat model of Parkinson’s disease during my graduation period. He joined NIH in April 2018 and his current project is focused on identifying the possible interaction partner of Neuregulin-2 at ER-PM contact sites and to investigate their role in ErbB-4-Nrg-2 signaling in primary neurons.

Phone: 301-402-8415
Address: 35 Convent Dr Room 2C1002, MSC 3713 Bethesda MD 20892-3713
Eric Starr headshot.

Eric Starr

Postdoctoral Fellow

Background: Eric Starr earned his PhD. in Neurosciences and Neurological Disorders from the University of Toledo, College of Medicine and Life Sciences where he investigated synaptic plasticity in the autonomic nervous system. For his postdoctoral research, Eric is investigating how neuregulin/ErbB4 signaling modulates both interneuron excitability as well as midbrain dopaminergic neuronal functioning. When not conducting experiments, Eric enjoys spending time with his wife, being outdoors, and exercising.

Phone: 301-451-0942
Address: 35 Convent Dr Room 2C1002, MSC 3713 Bethesda MD 20892-3713
Larissa Erben headshot.

Larissa Erben

Graduate Student

Background: Larissa received her M.Sc. in 2014 from Hannover Medical School, Germany. She jointed the lab in 2015 and is currently working towards her PhD from University of Bonn, Germany. Her current research focuses on the expression and function of ErbB4 isoforms in the CNS.

Phone: 301-594-6860
Address: 35 Convent Dr Room 2C1004, MSC 3713 Bethesda MD 20892-3713
Marie Cronin headshot.

Marie Cronin

Postbaccalaureate Fellow

Background: Ms. Cronin received her B.A. in Biology and Neuroscience from the College of the Holy Cross. At Holy Cross, she worked in the behavioral neuroscience laboratory of Dr. Alo Basu, investigating the effects of environmental enrichment on behaviors pertinent to endophenotypes of psychiatric disorders. She currently investigates the functional roles of components of the Neuregulin/ErbB4 signaling pathway.

Phone: 301-594-0570
Address: 35 Convent Dr Room 2C1004, MSC 3713 Bethesda MD 20892-3713
Ricardo Murphy headshot.

Ricardo Murphy

Special Volunteer/Research technician

Background: Mr. Murphy received his B.S in Microbiology from the Pontifical Xavierian University, Colombia. His interest and eagerness for knowledge brought him to join Dr. Buonanno’s Laboratory as a Special Volunteer/Research technician furthering his interest and experience in Neuroscience. He assists with describing the neurochemistry pathway related to the behavior in animal model, and recreating the condition of neuropsychiatric diseases by using inverse microdialysis and optogenetic as tools to understand the correlation of these diseases with the production of specific neurotransmitters. He is planning to pursue a MS in Neuroscience.


Former Lab Personnel:

  • Lilly Anglister, PhD (sabbatical)
  • Lynne Apone, BS
  • Oyeronke Bamiduro, BS
  • Sharmila Basu, PhD
  • Swagata Basu, PhD
  • Richard Beers, BS
  • Soledad Calvo, MD/PhD
  • Mayumi Chatani-Hinze, MD
  • Claudia Colina Prisco, PhD
  • Katrina Furth, PhD
  • Jennifer Galanis, BS
  • Vittorio Gallo, PhD (sabbatical)
  • Rolando Garcia, PhD
  • Gretchen Gibney, PhD
  • Carmen M Gonzalez, PhD
  • Tao Hong, PhD
  • Richard Hsu, BS
  • Yun (Kathy) Hu, BS
  • Caroline Keating, BS
  • Ryoichi Kimura, PhD
  • Oh-Bin Kwon, PhD
  • Lalitha Kurada, PhD
  • Megan Janssen, PhD
  • Laura Lautens, PhD
  • Elias Leiva-Salcedo
  • Yun Liu, PhD
  • Marines Longart, PhD
  • Robert Lu, BS
  • Kate McDaniel, BS
  • Evertt Meyer, HS
  • Robert Mitchell, MD
  • Manabu Nakayama, PhD
  • Joerg Neddens, PhD
  • Miwako Ozaki, PhD
  • Daniel Paredes, PhD
  • Kathy Partin, PhD
  • Michael Sasner, PhD
  • Alon Shamir, PhD
  • Miguel Skirzewski, PhD
  • Jonathan Smith, BS
  • Jimmy Stauffer, PhD
  • Dorothy Turetsky, PhD
  • Pratap Venepally, PhD
  • Leqin Yan, PhD
  • Raluca Yonescu, PhD
  •  Xiaoqing Yuan, MS

Awards & Fellowships:

  • NSF Graduate Research Fellowship 2019
  • NICHD Three Minute Talk Competition Finalist 2018
  • Society for Neuroscience Trainee Professional Development Award 2018
  • Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory: Mouse Development, Stem Cell & Cancer Scholarship 2018
  • Bench-to-Bedside Award; Office of Behavioral & Social Sciences Research 2015-2017
  • NICHD DIR Director's Investigator Award 2014-2016
  • Hispanic Pioneer in Science Series, National Alliance for Hispanic Health, to be featured in "Voices of NIH"; Proyecto Ciencia’s Hispanic Pioneers in Science video series 2008
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