Ganesh Lab Profile & Members

Blixt, Frank

Frank W Blixt, Ph.D. – Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Education and Training
B.S. in Zoology – Biomedical Sciences, Oklahoma University, 2011
M.S. in Biology, Lund University, 2013
Ph.D. in Clinical Sciences, Lund University, 2018

Areas of Interests
Clinical Interest: Ischemic stroke
Research Interest: Gut-brain axis relationship to ischemic stroke and vascular properties of cerebral and ocular arteries after ischemia.

Research Interests
Over 50% of stroke patients suffer from gut-related disorders that may lead to prolonged recovery or increased mortality. Therefore the gut-brain axis is key in understanding stroke pathophysiology. The gut and its microbiome is highly involved in both inflammatory responses as well as secreting signal molecules that affect stroke recovery. My research revolves around identifying the gut dysbiosis in both aged mice and in female mice and to provide a greater understanding of the role of the gut in stroke recovery.

Hobbies & Interests
Movie making and pumping iron.

Blasco, Pilar

Pilar Blasco Conesa, Ph.D. – Research Assistant III

Education and Training
B.S. in Biology, University of Valencia (Spain), 2004
M.S. in Environmental Health, University Menendez Pelayo (Spain), 2005
M.S. in Biodiversity, Conservation and Evolution, Universidad de Valencia (Spain), 2009
Ph.D. in Biodiversity, Conservation and Evolution, University of Valencia (Spain), 2017

Areas of Interests
Clinical Interest: Alzheimer’s disease, neurology.

Research Interest
Brain-gut axis, microbiome, microscopy, inflammation and aging.

Hobbies & Interests
Traveling, reading, refurbishing antique furniture, yoga, nature, and photography.


Pedram Honarpisheh, M.B.A. – Graduate Research Assistant, (MSTP)

Education and Training
B.S. Electrical and Computer Engineering, Cullen College of Engineering at the Univ. of Houston (2009)
M.B.A. Bauer College of Business at the Univ. of Houston (2012)
M.D/Ph.D. University of Texas Health Center at Houston Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (2014-2021)

Areas of Interests
Neurology and Neuroscience.

Clinical Interest Neurosurgery

Research Interest Neuroimmunology, Neuroinflammation, and molecular pathways along the gut-immune-brain axis

Research & Experience

Department of Neurology, Neuroscience Program, MD Anderson UTHealth GSBS          May 2016 – Present

Mentor: Dr. Louise McCullough, MD/PhD, Chief of Neurology, Memorial Hermann-TMC
“The aryl hydrocarbon receptor mediates the effects of gut microbiome on neuroinflammation.”

Dept. of Neurobiology & Anatomy, MD Anderson UTHealth GSBS              Jan 2015 – Aug 2015
Mentor: Dr. Andrew Bean, Professor of Neurobiology and Associate Dean of Graduate Education
“Investigation of the role of UBE4b (an E3 ligase) in EGFR trafficking and degradation”

 Dept. of Neurobiology & Anatomy, MD Anderson UTHealth GSBS              May 2014 – Aug 2014
Mentor: Dr. Neal Waxham, Professor of Neurobiology
“Activity-dependent changes in protein composition of neuronal post-synaptic densities”

Hobbies & Interests
Dogs, singing, strength training, and motorcycles.

Janelle KorfJanelle Korf, B.S. – MD/PhD Graduate Research Assistant

Education and Training
B.S. in Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, The University of Texas at Austin, 2016
M.D/Ph.D. University of Texas Health Center at Houston Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (2017-2025)

Areas of Interests
Neurology, Pediatrics, Infectious Diseases

Research Interest
Microbiology, Brain-Gut Axis, Microbiome, Microscopy

Despite our increasing understanding of the fundamental role that the microbiome plays in moderating immune responses, there are still many circumstances in which its importance is overlooked and potential avenues of intervention are completely unexplored. Neonatal hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (n-HIE) accounts for 23% of infant mortality worldwide and affects 0.7-1.2 million infants annually. Amongst those who survive the initial injury rates of disability remain high throughout life. Despite the high disability burden associated with survival after n-HIE, there are very few preventative or protective treatments available for infants after an HIE event. Due to my long standing interest in microbes and recent evidences showing that microbiota can be orchestrated beneficially to treat diseases, as my thesis project, I will elucidate the role of microbiome in n-HIE conditions. Interestingly, we are seeing that intestinal microbiome plays a major role in neurological disease outcomes. We are working on investigating the causative effect of n-HIE on gut pathologies and how therapeutic interventions at the level of the microbiome can decrease the body’s systemic inflammatory response and improve neurological outcomes. I will define pathways by which this is accomplished and identify key microbial derived factors that could be used as a therapy for both short and long term benefits.

Hobbies & Interests
Art, Hiking, and Gardening

Parisa Honarpisheh – Research Assistant I