McCullough Lab Profile & Members

Louise McCullough, MDLouise McCullough MD/PhD, Principal Investigator

Dr. McCullough’s laboratory focuses on the investigation of sex and age differences in inflammatory signaling in both the brain and peripheral tissues after stroke. A major area of recent work investigates the mechanisms by which social isolation increase mortality and impairs recovery after stroke, an effect also seen in humans. Social isolation alters the immune response to stroke during chronic recovery. Her lab is currently attempting to reduce age-related inflammation both in the brain and periphery to reduce brain injury using bone marrow replacement and manipulation of the microbiome


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

Education & Training
B.S.
Zoology – Biomedical Science, University of Oklahoma (2011)
M.S. Biology, Lund University, Sweden (2013)
Ph.D. Clinical Sciences, Lund University, Sweden (2018)

Areas of Interests
Research interest:
microbiome influence on development, generational effects of dysbiosis, stroke, retinal ischemia
Clinical interest: microbiome targeted therapies for stroke prevention/recovery

Research & Experience
Retinal Ischemia – A Vascular Perspective (2014-2018) under the supervision of Professor Lars Edvinsson and Professor Karin Warfvinge – Lund University, Sweden
The role of CGRP in migraine pathopysiology (2014-2020) under the supervision of Professor Lars Edvinsson and Professor Kristian Agmund Haanes – Glostrup Research Park, Denmark

Hobbies & Interests
Film making and editing, European football, and working out.


 Pedram Honarpisheh, MBA – 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 (2014-2022)

Areas of Interests
Clinical Interest: Neurology and Neuroscience
Research Interest: Neuroimmunology in neurodegenerative and neuromuscular disease, gut microbiota-immune-brain axis, therapeutic manipulations of the microbiome.

Research
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.”

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


Anik Banerjee – Graduate Research Assistant

Education & Training
B.S. 
Chemistry (Biological Track), Texas A&M University – College Station, TX (2019)
M.S. Biomedical Sciences, MD Anderson UTHealth GSBS – Houston, TX (2021)
Ph.D. Immunology, MD Anderson UTHealth GSBS – Houston, TX (2021-present)

Areas of Interest
Research Interest: 
gut microbiota-immune-brain axis, therapeutic manipulations of the microbiome in neurodegenerative and neuropsychological diseases
Clinical Interest: neurology and neurosurgery

Research
Department of Neurology, Neuroscience Program, MD Anderson UTHealth GSBS, August 2021-present
Mentor: Dr. Louise McCullough, MD/PhD and Dr. Juneyoung Lee, PhD
“The Detrimental Effects of Social Isolation Toward the Microbiome and Host Metabolism”

Hobbies & Interests
Paintings, dogs, cars, bicycling and running


Xu, YanYan Xu, BS – Research Coordinator II

Education and Training
B.S. Wannan Medical College Nursing School

Areas of Interests
Research Interest: Cerebral ischemia

Research
Lab coordination; Laboratory Animal Husbandry, PCR, Western blot, Immunohistochemistry, and animal models of stroke including Middle Cerebral Artery Occlusion (MCAO).

 

 

 


Parisa Honarpisheh- Research Assistant II

Education & Training
B.S.
Consumer Science and Merchandising – The University of Houston, College of Technology, Houston, TX (2014)
Post-B.S. Psychology  – The University of Houston, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, Houston, TX (2023)

 Areas of Interest
Maternal microbiome in relationship to ischemic stroke, neuroimmunology gut microbiota-immune-brain axis, therapeutic manipulations of the microbiome, immunology of reproductive tract.

Research
Department of Neurology, Neuroscience Program, MD Anderson UTHealth GSBS, May 2016-present
Mentor: Dr. Louise McCullough, MD/Ph.D., chief of neurology, Memorial Hermann-TMC
“The aryl hydrocarbon receptor mediates the effects of the gut microbiome on neuroinflammation.”

 Hobbies & Interests
Art, painting, dogs, movies, photography, exploring food, running, and lifting.


Victoria Quaicoe, B.A.- Research Assistant II

Education and Training
B.A. Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Rice University (2019)

Areas of Interests
Research Interest: Neurodegenerative Diseases
Clinical Interest: Oncology and Neurosurgery

Research
I have collaborated with Dr. Juneyoung Lee on his project of how the difference in gut microbiome between aged and young mice affects stroke recovery. I am now working on a project that studies the increased gut permeability after stroke, specifically how the levels of proteins in the small and large intestines’ primary defense system are altered to cause permeability.


Eric Claude Mohan, BS – Research Assistant II

Education and Training
B.S. Chemistry, accredited by The American Chemical Society. University of Connecticut (2020)

Areas of Interests:
Research Interest: Social Isolation, Blood-Brain Barrier, Microbiome, Brain-Gut Axis in Aging, Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy, Alzheimer’s Disease, Ischemic Stroke

I am currently investigating the effects of social isolation on modulating the disease progression of Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy (CAA) in transgenic mouse models. CAA is a neurodegenerative condition in which toxic amyloid plaques accumulate around cerebral micro vessels, decreasing their integrity thus increasing the risk of microhemorrhage. Furthermore, I investigate how transplanted gastro-intestinal microbiota from healthy animals can modulate the onset of cerebral amyloid angiopathy.

Clinical Interest:
Ischemic Stroke, Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy, Alzheimer’s Disease

Research & Experience
-Department of Chemistry, University of Connecticut, Brueckner Inorganic Porphyrin Synthesis Group. (January 2019—May 2020)
-School of Chemistry, the University of Edinburgh, Campopiano Industrial Catalysis Group. (May—August 2019)
-Department of Neurology, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, BRAINS Laboratory Summer Student Program. (May—August 2017)

Hobbies & Interests
Playing Classical Piano, Water Polo, Tennis, Biking

Future Plans
I am interested in matriculating into an MD program.


Alexis McAlister – Research Assistant I


Romeesa Khan – Research Assistant I