Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology

Lab Alumni:

Christopher Holler, PhD Current position: Principal Scientist, Arkuda Therapeutics

Chris Holler was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Kukar lab. He obtained both his BS and MS in Biological Engineering from Virginia Tech and his PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Kentucky. His doctoral work was completed under the direction of Dr. M. Paul Murphy and centered on the regulation of beta-secretase as it pertains to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. As a postdoc, Chris developed and led the lab’s project on elucidating the role of progranulin in the brain, with a focus on developing novel therapeutic strategies to treat frontotemporal dementia caused by mutations in the progranulin gene.

Chris Holler

Meixiang Huang Current position:

Mei is a talented MD-PhD medical student from China. She carried out her PhD work and trained in our lab from 2017 to 2020. She is now finishing her MD at the Xiangya School of Medicine, Central South University to become a neurologist. Her project utilized proteomics, mouse models, and immunohistochemistry to study how lysosomal dysfunction and neuroinflammation affect the pathogenesis of frontotemporal dementia (FTD).

Meixiang Huang

Chandni Ashar Current position:

Chandi joined the Kukar lab in January 2020 as a part time senior research specialist. She has a MS in Bioinformatics and worked in the biotech industry for many years before joining the Kukar lab. Her work focused on purification of Progranulin with the aim to isolate it from other contaminating proteins with which it strongly interacts.

Chandi Ashar

Michelle Johnson, PhD Current position: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Tufts University

Dr. Johnson received her B.A. in neuroscience and biology from Oberlin College before starting at Emory University in the Neuroscience Doctoral program in 2015. Previously, she worked in a lab examining the role genetic variations plays in modulating a person's ability to integrate various external sensory stimuli into a coherent perceptual experience, termed multisensory integration. As a graduate student in the Kukar lab, Dr. Johnson's research exploresd the protein binding dynamics of fused in sarcoma (FUS), an RNA/DNA binding protein link to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) pathology. Dr. Johnson graduated with her PhD from Emory in 2022.

Michelle Johnson, PhD

Srijita Nandy Current position:

While in the Kukar lab, Srijita Nandy was an undergraduate student studying Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology with a minor in Economics. She was interested in learning more about the mechanisms behind amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD).

Srijita Nandy

Austin Nuckols Current position:

Austin is Pharmacology PhD candidate co-mentored between the Kukar and Hales labs. He obtained his B.S. in Biology and B.S. in Psychology from the University if Georgia. In the Kukar lab, he studied the putative interactions between progranulin, the granulins, and other lysosomal proteins.

Austin Nuckols