Neurodevelopmental Research Interest Group members

Gregory Barnes M.D., Ph.D.

Neuro Research Interest Group Leader
Professor
Department of Neurology
Director, University of Louisville Autism Center
Dr. Barnes has research interest in Autism, Epilepsy, Genetics, Neuropharmacology 

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Jun Cai, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Department of Pediatrics
The goal of Dr. Jun Cai’s laboratory is to explore molecular, genetic and epigenetic regulations of neural development in the CNS as well as mechanisms and therapeutic interventions in neurodevelopmental or neurological disorders. Dr. Jun Cai has a broad background in medicine, biochemistry and molecular biology, developmental biology, and neuroscience, with specific training and expertise in gene targeting manipulation, electroporation in embryo or tissue explants, stereotactic focal injection with drugs, viruses, cells, or neurospheres, neurobehavioral tests, neural conductive evaluation, and generation of rodent models including transgenic mice, hypoxia models, EAE models, drug-induced demyelination-remyelination models, spinal cord and brain traumatic models, and rodent models of glioma etc. The current research focuses on the following three groundbreaking aspects: 1) Developing of therapeutic interventions in neurotrauma; 2) Glial response and neuroinflammation in demyelinating diseases; 3) Parent-offspring and gene-environment interactions (e.g. prenatal opioid exposure, perinatal hypoxia exposure, and whole-life cadmium exposure) in neurodevelopmental and/or neurological disorders.

Shao-yu Chen, Ph.D.

Professor
Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology
Distinguished University Scholar
Dr. Chen’s laboratory has broad interests in the application of cutting-edge technology to the study of cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying alcohol-related birth defects or Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). Using a combination of state-of-the-art approaches that are integrated with cell and whole embryo culture systems and in vivo mouse and zebrafish models of FASD, Dr. Chen’s laboratory has been successfully conducting innovative research in various areas. More recently, Dr. Chen’s research work has been focused on the epigenetic mechanisms underlying FASD.

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Cynthia Corbitt, Ph.D.

Professor
Department of Biology
Dr. Corbitt has research interest in behavioral neuroendocrinology (the interaction of hormones, brain, and behavior), with particular interest in the effects of environmental signals (e.g., diet, toxins, photoperiod, etc) on physiological processes.

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Jonathan Freedman, Ph.D..

Professor
Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology
Dr. Freedman has research interests in understanding how exposures to environmental factors contribute the development and/or exacerbation of human diseases, focused in the roles of transition metals (cadmium and zinc) and diet in the etiology of cancer, metabolic syndrome (e.g., type II diabetes) and Autism Spectrum Disorder. 

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J Subhadip Pal Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Department of Bioinformatics and Biostatistics
Dr. Pal's research interest broadly lies in the development of the Bayesian statistical methodologies for the various application. I have experience in the research areas including the analysis of Neuroimaging data, Causal inference, Directional data analysis, convergence analysis of MCMC algorithms.

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Lonnie Sears, Ph.D.

Professor
Psychologist
Department of Pediatrics
Dr. Sears is a developmental psychologist in Pediatrics studying the effects of environmental exposures on child development and behavior. His current research is looking at potential neurobehavioral effects for children living near coal ash storage sites

Janice E. Sullivan, M.D.

Professor
Department of Pediatrics
Vice Chair for Research
Janice Sullivan joined the Department of Pediatrics in July of 1995. She is a Professor of Pediatrics in the Divisions of Pediatric Critical Care and Clinical & Translational Research. She is the Assistant Chief Scientific Officer in the newly formed Norton Children’s Research Institute, a joint collaboration with the integration of clinical research within the University of Louisville Department of Pediatrics and Norton Healthcare. She graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Medicine in 1988 and completed her Pediatric residency at Arkansas Children's Hospital in 1991. She completed a fellowship in Pediatric Critical Care and Clinical Pharmacology at Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio. She is board certified in Pediatrics, Pediatric Critical Care, and Clinical Pharmacology. Currently she is the Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Pediatrics. She also is a co-I with Dr. Sara Watson and Dr. Lori Devlin for the NIH funded IDeA State Grant as 1 of 18 sites which is primarily dedicated to reaching the rural and underserved populations for clinical trials in 5 specific focus areas related to environmental influences on child health. Her research is primarily in clinical trials for pediatric patients that involves medications to treat different disease entities in both inpatients and outpatients. Her other main focus is faculty education in clinical research and mentoring to train the next generation of clinical scientists.