Current Lab Members

   
 Marc Freeman, PhD  
marc freeman 

Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Neurobiology
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Co-Director, UMMS Neurotherapeutics Institute

Marc Freeman earned his B.S. in Biology from Eastern Connecticut State University in 1993. He carried out his doctoral training in the laboratory of John Carlson at Yale University where he studied Drosophila olfaction, obtained his PhD in Biology in 1999. Freeman trained as a postdoctoral associate with Chris Q Doe at the University of Oregon from 1999-2004, studying Drosophila embryonic neurogenesis, with a particular focus on glial cell development. He started his laboratory in the Department of Neurobiology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 2004 which focuses on glia-neuron interactions. Freeman was selected as a Smith Family New Investigator (2004), an Alfred P Sloan Research Fellow (2005), a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Early Career Scientist (2009), and appointed an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (2013).

Marc.Freeman@umassmed.edu

 Staff  
 rachel bradshaw

Rachel Bradshaw
Rachel is a Research Technician II and has been with the lab since early 2008. She is originally from Florida. Rachel received her B.Sc. in Molecular Biology from Grove City College, and then spent ~1.5 yrs. working in human genetics at the Broad Institute before joining the Freeman Lab. Rachel works primarily on large-scale EMS screens, biochemistry-based projects with graduate students and postdocs, and general lab support. Other than her roles in the lab, Rachel enjoys following Jesus, playing in the band Total Surrender with her husband, traveling, and just being outside! 

Rachel.Bradshaw@umassmed.edu

 Nicki Fox

Nicki Fox, PhD
Nicki is a Research Specialist II in the Freeman lab.  She received a BS in Biochemistry from Southern Methodist University in Dallas and a PhD in Molecular Biology from Vanderbilt University.  After a postdoctoral fellowship at Caltech in the lab of Kai Zinn, Nicki worked as a journal editor for Cell Press in Cambridge, MA.  She has been in the Freeman lab since 2010 and is currently studying glial support of axon integrity.

Nicki.Fox@umassmed.edu

 Tracey Rae

Tracey Rae
Tracey is Administrative Assistant to Dr. Freeman.  She has been with the University since 1990 and joined the Freeman Lab in 2013.  In her free time, she enjoys spending as much time as possible outdoors with her family and horse.

Tracey.Rae@umassmed.edu

  Amy Sheehan
Amy is a Research Associate II in the Freeman Lab.

Amy.Sheehan@umassmed.edu

Post-doctoral Scholars  
 

Megan Corty, PhD
Megan is a postdoc originally from sunny Southern California.  She received her BA in Human Biology from Stanford University before heading east to earn her Phd in Neurobiology from Columbia, where she studied dendrite morphogenesis in the lab of Wesley Grueber.  Megan’s research in the Freeman lab focuses identifying the cellular and molecular mechanisms that control glia-axon communication and glial ensheathment of axons. 

Megan.Corty@umassmed.edu

 jaeda coutinhobudd Jaeda Coutinho-Budd, PhD
After receiving her B.A. in Neuroscience from Oberlin College, Jaeda earned her Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she investigated membrane dynamics and lipid signaling events in the laboratories of Drs. Franck Polleux and Mark Zylka. This Vermont native then moved back to chilly New England to join the Freeman lab for her postdoc in the summer of 2012, where she studies the cell and molecular mechanisms of glial development.  Outside of lab, Jaeda can be found spending time with her husband, adorable daughter, and their two long-haired chihuahuas!

Jaeda.Coutinho-Budd@umassmed.edu

 zhiguo ma

Zhiguo Ma, PhD
Zhiguo graduated from Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2011 and joined the Freeman lab in the same year. He is interested in astrocyte biology and is currently working on how astrocytic calcium signaling pathway regulates sensory driven behaviors.

Zhiguo.Ma@umassmed.edu

Lukas Neukomm

Lukas Neukomm, PhD
Lukas is a Postdoctoral Fellow and joined the Freeman lab in 2010. He is a Swiss citizen and received his M.Sc. in Biology from ETH Zürich and his PhD in Molecular Biology from University of Zürich. Lukas is interested in the molecular machinery that mediates injury-induced axon degeneration. He is a Charles A. King Trust Award recipient and a passionate runner.

Lukas.Neukomm@umassmed.edu
 Owen Peters

Owen Peters, PhD
Owen Peters is a post-doctoral research associate interested in the pathogenic mechanisms underlying neurodegenerative disease. He gained his PhD from Cardiff University studying the neuronal function of synuclein proteins in health and disease. In his present studies Owen is focused on determining the contribution of regulated axon destruction to neurodegeneration in Parkinson’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. 

Owen.Peters@umassmed.edu

 Gaynor Smith

Gaynor Smith, PhD
Gaynor Smith is a postdoctoral researcher with a PhD from Cardiff University and postdoctoral experience from Harvard University.  Gaynor has a background in researching the mechanisms underlying Parkinson’s disease pathogenesis, including mitochondrial dysregulation, and in developing therapeutic interventions using neural transplantation and gene delivery. Her current project focuses on understanding the genes that control axonal mitochondria dynamics, using the drosophila model system.

Gaynor.Smith@umassmed.edu

jemeen sreedharan

Jemeen Sreedharan, PhD
Jemeen is a postdoc and neurologist from the UK with an interest in ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). Working between the Freeman and Brown labs at Umass and the Coleman lab at the Babraham Institute, Cambridge UK, he is developing novel models of ALS based on TDP-43, an RNA processing protein central to ALS pathology. His focus in the Freeman lab has been the development of a novel fly model of ALS, which he is using to identify novel genetic suppressors of neurodegeneration.  

Jemeen.Sreedharan@umassmed.edu

 Tobias Stork

Tobias Stork, PhD
Tobias is a postdoctoral researcher in the Freeman lab since 2007. His work is focusing on basic questions in glial biology. Specifically he is analyzing the role of Drosophila astrocytes in nervous system function, the gene networks involved in establishing proper astrocyte morphology and function and how astrocytes communicate with their neuronal environment.

Tobias.Stork@umassmed.edu

 jing lin wong

Jing-Lin (Jack) Wong, PhD
Jack is a Post Doc associate from Singapore.  He obtained his PhD in National University of Singapore. Jack's research focuses on the mechanism of axonal degeneration using flies and mouse as model organisms.  In his free time, he enjoys traveling the world.

JingLin.Wong@umassmed.edu

Graduate Students  
 tom burdett

Thomas Burdett
Tom is a 4th year graduate student exploring the molecular pathways governing axon degeneration in Drosophila. Prior to graduate school, he earned a BA in Biology at the University of Vermont and worked on Parkinson’s Disease in the Schwarzschild Lab at Massachusetts General Hospital.  Outside of the lab he enjoys outdoor activities.

Thomas.Burdett@umassmed.edu

 sukhee cho

Sukhee Cho
Sukhee is a first year graduate student in the lab. She was born and raised on the beautiful island, Geuje in South Korea. She received a Masters in Science in Neuroscience from Seoul National University where she studied a role of astrocytes in visual cortical plasticity. Continuous interest in the function of glia in neural circuitry brought her to the Freeman Lab. Outside the science, she likes hiking and snowboarding. 

Sukee.Cho@umassmed.edu

 Jon Farley

Jon Farley
Jon is a graduate student originally from Torrington, Connecticut. In 2007, he graduated from Boston University with a Bachelors of Arts in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Prior to coming to UMMS in 2012, Jon worked as a Research Technician in the Neurology department at Massachusetts General Hospital. Since joining the Freeman lab, Jon’s research has focused on identifying endogenous regulators of Wallerian degeneration in Drosophila. Outside of the lab, Jon can be found walking his dog around the streets of Boston and trying out food at the newest restaurants.  

Jonathan.Farley@umassmed.edu

 Lizzy Lewis

Elizabeth Lewis
Lizzy joined the Freeman lab in 2014 and is entering her second year as a graduate student at UMass. Originally from Worthington, MA, Lizzy attended St. Lawrence University where she majored in Neuroscience. Her goal is to learn as much as she can about the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders. Currently, she is researching the therapeutic potential of blocking Wallerian-like degeneration in mouse models of neurodegenerative disease. 

Elizabeth.Lewis@umassmed.edu

 yonca karadeniz

Yonca Karadeniz
Yonca is a second year graduate student. She received her B.Sc. in Biological Sciences and Bioengineering from Sabanci University in 2012. She is originally from Istanbul, Turkey. Her research focuses on glial engulfment mechanisms. Besides science, Yonca enjoys watching movies, photography and biking.

Yonca.Karadeniz@umassmed.edu

 jacob kushkuley

Jacob Kushkuley
Jacob is a medical student and HHMI medical research fellow originally from Acton Massachusetts. His research focuses on functional preservation and recovery from nerve injuries.

Jacob.Kushkuley@umassmed.edu

 tsai yi lu

Tsai-Yi Lu
Tsai-Yi is a graduate student originally from Taipei, Taiwan. She received her B.S. from National Chiao Tung University in Hsinchu and M.S. from National Taiwan University in Taipei, Taiwan. She joined the Freeman lab in 2009, and is interested in glial responses to axonal injury. She likes traveling, playing squash, and is a heavy gig-goer.

Tsai-Yi.Lu@umassmed.edu

 

Allie Muthukumar 
Allie is a graduate student originally from Amherst, Massachusetts, and attended the University of Chicago for her undergraduate studies.  In the Freeman Lab, she studies astrocyte-neuron interactions. 

Allie.Muthukumar@umassmed.edu

 edie plada

Edie Plada
Edie is a graduate student originally from Sao Paulo, Brazil. She received a B.S. Degree in Biotechnology from WSU and a M.S. in Biology and Biotechnology from WPI. She joined Umass Medical School in 2009, and the Freeman lab in 2010. Since then she has been studying the morphological development of astrocytes cells in Drosophila. She is spiritual and a foodie who enjoys traveling, good company and trying new things.

Edith.Plada@umassmed.edu

 

Tim Rooney
Timothy.Rooney@umassmed.edu