Current Lab Members

 Marc Freeman, PhD  
marc freeman 

Professor, Department of Neurobiology
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).

 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.

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

Post-doctoral Scholars  
 Megan Corty

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 controlling glia-axon communication and glial ensheathment of axons.

 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!

 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.

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.
 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.

 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.

 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.

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.

 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.

 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.

 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.