West Virginia University Logo


Xuefang (Sophie) Ren, M.D., Ph.D.
Experimental Stroke Core Director

About: Dr. Ren received extensive training in immunology and stroke. Sophie has over 10 years of experience working with rats and mice and has 20+ research papers using animal models. She is currently a Research Assistant Professor in Department of Physiology and Pharmacology. Her research interests include investigating the immune system, mitochondria, and microRNAs in stroke.


Heng Hu, M.D.
Experimental Stroke Core Surgeon

About: Dr. Hu investigates microsurgery in multiple animal models. Dr. Hu has dedicated his time on microsurgery and animal modeling for 5 years. Heng is an expert on middle cerebral artery occlusion, hypoxia ischemia, epidural application, and white matter injury models. Heng has over 40 publications using animal models. Heng is currently a post-doctoral fellow under the mentorship of Dr. James W. Simpkins.


James W. Simpkins, Ph.D.
Experimental Stroke Core Supervising Mentor

About: Dr. Simpkins investigates the causes and potential treatments for Alzheimer’s Disease and stroke in animal models and human subjects. He employs a variety of techniques, including cell cultures, microRNA analyses, behavioral assessments, and drug interventions, to clarify these endpoints. A leader in the scientific community, Dr. Simpkins has more than 400 publications and has had continuous research support for nearly four decades. He is also an accomplished advisor, having mentored more than 50 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.