Candice M. Brown, PhD is an Assistant Professor who earned her Ph.D. from Duke University, completed a postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Phyllis M. Wise at the University of Washington, and was an Assistant Professor at Wake Forest University School of Medicine prior to joining the WVU faculty as a member of the Department of Neuroscience. She is a recent past K01 awardee who received a WVU Stroke CoBRE pilot grant ($50,000) in 2016. The objective of her proposal is to elucidate a novel physiological role for tissue nonspecific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP), a ubiquitous enzyme most commonly known for its role in bone and mineral metabolism, in the blood-brain barrier during ischemic stroke. Recent studies have also focused on intestinal alkaline phosphatases and their role in the regulation of the gut-brain-microbiota axis in ischemic stroke. For more information, please see the Brown lab website: and please follow us Twitter: @BrownLabWVU.

Paul D Chantler, PhD is an Associate Professor in the Division of Exercise Physiology with an adjunct appointment in the Department of Neuroscience who earned his PhD in 2004 at Liverpool John Moores University and then completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Aging, Laboratory of Cardiovascular Science, with Dr. Lakatta and Dr. Najjar. He joined the faculty in the department of Human Performance within the WVU School of Medicine in 2009. Dr. Chantler was a Stroke COBRE Project Leader from 2014-2017. His research project used a rat model of stroke to test the hypothesis that obesity mediated stroke injury via vascular dysfunction. In addition, he examined the role of chronic stress on cerebrovascular dysfunction and its role with cognitive impairment. The significance of the work is that chronic stress leads to early cerebrovascular dysfunction and an accelerated form of Alzheimer's disease through a xanthine oxidase mediated mechanism. His research has been supported through NIH (R56 NS117754-01, Psychosocial Stress-InducedVascular Contributions To Cognitive Impairment And Alzheimer's Disease: The Role of Xanthine Oxidase; and R21ES033026-01 Effects of electronic cigarette wattage setting on vascular harm) and the American Heart Association (#20CSA35320107; Vascular Dysfunction in Offspring Exposed to Maternal Vaping).

Werner Geldenhuys, PhD is an Associate Professor who earned his Ph.D. from North-West University in South Africa, completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Texas Tech School of Pharmacy, and then accepted his first faculty position at the College of Pharmacy at Northeast Ohio Medical University. His research project is based upon a newly discovered outer mitochondrial membrane protein called mitoNEET (CISD1) which regulates bioenergetic capacity of the mitochondria. His proposal is focused on strategies to minimize reperfusion injury from stroke, during which many agents that are toxic to neurons and glia are produced. During his current tenure in the WVU Stroke CoBRE, Dr. Geldenhuys received a SBIR grant to support his drug discovery research for stroke protection ($258,700).

Eric Kelley, PhD is an Associate Professor who earned his PhD from the University of Iowa, and then completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Alabama, Birmingham after which he was recruited as an Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh. In 2016, he joined WVU. Dr. Kelley’s proposal targets the role of chronic inflammation from metabolic syndrome as a predictor of poor stroke outcome. Two independent predictors of poor stroke outcome, linked to obesity and the metabolic syndrome, are elevated abundance of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and uric acid (UA), both of which are enzymatic products of the action of xanthine oxidoreductase (XOR). As XOR can also generate nitric oxide (NO), this proposal targets XOR activity and diverting it from ROS production to NO generation by treating with nitrite (NO2-) in the context of ischemic stroke. Dr. Kelley received an American Heart Association (AHA) grant for $330,000 to support his stroke-related research and is Multi-PI on a recently funded R01 (DK124510-01).

Gordon Meares, PhD is an Assistant Professor in Departments of Microbiology, Immunology & Cell Biology and Neuroscience. Following undergraduate studies at Auburn University, he earned his PhD in 2007 at the University Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) where he studied molecular mechanisms of neuronal cell death. This was followed by an NIH-supported postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. John Corbett examining metabolic and inflammatory pathways in the survival and function of insulin-producing pancreatic β-cells. In 2010, Dr. Meares joined the lab of Dr. Tika Benveniste at UAB to continue postdoctoral studies in neuroimmunology. Shortly after, he was awarded a career transition award form the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS). Dr. Meares joined the department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Cell Biology in the WVU School of Medicine in January 2015. His current research focuses on mechanisms regulating neuroinflammation using models of multiple sclerosis and stroke. Dr. Meares was a Stroke COBRE project leader from 10/2016 – 09/2017. His project examined the functional role of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress in astrocytes during cerebral ischemia. This work is important to understanding how cellular stressors drive inflammation and cell death. Overall, research in the Meares lab seeks to identify new therapeutic targets for neuroinflammation and neural injuries. His research is currently supported through the NIH (PERK Dependent Mechanisms of Neuroinflammation, grant# R01 NS099304).

A photo of Edwin Wan.
Edwin Wan, PhD
West Virginia University
Associate Professor, Microbiology, Immunology & Cell Biology
Associate Professor, Department of Neuroscience
Associate Professor, Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute (SOM)

Edwin Chi Keung Wan, PhD is an Assistant Professor who completed his PhD at the City University of Hong Kong, completed postdoctoral fellowships at the Duke University and then the NHLBI, and joined the WVU faculty in 2016. Dr. Wan’s proposal highlights post-stroke pneumonia as the primary etiology of post-stroke mortality. The premise for the project includes increased prevalence of pulmonary and urinary tract infection post-stroke, which leads to the central hypothesis that pneumonia is due to a tissue-specific decrease in immune function. The aims address the central hypothesis and the basis for the mechanistic hypotheses by characterizing the immune cell niche in lung tissue.

Sergiy Yakovenko, PhD is an Associate Professor of the Department of Human Performance and Adjunct Associate Professor in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Biomedical Engineering Departments who earned his PhD in 2004 at the University of Alberta (Canada) with Dr. Arthur Prochazka and then completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Universite de Montreal with Dr. Trevor Drew and the University of Pittsburgh with Dr. Doug Weber. He joined the faculty in the department of Human Performance within the WVU School of Medicine in Exercise Physiology. Dr. Yakovenko was a Stroke COBRE Project Leader from 2015-2017. His research project developed a rat model instrumented with both intracortical MEA and electromyography arrays to investigate the sensorimotor control and deficits after stroke. The significance of the work is that these technologies offer unique opportunities to study details of previously inaccessible interactions within the neural hierarchy for the development of future neuroprosthetics to treat stroke and other brain injuries. His research has been supported through the DARPA BAA11-08 RPI, DARPA BAA-14-30 HAPTIX Phase I&II, NIH R03, and DOD RESTORE DM190880.

Valeriya Gritsenko, PhD is an Associate Professor of Physical Therapy and Neuroscience who earned her PhD in Neuroscience with Arthur Prochazka at the University of Alberta, Canada and then completed a postdoctoral fellowship with John Kalaska and Paul Cisek at the University of Montreal, Canada. She joined the faculty in the department of Human Performance with in the WVU School of Medicine in 2011. Dr. Gritsenko was a Stroke COBRE Project Leader from 2014-2018. Her research project focused on identifying mechanists of corticospinal control of limb dynamics in health and after a stroke. The significance of the work is the development of novel assessment measures and non-invasive treatments of post-stroke sensorimotor deficits and developing novel biomimetic control algorithms for human-machine interactions. In recognition of this work, she was a co-recipient of the Early Career Award in Innovation by West Virginia University in 2016. Her research has been supported through the DARPA (HAPTIX: Spinal Root Sensory Feedback for Intramuscular Myoelectric Prostheses BAA-14-30), FAPESP (Reducing gait deficits with model-driven functional electrical stimulation 2018/04964-8), NSF (Biomimetic Solution for Gesture-Based Human Machine Interactions 2014645), and DOD (RESTORE: Closed-loop recording-stimulation system for accelerating recovery after musculoskeletal injury DM190880).

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Cole Vonder Haar, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Neuroscience at Ohio State University. He earned a Ph.D. in experimental psychology at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of British Columbia. He joined the WVU department of psychology in 2016 and subsequently moved his lab to Ohio State in 2021. His research cuts across traumatic brain injury and stroke, with a particular focus on executive dysfunction in rat models. He is currently funded by the NIH (R01-NS110905) to investigate how chronic dopamine dysregulation may underlie long-term functional deficits after brain injury. Other ongoing work, stemming from his COBRE project is investigating whether neuroinflammation plays a causal role in psychiatric-related behaviors after injury.

Stephanie Frisbee received her PhD from the West Virginia University and is now a faculty member at the Western University of Canada. Much of the emphasis of her research program focuses on the factors that affect cardiovascular health in entire communities or populations, not just individuals. She evaluated the impact of factors such as community resources, health care resources, how communities are structured, environmental factors and exposures, and policies that affect the communities in which people live.

Taura Barr received her PhD from the University of Pittsburgh in 2009 and became an Assistant Professor at the WVU School of Nursing in 2010. Her research focused on genetic profiling of patients after ischemic stroke.

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