Lab Alumni

Tavian Sanchez is from Sergeant Bluff, IA and graduated from Creighton with a Major in Neuroscience in 2023. Tavian lead a project moving toward publication of a new direction for the lab. He presented at the 2022 Society for Neuroscience, was awarded the Goldwater Fellowship, and received top honors with the Neuroscience Major Outstanding Student Award, CURAS Director’s Leadership Award, Honors Program, and College of Arts and Sciences. After considering at least 5 MD/Ph.D. admissions offers he is moving on to join the University of Pennsylvania’s MD/Ph.D. program Fall of 2023.

David Amorim Caldas originates from Brazil.  David graduated from Creighton with the 2023 class holding degrees in both Neuroscience and Medical Anthropology. David was extraordinary in expressing how much he enjoyed discovery science. He represented the lab at the second annual Big East Poster Competition. As a graduating senior he was recognized by the Neuroscience program for his service and as the Outstanding Anthropology Student . David’s next step is an MS in Medical Anthropology which he intends to use in service to neurodegenerative disease patients after he gets a few more degrees.

Nicholas Sande is from Owatonna, MN. He is studying Neuroscience with a minor in mathematics graduating with his BS in 2022. In 2023 he completed his MS in Neuroscience while also working as a clinical laboratory technician at Children’s Hospital of Omaha. Nicks work allowed the lab to expand into hearing related research. As such, Nick’s path was not simple, he had to learn and bring new techniques and approaches to the lab. He did so with grace and tenacity, developing “new to us” technology that allowed him to advance in two distinct directions with his work. Nick is working toward Medical School and… we think… would make a killer neuropathologist… not that its up to us……

Sarah Freeman is from El Dorado Hills, CA and Dean’s fellow. She is a Chemistry major also seeking a minor in business administration. Sarah intends on earning a Ph.D. in Chemistry and using it to help discover new therapies. As many, her family has been touched by neurodegeneration and from that tragedy her interest and desire to better understand and support the brain was born. She believes better understanding of the brain is critical to treatment that will cure. Sarah is VP of Mentoring for Creighton’s Women in STEM society, a Kid’s Can volunteer, and member of Kappa Kappa Gamma.

Betel Aga is the lab’s first High School student. She was in lab summer 2022 as part of the Haddix STEM Corridor Program (and we are proud to say, gave an end-of-summer poster and represented the other students with a talk about her experiences). Betel moves to the US from Ethiopia when she was a child and is in high school just around the corner at Omaha’s Central High School. Betel teamed up with Tavian to examine klotho-deficient choroid plexus and received an endless stream of college-prep advice. She will be attending college in 2023 and is interested in biomedical as well as computer sciences.

Tenhir Iyer is a double major in Neuroscience and Philosophy on a pre-med track from San Jose, CA. Tenhir worked in the lab assisting with mouse genotyping. He also became an expert at brain sectioning. With a focus on issues around mental health, he competed in the 2020 Creighton Hackathon and is now working in the Roley-Roberts laboratory.

Hai Vo, Ph.D. was born and raised in Georgia and attended Georgia State earning his B.S. His dissertation research focused on understanding the role of klotho at the synapse. Hai has won multiple awards to fund his graduate work and related travel, most recently he was awarded the Society for Neuroscience Trainee Professional Development Award. He defended his thesis in March 2019 and is now a on staff at Discovery BioMed in Birmingham, AL.

Molly Strickland hails from Montgomery, AL and was an Undergraduate Neuroscience Program major at UAB in the lab to complete her honors thesis work. Molly is interested in clinical psychology and serves as a Peer-Coach for UAB. Her work in the lab has been focused on identifying synaptic proteins that interact with klotho. Molly is also part of UAB’s A Capella team, a skill that served her well in developing an award winning music video about her research.

Will McLean, a native of Birmingham, AL, is a graduate of the UAB Honors College and Undergraduate Neuroscience Program having completed his honors thesis work with Dr. Scott Wilson. He worked in the King lab as part of a dual assignment technician for the Wilson and King labs at UAB. Will was the mouse Tsar taking amazing care of the mouse colony that is critical for our research discoveries. Will is also the go-to confocal microscopy master and the man tasked with anything involving computer programming. He is now in graduate school at the University of Arizona.

Tate Pollock was a hurricane Katrina refugee when his family settled in Birmingham. He is was a member of the Undergraduate Neuroscience Program at UAB, graduating in 2019. Tate’s thesis work in the lab was focused on understanding the effect of FGF-23 deficiency on normal brain function. Tate is also a long-boarder and rapper. One of those skills depleted the lab of first aid supplies, the other led to development of an award winning music video about his work in the lab. Tate joins the University of Miami’s graduate school in 2019.

Melissa Garcia joined the lab through the UAB PREP program which provides a year of research training and professional development for under-represented groups. Melissa particularly developed methods to allow us to understand klotho’s effect on seizure susceptibility. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in UAB’s GBS program. Melissa remains the undisputed champion of the King lab’s highly competitive “who’s got crabs” lab game (115 days).

Ann Laszczyk, Ph.D., holds the King lab record for most consonants in a last name. She grew up in Michigan and graduated with her BS from Central Michigan University. She joined the UAB GBS theme CMDB and subsequently became the first graduate student in the King lab. Ann’s work focused on characterizing the effect of klotho deficiency and overexpression on adult neurogenesis in the hippocampus. Ann graduated with her Ph.D. in 2017 and is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Michgan.

Dailey Nettles was a undergraduate neuroscience major at UAB and completed her thesis work with us conducting the first evaluation of the FGF-23 deficient mouse brain. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. at the University of Colorado at Denver.

Stephanie Fox is a graduate of the University of Alabama and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She was a lab technician with the King lab before beginning her Ph.D. work at UAB. She is now a member of the Cowell lab and well on her way to completing her Ph.D.

Astha Maltare was a lab technician for the King lab and how holds a Doctorate of Pharmacy.

Stephen Mehi set the bar pretty high when as the first undergraduate student, he also became the King lab’s first, first author. Stephen graduated with an honors degree in Biomedical Engineering is now in the biotech industry in CA.

Sarah Baine joined the lab during a gap year to gain some research experience. She is now a nurse for UAB/Children’s Hospital of Alabama.

Dominique Tull was our first summer student AND first award winner. As a McNair Scholar he spent time in the lab conducting summer research and was awarded for that work at the UAB summer EXPO. Dominique now holds a Doctorate in Physical Therapy.

Ashley Adamson was a student at Jacksonville State University (no the one in Alabama). She arrived to the lab through the UAB Summer Program in Neuroscience. As a new BS holding graduate she is now pursuing additional professional development working for Dr. Jeremy Herskowitz. She will enter graduate school at UAB in 2021.

Kayla Bishop is a Howard University graduate. She spent a year in the King lab thanks to the UAB PREP program which seeks to support students who are under-represented in science. Kayla attended Wayne State University and is now a medical researcher in Texas.

Jessica Froula came to the King lab through the Summer Program in Neuroscience and then just didn’t leave, choosing to continue working with us to complete her honors thesis for Birmingham Southern University. Jessica was then a technician for 2 years in the Volpicelli-Daley lab at UAB. She is currently a graduate student at the University of Minnesota.

Katie Swint was a member of the undergraduate neuroscience program when she joined the lab to complete her honors thesis research. She is now in medical school at UAB.

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