Gwendalyn King, Ph.D., grew up on Loveland, CO. She earned her B.S. in Molecular Biology from the Purdue University School of Science. There she got her first taste of discovery science, investigating leech nerve cord regeneration as her honors thesis research. She obtained her Neuroscience M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan School of Medicine where she studied protein:protein interactions with the amyloid precursor protein. Her first postdoctoral fellowship was at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles developing gene therapeutic approaches to treating glioma. Her second postdoctoral fellowship focused on normal brain aging at Boston University School of Medicine. Dr. King joined the Department of Neurobiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2011 as an Assistant Professor. There she mentored Ph.D., post-bac, and undergraduate students through their honors or dissertation research, published numerous peer-reviewed papers, directed the Summer Program in Neuroscience, and taught for the undergraduate neuroscience program and graduate in biomedical sciences graduate program. She joined the Department of Biology faculty at Creighton in July of 2019. Having personally seen the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Frontotemporal dementia, and ALS in her own family, Dr. King is committed to discovery level research to treat and prevent devastating neurodegenerative diseases.

Maximus Lauritsen was born and raised in Papillion, NE (meaning he’s a local but not fully claiming Omaha…). Max is pursuing a Neuroscience major and Spanish minor on the pre-med track. His interest in neuroscience was piqued by a UNMC camp introducing him to the basics of the nervous system and the many diseases which impact it. He is also connected to this subject on a personal level, as his brother suffered from severe anxiety as a child. Max’s larger interests include enhancing our understanding of neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s and epilepxy.  Outside of school, Max works as a math tutor (show off), is a lector for Creighton Campus Ministry and is part the running and neuroscience clubs. During his free time, you can find Max at the gym, watching YouTube videos, or talking at night with friends.

Hailing from the greatest state, Colorado, and growing up practically next door to Dr. King (but Loveland is way better than Greeley… ask anyone), Ayden Chavez is majoring in Neuroscience on the pre-med track and is a member of the Creighton Honors Program. Informed by his work in a Memory Care unit near home, Ayden understands why science matters. Developing research skills Ayden hopes to gain more of an understanding of the neurological disease processes and nervous system as a whole. When not in the classroom Ayden works in the Creighton University PT/OT Department and Honors Program, for the CDPHE on Comprehensive Human Sexuality Education, is a part of the EMS, Neuroscience, Students for a National Health Program, and Memories of Kids Club, and the Pre-Medical Society. In his free time, he enjoys watching Netflix, hanging out with friends, and exploring downtown Omaha. 

Ellie Quattrocchi was born and raised in Omaha. She is majoring in Biology and minoring in Studio Art. She loves working with “little biology”, looking at the tiny details of things and observing how they all come together to work as coordinated, integrated whole – and how there can be compounding changes upon one small deviation from normal! The brain and its crazy interesting complexities provide us with a plethora of opportunities to expand our knowledge, and she hope to earn er Ph.D. in Neurobiology following undergrad. During Ellie’s free time, she loves to read (especially psychological fiction and philosophy), work with ceramics and sculpture, go on long walks when it’s warm out, and spend time with those who are important to her.

Ameera Naif is still deciding between biology and neuroscience as majors, mostly because she’s new to the King lab and not fully indoctrinated! Seeking an MD ultimately, she is from Lincoln, Nebraska, but was born and raised in Sinjar, Iraq, until immigrating to the US under the threat of genocide in 2016. She is fluent in 3 languages, besides English. Her interest in neuroscience stems from a curiosity of how the brain works and how complexity can lead to healthy function or terrible disease. With the goal of becoming a neurologist or neurosurgeon, Ameera feels called to help people and use medicine to changes lives. Since it all starts from the brain and how it works she is hoping her time in lab will expand her knowledge both intellectually and through hands-on experience. When not doing schoolwork, she enjoys spending time with my friends, listening to podcasts, working out, and journaling.

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