People

Professor and Lab Director
Peter W. Baas (pbaas@drexelmed.edu)

Dr. Baas earned his Ph.D. in 1987 from Michigan State University, and then trained as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Temple University. From there, he was on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin for ten years before joining the faculty of Drexel University in 2000. Dr. Baas is interested in all aspects of the neuronal cytoskeleton, with a particular emphasis on the regulation of microtubules in developing neurons. He is also interested in various aspects of microtubules during neurodegenerative diseases as well as during nerve injury and regeneration. He is currently the Director of the Graduate Program in Neuroscience at Drexel University.

 

 

Research Instructor
Wenqian Yu (wyu@drexelmed.edu)

Dr. Yu earned her MD from Shanghai Medical University, and then joined the Baas Laboratory in 1993 as a Postdoctoral Fellow. She has remained in the laboratory since, and is currently a Research Instructor. She is the chief cell biologist in the laboratory, and is involved in several of the ongoing projects as well as the training of Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Fellows. She has published on microtubule transport in the axon, the role of the centrosome in generating axonal microtubules, the regulation of the dendritic microtubule array, the fragmentation of microtubules underlying collateral branch formation, and the role of microtubule severing proteins and molecular motor proteins in regulating key events in the establishment of neuronal polarity. Dr. Yu is the recipient of the prestigious Edward Jekkal Award.

 

Senior Scientist
Joanna Solowska (jsolowsk@drexelmed.edu)

Dr. Solowska earned her Ph.D. from the Institute of Immunology and Experimental Oncology in Gliwice, Poland in 1986. She is the Chief Molecular Biologist in the Baas Laboratory, where she focuses her attention on microtubule-related severing proteins, with a particular emphasis on spastin and Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia.

 

 

Research Instructor
Liang Qiang (Liang.Qiang@drexelmed.edu )

Dr. Qiang earned his PhD in 2009 at Drexel University supervised by Dr. Baas where he made seminal discoveries on the regulation of microtubule-severing proteins (katanin and spastin) during neuronal development. These studies shed light on the functional mechanisms of how these severing proteins participate in axon outgrowth and axon branching. During his postdoc at Columbia University, he developed a cellular reprogramming strategy to directly convert adult human fibroblasts into functional neurons (hiNs) by defined transcriptional regulators in vitro and in vivo. Now, he is utilizing hiNs and iPSCs derived from unaffected individuals and patients with Alzheimer’s disease to study the pathological mechanisms of the disease and the potential therapeutic approaches. He is also applying the direct reprogramming strategy in the spinal cord injury studies in a close collaboration with Dr. Lane's lab in the department.

 

 

Graduate Student
Lanfranco Leo (ll497@drexel.edu)

Leo is a PhD candidate in the Neuroscience Program at Drexel University. He earned a B.S. in 2005 in Biotechnology and then a M.S. in 2008 in Pharmaceutical Biotechnologies, both from University of Rome "La Sapienza." After working for a time at Pennsylvania State University, he joined Drexel’s program in 2011, where he immediately joined the Baas laboratory. Leo is working on the biology of microtubule-severing proteins in the nervous system, both in development and disease.

 

 

Graduate Student
Timothy Austin (timothy.o.austin@drexel.edu)

Tim is a doctoral student in the Neuroscience Program at Drexel University. He earned a B.S. in Neuroscience in 2011 from Brigham Young University in Utah. With strong interests in nerve regeneration, Tim is working on a collaborative project with Dr. Baas and Dr. Veronica Tom on novel microtubule-based therapies to augment the re-growth of injured adult axons. Tim is a recipient of a prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

 

 

Graduate Student
Anand Rao (anr55@drexel.edu)

Anand is a PhD candidate in the Neuroscience Program at Drexel University. He earned a B.S. in Neuroscience from University of Delaware in 2009 and worked at Pennsylvania State University before joining Drexel's program in 2011. He is focusing on how microtubule polarity patterns are established and maintained in neurons and how disease/injury-related challenges, such as exposure to neurotoxicants or mechanical trauma, affect the microtubule array. He is working on the project under the collaborative supervision of Dr. Baas at Drexel together with Dr. Mark Black of Temple University. Anand is a recipient of a 2 year Fellowship Award (NRSA) from the NINDS of the National Institutes of Health.

 

Graduate Student
Andrew Matamoros (am3585@drexel.edu)

Andrew is a PhD candidate in the Molecular and Cellular Biology and Genetics Program at Drexel University College of Medicine. He earned an interdepartmental (Biology and Psychology) BA from the University of Delaware. Following graduation he was promoted from an intern to a full-time research scientist at QPS LLC in the Translational Medicine department. Andrew earned an MS in Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience from Delaware State University while following the "Bridge to Doctorate" program between Delaware State and Drexel College of Medicine. In the Baas Lab he is currently researching microtubule-based mechanisms to facilitate nerve regeneration.

 

Graduate Student
Ankita Patil (ap3326@drexel.edu)

Ankita is a Master's student in the Neuroscience program. She earned her B.S. in Life Sciences from the University of Mumbai, India in 2014, and joined Drexel's program in 2015. She will be working on motor proteins and their role in microtubule organization in neurons.

 

 

Graduate Student
Hemalatha Muralidharan (hm429@drexel.edu)

Hema is a doctoral student in the neuroscience program at Drexel University. She earned a B.S. in Biotechnology from Madras University, India. She also did an M.S. Human Genetics and Forensic Science from Manipal University, Dubai before joining Drexel’s program in 2015. She will be working on role of microtubule-based motor proteins and microtubule severing protein in neurons.