People


Dirk Keene

Dr. Keene received his education at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (B.S. in Cell and Molecular Biology) and at the University of Minnesota (M.D. and Ph.D. in Neuroscience). His Anatomic Pathology residency and Neuropathology fellowship were completed at the University of Washington (UW) where he earned a faculty position in Neuropathology after graduating. Dr. Keene is currently the Nancy and Buster Alvord Endowed Chair in Neuropathology, Professor of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Adjunct Professor of Ophthalmology and Neurological Surgery, Director of the Division of Neuropathology, and Associate Director of the UW Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. Dr. Keene is the founding director of the Pacific Northwest Brain Donor Network and the UW BioRepository and Integrated Neuropathology (BRaIN) laboratory and leads the UW ADRC Precision Neuropathology Core.

Dr. Keene is Board Certified in Anatomic Pathology and Neuropathology and regularly attends on the UW Medicine surgical neuropathology and ophthalmic pathology services. He is the former Director and current Associate Director of the UW Neuropathology Fellowship and enjoys significant mentoring, teaching, and training opportunities. Dr. Keene strives to promote scientific advancement in human brain structure and function, aging, neurodegeneration, neurotrauma, and neurooncology through diagnostic and research neuropathology. Dr. Keene supervises a team of scientists, fellows, research coordinators, and histotechnologists who respectfully and expeditiously perform brain and other research tissue donations and studies in a manner that maximally and optimally preserves tissues for diverse applications. Dr. Keene energetically promotes tissue and data sharing, and facilitation of local and national research through collaborative and cooperative mechanisms. The goal of the BRaIN lab is to promote human neuroscience research to propel development of diagnostic, therapeutic, and preventative approaches for brain aging, injury, and disease.

Caitlin Latimer

Dr. Caitlin Latimer’s clinical specialty is neuropathology, which includes the clinical practice of neurosurgical, neuromuscular, ophthalmic, and autopsy subspecialties, with a particular interest in neurodegenerative disease. Dr. Latimer is also committed to research efforts focused on the role of the synapse in neurodegenerative disease with the goal of understanding the changes that occur at the earliest stages of disease and how these changes differ in individuals without neurodegenerative disease. Dr. Latimer additionally works with neuroimaging experts through the Integrated Brain Imaging Center to bridge the gap between neuroradiology and neuropathology and enhance targeted sampling through the use of neuroimaging data and techniques.

Amber Nolan

Dr. Amber Nolan is a board certified neuropathologist with clinical expertise in surgical neuropathology, neuromuscular pathology, and neurodegenerative disease. She received her medical and doctorate training at the University of Chicago (MD and PhD in Computational Neuroscience) and then performed her post graduate training at the University of California San Francisco in both Anatomic Pathology in Neuropathology. Her research program focuses on traumatic brain injury, with the goal of understanding mechanisms that lead to cognitive dysfunction and neurodegeneration through analysis of animal models and human tissue. Currently, she is investigating the selective vulnerability of inhibitory neurons after chronic injury in frontal cortical circuits.

Nadia Postupna

Nadia Postupna joined the lab in 2009 as a post-doctoral fellow, and currently works as a research scientist. Nadia’s main research focus is Alzheimer’s disease and microvascular brain injury. Nadia earned her MD from Kharkiv State University in Ukraine and her PhD in Physiology and Biophysics from University of Washington. Nadia’s hobbies include skiing, tennis, hiking, horseback riding, and traveling with her family.

If Nadia had to choose a career outside of science/medicine, she would be a dog trainer. 

 

Erica Melief

Dr. Erica Melief joined the lab in 2011 as a post-doc and currently works as a research scientist on grants and papers touching all aspects of the lab as well as coordinating with outside collaborators. She earned her B.A. in Neuroscience from Claremont Mckenna College in 2005 and her PhD in Pharmacology from UW in 2011. Erica's hobbies include running, hiking, and travel, especially with her husband and 3 children. 

If Erica had to choose a career outside of science/medicine, she would be a fiction author.

Angela Wilson

Angela Wilson joined the lab in 2006. She has a Master of Science degree from WSU (don't judge, you Huskies).

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Kim Howard has been here since the beginning. She started the NP Core lab with Dr. Sonnen and Dr. Montine in 2009, where she was the first tech to implement the new tissue procurement and sampling strategy. As things evolved, Kim left the tissue procurement service and now leads the histology lab. Kim is a graduate of the University of Washington with a B.A. in History and a B.S. in Biology. She is also a certified Histotechnologist and has her Qualification in Immunohistochemistry from the American Society for Clinical Pathology. She loves spending time with her family and animals. She loves movies, music, baking, a good cup of coffee in the morning, simple pleasures and small victories.

If Kim had to choose a career outside of science/medicine (and wanted to make money), she would be a software engineer. However, if she decided to follow her passions, she would be a baker in a Parisian patisserie or a professional organizer.

Lisa Keene

Lisa Keene joined the lab in 2008 as a research scientist, taking over as research manager the following year. After taking leave to raise her two busy kids, she returned part-time in 2014 as a research coordinator. In 2016, Lisa jumped at the opportunity to begin working full time in the tissue procurement program. She now manages the Brain Donor Network. She has always had great respect for our donors and their families and feels honored to help facilitate their wishes to donate. Outside of work, Lisa enjoys being with family and would be happy living in a barn with her horse and three dogs. Lisa has been fascinated by the brain since she was in 5th grade and saw a cow’s brain at the grocery store. She took it home, mapped it with flag toothpicks and brought it to the science fair.

If Lisa had to choose a career outside of science/medicine, she would be a member of the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit.

Amanda Keen

Amanda Kirkland has been with the lab since March 2019 and is a lead tissue procurement  technician and histotechnologist. Amanda earned her B.S. in general biology from the University of Washington and her histotechnologist certification from the Indiana University School of Medicine. Her hobbies include CrossFit, walking her dogs (Maizy and Harley), wheeling in the mountains and spending time with family.

If Amanda had to choose a career outside of science/medicine, she would be a firefighter or a professional MMA fighter. 
Joe Voth

Joe Voth joined the lab in March of 2020 to pursue the Ph.D. portion of his M.D./Ph.D. in Neuroscience at the University of Washington. His main research interest is the role of oligodendrocytes (and other glia) in Alzheimer’s Disease. He is currently an Alzheimer’s Disease Training Program Fellow, and is a recipient of the ARCS Foundation Fellowship for the Seattle chapter. Prior to matriculation at UW, he completed his B.S. in Neuroscience at the University of Minnesota, where he worked with Dr. Walter Low and Dr. Ann Parr in the Department of Neurosurgery. In his free time, he enjoys playing piano and guitar, video games, and rock climbing.

If Joe had to choose a career outside of science/medicine, he would be a guitarist in a metal band.

Aimee Schantz

Aimee Schantz, M.Ed. joined the BRaIN lab as Research Manager in May of 2020. Aimee provides project management and program operations support to a varied portfolio of research endeavors for the research team. Aimee has worked in the fields of neurodegenerative disease, infectious disease related cancers, and Mendelian Genetics; and took several years to pursue her dream to work internationally, in both Peru and Uganda. In her free time, Aimee most enjoys spending time with friends and family. She is an avid hiker and sometime sailor and hopes to incorporate additional international travel adventures into her future.

If Aimee had to choose a career outside of science/medicine, she would be a park ranger or maybe a mental health counselor, or a teacher, or something else entirely.

Joshua Russell

Dr. Joshua Russell is an Acting Instructor in the BRaIN laboratory. He received both his B.A in Biochemistry and Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology from The University of Texas at Austin and completed postdoctoral training in Matt Kaeberlein’s lab at the Department of Lab Medicine and Pathology at the University of Washington. Dr. Russell’s research is focused on the contribution of extracellular vesicle signaling to the proper myelination of neurons, with the goal of identifying early biomarkers of white matter disease and understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which extracellular vesicle signaling contributes to myelination defects in neurodegenerative disorders.

If Josh had to choose a career outside of science/medicine, he would work for a bulldog rescue organization.

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Tejas Bajwa joined the lab in June 2023 as a Research Scientist/Engineer I. He received a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering at Case Western Reserve University. He is planning to pursue medical school later with a focus in Neurology. Tejas' hobbies include weightlifting, cooking, soccer, and video games.

If Tejas had to chose a career outside of science/medicine, he would be a Michelin Star inspector.

John Campos

John Campos, MA, joined the lab in April 2021 as data manager. He received his undergraduate degree at Grinnell College and his graduate degree at the University of Washington. His education spans languages (French, Spanish, Russian, Japanese, English and linguistics), cultural anthropology, ecology and archeology (he worked at a dig outside Flagstaff Arizona). His work experience includes library sciences, social work, police accountability and adverse outcomes analysis. He has years of experience managing databases, websites, designing conference presentations and working on long-term research projects on adverse outcomes of clinical care.

If John had to choose a career outside of science/medicine, he would work in an archeology museum.

Victoria Rachleff

Victoria Rachleff joined the lab in 2021 as a Ph.D. student in the Molecular & Cellular Biology program at the University of Washington. Victoria’s primary research focus is cell-specific vulnerability in Alzheimer’s disease. Victoria earned her B.A. from McGill University in 2017, where she worked with Dr. Guy Rouleau and Dr. Ziv Gan-Or at the Montreal Neurological Institute. Victoria was awarded a CIRM Fellowship in 2017 and completed her M.Sc. in Cellular & Molecular Biology (Emphasis in Stem Cell Biology) from San Francisco State in 2019, where she worked with Dr. Theo Palmer at Stanford University. Victoria’s hobbies include travel, photography, gardening, organizational projects, and spending time with her husband and dog.

If Victoria had to choose a career outside of science/medicine, she would be a teacher.

Mamatha Damodarasamy

Mamatha Damodarasamy joined the lab in Sept 2020 and currently works as a research scientist. She also works in the Department of Gerontology and Geriatrics at the University of Washington in Dr. Reed’s lab studying Extracellular Matrix (ECM) influences on the microenvironment of the neurovascular unit (NVU) of the brain during aging and neurodegeneration since 2008. She has a MS in Molecular Genetics from the University of Nebraska Medical center. She likes to hike and spend time with her family.

Kathryn Torrez

Kathryn Felix Torrez joined the Keene Lab as a research coordinator in February 2023. She has extensive lab assistant, research coordinator and research consultant experience at the University of Washington, primarily in environmental health, emphysema, and male contraceptive research. She has a B.A. in Psychology from Seattle University. Her hobbies include international travel, wine tasting, spending time with friends, reading, and volunteer work.

If Kathryn had to chose a career outside of science/medicine, she would be a wine maker, curator for an international film festival, photographer, or travel writer.

Emily Petro

Emily Petro, an undergraduate lab assistant, joined the BRaIN lab in July 2021. She is pursuing a B.S. Public Health degree at the University of Washington and plans on attending medical school to become an oncologist. In her free time, Emily enjoys skiing, hiking, golfing, spending time with friends, reading, and adventuring.

If Emily had to choose a career outside of science/medicine, she would be an FBI agent in the BAU.

Julia Ryan

Julia Ryan joined the lab in December of 2020 as an undergraduate lab assistant and later became an tissue procurement assistant in June of 2021. She is currently pursuing a B.S. in Biochemistry at the University of Washington and plans on attending medical school post-grad. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends, reading and being active.

If Julia had to choose a career outside of science/medicine, she would be a pilot.

Jenny jang

Jenny Jang, is an undergraduate assistant research coordinator who joined the BRaIN lab in September 2021. She is currently pursuing a B.S. Neuroscience degree at the University of Washington and plans on attending medical school to pursue Neurosurgery. Jenny's hobbies include baking, traveling, swimming, hiking, and spending time with her friends and family.

If Jenny had to choose a career outside of science/medicine, she would be an Intelligence Analyst for the FBI or a chef.

Kayla Lay

Kayla Lay joined the BRaIN Lab in July 2021. She is currently pursuing a B.S in Chemistry and a B.S in Environmental Science at the University of Washington and plans on attending medical school post-grad. Outside of school and work, Kayla enjoys tennis, hiking, and spending time with friends and family.

If Kayla had to choose a career outside of science/medicine, she would be a park ranger.

Wenyuzeng

Wenyu Zeng joined the lab in March of 2024 as a Ph.D. student in the Biomedical and Health Informatics program at the University of Washington. Her research mainly focuses on using machine learning tools to detect glioblastoma and understand its harm to the brain. Prior to joining UW, Wenyu was a postbaccalaureate at the National Center for Translational Sciences (NCATS), where she worked with Dr. Ewy A. Mathé on predictive modeling and metabolomic projects. Wenyu earned her B.S. in Statistics from University of Pittsburgh, and M.S. in Data Science from George Washington University. In her spare time, Wenyu enjoys hiking, playing boardgames, and traveling.

If Wenyu had to choose a career outside of science/medicine, she would be a Feng Shui Master.


 

Alumni

Allison Beller – Kyra Bilgic – Katie Bonnofsky – Lauren Bruner – Leah Chen – MacKenzie Costom – Stephanie Dinh

Heidi Gildersleeve – Leanne Hellstern – Audrey Huang – Nik Jorstad – Katie Kern – Sarah Khawand – Mitchell Kilgore – Leanne Lehmann

Troy Marxen – Katelynn Nguyen – Tammy Nguyen – Megan Ogle – Maiya Pacleb – Abby Parrish – Shannon Rose – Trevor Sytsma