People


Dirk Keene

Dr. C. Dirk Keene received his education at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (B.S. in Cell and Molecular Biology) and the University of Minnesota (M.D. and Ph.D. in Neuroscience). His post-graduate medical training in Anatomic Pathology and Neuropathology was at the University of Washington where he earned a faculty position in Neuropathology. Currently, Dr. Keene is the Nancy and Buster Alvord Endowed Chair in Neuropathology, Associate Professor of Pathology, Adjunct Associate Professor of Ophthalmology and Neurological Surgery, Director of the Neuropathology Division, and Leader of the Neuropathology and Targeted Molecular Testing Core at the University of Washington.

Dr. Keene is Board Certified in Anatomic Pathology and Neuropathology and regularly attends on each of the clinical neuropathology subspecialties (neurosurgical, neuromuscular, ophthalmic, and autopsy) for UW Medicine. He enjoys significant teaching and training opportunities through diverse teaching commitments, the UW Graduate School course “PATH513: Molecular Mechanisms of Neurodegeneration”, and as Director of the Neuropathology Fellowship.

Dr. Keene strives to promote scientific advancement through diagnostic and research neuropathology. Dr. Keene supervises a team of scientists, fellows, research coordinators, and histotechnologists who respectfully and expeditiously perform research autopsies in a manner that maximally and optimally preserves tissues for diverse applications for investigators around the country whilst providing accurate and timely neuropathological diagnoses according to the latest guidelines.

Dr. Keene energetically promotes tissue and data sharing, and facilitation of local and national research through collaborative and cooperative mechanisms. He strives to adapt existing and develop novel technologies to maximize the scientific utility of archived and prospectively acquired human brain tissue. The goal of the Keene Laboratory is to facilitate development of diagnostic, therapeutic, and preventative approaches for neurodegenerative disease by combining traditional and precision neuropathological strategies in human tissues with experimental approaches in model systems.

 

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 autopsy and sampling strategy. As things evolved, Kim left the autopsy 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 autopsy program and now manages the autopsy service. 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 Keen has been with the lab since March 2019 and is a lead autopsy 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. 
Jeanelle Ariza-Torres

Jeanelle Ariza-Torres moved to Seattle in 2017, and joined the Keene lab in April 2019 as a Research Scientist. She currently leads projects to measure Alzheimer's disease pathologic peptides using a Luminex assay, IHC and digital image analysis on human FFPE brain tissue samples. She studied Biology in the Universidad Distrital in Colombia, where she completed her thesis on peripheral nervous system degeneration in the National Health Institute’s neuroscience laboratory. Later, she finished a specialization in Forensics Anthropology at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. In 2004, she received an offer to work at the University of California San Francisco and Davis where she worked for 12 years on many projects. Her hobbies include cooking vegan food and traveling with her family. 

If Jeanelle had to choose a career outside of science/medicine, she would be an interior designer.

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 the varied portfolio of research endeavors for the research team. During her career Aimee has worked in the fields of neurodegenerative disease, infectious disease related cancers, and Mendelian Genetics. Additionally, Aimee took some years to work internationally in both Peru and Uganda in the public health arena. In her free time Aimee most enjoys spending time with friends and family. She is an avid hiker and 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 teacher, travel writer, or park ranger.

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Kyra Bilgic joined the lab in March 2019 as an undergraduate lab assistant. She is currently pursuing a B.S. in Physiology from the University of Washington and is planning on pursuing a graduate degree in Epidemiology. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, painting, searching for undiscovered coffee shops, and running with friends.

If Kyra had to choose a career outside of science/medicine she would be a human rights lawyer. 

Heidi Gildersleeve

Heidi Gildersleeve, MS, joined the lab as a research coordinator towards the end of 2020, after a few years of camping and hiking as she and her husband moved back to the PNW from five years in Texas. Most of her science career has been in genomic research at the bench and now she is enjoying neuroscience and neurogenetics coordination work and the dynamics of interfacing with donors and scientists. Heidi loves the beach and water sports and has crewed in rowing and sailboat racing teams. She and her husband are excited to have their first baby in July 2021.

If Heidi had to choose a career outside of science/medicine, she would be: a nature photographer, a land/sea-scape painter, a memoir writer, and chef!

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.

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, archeology (he worked at a dig outside Flagstaff Arizona). His work experience includes library sciences, social work, police accountability. 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.


 

Alumni

Trevor Sytsma  –  Katie Kern  –  Leanne Lehmann  –  Audrey Huang  –  Abby Parrish  –  Katelynn Nguyen  –  Katie Bonnofsky

Shannon Rose  –  Leanne Hellstern  –  Lauren Bruner  –  Allison Beller  –  Mitchell Kilgore  –  Troy Marxen

Nik Jorstad  –  Stephanie Dinh  –  Leah Chen  –  MacKenzie Costom  –  Tammy Nguyen