Westbrook Lab: Members

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Gary WestbrookGary L. Westbrook (westbroo@ohsu.edu)
MSE, MD, Case Western Reserve, 1976

Dr. Westbrook received clinical training in Internal Medicine and Neurology in Boston and St. Louis, and research training at the National Institutes of Health. He is Senior Scientist and Co-Director of the Vollum Institute and the Dixon Professor of Neurology at OHSU. His research interests are the mechanisms of synaptic transmission in the nervous system. Dr. Westbrook has been active in OHSU training activities in disease-oriented neuroscience research. He initiated the Neurobiology of Disease course in the graduate program, and currently serves as the Director of the Neuroscience Graduate Program at OHSU.


Kathleen BeesonKathleen Beeson (beeson@ohsu.edu)
BA, Neuroscience, Knox College, 2009

Kathleen is a Neuroscience Graduate student who joined the Schnell lab in 2015 after years of traveling, STEM outreach, and working in a neuro-oncology lab. She is interested in how adult-born neurons integrate into their circuits and uses molecular and electrophysiologic techniques to study critical molecules for synapse formation during adult neurogenesis. Outside of synaptic plasticity, Kathleen loves learning about different cultures, backpacking, and gardening.


Christina ChatziChristina Chatzi (chatzi@ohsu.edu)
PhD, University of Aberdeen, UK, 2007

Christina joined the Westbrook lab in October 2011 from the Burnham Institute in La Jolla, California. She brings a strong background in developmental biology and stem cell biology that will greatly enhance the group.



Will HendricksWill Hendricks (hendricw@ohsu.edu)
BS, Psychology and BA, Biology, College of Charleston, 2012

Will is a second year NGP graduate student working with Dr. Eric Schnell. He is interested in understanding the synapses formed by mossy fiber sprouting, a type of hippocampal circuit rearrangement that may contribute to the development of chronic epilepsy. Will primarily uses whole cell electrophysiology, immunohistochemsitry, and Cre-dependent transgenic mouse lines in his experiments. When not in the lab, he can usually be found somewhere on a mountain, either climbing to the top or snowboarding down. Will is originally from Charleston, South Carolina.


Austin PetersAustin Peters (peterau@ohsu.edu)
MD, New York University, 2013

Austin is an Anesthesiology resident at OHSU and one of his program's research fellows. He grew up in Cleveland, Ohio before traveling to New York City for his undergraduate and medical school training, at Fordham University and NYU, respectively. Austin and his wife, Daphne, live in Portland and love Portland Dining Month, arguing about pets, and aristo-camping.


Eric SchnellEric Schnell (schneler@ohsu.edu)
MD, PhD, University of California, San Francisco, 2004

Eric is an Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology who performs his clinical work at the Portland VA and is working on his research as part of the Westbrook lab. Eric is interested in adult-generated newborn neurons and their role in neuroplasticity in the brain, with a particular interest in the synaptogenic molecules, neuroligins, as well as the cellular and network effects of concussive head injuries.


Chris VaagaChris Vaaga (vaaga@ohsu.edu)
BS, Neurobiology, University of Washington, 2010

Chris joined the lab in 2011 as a graduate student in the Neuroscience Graduate Program. He is interested in studying the olfactory bulb microcircuit, specifically the contribution of local dual-transmitter neurons to microcircuit function. Chris received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship in 2011 as well as a Tartar Trust Fellowship (2013) and ARCS scholarship (2011).