Postdoctoral Fellows and Graduate Students

Research Postdoctoral Fellows

Hung Vu Thien Nguyen, Ph.D.

Hung Nguyen

Hung Nguyen received his Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences under the mentorship of Dr. Cesario V. Borlongan at the Morsani College of Medicine, University of South Florida. His Ph.D. work focused on mitochondrial dysfunction in retinal ischemia and utilizing mesenchymal stem cells as a potential therapeutic option. Hung is joining Dr. Selva Baltan's lab as a postdoctoral fellow where he will study mitochondrial dysfunction in white matter injury in neurological diseases and aging. Outside of the lab, Hung enjoys hiking and photography.

Jessica Hebert, Ph.D.

Jessica Hebert

Jessica Hebert, PhD is a postdoctoral scholar in the Hutchens Lab studying rhabdomyolysis and acute kidney injury. Dr. Hebert received her BA in Biology and Chemistry (Spanish minor) at Minnesota State University - Moorhead in 2007 and earned a PhD in Biology from Portland State in 2018. Her dissertation, under Dr. Terry Morgan at OHSU, focused on maternal pathology and fetal effects on placental development and long-term health. She completed a 2 year postdoctoral position in Ob/Gyn studying placental mitochondrial function affected maternal metabolic disorders and fetal sex.

In addition to her research, Dr. Hebert is an international award-winning public science communicator and an OMSI Science Communication Fellow, developing projects for their community-focused outreach efforts. In her free time, she enjoys writing and making music, crocheting, and drinking entirely too much coffee. She shares her passion for science, music, and more on Twitter at @Dame_DNA.

Sarah Zerimech, Ph.D.

Sarah Zerimech

Sarah left her birth city, Lille, to achieve a Master’s degree at University of Nice Sophia Antipolis. In 2019, she completed her PhD at Institut de Pharmacologie Moleculaire et Cellulaire (IPMC) in Sophia Antipolis, where she studied the mechanisms of cortical spreading depression the electrophysiology correlate of migraine aura, using electrophysiology imaging and optogenetics.

Sarah loves swimming, and until high school was a competitive swimmer. She also reads a lot (Classical, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Thriller) and loves writing novels and short stories; there are a lot of universes in her mind, waiting to be born. Sarah is a single child, and her parents live and work in France; she also has two aunts living in San Francisco. She cannot wait to have her beautiful cat with her, when this Covid19 thing calms down.

Priscilla Ambrosi, Ph.D.

Priscilla Ambrosi

Priscilla Ambrosi

Ibrahim "Berk" Berkhan, M.D.

Ibrahim Berkhan

Berk comes to us from Istanbul, Turkey and has been in the US and Portland for all of one week, being drawn here by Dr. Alkayed’s cardiovascular research. Berk completed his medical training at Namik Kemal University in Tekirdag, Turkey and was most recently employed as an Emergency Physician at Muratli State Hospital in Tekirdag.

Berk’s hobbies include music and fitness. He is a semi-professional saxophone player and has performed many concerts with various bands in Turkey. He is also an unofficial kickboxing instructor and holds certificates in fitness education. He loves to tell jokes and appreciates feedback to ensure he’s being respectful of boundaries.

Graduate Students

Sierra Smith, B.A

Sierra Smith

Sierra Smith joined the Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine as a Graduate Student in the Saugstad laboratory in August of 2019. She earned her B.A in Neuroscience from Lake Forest College in 2017. She then was a Northwestern University Interdepartmental Neuroscience PREP Scholar in Dr. Rajeshwar Awatramani’s Lab. Sierra joined the Neuroscience Graduate Program at OHSU in 2018 and is now in her 2nd year.

As a member of the Saugstad team, Sierra is interested in using bioinformatics to analyze large datasets to identify potential target proteins involved in disease mechanisms, particularly as related to the miRNA biomarker work by the lab focused on Alzheimer’s disease. She is also interested in characterizing extracellular vesicles from distinct human biofluids using proteomic methodologies.

Sarah Catherine Baker, M.S.

Sarah Baker

Sarah Catherine Baker joined the Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine as a Graduate Student in the Saugstad laboratory in April 2020. She earned her B.S in Biological Sciences, as well as a supplementary degree in English Literature, from the University of Notre Dame in 2018. She next pursued an M.S. in Global Health from Trinity College Dublin, and graduated in September 2019. She began her PhD at OHSU in the Program of Molecular and Cellular Biology, and later joined the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology.

In the Saugstad lab, Sarah Cate is exploring the role of extracellular vesicles in neurodegenerative disease. By exploring their protein, lipid, and microRNA content, she is hoping to better understand how extracellular vesicles are altered by neurodegeneration, and whether they contribute to disease pathology. In addition to working on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, Sarah Cate is also applying the lab’s expertise to Niemann Pick’s Disease Type C, a rare form of neurodegeneration that primarily affects children.

Allison "AJ" Ellingson, M.S.

Allison Ellingson

AJ is a rising second year graduate student in the NGP. She was born and raised in Boise, ID and attended the University of Idaho for her bachelors degree in electrical engineering and her masters degree in biological engineering. AJ mostly focuses on electrophysiology in the lab but outside of the lab she likes to run, hike, bike, rock climb, surf, and get outside in any aspect

Natasha Warikoo, M.D., Ph.D.

Natasha Warikoo

Natasha is an MD/PhD student who joined the Schnell lab in 2020. She grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio and went to college at Washington University in Saint Louis, where she pursued a degree in philosophy, neuroscience and psychology. After graduating, she started working in a lab studying anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis with Dr. Steven Mennerick. With wonderful friends and mentors to guide her, she discovered her love for synaptic physiology. She moved out to Oregon in 2018 to continue learning about her passions-- caring for others, and understanding a small piece of how the brain works. She is currently studying the role of endogenous opioids in modulating hippocampal circuitry. When not poking granule cells, Natasha can be found in the forest or on a mountain, flanked by her two sweet dogs, Gulab and Jamun.