Monk Lab Members

Vollum Institute co-director, Kelly Monk

Kelly Monk, Ph.D. monk@ohsu.edu
Senior Scientist and Principal Investigator

Kelly Monk is the co-director of the Vollum Institute. Kelly received her B.S. in Biochemistry from Elmira College and her Ph.D. in Cell Biology from University of Cincinnati/Cincinnati Children's Hospital where she studied neuron-glial interactions in development and disease models. Kelly performed postdoctoral studies at Stanford University from 2006–2010 and joined the Department of Developmental Biology at Washington University School of Medicine in 2011. In 2016, Kelly was promoted to associate professor with tenure, and she joined the Vollum Institute in 2017 as a senior scientist.

Jiakun Chen, PhD

Jiakun Chen chenjia@ohsu.edu
Postdoctoral Fellow

Jiakun received his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Xiamen University, China. In 2012, he started his graduate studies in the laboratory of Dr. Lilianna Solnica-Krezel at Washington University in St. Louis to study early embryogenesis in zebrafish. After receiving his Ph.D., Jiakun joined the Monk lab and Freeman lab in March 2018. He is interested in astroglial maturation and plasticity in development and neurological disorders using the fruit fly and zebrafish models.

Fernanda Coelho, PhD

Fernanda Coelho coelho@ohsu.edu
Senior Research Associate and Lab Manager

Fernanda is a senior research associate, the Monk Lab manager and proud mother of two children. She is originally from Brazil and completed her postdoctorate work in Immunology/Cell migration/Microbiology using in vivo two-photon microscopy in Bern, Switzerland. Now in the Monk lab, Fernanda couples her imaging expertise with the zebrafish model to bring insight into the glia-glia interplay. In her spare time, Fernanda enjoys her Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) membership. She is part of the Women in Science in Portland and loves travelling.

Hannah Collins

Hannah Collins collinha@ohsu.edu
Graduate Student, Neuroscience Graduate Program

Hannah received her B.S. in Cellular Molecular Biology with a minor in psychology from Humboldt State University, on the beautiful northern coast of California, in 2015. There she studied the role of asymmetric cell division of neural stem cells in the initiation and progression of glioblastoma. After graduating she joined the lab of Dr. Claudia Petritsch at UCSF as a California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) Bridges Fellow, continuing her work on asymmetric cell division, this time in oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs). In 2016 she joined the lab of Dr. Ben Barres at Stanford University as a research technician working on creating defined culture system for microglia. Hannah joined the Neuroscience Graduate Program in 2018 and the labs of Dr. Ben Emery and Dr. Kelly Monk in 2019. With this co-mentorship she hopes to use the combined power of zebrafish and mouse models to understand the regulation and maintenance of central nervous system myelination.

Ryan Doan

Ryan Doan doanr@ohsu.edu
Graduate Student, Neuroscience Graduate Program

Ryan received his B.S. in Neuroscience from Saint Louis University in 2015. He then moved to Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis to work in the labs of Aaron DiAntonio and Stefanie Geisler as a research technician, where he studied the mechanisms of axon degeneration and peripheral neuropathies. Ryan joined the Neuroscience Graduate Program at the Vollum Institute in 2018 and the Monk lab in 2019. He is interested in using the zebrafish model to investigate the roles of neuron-glia interactions in the development and function of the peripheral nervous system.

Austin Forbes

Austin Forbes forbesa@ohsu.edu
Research Associate

Austin is a research associate in the Monk lab and the lab manager of the Nechiporuk lab. He received a B.S. degree in biology from the University of Oregon and worked for a year at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center before settling at OHSU. Currently he curates a forward genetic zebrafish screen to help uncover novel mutants. Additionally, he has been working on VAST imaging system to analyze physiological changed in drug treated fish with high-throughput efficiency.

Grace Halsell-Vore

Grace Halsell-Vore halsellv@ohsu.edu
Research Assistant 2

Grace received her B.A. in Biology and Classical Studies from Whitman College in 2018. During her undergraduate work, she researched the effect of goat milk on genes associated with inflammatory bowel disease in pigs. Grace joined the Monk lab in June 2018. As the animal technician for the lab, she ensures all animals are healthy, well-fed, and maintained according to IACUC standards. Grace is an ardent animal lover and volunteers at a local dairy.

Jiaxing Li, PhD

Jiaxing Li lijia@ohsu.edu
Postdoctoral Fellow

Jiaxing received a B.S. degree in Animal Science from Shanghai Jiao Tong University and then a Ph.D. degree in Molecular Biology with Dr. Catherine Collins from University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. During his Ph.D., Jiaxing investigated the regulation mechanism of a MAP kinase, known as Wallenda/dlk, which plays important roles in synapse development and axonal injury response. Using Drosophila embryos and larvae, his work revealed a previously unknown regulation mechanism that coordinates axonal cargo volume with axonal transport capacity. Jiaxing joined the Monk lab in November 2017 to study myelination in the central nervous system with a focus on the development of oligodendrocyte-lineage cells.

Amit Mogha, PhD

Amit Mogha mogha@ohsu.edu
Senior Research Associate

Amit Mogha received his Master in Biotech degree from Allahabad, India. He followed it with a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the City University of New York in 2011 where he investigated the role of a G-protein coupled receptor (5-HT1A-R) in early postnatal synaptogenesis. His love for G-protein coupled receptor led him to join Kelly Monk's lab at Washington University in St. Louis. As Dr. Monk's first postdoc, Amit investigated the role of adhesion-G-protein-coupled receptors (Gpr126 and Gpr56) in CNS and PNS myelination. Amit is currently continuing his love affair with adhesion GPCRs and their role in CNS and PNS myelination and the mechanisms involved. View Amit Mogha's publications in PubMed

Rory Morgan, PhD

Rory Morgan morgaror@ohsu.edu
Postdoctoral Fellow

Rory received his B.S. degree in 2007 in biochemistry from Gonzaga University while conducting research on anaerobic metabolism for potential antiparasitic therapeutics. Rory next entered the Master's Industrial Internship Program in Organic Synthesis at the University of Oregon, where he completed a M.S. degree in 2008 in chemistry and a nine-month internship at the pharmaceutical research company Bend Research, Inc. Rory’s internship progressed into a permanent position as a research chemist, where he was employed from 2008–2012, researching a variety of projects centered around drug delivery technologies. Looking to learn more about the early stages of drug development, Rory completed a Ph.D. in chemical biology in 2017 at Oregon Health & Science University investigating the biological roles of the post-translational modification known as ADP-ribosylation using rationally designed chemical probes and chemical genetic strategies. Rory is now pursuing postdoctoral studies in the Monk lab focusing on phenotypic screening to uncover remyelination pathways using both genetic and chemical approaches in zebrafish.

Cameron Paton

Cameron Paton patonca@ohsu.edu
Research Assistant 2

Cameron Paton received his bachelor’s degree in Biology from Lewis & Clark College in May 2019. Prior to joining the Monk Lab at OHSU as a research assistant, he worked as an undergraduate research assistant for two years in the Binford Laboratory under Dr. Pam Zobel-Thropp and Dr. Greta Binford. Cameron contributed research characterizing the biochemical properties of venom peptides from Sicariid spiders, which includes the brown recluse and six-sided sand spider. He joined the Monk lab in January 2020, where he will be a Research Assistant 2 helping oversee mouse colony health and developing molecular cloning techniques in zebrafish to investigate the neuron-glia interactions.

Tyrell Simkins, DO, PhD

Tyrell Simkins, D.O., Ph.D. simkinst@ohsu.edu
Multiple Sclerosis/Neuroimmunology Fellow

Tyrell was born in Utah, but has lived across the United States. He earned his bachelor's degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology at Boise State University in Boise, ID. He then moved east to attend Michigan State University where he earned his Ph.D. in Neuroscience and Environmental Toxicology and his medical degree, D.O. Tyrell completed his Neurology Residency at UC Davis Medical in Sacramento, CA and was elected to Chief Resident in his final year. Following residency he gladly accepted the opportunity for a Multiple Sclerosis and Neuroimmunology Fellowship at the Portland VA in conjunction with OHSU beginning July 2019. During the fellowship, he will continue clinical diagnosis/treatment of neuroimmunologic disease and also engage in translational research in the labs of Kelly Monk and Ben Emery. He is interested in understanding the mechanisms of myelin development and remyelination with an eye towards the development of therapies for myelin preservation and restoration in human disease. A devoted husband and father, Tyrell also enjoys athletic training, meditation, philosophy, music, the outdoors, and wood building.