Lab Members

Gary Westbrook reading a manuscript

Gary L. Westbrook
M.S.E, M.D., 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 a senior scientist in 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 served as the director of the Vollum/OHSU Neuroscience Graduate Program at OHSU from 2008–2018.

Christina Chatzi

Christina Chatzi
M.Pharm., University of Portsmouth, UK, 2002
M.Sc., University of Nottingham, UK, 2003
Ph.D., University of Aberdeen, UK, 2008

Christina is a Research Assistant Professor who joined the Westbrook lab from the Burnham Institute in La Jolla, California. Her research interests focus on developing novel approaches for understanding the genetic and molecular mechanisms that underlie neural cell fate and plasticity in the adult and aging brain. Outside the lab she loves spending time on or in the water and exploring the great PNW with her daughter. 

Amir Veshagh

Amir Vesagh
BS Biology, Portland State, 2021

Amir moved to Portland from Tehran, Iran and has lived here ever since. He attended Portland State University. He joined the Westbrook lab in 2019 as a volunteer and continued his work in the lab as a summer NGP intern in 2019 and a summer Equity intern in 2021. Volunteering in the lab in-between summers. Upon graduation he joined the lab as a fulltime research assistant. He is working on how physical exercise affects synaptic plasticity and circuit reorganization in the perforant path. Outside of the lab Amir enjoys hiking, gardening, and watching science fiction movies. Amir has been accepted to medical school at OHSU and will start there in August 2023.

Ashleigh Simmonds

Ashleigh Simmonds
BS Neuroscience, Michigan State, 2021

Ashleigh joined the Westbrook lab in September 2021 as a research assistant after earning a B.S. in neuroscience from Michigan State University. Ashleigh is broadly interested in exercised-induced neuroplasticity and changes in neuroplasticity and synaptic health in diseased states. She plans to continue schooling to earn her Ph.D. in neuroscience and begin working in industry research. Ashleigh will be moving to Houston in August 2023 and starting graduate school in neuroscience at Baylor!

Milana Krush

Milana Krush
BS Neurology, Physiology and Behavior, University of California, Davis, 2018 

Milana joined the Neuroscience Graduate Program at the Vollum/OHSU in 2021 after several years as a research assistant at UCSF working on kinase signaling in leukemic bone marrow. Her primary interests are neuroplasticity, hippocampal circuitry, and learning/memory research. She is currently investigating mechanisms of sparse coding and pattern separation in the dentate gyrus.

Elena Sevrin

Elena Sevrin
MS, Biomed Sci, University of Liége, 2018

Elena is a visiting graduate student from the University of Liége in Belgium where she is working in the lab of our longtime colleague Anne-Simone Parent. Her interests are in neuroendocrinology and the study of "endocrine disrupting chemicals" (EDCs) that are ubiquitous toxins in our environment. During her visit to the lab, she is testing the effect of EDCs on gene expression and development in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus.

Teyline McLean

Teyline Mclean
BS Neuroscience,
Washington State University, Vancouver, 2022

Teyline joined the Westbrook lab as a research assistant in May 2023 and is interested in studying neuroplasticity and the mechanisms of psychedelics. Teyline received a bachelor's degree in neuroscience, with minors in fine art and psychology, from Washington State University - Vancouver. Outside the lab, Teyline likes to read books, make art, and play guitar.  

Natalie Mazzeo

Natalie Mazzeo
BS Psychobiology, (expected), University of California, Los Angeles 2026

Natalie is a rising sophomore at the University of California, Los Angeles majoring in Psychobiology. During the year, she volunteers in Ronald Reagan Hospital’s Traumatic Brain Injury recovery unit. This summer at the Westbrook lab, she hopes to gain insight on methods of studying brain science using mouse models, as well as gaining valuable lab experience.

Sharing space with our collaborators

The lab of Eric Schnell works with the Westbrook lab at the Vollum Institute and moved to new laboratory space in the Portland VA Medical Center in 2022. Information on their research interests and projects can be found at the