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Current Doctoral Students

Musaad Alsahly

Musaad Alsahly

In 2013, I graduated from Ball State University in Muncie, IN with a M.S in Physiology after I successfully defended my thesis. My thesis is Colonic Morphological Changes in Rat Model of TNBS-Induced Colitis after Oral Feeding of Bifidobacterium Infantis (BI). Although my thesis is in GIT, I am really interested in the research areas of Cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. My primary goal is to identify and develop true disease modifying therapies that preserve or restore beta cell function, preserve cardiac function, restore vascular function, protect from renal damage, and reduce cardiovascular mortality. I believe that physiology PhD program is a great stage of my academic life that is full of knowledge and experience in the physiology field. The goals of the Ph.D. program at ECU and the expertise of the faculty members are highly appropriate to my objectives. The faculty members in the Department of Physiology and are innovative researchers with many publications each year and the contribution they make to the field of physiology is impressive.

Adam Amorese

Adam Amorese

Nathan Holland

Nathan Holland

I graduated from Western Carolina University in 2012 with a B.S. in Emergency Medical Care. My experiences as a paramedic strongly fostered an interest in cardiovascular physiology, particularly in the areas of cardiac ischemia/reperfusion injury. I received a M.S. in Biomedical Science from East Carolina University in 2014. My thesis work focused on how pulmonary exposures to engineered nanomaterials drive the expansion of cardiac ischemia-reperfusion injury. For my dissertation I am continuing my work with Dr. Wingard, elucidating mechanisms of how environmental exposures may drive heart failure following myocardial infarction. In my free time I enjoy playing with my dog, cooking, photography, and bombing atomically.

Melissa Inigo

Melissa Inigo

My background is in Sports Science and Strength and Conditioning. Upon realizing that my strengths are in studying the physiological aspects of sport and exercise, I pursued my Master's degree at Texas Tech University, which concentrated in Clinical Exercise Physiology. My thesis was on the influence of the menstrual cycle on exercise-induced asthma, which led me to become interested in the roles of estrogen beyond reproductive function. With Dr. Spangenburg as my advisor, I am currently researching on the role of estrogen receptor-alpha in the regulation of skeletal muscle metabolism. During my free time, I like to travel, try different cuisines, and play sports (i.e. rugby, shooting, swimming).

Gabriel Grilo

Gabriel Grilo

I was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and since an early age I was deeply curious in how the human body works. I developed a passion for Physiology during medical school, and the idea of medical research was even more fascinating to me than medical practice. I graduated with a B.Sc. in Biological Sciences at FIU in 2011, where I worked with melanoma development research during three years. After my graduation, I decided to extend my interests in Physiology and today I work under the guidance of Dr. de Castro Brás. Our laboratory investigates the role of collagen-derived matricryptin p1158/59 in cardiac remodeling after myocardial infarction (MI). p1158/59 therapy post-MI has been shown enhance cardiac compliance, and my project focuses on identifying the mechanisms of action involved in this process. In my free time I enjoy photography, playing with my dogs and watching movies with my wife.

Samantha Meneely

Samantha Meneely

I graduated with my B.S. in biology in 2013 followed by my M.S. in biology in 2015 from Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas. My Master’s degree was spent studying the changes in phosphorylation for specific sites on estrogen receptor alpha in T cells of healthy females. This research laid the groundwork for future studies on systemic lupus eythematosus (SLE). I have always had a fascination with the nervous system, which lead me to pursue a PhD at ECU working in Dr. Clemens lab in neuroscience. I work with the dopamine system and its relationship with restless leg syndrome. Outside of the lab, I enjoy reading, movies, swimming, being close to the ocean, and spending time with friends and family.

Joshua Morgan

Joshua Morgan

Michael Odom

Michael Odom

I developed a passion for understanding human physiology while serving as a paramedic in eastern North Carolina. This led to the completion of my B.S. degree in Emergency Medical Care from Western Carolina University in 2014. During my undergraduate studies I began noticing gaps in medical knowledge and became fascinated by medical research, which I intend to pursue a career in after graduating. East Carolina University has a long reputation of fostering the individual growth of each student and was an easy choice for me. Currently, under the tutelage of Dr. Hannan, we are developing in vivo animal models of vascular injury to better understand vascular remodeling within the internal pudendal artery. Outside of academics, I enjoy both the intentional and unintentional adventures of family life with my wonderful wife and three small children.

Cameron Schmidt

Cameron Schmidt

I graduated from the University of Akron in Akron, Ohio in 2013 with a B.S. In biology and minors in both applied mathematics and chemistry. I came to North Carolina to be a part of a well established community of biomedical scientists. I work in Dr. Joe McClung's research group in the Dept. of Physiology and the East Carolina Diabetes Obesity Institute. The group's primary interest lies in evaluating genetic factors underlying differential response to surgically induced hind limb ischemia in inbred strains of laboratory mice and the translational implications those differences have for humans with cardiovascular and/or metabolic disease. We test our hypotheses using laser doppler imaging, animal husbandry, immunocytochemistry, viral transfection, as well as other established and developing methods. I enjoy relating biology with mathematical formalism and using computational tools such as object oriented programming, molecular dynamics simulations, and biomolecular sequence analysis to predict and analyze biological phenomena. When I'm not doing, talking about, or thinking about science I enjoy running, biking, and brewing mediocre beer with my wife and best friend Denise.

Cody Smith

Cody Smith

While working on my Master's degree in physiology and developmental biology at Brigham Young University, I realized that I wanted to make a career of research and teaching. My thesis work was on characterizing a protein complex integral to the AMP-activated protein kinase pathway in skeletal muscle. Upon graduating from BYU in December 2010, I came to ECU to work with Dr. Darrell Neufer studying the bioenergetics of skeletal muscle and how it relates to the onset of insulin resistance and diabetes. Aside from studying metabolism, I enjoy exercising my own metabolism. I am an avid sports and exercise enthusiast with an equal love for cooking and tasting new foods. I also enjoy reading a good novel and spending time with my wife and family.

Madaniah Zakari

Madaniah Zakari

I graduated from King Abdul Aziz University, SA with a B.S in Medicine in 2010. In 2011, I finished my Internship. From 2011 to 2013, I worked as a Teaching Assistant in the Dept. of Physiology at Taibah University, SA. In 2013, I worked as a volunteer in the Physiology Researches Laboratory at Virginia Commonwealth University. In 2014, I was interested in Dr. Virag’s project. I have read her papers that were published in PubMed, which are very interesting, investigate MI pathophysiology, and factors that modulate the pathogenesis and how to prevent it. This motivated me to pursue my Ph.D. at ECU to learn from her expertise and pursue my own project in the future in Cardiovascular Physiology.