Gareth M. Thomas, Ph.D
Gareth is an Associate Professor in the Shriners Hospitals Pediatric Research Center at Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia. He is also a member of the new Department of Neural Sciences. Gareth obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of Cambridge and then did his graduate research in the laboratory of Sir Philip Cohen, a world leader in the field of protein kinase signaling. Gareth was then awarded a Wellcome Trust Fellowship to join the laboratory of Dr. Rick Huganir, Chair of the Department of Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. In the Huganir Lab, Gareth developed an interest in the roles of the protein-lipid modification palmitoylation in the regulation of neuronal synapses. This work led to several key papers focusing on palmitoylation-dependent targeting of neurotransmitter receptors. Now, Gareth’s own laboratory combines the skills learned from the Cohen and Huganir Labs to focus on a largely unexplored area, namely how palmitoylation controls the localization and activity of neuronal protein kinases and other signaling enzymes. This work has broad implications for our understanding of how neuronal signaling is regulated in both health and disease.
Current Lab Members
Natasha Hesketh, graduate student
I graduated with a BFA from Pratt Institute in 2015 and gained experience teaching before obtaining an MS in Cell and Molecular Biology from Rowan University. In 2021, I joined the Thomas lab as a PhD student. Currently my work is centered on the degradation of palmitoylated axonal proteins with the goal of better understanding axon degeneration.
Xiaotian Zhang, graduate student
I earned my Bachelor’s degree from UMass Amherst and then completed a Master’s in Nutrition and Metabolism in 2021 at Boston University School of Medicine. I joined the Thomas lab in 2022 as a graduate student, where I am seeking to identify new regulators of axon integrity and degeneration.
Brittany Rotanz, Research Assistant
I joined the Thomas Lab in late 2021, after prior work at Charles River Labs and Genesis Diagnostics. In addition to keeping the lab running smoothly, I am looking to identify new roles for the DLK/JNK pathway in neurons.
Heykyeong Jeong, Postdoctoral Fellow
Current position: Scientific Investigator, GlaxoSmithKline, Collegeville, PA
Jingwen Niu, Postdoctoral Fellow.
Current position: Research Scientist, Alphathera, Philadelphia
Luiselys (Sely) Hernandez (Research Assistant)
Current position: MD/PhD student, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania
Shaun Sanders, Postdoctoral Fellow.
Current position: Assistant Professor, University of Guelph, ON, Canada
Dale Martin, Postdoctoral Fellow.
Current position: Assistant Professor, University of Waterloo, ON, Canada
Francesca DeSimone, Postdoctoral Fellow.
Current position: Postdoctoral Fellow, Lab of Dr. Dianne Langford, Temple University School of Medicine
Sabrina Holland, Postdoctoral Fellow.
Current position: Associate Scientist, Lab of Dr. Gianluca Gallo, Temple University School of Medicine
Audrey Montersino, Postdoctoral Fellow.
Current position: Development & Licensing Manager at Brain and Spine Institute (ICM) & Institut de la Vision
Joju George, Postdoctoral Fellow.
Current position: Research Scientist, Elanco Animal Health in Indiana.
Kaitlin Collura, M.D./Ph.D. candidate
Current position: Pathology Resident, Thomas Jefferson University
Santi Karnam, Temple Undergraduate Honors Student
Current position: Ophthalmology Resident, University of Nebraska Medical Center
Lauren Sibeck, Temple University Medical School Student
Current position: Resident, Family Medicine, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center St Margaret’s.
Prasad Kanuparthi, Temple University Medical School Student.
Current position: Resident, Neurology, Temple University Hospital.
Kevin Hendrickson, Temple University Medical School Student.
Current position: Clinical rotations, Temple University Medical School.