Lab Members

Erzsebet KokovayErzsebet Kokovay, PhD
Assistant Professor

Principal Investigator
Experienced Assistant Professor with a demonstrated history of working in research and higher education. Strong education and professional knowledge in Stem Cells, Neuroscience, Neuroimmunology, Cancer Biology, and diseases of the brain. Effective science communicator in both written and oral forms. Experienced in managing a team and developing and running a research laboratory.

Natalia Kuhn-SandovalNatalia R. Kuhn-Sandova, BS, MPH
Senior Research Assistant
I have a BS in Genetics from Texas A&M University and an MPH from Texas A&M University School of Rural Public Health. I have many years of experience collecting, maintaining and analyzing large data sets and a comprehensive background with planning, scheduling, executing, analyzing, troubleshooting, and reporting results for scientific research projects. I have worked with different animal models including American buffalo, baboon, rhesus macaque, mice, and even humans. I enjoy learning new laboratory skills and technologies as needed to accomplish research goals. Lastly, I really love meeting all of the brilliant and talented people in this field and cultivating positive and productive working relationships with everyone I meet.

Sam HarrisonSamuel Harrison, BS
PhD Candidate
I attended Angelo State University where I did research on the genetic variation of bats Myotis ciliolabrum, Myotis californicus, and Lasiurus ega under Dr. Loren Ammerman. My undergraduate thesis was titled “Genetic Analysis of the Southern Yellow Bat, Lasiurus ega”. I graduated with Highest Honors from Angelo State University in 2018. During my time at ASU I majored in Biology with a minor in Chemistry.

I am a PhD Candidate in the IBMS program in the Biology of Aging Discipline. I joined Dr. Kokovay’s lab, where my project is studying the effects of microglia secretions on NSCs. We hypothesize that microglia undergo age-related changes that drive NSC dysfunction in the SVZ. I hope to work in an industrial capacity after I earn my PhD, and in the future I hope to continue studying aging and neural stem cells.

Melanie CruzMelanie Cruz, BS
Graduate Student
Melanie Cruz received her B.A. from the University of San Diego in Biochemistry with minors in Comprehensive Music and Biomedical Ethics. Her undergraduate thesis focused on the effects of post-translational modification on enzyme kinetics in enzymes shown to be hyperactive in numerous types of cancer cells. She is currently working on her M.S. in the Department of Cell Systems and Anatomy.

John VerscheldeJohn Verschelde II, BS
Graduate Student
I received a B.A. in Biology with a concentration in molecular and cellular biology from Texas A&M University-San Antonio. I participated in an undergraduate internship where we looked at MitoPY1 and ROS within the different populations of t-cells located in the mouse thymus. I am currently working on getting my M.S. in the Cells Systems and Anatomy Department on the Biotechnology track at UTHSCSA. I am investigating the effects of LRP1 on neurogenesis, as well as looking at the effect of CXCR4 in the process of repair. After completing my M.S I am hoping to continue my education and pursue a PhD.

Miguel de la FlorMiguel (Mike) de la Flor, CMI PhD
Postdoctoral Research Scientist
I investigate the molecular and cellular mechanisms that may regulate neurogenesis during aging or after injury in the mouse brain. Findings from this work may elucidate research targets that could shed light on the mechanisms of neurogenesis in humans.

I earned my PhD in Biology with a concentration in behavioral neurobiology in 2019 from the University of Houston. I served as faculty in the Biology and Biochemistry department at the University of Houston prior to joining the SABER*IRACDA and Postdoctoral programs at UTHSCSA. I am also a Board Certified Medical Illustrator.

Updated 2021-07-20