Department of Physiology Postdoctoral Fellows



Elizabeth Delery, PhD

Degree: PhD, Tulane University School of MedicineE Fucich2
Advisor: Scott Edwards, PhD
Research: Glucocorticoid regulation of pain in the context of traumatic brain injury & alcohol use disorder
Department: Physiology

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My research examines glucocorticoid signaling in the central amygdala in the context of traumatic brain injury and alcohol use disorder hyperalgesia. In addition, I look at neuroinflammation in traumatic brain injuries and alcohol use disorder. 



Elizabeth A Fucich, Ph.D.

Degree: Ph.D., UTHSC-San AntonioE Fucich2
Advisor: Patricia Molina, Ph.D.
Research: Traumatic brain injury and alcohol use
Department: Physiology

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My research addresses the neural mechanisms underlying the interaction between traumatic brain injury and alcohol use. I am also interested in how stress interacts with this relationship as well as identifying ways to improve negative outcomes of these concurrent conditions.


Alejandra Jacotte Simancas

Degree: PhD, Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona, SpainE Fucich2
Advisor: Patricia Molina, MD, PhD and Nicholas Gilpin, PhD
Research: Traumatic brain injury and alcohol use
Department: Physiology

Currently, my research seek to elucidate the neurobiological mechanisms underlying escalation of post-TBI alcohol drinking.




Danielle E. Levitt, PhD
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Degree: Ph.D., University of North Texas
Advisors: Patricia Molina, M.D., Ph.D., and Liz Simon, Ph.D.
Research: Alcohol-induced skeletal muscle dysregulation in SIV/HIV: Mitochondrial-mediated mechanisms
My long-term research interest is to elucidate alcohol-mediated
mechanisms of metabolic dysregulation in order to develop effective methods to counteract such changes in health and disease states.
Currently, my research focuses on alcohol and gonadal hormone
loss-mediated mechanisms of mitochondrial dysregulation in insulin-producing and insulin-sensitive tissues using a simian model of HIV.

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Patrick McTernan, PhD
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Degree: PhD, University of Georgia
Advisors: Patricia Molina, M.D., Ph.D.
Research: Health effects of alcohol use disorder (AUD) and HIV
My research investigates the health effects associated with the comorbidity of Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) and HIV.  The goal of my research is to develop treatments for AUD and HIV infected patients that can be utilized in clinical practice.

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Christian Montanari, PhD

Degree: PhD, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy
Advisor: Nicholas Gilpin, PhD
Research: Effects of chronic nicotine on alcohol intake in rats
Electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS or e-cigarettes); nicotine e-vape delivery and self-administration in rats
Department: Physiology

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Dr. Montanari is interested in the rewarding, motivational and inhibitory behaviors and in their neurobiological basis, both in normal conditions and in neurological and psychiatric illnesses as drug addiction and PTSD. His work at LSUHSC will model in rats the human nicotine and alcohol co-abuse, and it will investigate its neurobiological, cellular and molecular bases.



Marcus Weera, Ph.D.

Degree: Ph.D. Purdue University2015%2011:26:27%20AM
Advisors: Nicholas Gilpin, Ph.D.
Research: Neural mechanisms underlying substance use and co-morbid disorders.
Department: Physiology

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Dr. Weera is interested in elucidating the neural circuits and neurobiological factors that underlie substance (primarily alcohol) use disorders. Further, his research seeks to understand the neural bases of co-morbid substance use and psychiatric (e.g. post-traumatic stress) disorders , as well as between different types of substance use disorders. The goal of Dr. Weera's research is to inform prevention and treatment strategies for substance use and related psychiatric disorders.



Former Post-Doctoral Fellows



Amanda R. Pahng, Ph.D.

Degree: Ph.D., Tulane University 2015%2011:26:27%20AM
Advisors: Scott Edwards, Ph.D.
Research: Neurobiological mechanisms of escalated drug intake and hyperalgesia in alcohol and drug dependence
Department: Physiology
Currently Research Health Scientist at Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System and Instructor-Research (Gratis) at LSUHSC New Orleans




Joshua Oakes, Ph.D.

Degree:  Ph.D., Baylor College of Medicine
Advisors: Jason Gardner, Ph.D. and Xinping Yue, Ph.D.
Research: Effects of inhalable nicotine on the development of cardiopulmonary disease



Udita Datta, Ph.D.

Degree:  Ph.D., Bowling Green State University
Advisors: Nicholas Gilpin, Ph.D.
Research: Understanding the neurobiological basis of addiction and factors that contribute to individual differences in addiction trajectories.





Matthew Auten, M.D., Ph.D.

Degree: : Ph.D., LSUHSC-New Orleans
Degree: M.D. from LSUHSC May 2016
Advisor: Patricia Molina, MD, Ph.D. 
Currently a Pathology resident at West Virginia University School of Medicine.




Emily A. Roltsch Helland, Ph.D.

Degree: Ph.D., Texas A&M University
Advisor: Nicholas Gilpin, Ph.D.
Currently working as a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Dr. Jun Wang at Texas A&M University.




Megan L. Armstrong, Ph.D.

Degree: : Ph.D., University of Florida
Advisor: Patricia Molina, MD, Ph.D.
Currently working in private practice as a clinical psychologist.




Tracy Y. Dodd, Ph.D.

Degree:  Ph.D., University of South Alabama
Advisor: Patricia Molina, Ph.D.
Currently a medical student at LSUHSC-New Orleans.




Paige S. Katz, Ph.D.

Degree: Ph.D., LSUHSC-New Orleans
Advisor: Patricia Molina, M.D., Ph.D.
Currently Associate Director and Medical Science Liasion at Novartis Oncology.




Christy A. Itoga, Ph.D.

Degree:  Ph.D., University of Michigan
Advisor: Nicholas Gilpin, Ph.D.
Currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California-Irvine.




Annie Whitaker, Ph.D.

Degree: Ph.D., LSUHSC-New Orleans
Advisor: Nicholas Gilpin, Ph.D.
Currently a biology teacher at St. Scholastica Academy.


Karina Villalba, MPH, Ph.D.

Degree:  PhD., Florida International University
Advisor: Patricia Molina, M.D., Ph.D.
Currently working at Florida International University.



Anthony A. Duplanty, Ph.D.

Degree:  Ph.D., University of North Texas
Advisor: Patricia Molina, M.D., Ph.D.
Research: Muscle Physiology and metabolic dysregulation in SIV/HIV
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Currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology at Texas Women's University.

Anthony Duplanty Photo