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Team members

Darijana Horvat - Research Assistant / Lab Manager

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Darijana Horvat received her B.S. in Chemistry from Texas A&M University. During her undergraduate career, she worked with Dr. Coran Watanabe investigating the mode of action and biosynthesis of azinomycin B. She also interned at the Institute Rudjer Boskovic (Division of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry) in Zagreb, Croatia where she separated enantiomers using HPLC.


After graduation Darijana worked in several labs, studying preeclampsia, hypertension, cancer (cholangiocarcinoma), lymphatics, microbial pathogenesis and immunology. She joined the Geoffroy lab in December 2019 as the Research Assistant/Lab manager. One of her projects is to test the protective and regenerative properties of different test compounds in mice models of spinal cord injury.


In her free time Darijana enjoys playing trivia, board games and billiards with her friends and family. She likes music, live theater performances, movies and TV shows. In her quiet time she loves to read books. Did I mention she (really) loves chocolate?

Theresa Sutherland - Post-Doc


Theresa completed a Bachelor of Forensic Biology in Biomedical Science from the University of Technology Sydney (yes, Australia!), with a special interest in DNA profiling and ambition to work in CSI. Then she completed a Bachelor of Science (Honors) in Biomedical Science at UTS where she studied the acute cellular response to SCI in different ages of rats. Theresa then obtained her Ph.D. in Neuroscience at UTS in Dr. Catherine Gorrie lab (University of Technology Sydney) studying injury progression and neuro-inflammation after SCI with a particular focus on the differences between adult and pediatric SCI.


Theresa recently joined our lab to continue working on the themes of age and SCI, looking into older animal this time…She's trying to understand the age-dependent decline in the growth and regenerative potential of axons, with a specific interest in the role of STAT3 and mitochondrial dynamics. The eventual goal of which is to restore regenerative potential to aged axons, and find strategies to enhance axon growth and functional recovery after SCI irrespective of age. She is also involved in different projects aiming at developing tools to accelerate the discovery of molecules controlling axon growth (non-viral CRISPR/Cas9 in vivo targeting, in vivo protein delivery, 3D imaging). In the long term (very long term), she hopes to marry this ongoing work to her interest in pediatric SCI and to get a map/timeline of neuro-inflammation and axon regeneration across all ages to find effective therapeutics for all SCI patients.

Theresa loves to escape into different worlds- Movies, Books, Music, TV- and explore this one (yes, traveling!). Also, she can not stop drinking coffee...and teaching the lab "real" english (basically translating Australian to American...)

Calvin Jones - Research Assistant


Calvin graduated from Biomedical Engineering at Texas A&M. Calvin used to work with Dr. Adel Ghnenis as an undergraduate student to study the effects SCI has on bowel movement and cardiometabolic disorders. He liked it so much he decided to stay in the lab! He is still working on similar topics but is now leading his own projects!

Calvin aspires to go to medical school. Although open to different pathways, Calvin wishes to become a Radiologist to combine both his engineering background and passion for medicine. 

Outside of lab Calvin enjoys playing sports, being outdoors, and spending time with friends and family.

Graduate Students


Arthur Sefiani​ (

Arthur first completed a Bachelors of Science in Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior at University of California, Davis where he was involved in studying the relationship between proteasomes and cardiovascular disease and also how attention influences one’s neural analysis of sound. Afterward, he became a lab technician at a forensic laboratory, one of the few places that conduct hair follicle drug testing. He then completed his Masters of Science in Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine at Keck School of Medicine of University of Southern California where he worked on developing several methods to accurately quantify the kinetic rates of RNA binding protein. Arthur is currently a Ph.D. student in the Medical Sciences program in the Department of Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics.

He spends all his free time weight lifting or eating, sometimes both.

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Ashley Douthitt​ (

Ashley graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from California State University, Chico in Spring 2019. After graduation, she moved back to her hometown San Diego, California. She then joined a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company as a Research Associate focused on the discovery and development of therapeutics in the disease areas of inflammation and immunology. Ashley is currently a Ph.D. student in the Medical Sciences program in the Department of Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics.

Outside of the lab, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, exploring new places, and weight training.

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Sarah Ingram (

Sarah completed a B.S. in Biology with a pre-health minor at Texas A&M University – Texarkana in 2019. During her undergraduate studies she worked under Dr. Ben Neuman, a famed coronavirus expert, studying coral transcriptomes to detect the presence of Potyviridae, a family of viruses normally restricted to plants. She presented her research at the International Pathways Symposium only 3 months after beginning her undergraduate work.

She joined the Genetics program in the Department of Biophysics and Biochemistry in the fall of 2021 with the main research interest of better understanding memory loss affecting veterans, as she is a medically retired Navy veteran herself. Her current project in the lab focuses on studying neurogenesis after spinal cord injury, with hopes of improving recovery through genetic manipulation. In her free time, you can find her crocheting, camping with her husband, or spoiling her dogs.

M.D. Students

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Matt Thompson ( - MD Candidate | Class of 2025 

Matt is a medical student at Texas A&M who has long been interested in neuroscience. He received a BS degree in neuroscience from Brigham Young University, where he worked in a lab studying the mechanisms of chemical addiction in mice and rats. Matt was also employed as a CNA for 2 years, caring for individuals with diverse neurological and other disabilities, including spinal cord injury. After graduating in 2020, Matt and his family moved to Houston, where he spent a year in the lab of Dr. Matt McGinley at Baylor College of Medicine studying attentional effort and reversal learning in mice.

After receiving his M.D. degree Matt plans to pursue a career in neurosurgery. Outside of medicine and science, Matt enjoys playing basketball, climbing mountains, and spending time with his wife and daughter.

Master Students

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Shreya Ramanarayanan

Shreya completed Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology with a minor in Biochemical Engineering from India. Currently, she is enrolled in the Master of Biotechnology Program at Texas A&M. She is working on processing tissue for drug testing and other processes like immunostaining, imaging, and quantification in the context of spinal cord injury. Outside academics, she enjoys travelling, playing ukulele, and cooking especially pasta and salads.

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Ananya Pillai

Ananya a sophomore at is a Biomedical Sciences major from Frisco, Texas, and is a member of the Aggie Class of 2024. She is also a part of Maroon & White Leadership Fellows Society, Biomedical Sciences Research Program, Fish Council, and the University Honors Program. After graduating, Ananya plans to attend medical school in an effort to minimize healthcare disparities in Texas. Outside the lab, she loves all things breakfast food, working out, and listening to podcasts.

Seeta Morey

Seeta is a microbiology major from Houston, Texas, and a member of the Texas A&M Class of 2023. After graduating, she plans to pursue a career in medicine and hopefully work at a non-profit organization. Outside of the lab, she enjoys baking, traveling, and reading historical fiction novels.

Justin Nguyen

Justin Nguyen is a kinesiology undergraduate student from Fort Worth, Texas and is part of the Texas A&M class of 2022. Justin joined the lab Spring 2020, and is currently tasked with image analysis of neurons' axons. 

He dreams of attending to dental school after graduation, hoping to use dentistry to improve the community and the world around him. When not in the lab, Justin enjoys time in his hobbies such as playing soccer, cooking, reading, spending time with family and friends.

Alexandra Koustova

Alexandra is a biomedical engineering major from College Station, Texas and is a member of the Aggie Class of 2024. She joined the lab end 2020, working on projects studying the impact of spinal cord injury on cardiometabolic function.

Alexandra plans to attend medical school after graduating and wants to specialize in neurology. When not studying or at the lab, Alexandra enjoys playing tennis, piano, and spending time with family and friends!

Sydney Graves

Sydney is a Biomedical Science major from Bandera, Texas and part of the Texas A&M Class of 2023. Her future plans include going to nursing school and eventually going on to be a Nurse Practitioner with a specialty in emergency medicine. Outside of the lab, she enjoys doing outdoors activities such as hiking and going to the beach. Some other hobbies of hers include staying active, volunteering, traveling and spending time with friends and family.

Asim Abdelfattah

Asim was born and raised in Egypt; at the age of eight, my family and I moved to Fort Worth, Texas. He's majoring in Biomedical Sciences and minoring in neuroscience. His plan is to attend medical school and pursue a career in surgery. Outside of classes and lab, he enjoys playing basketball, reading, and working with his father on their bee farm.

Olivia Samaie 

Olivia is a Biology major with a Spanish minor from Katy, Texas and is part of the class of 2024. After graduation, she plans on attending medical school. As of right now, she is interested in cardiology, neurology, orthopedics, and dermatology. Outside of the lab, she is a peer mentor under the college of Science, a member of Pre-Medical Society and a Command Team Leader under the Operations and Logistics Team in BUILD. Additionally, she enjoys reading, drawing, bowling, nerding out over Marvel, and hanging out with her friends, family and dogs.

Rithesh Vooturi

Rithesh is a sophomore Biology student from Frisco, Texas and is a member of the Texas A&M class of 2024. He is currently a Peer Mentor, and a part of the Honors Biology Program. After graduating, Rithesh plans to attend medical school with a specialization in neurology. When not in the lab, he likes to cook, take morning jogs, and play 90s songs on the piano (and hit a ton of wrong notes in the process).

Isabelle (Izy) Lee

Izy is a neuroscience major in the Texas A&M Class of 2024. In the future, she hopes to continue learning and to contribute to the field of neuroscience. During her free time, Izy enjoys crocheting, playing piano, and journaling. 

Patrick Brewer - College of Medicine Summer Undergraduate Research Program.

Patrick is a rising junior at Cornell University from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania majoring in Biological Sciences with a concentration of Neurobiology and Behavior. He is also minoring in Psychology. After graduation, he hopes to either attend medical school or graduate school to obtain an MD or PhD degree. Outside of academics, he's a member of Cornell’s Varsity Track and Field Team and recently placed 8th at the Ivy League Championships in the Decathlon.

Danielle LaVigne - Summer Undergraduate Research in Genetics and Genomics (SURGe) Summer Student

Danielle is an honors Genetics major at Clemson University planning to graduate in 2023. She will also be graduating with minors in American Sign Language and Biological Sciences. After graduation, she plans on pursuing a PhD. Outside of the lab she enjoys music, such as playing the ukulele, piano, and singing.

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