The Moron-Concepcion Laboratory


 

The Moron Lab is a happy group of people sharing cups of coffee, cookies, cakes, pizza slices and a ton of laugh.

Our complementary expertises allow us to use genetic tools, biochemistry, electrophysiology and behavior experiments to investigate the several hypotheses we develop in the lab. 

Working as a team is for us the first step in learning and understanding neuroscience. More than helping us growing as scientists it makes us understand our strengths / weaknesses and the importance of relying on your co-workers.

Please do not hesitate to contact any of us and thanks for your interest in our team, we will talk to you soon.

 

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About Us

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Adrianne Wilson - Poe

PhD. Instructor

I study the molecular mechanisms of opioid/cannabinoid drug interactions, and the cellular adaptations that occur during chronic pain. I am focused on translational neuroscience, using rodent models of pain-depressed behavior that more closely reflect the human experience of spontaneous pain. I aim to bridge the gap between preclinical cannabinoid research and clinical cannabis medicine by launching my independent laboratory in the summer of 2019.

Email | Twitter

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Nicolas Massaly

PhD. Instructor

My current work focus on the accumbal dynorphin-KOR system and how its plasticity in the presence of pain alters motivation for rewards and negative affects. Characterization of pain-induced changes in this neural circuit is critical to overcome alterations in mood, reinforcement and opioid misuse epidemic.

This focus is a direct follow up on my PhD studies on neuroplastic changes in the nucleus accumbens during opioid-induced behaviors in Bernard Frances laboratory (Toulouse, France) and first post-doctoral experience in Christoph Stein laboratory studying pain and peripheral opioid analgesia (Berlin, Germany). 

Outside of lab I love cooking, tasting new beers, listening to music, going to shows and traveling. 

Email | Twitter

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Sidney Williams

PhD. Post Doctoral fellow

My current work focuses on combining a novel virtual reality behavioral paradigm with two-photon imaging to observe neural networks in real time allowing for unprecedented spatio-temporal resolution while observing the structural changes that accompany drug-induced contextual memory formation.

My interest in the neurobiology of addiction began while working in Judy Grisel’s laboratory at Furman University trying to understand how endogenous levels of beta-endorphin affect alcohol consumption and continued at Florida Atlantic University in Robert Stackman’s laboratory determining the role of the head-direction cells in the anterior thalamic nuclei (ATN) in directional navigation. My doctorate work was focused on using whole-cell patch clamp methods to understand how HCN channels modulate neuronal excitability and cortical network activity in John Hablitz’s laboratory at University of Alabama, Birmingham.

Email | Twitter

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Christopher Trousdale

M.s. Lab Manager

My project is exploring the potential relationship between AMPA receptors and the Retromer protein Vps35 as deficiencies or mutations in Retromer are commonly associated with neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. This relationship would not only further elucidate the cellular mechanism of opioid-associated memory; it would also expand the importance of Retromer function in CNS neurons. Additionally, I manage our lab’s animal colonies and conduct any molecular or genetics work the lab requires.

Outside of lab my many hobbies include hockey (St Louis Blues), golf, guitar, going to concerts, watching movies/Netflix, spending time with my niece and nephew, going to car shows, and helping my dad rebuild his 1957 Chevy BelAir /my 1972 Dodge Dart Swinger

Email | Twitter

 
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Tamara Markovic

Neuroscience graduate student

The main focus of my thesis work is to assess how pain induced dysfunction in opioid signaling alters mesolimbic dopamine neurotransmission leading to loss of motivation and anhedonia, a hallmarks of negative affective disorders. Using a large array of innovative tools such as chemogenetics, optogenetic and fiber photometry in combination with traditional behavioral approaches my work aims to further dissect the neurobiology behind pain induced negative affect.

Prior to starting graduate school, I was a student-athlete at State University of New York in Buffalo and obtained a bachelor’s degree in Pharmacology and Toxicology. During my undergraduate studies, and later on as lab technician, I studied the role of mesopontine cholinergic neurons and the UII system in reward related behaviors in the lab of Dr. Stewart Clark.

Outside of the lab I enjoy playing tennis, cooking and reading.

Email | Twitter

 
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Jiwon Yi

rotating graduate student

Neuroscience Graduate Student at Washington University in St. Louis

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Hannah Frye

Neuroscience graduate student

A 2016 genome wide association study in human heroin users found that single nucleotide polymorphisms in the gene encoding for an AMPA receptor auxiliary protein, cornichon homolog-3 (CNIH3), correlates with a protective effect against opioid dependence after drug use. My thesis aims to elucidate the biochemical, synaptic, and behavioral effects of CNIH3 in the hippocampus and the role it may play in drug-associated memory and learning.

Prior to my enrollment at WashU, I completed my B.S. in Chemistry with a Biological Sciences minor at Missouri University of Science & Technology in 2015. As an undergraduate I studied the effects of genetic manipulations on muscarinic receptor signaling pathways in the lab of Dr. Robert Aronstam and coordinated public outreach initiatives for the university’s iGEM synthetic biology design team.

Outside of the lab, I am passionate for promoting scientific research and advocacy in the community. I am an active participant in the WashU graduate group Promoting Science Policy, Education, and Research (ProSPER), a graduate aid for WashU’s Science on Tap community seminar program, and a volunteer biology tutor for the Boy’s Hope Girl’s Hope home in St. Louis.

Email

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Dominika Burek

Neuroscience graduate student

My graduate work primarily focuses on endogenous opioids in pain-induced negative affect. Specifically, I study how the kappa opioid receptor throughout the brain modulates anxiety- and depressive-like behavior in mouse models of inflammatory and neuropathic pain. I am also involved in another project probing the role of the calcium-gated potassium channel SK2 in morphine conditioned place preference.

I attended Colgate University, graduating in 2014 with a B.A. in cellular neuroscience with a senior thesis examining how antidepressants moderate glial inflammatory response. I spent two post-baccalaureate years as a research technician in Dr. Eric Nestler’s Laboratory at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, assisting on projects modeling the epigenetics of stress and cocaine addiction.

When I am not in lab I enjoy walking and hiking nature trails, and reading fiction and creative nonfiction.

Email

 
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Yolanda Campos-Jurado

visiting GRADUATE STUDENT

Neuroscience Graduate Student in Lucía Hipólito’s Lab at University of Valencia

 
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William Post

Laboratory Technician

My current work involves the use of a cutting edge optogenetic toolkit to probe the circuitry at the interface of the neural systems responsible for memory and reward. In addition, I am involved in a project examining the role played by small-conductance potassium channels in the formation and maintenance of context-drug associations.

I graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in 2017 with a B.A. in the combined Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology program and a minor in Biology. I began in the JMC lab as an undergraduate volunteer my junior year, and joined as a research technician after graduation. I will be applying to MD and MD/PhD programs starting in June 2019.

Outside of lab I love cooking, tasting new beers, listening to music, going to shows and traveling. 

EMAIL

Jeniffer Garcia

Laboratory Technician

Currently, I am working with Tamara Markovic looking at the role of pain-induced dysregulation of dopamine neurotransmission and its effect on hedonic state of the animal. We utilize two-bottle choice and self-administration to address this question.

I graduated from the University of Michigan- Ann Arbor in April 2017 with Bachelors in Neuroscience. I joined the Moron-Conception lab shortly after. I previously assisted Dr. Adie Wilson-Poe in her research on opioid tolerance and cannabinoid-opioid interactions. Using a combination of cellular and behavioral techniques, we endeavored to fill the gaps in the knowledge base surrounding opioid-cannabinoid interactions and to determine whether this drug combination could safely be used to decrease opioid tolerance and improve pain relief.

I will be attending medical school summer of 2019. Some of my hobbies outside the lab include eating foreign foods, rock climbing, board games and learning to adult.

EMAIL

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Kristine

Laboratory Technician

I primarily work with opioid self-administration in rats under pain conditions and aim to understand its effects on motivation or memory in opioid consumption by focusing on the nucleus accumbens and dorsal hippocampus, respectively. In addition, as pain can lead to negative affect, I aim to understand their neuronal mechanisms through anxiety and depressive behavioral tests.

As an undergraduate student, I joined the Moron-Concepcion lab during my sophomore year. I graduated in 2018 at Washington University in St. Louis with a B.A. in Biology and a second major in healthcare management and joined the lab as a technician while applying to MD/PhD programs.

Outside of lab, I enjoy going on runs, finding new cafes and restaurants, and watching the Great British Bake Off.

Email

 
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Jordan Gaelen

undergraduate student

Class of 2020
Major: Global Health and Environment
Minors: History and Biology
Future Plans: Attending Medical School

 
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Lizzy Puyo

undergraduate student

Class of 2020
Major: Global Health and Environment
Minor: Mathematics
Future Plans: Attending Medical School

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Caroline Glickert

undergraduate student

Class of 2020
Major: Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology (PNP)
Future Plans: Attending Graduate School

 
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Natasha Frontera

undergraduate student

Class of 2020
Major: Global Health and Environment
Future Plans: Attending Medical School

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Eric Sze

undergraduate student

Class of 2021
Majors: Cognitive Neuroscience and Healthcare Management
Future Plans: Attending Medical School

 
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Angela Jung

undergraduate student

Class of 2019
Major: Mathematics (Statistics)
Minor: Economics
Future Plans: Applying Computer Science in Research Data Analysis

 
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