Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
Kolson Lab
Lab Members
The PI (aka. The Captain)

Dr. Dennis Kolson
Dr. Dennis Kolson, M.D.-Ph.D.

Post Doctorates
Stephanie Cross
Stephanie Cross, Ph.D. crosss@mail.med.upenn.edu
MD/PhD Candidate, Neuroscience Graduate Group

Stephanie recently completed her thesis in the Kolson lab, earning herself a PhD in Neuroscience. She is now back in the final years of medical school, and is thinking about a residency in Neurology or Psychiatry after she graduates from the MD/PhD program in 2013. Her thesis work was focused on studying adaptive stress responses in HIV-infected macrophages; specifically, she investigated the role of the antioxidant response and the unfolded protein response on HIV replication and macrophage-mediated neurotoxicity. Stephanie enjoys happy hours, Lady Gaga, Tetris (the best game ever invented), watching and singing along to Glee, and sleeping in her free time.

PhD - University of Pennsylvania, 2011, Neuroscience (Dennis Kolson)
BA - Swarthmore College, 2004, Biology

Suren Ambegaokar
Suren Ambegaokar, Ph.D. asuren@mail.med.upenn.edu
Post-Doctoral Fellow in Neurovirology

Suren joined the Kolson Lab in February 2012. His project involves studying the potential roles of microRNAs and RNA-associated proteins in HIV-induced neurotoxic pathways and in neuroprotective stress-response pathways. He has worked in the neurodegeneration field for over 10 years, including work with Alzheimer's patient brain tissue and Alzheimer's mouse models (Tg2576), and several Drosophila models of neurodegeneration including tau, synuclein, amyloid-beta, and TDP-43 models of proteinopathies. He looks forward to establishing his own lab focused on RNA & RNA-associated proteins in neurodegeneration and in developing Drosophila models of neuroimmunology. He enjoys cooking and hosting dinner parties, trying out new restaurants & bars, sweet sweet music, sub-titled movies (including British), traveling to far-off destinations and scheming of ways to live in a rice patty village in Asia. Although he has embraced the city of Philadelphia and its sports teams, he is a born-and-raised California boy who loves the Pacific Ocean and will always root forthe Oakland A's, da Raiduhs, and for Cal (Go Bears!) no matter howdesperately bad they may seem.


Post-Doc Fellow/Lab Manager - University of Texas Medical Branch, 2009-2011, Neurology (George Jackson)
PhD - University of California, Los Angeles, 2009, Neuroscience (George Jackson)
Research Associate - University of California, Los Angeles, 2003-2004, Neurology (Greg Cole)
BA - University of California, Berkeley, 2003, Molecular & Cell Biology (Neurobiology emphasis)
BA - University of California, Berkeley, 2003, Film Studies

Graduate Students
Denise Cook
Denise Cook, B.A. denisera@mail.med.upenn.edu
PhD Candidate, Neuroscience Graduate Group

Denise is a 6th year graduate student in the lab. Her project in the lab involves looking at the mechanism of various drugs in reducing HIV neurotoxicity. Her recent work investigating NMDA receptor modulation by the neuropeptide apelin and its implications for excitotoxicity appears in The Journal of Neurochemistry (118: 1113-1123). Denise also enjoys undergraduate teaching, and looks forward to a career with a strong emphasis on both teaching and research.

B.A. - Case Western Reserve University, 2006, Biology & Psychology

Alexander Gill
Alexander Gill, B.S. agill@mail.med.upenn.edu
MD/PhD Candidate, Neuroscience Graduate Group

Alex is a first year graduate student who recently transitioned into the PhD phase of his training after completing the first two years of medical school. His project in the lab involves studying the mechanism of various reagents on HIV replication and macrophage-mediated neurotoxicity. Alex enjoys cooking, traveling, british comedy, mixology, and the performing arts.

B.S. - Case Western Reserve University, 2009, Biochemistry
B.S. - Case Western Reserve University, 2009, Biology

Research Specialists
Lorraine Kolson
Lorraine Kolson, B.S. kolsonl@mail.med.upenn.edu
Lab Manager, Research Specialist

Lorraine is the lab manager and keeps busy with RT Assays, MAP2 ELISAs, and tissue culture. In her spare time she enjoys sleeping during lab meetings and being sarcastic with graduate students. And she makes a mean lemon curd.


B.S. - University of Pittsburgh, 1985, Computer Science
B.S. - University of Pittsburgh, 1975, Chemistry

Patricia Vance
Patricia Vance, B.S., M.S. vancep@mail.med.upenn.edu
Research Specialist

Pat has worked in the Kolson lab since January, 2008, on projects involving HIV infection of human macrophages and T cells. Her focus is to complete whatever tasks are given to her by Dr. Kolson. Pat has enjoyed many years and thousands of miles of travel by bicycle and sailboat. She has published three books and numerous magazine articles about those experiences.

BS - St Cloud State University, Biology
MS - Rutgers, The State University, Microbiology/Immunology