Our Team

Members of the Horner lab, summer 2021

Current Team Members

Lesley Chaboub
Lesley Chaboub
Postdoctoral Fellow
Lesley completed her PhD at Baylor College of Medicine in 2016 where she studied astrocyte development. She identified novel genes expressed in astrocytes through a temporal profiling screen, and she went on to study their functions in development and disease, especially multiple sclerosis and hypoxic injury patients. She joined the Houston Methodist Research Institute in 2017 where she is studying the biology of the myelin sheath in health and regeneration after injuries. She has experience in genetics, cellular and molecular biology and several injury models. She loves traveling and reading books when she has time for it. But lately, in her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and three babies (2 human babies and 1 furry baby).
Matthew K Hogan
Matthew Hogan
Postdoctoral Fellow
Matt’s research focuses on activity associated plasticity in the brain and spinal cord, particularly after injury. He has helped to develop and deploy a novel spinal stimulation system to electrical patterns which may promote recovery. Prior to joining Dr. Horner’s lab, Matt completed his PhD in biomedical engineering at the University of Houston under the mentorship of Dr. Ravi K Birla. He participated in the development of multiple engineered cardiac tissue models including heart muscle, ventricle and whole heart models. He also deployed several novel bioreactors for the conditioning and maintenance of in vitro tissue mimetic cultures. Matt enjoys woodworking, guitar, coding, cooking and sports. Most weekends he can be found tinkering in his workshop at home or being forcibly cultured by his more sophisticated significant other.
Betsy Salazar
Betsy Salazar
Postdoctoral Fellow
Betsy’s research focuses on the use of therapeutic agents to promote remyelination and motor recovery following spinal cord injury. She completed her doctoral training at the University of Houston in 2015, where her research mainly focused on the electrophysiological characteristics of the rodent heart, including whole heart models, ex-vivo, as well as bioengineered cardiac constructs. Upon completion of her PhD, Dr. Salazar began postdoctoral training at the Houston Methodist Research Institute under the guidance of Dr. Alvaro Munoz and Dr. Timothy B. Boone. There, she investigated the electromyographic characterization of the lower urinary tract in intact and spinal cord injury rodent models. Currently, she investigates the use of therapeutic drugs to promote functional recovery following spinal cord injury in rodent models. More specifically, she is interested in assessing motor function recovery using behavioral tests, as well as assessing the impact treatments have at the cellular level. In her spare time, Betsy enjoys reading, drawing, traveling and spending time with her husband and wonderful puppy.
Cinzia Stigliano
Cinzia Stigliano
Postdoctoral Fellow
Cinzia works on the delivery of therapeutic agents with nanoparticles to spinal cord injury in mouse and rat models. She completed her PhD in biotechnology at the University of Bari, Italy and she worked as postdoctoral fellow in the Houston Methodist Department of Nanomedicine before deciding to apply her nanomedicine expertise to the field of neuroregeneration. Cinzia loves to travel, and she enjoys taking yoga and spinning classes in her free time.
Bethany R Kondiles
Hemang Trivedi
Biomedical Engineer
Hemang Trivedi is a Biomedical Engineer with hands-on experience in designing and development of medical devices and technologies to improve healthcare monitoring and diagnosis. He has prior experience working in the areas of Neurotechnlogy and Motion Analysis. He is currently developing a novel device at Houston Methodist Research Institute that can deliver protective therapy for advanced stroke care during surgery.
Bethany R Kondiles
Mike Crist
Research Assistant
Before joining the Horner lab, Mike worked in both academia and industry where he learned an array of biochemical and molecular biological research skills and techniques, such as basic DNA cloning (to help understand mechanisms of homologous recombination), protein isolation and engineering (to study structure and functions of proteins), and cell culturing with murine and human cells, and also hybridomas. Further, his work led to not only breakthrough discoveries with directed evolution but also to identifying a clinical drug candidate to be used in a first in man clinical trial for helping patients with Glaucoma. Mike is looking forward to discovering breakthrough treatments and benefits for humans in the area of Neuroregeneration. His hobbies include R&R, listening to good music, making pizza from scratch, and being a speculator in the commodities futures markets.
Allison Frazier
Allison Frazier
Research Assistant
Originally a vet tech for 6 years, Allison joined the Houston Methodist Research Institute and merged her appreciations for veterinary science and research.
Allison Frazier
Frances Humes
Research Assistant

Frances’s background includes clinical animal care, field research, colony management, and mitochondrial function. Frances obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Zoology at Auburn University, Alabama. She then worked in Dr. Wendy Hood’s lab where she contributed to projects examining mitochondrial function in response to stress, with an emphasis on evolutionary implications. She also spent time as a field team manager examining the behavioral and physical ecology of small primates. Frances joined the Houston Methodist Research Institute in 2019, where she primarily assists on pre-clinical projects examining spinal cord injury and motor function outcomes. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time outdoors exploring Houston with her fiancé and dog.

Aida Gabriela “Gaby” Walker earned her doctor of veterinary medicine at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, during which time she also completed a year and a half internship in the Microbiology and Epidemiology departments. She then went on to complete two postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), one in pathology and one in micro and immunology. She continued her work as a research scientist in the Department of Micro and Immunology at UTMB. Gaby brings with her over 11 years of experience working with animal models as well as in-vitro and histopathology research. She is currently focused on the Horner lab’s pig model for neuroregeneration. Given the pig brain’s significant resemblance to the human brain in terms of anatomy, organization, composition, development, and growth, this model holds great potential in terms of modeling human injuries and disorders. This model will help us to understand thoroughly the development, responses, and changes in the brain after brain injury, and ultimately leading us to develop more suitable strategies for recovery.

Allison Frazier
Kris Hoffman
Research Technician
As a lab technician, Kris is involved in many projects in the lab. His primary focus is data gathering and analysis for a revolutionary study creating a magnetic resonance imaging biomarker sensitive to the central nervous system’s myelin structure that will help discover and monitor the progression of neurodegenerative diseases. As well, Kris is skilled in systems engineering and integration; contributing to many other ongoing projects in the lab, including the production of prototype devices for behavioral studies and optogenetics devices.

Former Team Members

Bethany R Kondiles
Graduate Student, 2017-2019
Bethany was a graduate student enrolled at the University of Washington, Seattle, where she was co-mentored by Dr. Horner [Houston Methodist Research Institute] and Dr. Perlmutter [University of Washington]. As a visiting fellow at Houston Methodist Research Institute, she pursued her work in spinal cord injury. Her research focused on the ways neural activity influences white matter remodeling following spinal cord injury. Currently, she is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Dr. Wolfram Tetzlaff’s lab at The University of British Columbia.

The Horner Lab MVPs:

Don Maris
Laboratory & Operations Manager, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Berit Powers, PhD
Assistant Director, Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Carlsbad, CA, USA

Drew Sellers, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Bioengineering, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA

Denise Inman, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Northeast Ohio Medical University Foundation, Rootstown, OH, USA

Bryan White, PhD
Senior Lecturer, School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, University of Washington Bothell, Bothell, WA, USA

Jurate Lasiene, PhD
Project Manager, PSI CRO UK Ltd, Oxford, GBR

Laura Horky, MD
Nuclear Medicine Physician, Kaiser Permanente, Oakland, CA, USA

Wendi Lambert, PhD
Senior Staff Scientist, Vanderbilt Eye Institute, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA

Visiting and Rotating Scholars

Robert Scranton, MD
Neurosurgeon, Neurological Surgery, Goodman Campbell Brain & Spine, Indianapolis, IN, USA

Sean Barber, MD
Junior Attending Complex Spine Fellow, The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, RI, USA

Meng Huang, MD
Resident, Department of Neurosurgery, Houston Methodist Hospital, Houston, TX, USA

Virendra Desai, MD
Resident, Department of Neurosurgery, Houston Methodist Hospital, Houston, TX, USA

Zain Boghani, MD
Resident, Department of Neurosurgery, Houston Methodist Hospital, Houston, TX, USA

William Steele, MD
Resident, Department of Neurosurgery, Houston Methodist Hospital, Houston, TX, USA

Caio Quini, PhD
Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow, Sao Paulo State Univeristy, Sao Paulo, BRA

Cassandra Baker
Undergraduate Research Fellow, University of Houston, Houston, TX, USA

Amanda Altenhofen
Summer Intern 2016, 2017, Baylor University, Waco, TX, USA

Pranav Gadangi
Summer Intern 2016, Texas A&m University, College Station, TX, USA

Roberto Alcazar Felix
MD/PhD Rotation Student 2016, Tecnologico De Monterrey, Monterrey, MEX

Jocelyn Nikita Campa
MD/PhD Rotation Student 2017, Tecnologico De Monterrey, Monterrey, MEX

Dixita Viswanath
MD/PhD Rotation Student 2016, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA

Jonny Cummock
MD/PhD Rotation Student 2016, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA

Drew Levy
Undergraduate Research Fellow, Summer Intern 2017, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA

John Boom
Summer Intern 2017, St. John’s School, Houston, TX, USA

Kendrick Lim
Summer Intern 2017, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA