Faculty Research

Kelsey Baker, Ph. D.

Dr. Baker earned her PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. During Dr. Baker’s post-doctoral work, she translated her knowledge regarding neurodegeneration into a more clinical setting at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.  To date, her work has focused on whether damage to motor output pathways from the brain following stroke can influence the (1) efficacy of non-invasive brain stimulation and (2) amount of plasticity essential for functional recovery. Currently, her primary research emphasis is to evaluate the feasibility of non-invasive neuromodulation to improve motor recovery in Veterans and patients with spinal cord injury (SCI). In addition, she seeks to use neurophysiology and neuroimaging techniques to better define incompleteness of SCI as to improve the standard of care.

Dr. Baker's Lab


Alejandro Lopez-Juarez, Ph.D.

I am an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV)-Department of Health and Biomedical Sciences (BMED). As neuroscientist, I am fascinated by the cellular and molecular mechanisms controlling behavior in health and disease. My research is focused on the function of glial cells – the generic cell type occupying most of the brain mass - and their interaction with other brain cell types. I use a combination of genetic, molecular, biochemical, imaging, and bioinformatic tools to understand brain function in vivo. My main model of study is the mouse, as it allows to mimic genetic disorders and/or recapitulate symptoms of human neurological diseases.

The Lopez-Juarez Lab at UTRGV


Saraswathy Nair, Ph.D.

Dr. S. Nair is a cell and molecular biologist who received her Ph.D. at SUNY at Buffalo and post-doctoral training at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She has been investigating the molecular and cellular basis of obesity and Type 2 diabetes since 2001, first in Pima Indians at NIDDK, NIH, Phoenix and since 2006 in Mexican Americans and cell culture model systems at UT, Brownsville and currently at UTRGV.

Dr. Nair's faculty profile


Upal Roy, Ph.D.

His research interests include HIV-1 Infection, Drug development and delivery, Therapeutics, and Nanomedicine. He has a long-standing interest in biological characterization of the drug for its therapeutic potentials in HIV infection. In this regard, he has developed several unique humanized mouse models to reproduce the human immune system and also developed several delivery platforms for targeted drug delivery. His work has always been very multidisciplinary and collaborative. The ultimate goal of his research is to develop a next-generation therapy for people living with HIV and neurological disorders.

Dr. Upal Roy's Research Interests


Chun Xu, MD, M.Sc., Ph.D.

Dr. Chun Xu received her MD in medicine, Master’s degree in cancer genetics and PhD in neurology. She has been working at the University of Toronto and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center for years before joining a faculty team at the UTRGV.

Scholarly achievement: she is responsible for clinical research, translational research on biomarker identification for human complex traits (e.g., healthy aging, neuropsychiatric- and neurodevelopmental disorders, autoimmune diseases, cancer, and treatment responses) using high-throughput and cutting-edge technologies (e.g., next generation sequencing technology) for meaningful biomarker discovery. Above key findings have been published and presented at a number of International Conferences. She published over 60 peer-reviewed papers in the peer reviewed journals and book chapters, including papers published at New England Journal Medicine, Biological Psychiatry, PLOS ONE and she is either first author or corresponding author on most of her scientific publications (https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Chun_Xu4). She is also Professional Membership for a number of societies (e.g., American Society of Human Genetics).

Dr. Xu's faculty profile