Current Lab Members

Hong Bao, MD

Research Fellow

I am a research fellow in Dr. Rowe’s lab. I will be one of the people who explore the mechanism under the inhibitory effect of Nav1.8 channel current by Arizona bark scorpion venom. We will narrow down the scorpion component, with the help of side-directed mutagenesis to find the critical part of Nav1.8 channel which is responsible for the inhibitory affect and figure out the relationship between the current inhibitory effect of Nav1.8 channel and Sodium channel slow inactivation. A lot of unknown things are waiting for me. It is so exciting. 

Kiran George, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

I have expertise in patch clamp-electrophysiology and molecular biology. This was my first passion in research, and I am so happy that I have been able to keep learning and developing my knowledge in that passion. I am passionate about studying channelopathies that could help to treat various diseases including cancer. Here in Dr. Rowe’s Lab, my work mainly focuses on the kinetics of venom proteins and voltage gated sodium channels, in particular Nav1.8. I am sure our findings will bring breakthroughs in the research.

Tushar Dhanani, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

I am an analytical chemist with experience in natural products. In my previous postdoctoral training at Texas A&M, I gained experience on mass spectrometry-based metabolomics and vibrational spectroscopy (Near-infrared and Raman) as a chemical fingerprint to analyze botanicals.

Rowe and Fornelli’s research group offers me an excellent opportunity to study the interface of chemistry and biology. Presently, I am using different chromatographic techniques to purify venom peptides responsible for blocking pain channels. I am curious to explore the mass spectrometry-based proteomics to unravel the complexity of venom proteins. My great privilege has been learning and applying these skills as the world’s technological landscape changes rapidly.

Jake Kline, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

I completed my PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Oklahoma State University.  I specialized in bottom-up proteomics for determining drug mechanisms of natural product compounds. After finishing my PhD, I moved to Cornell where I completed a postdoctoral research assistantship in Proteomics focusing on crosslinking mass spectrometry to examine protein-protein interactions.  I’m excited to join the Rowe & Fornelli labs where I am applying my proteomic skills to characterizing venom peptides that inhibit Nav1.8 to block pain signal transmission and develop new data acquisition strategies for top-down proteomics. In my spare time…wait, I don’t have any, never mind. 

Victor Nguyen

Undergraduate Research Associate

Hey, my name is Victor Nguyen and I’m a sophomore at the University of Oklahoma studying biomedical engineering! My first experience with this lab was with the First Year Research Experience program in the 2021 spring semester where I learned basic lab principles and techniques. I presented a poster over what I have accomplished in the lab that semester, where I separated a specific venom fraction (M9) into subfractions using High-Performance Liquid Chromatography and lyophilization. I also help take care and maintain the beetle colony used for various projects in the lab!

A few things about me is that I love making and listening to music, skateboarding, photography, and I had a blue belt in Aikido!

Audrey Green

Undergraduate Research Associate

Hi! My name is Audrey Green and I am currently a senior at OU. I am a biology major with chemistry and microbiology minors. After graduation, I hope to attend graduate school to eventually get my PhD for research. My research interests include pain pathways and the molecular biology of nociception. I have been privileged to have been a member of this lab for almost the entirety of my undergraduate career and have particularly enjoyed working with the mice colony.

Lettie Clifton

Undergraduate Research Associate

Hi! My name is Lettie Clifton, and I am a senior here at OU studying biology with a minor in Women and Gender Studies. I hope to attend medical school after graduation. I was privileged to be able to do my Honors Reading with Dr. Rowe and to continue in her lab for my Honors Research, exploring venom peptides and their interactions with ion channels. I also help maintain the grasshopper and cactus mice colonies for the lab.

Syed Raza

Undergraduate Research Associate

Hello all! My name is Syed and I am a junior in the college of arts and sciences. I am currently pursuing my bachelors of science in neuroscience. I was very fortunate and blessed to be given an opportunity to join the Rowe team. Our work in elucidating inhibitory proteins in Arizona Bark scorpion venom is nothing short of groundbreaking neurobiology. 

The predator-prey relationship of Grasshopper mice and Arizona Bark scorpions is not just an interesting insight to the molecular biology of nociception, which is fascinating itself, but also the associated neuroecology. A fun fact about me is that I am multilingual and can sing in multiple languages as well!

Lab Alumni

Donglin "Donny" Han (Ph.D Student)

Hello! I am Donny, a Ph.D student in Cellular and Behavioral Neurobiology Program. I am doing my first rotation in Dr. Rowe’s lab. I am interested in investigating signal transduction, ion channels related sensory physiology, animal behavior and hormone regulation in sensory or signal transduction. 

I am from Inner Mongolia, China. I went to Emporia State University for my Master’s degree in Zoology with a minor of Physiology. I do like the life in Mid West of United States, and cowboy culture. I also love animals and their behavior response to different simulations. My favorite animals are frogs and snakes. 

Harold Gridley

Harold Gridley (Research Technician)

In the Spring of 2020, I received my Bachelors of Science from the University of Oklahoma with a major in Chemical Biosciences. I am currently a lab technician as I wait to get into Graduate schools for a PhD in either biology or biochemistry. I have spent over a year in this lab working with an HPLC to separate and isolate venom peptides as my primary focus. I very much enjoy the sciences, especially the interface between biology and chemistry, and hope to be able to pursue a career in these fields.

Alyse Heaston

Alyse Heaston (Research Technician)

Alyse obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Biology and graduated with honors from OU in 2019. She has worked as a field assistant with both the Rowe Lab in the Santa Rita Mountains in Arizona and with Dr. Eli Bridge’s lab studying Northern Rough-Winged Swallows in northeastern Oklahoma. Alyse plans to gain experience working as a biological field technician before going on to graduate school. She enjoys camping, spending time with her friends and dog, and scorpion hunting.

Payton Clark

Payton Clark (Research Technician)

Hello! My name is Payton, and I am currently a third year student at OU. I am a dual degree student studying Neuroscience and French. After graduation, I hope to attend medical school and become a neurologist or oncologist. I am primarily interested in pain pathways, neurodegenerative diseases, and neural mechanisms of rabies. I love traveling, hiking, and music.

Jaden Aland

Jaden Aland (Honors Student)

Hello! My name is Jaden Aland, and I’m am a senior Biology student here at OU. After completing my undergraduate degree, I plan to continue my education into medical school. Following this, I aim to gain acceptance into a residency and fellowship program where I can specialize in a surgical field. Currently, my research interest is in neuropharmacology and pain pathways. In my free time I enjoy cheering on the Sooner football team, traveling home to see family, and spending time with my fiancée and our dog.

Ashten Pickens

Ashten Pickens (Former Student)

My name is Ashten! I’m a biology major with an interest in pursuing a PhD in neuroscience. I hope to study medical impacts on the nervous systems. However, I love all things neuroscience at this point in my academic career. I have plenty of interests and too many hobbies to count. It’s all top secret though.

I’ve lived in Oklahoma my entire life, so I imagine I’m very particular about what I find enjoyable here in this greatest of land-locked states. One of the most fun things about living in Oklahoma is the challenge of dodging all the potholes in our roads. Jokes aside, one of the greatest things about Oklahoma must be the southern comfort that can be found in any of the small towns. A thirty-minute drive in almost any direction will lead you to an escape from the city-life, or what can be considered “city-life” in Oklahoma. Ouachita mountains and Lake Eufaula are a must-see for tourists, and biscuits ‘n’ gravy from a ma’ and pa’ diner is essential to what makes this state so great.

Mina Makvandi (Former Honors Student)

Hello my name is Mina Makvandi and I am currently a senior biology major at the University of Oklahoma. My life goals plans are to eventually pursue a career in oral surgery. I plan to attend graduate school after OU for a master’s in medical anthropology. Currently, I research and sequence genes encoding ion channels from wild species of mice to identify genetic variation in regulatory or coding regions of the gene that might contribute to functional variation. I focus on TRPA1, a sensory transduction channel expressed in the pain pathway of mammals that is a target of noxious chemicals. I am also interested in genetics, heredity and techniques for editing genes (for example, CRISPR- CAS9).

Kaitlyn Sherer, Ph.D (Graduate Student)

Abhijna Parigi, Ph.D (Former Student)