Lauren O'Donnell,  Ph.D. - Principal Investigator 

Lauren obtained her BS in Agriculture at the University of Delaware, where she started her virology research in the lab of Dr. Carl Schmidt studying Marek's Disease Virus.  She studied HIV pathogenesis while getting her PhD at the University of Pennsylvania, and studied neuroimmunology in her postdoc at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, PA.   Today, Lauren studies how viral infections alter the course of brain development in her laboratory at Duquesne University and teaches pharmacy students about infectious diseases and immunizations.  Lauren's Duquesne faculty site can be found here:

Yashika Kamte - Graduate Student

Yashika obtained her B.Pharm. from S.N.D.T Womens' University in Mumbai, India. Her undergraduate research was with natural products. She studied the anti-inflammatory activity of Annaacrdium occidentale and studied compounds such as  Mentha piperita, Nigella sativum, Emblica officinalis and Zingiber officinale and their effects on intestinal motility.   In the O'Donnell Lab, Yashika is interested in understanding how the antiviral immune response may affect the differentiation of neural stem cells into specific neuronal sub-types. In her free time, Yashika enjoys dancing and reading.

Vivek Singh - Graduate Student

Vivek did his Bachelor’s in Pharmacy from VES College of Pharmacy, Mumbai, and later completed his Master’s with specialization in Pharmaceutics from BITS, Pilani, India. During his Master’s, he worked on a project titled, ‘Preparation of a sustained release formulation of milnacipran using liquisolid dispersion technique’. Additionally, he completed a six-month Practice School in a consulting firm, Value Edge (now WNS). Vivek continued to serve Value-Edge as a full-time market analyst for three years. Before joining the O’Donnell lab in Fall 2022, he worked with the US-based primary market research firm, Medsphere Corporation, and later served as a Senior Analyst in the Competitive Intelligence department of Novartis India. Vivek enjoys cooking, shopping, and traveling with his wife. In his free time, Vivek likes listening to CEOs and world leaders. He loves playing cricket and badminton. [LinkedIn]

Natalie London - Undergraduate Researcher

Natalie is a senior biology major with a molecular biology concentration and is getting minors in biochemistry and psychology. She is interested in going to medical school for either an MD or MD/PhD. She began working in the O’Donnell lab during the 2022 fall semester and participated in the Undergraduate Research Program in the summer of 2023. Her current research focuses on cell death in pediatric brain samples after measles infection. In her spare time Natalie enjoys reading, playing piano, or spending time with friends. 

Kyah Thompson - Undergraduate Researcher

Kyah is a sophomore biology major with a physiology concentration and a minor in public health. She began working in the O’Donnell lab in the summer of 2023 as a part the Undergraduate Research Program. Her current research focuses on the effects of demyelination of neurons and axonal damage in the pediatric brain, with hopes to ameliorate such damage in future studies. Outside of the lab, Kyah loves to read, watch true crime, and work with her patients on the surgical oncology unit at UPMC Mercy.

Chloe Potosnak - Pharmacy Student Researcher

Chloe is a 4th-year Pharmacy student with interests in clinical pharmacology and drug development. She is currently enrolled in a dual degree program pursuing her PharmD as well as her Bachelor’s of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences. She began working in the O’Donnell lab during the Fall semester of 2022. Her research focused on how the antiviral immune response may affect long-term myelination. In her final year of pharmacy school, she is looking toward fellowships in clinical drug development!


Manisha Chandwani - Graduate Student

Manisha obtained her Bachelors of Pharmacy degree from Principal K.M. Kundnani College of Pharmacy in 2015. She worked for a year as a case processor in the pharmacovigilance department at Tata Consultancy Services assessing post-marketing adverse effects of drugs. In the O’Donnell lab, Manisha studied the effects of the anti-viral immune response on NSPC fate and activity in adult mice. In her spare time Manisha likes to read, watch Netflix, and spend time with her cat (Coffee). She is now a Field Application Scientist (and flow cytometry wizard) with ThermoFisher!

Abigail Dunphy - Undergraduate Researcher

Abby is a Pharmacy major with interests in infectious disease and clinical pharmacology. She worked in O’Donnell lab from 2017-2019. Her research focused on the impact of IFNy treatments on murine neurospheres in the embryonic and neonatal stages of development.

Patrick Creisher - Undergraduate Researcher

Patrick is a Pharmacy major with a strong interest in Virology and Immunology. He joined the O'Donnell Lab in the summer of 2017 and has worked in the lab since. His research involves understanding the canonical signaling  pathway of interferon gamma and how it may participate in age-dependent survival differences of measles infected CD46+ mice.   Patrick will be joining the PhD program at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in the Fall of 2019!

Mika Cadiz - Undergraduate Researcher

Mika is a junior at the University of Minnesota - Morris, where he studies biology with a molecular and cellular focus. He joined the O'Donnell lab in the Summer 2018 as a Neurodegenerative Undergraduate Research Experience fellow. His research interests are in neuroimmunology, particularly of prion diseases. He has previously worked in an immunology lab, on cytokine production in response to Echinacea purpurea, and in a chemistry lab, on metal organic frameworks as a tool for analyzing amyloid beta. In his free time, he enjoys reading and writing fiction, and listening to podcasts.  

Mika entered the Neuroscience PhD program at the Mayo Clinic in Fall 2019!  Mika also welcomed the bunny Clu (as in the Clusterin gene!) in 2020.

Apurva Kulkarni - PhD student

Apurva received his Bachelor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Pune, India.  He came to the USA in 2009 to pursue a Master’s degree in Pharmacology from Northeastern University, before coming to Duquesne in 2012 for his PhD. 

"My initial experience in research during my masters degree encouraged me to pursue a Ph.D. I started working under the Dr. O’Donnell’s mentorship in 2012 to study the effects of anti-viral immune response on brain development. I was always intrigued by stem cells. Therefore, my research focused on understanding how the immune response alters cell cycle and the implications on neural stem cell proliferation and fate. Post-graduation, I began working at Takeda Vaccines with the Discovery group that is currently developing the first vaccine against Norovirus infections (winter vomiting bug). I am leading the effort to develop a 3D cell culture model to understand viral replication and anti-norovirus responses in humans. "

Priya Ganesan - PhD student

Priya obtained her BS in Pharmacy from CU Shah College of Pharmacy, Mumbai, India. In the O'Donnell lab, her research focused on identifying the deficits in the neonatal immune response during a CNS measles infection. She studied the role of adaptive immunity and IFNg in the neonatal CNS.  After graduation, Priya was a postdoctoral fellow at SRI International, developing novel engineered T-cell therapies for the treatment of ovarian cancer and viral infections.   She is currently a Research Scientist at Amgen.  In her spare time, Priya loves reading fiction and watching Netflix.