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The Baas Lab Members

Peter W. Baas, Professor and Lab Director, Baas Lab Member

Peter W. Baas

Professor and Lab Director

Dr. Baas earned his PhD in 1987 from Michigan State University, and then trained as a postdoctoral fellow at Temple University. From there, he was on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin for ten years before joining the faculty of Drexel University in 2000. Dr. Baas is interested in all aspects of the neuronal cytoskeleton, with a particular emphasis on the regulation of microtubules in developing neurons. He is also interested in various aspects of microtubules during neurodegenerative diseases as well as during nerve injury and regeneration. He is currently the director of the Graduate Program in Neuroscience at Drexel University.

Wenqian Yu, Research Instructor, Baas Lab Member

Wenqian Yu

Research Instructor

Dr. Yu earned her MD from Shanghai Medical University, and then joined the Baas Laboratory in 1993 as a postdoctoral fellow. She has remained in the laboratory since, and is currently a research instructor. She is the chief cell biologist in the laboratory, and is involved in several of the ongoing projects as well as the training of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. She has published on microtubule transport in the axon, the role of the centrosome in generating axonal microtubules, the regulation of the dendritic microtubule array, the fragmentation of microtubules underlying collateral branch formation, and the role of microtubule-severing proteins and molecular motor proteins in regulating key events in the establishment of neuronal polarity. Dr. Yu is the recipient of the prestigious Edward Jekkal Award.

Liang Qiang, Research Instructor, Baas Lab Member

Liang Qiang

Research Instructor

Dr. Qiang earned his PhD in 2009 at Drexel University, supervised by Dr. Baas, where he made seminal discoveries on the regulation of microtubule-severing proteins (katanin and spastin) during neuronal development. These studies shed light on the functional mechanisms by which these severing proteins participate in axon outgrowth and axon branching. During his postdoc at Columbia University, he developed a cellular reprogramming strategy to directly convert adult human fibroblasts into functional neurons (hiNs) by defined transcriptional regulators in vitro and in vivo. Now, he is utilizing hiNs and iPSCs derived from unaffected individuals and patients with Alzheimer’s disease to study the pathological mechanisms of the disease and the potential therapeutic approaches. He is also applying the direct reprogramming strategy in the spinal cord injury studies in a close collaboration with Dr. Lane's lab in the department.

Emanuela Piermarini, Postdoc, Baas Lab Member

Emanuela Piermarini

Postdoctoral Fellow

Emanuela earned her PhD degree in biochemistry and molecular biology at University of Rome "Tor Vergata" in November 2016. During her PhD training she studied the role of oxidative stress in neurodegeneration, focusing her attention on the role of glutathione in the pathogenesis of Friedreich's ataxia. She joined the Baas Lab as a postdoc in December 2016, where she is involved in the project of characterizing a new mouse model of hereditary spastic paraplegia.

Timothy Austin, Graduate Student, Baas Lab Member

Timothy Austin

Graduate Student

Tim is a doctoral student in the Neuroscience program at Drexel University. He earned a BS in Neuroscience in 2011 from Brigham Young University in Utah. With strong interests in nerve regeneration, Tim is working on a collaborative project with Dr. Baas and Dr. Veronica Tom on novel microtubule-based therapies to augment the regrowth of injured adult axons. Tim is a recipient of a prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

In the Media
"Extraordinarily Ordinary" [PDF]
Drexel University College of Medicine Alumni Magazine (Spring/Summer 2013)

Andrew Matamoros, Graduate Student, Baas Lab Member

Andrew Matamoros

Graduate Student

Andrew is a PhD candidate in the Molecular and Cellular Biology and Genetics program at Drexel University College of Medicine. He earned an interdepartmental (Biology and Psychology) BA from the University of Delaware. Following graduation he was promoted from an intern to a full-time research scientist at QPS LLC in the Translational Medicine Department. Andrew earned an MS in cellular and molecular neuroscience from Delaware State University while following the "Bridge to Doctorate" program between Delaware State and Drexel University College of Medicine. In the Baas Lab he is currently researching microtubule-based mechanisms to facilitate nerve regeneration.

Ankita Patil, Graduate Student, Baas Lab Member

Ankita Patil

Graduate Student

Ankita is a master's student in the Neuroscience program. She earned her BS in life sciences from the University of Mumbai, India, in 2014, and joined Drexel's program in 2015. She will be working on motor proteins and their role in microtubule organization in neurons.

Hemalatha Muralidharan, Graduate Student, Baas Lab Member

Hemalatha Muralidharan

Graduate Student

Hema is a doctoral student in the Neuroscience program at Drexel University. She earned a BS in biotechnology from Madras University, India. She also did an MS in human genetics and forensic science from Manipal University, Dubai, before joining Drexel’s program in 2015. She will be working on the role of microtubule-based motor proteins and microtubule-severing protein in neurons.

Philip Yates, MD/PhD Student, Baas Lab Member

Philip Yates

MD/PhD Student

Phil is an MD/PhD student in the Neuroscience program at Drexel University College of Medicine. He earned a BA in biology from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. Phil is interested in neurodegenerative diseases, particularly Alzheimer’s disease. He joined the Baas Lab in 2017, and will be researching Gulf War Illness using hiPSCs to investigate the role of the microtubule-associated protein tau in GWI, as well as microtubule-based therapies for GWI.

Silvia Fernandes, Graduate Student, Baas Lab Member

Silvia Fernandes

Graduate Student

Silvia Fernandes is a master's student in the Neuroscience program. She earned her BS from Saint Xavier's College Mumbai, India. She is currently working on in vivo cellular reprogramming in spinal cord injury.

Xiaohuan 'Beanie' Sun, Visiting MS Student, Baas Lab Member

Xiaohuan "Beanie" Sun

Visiting MS Student

Beanie is a visiting MS student from Nantong University, China. She is studying microtubule-stabilizing proteins in neurons.

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Baas Lab researchers used electron tomography to construct a 3D model (bottom), and found that whereas most microtubules (green) are attached to the centrosome (blue), a small number are unattached. The unattached microtubules are able to undergo motor-driven sliding, which helps neurons migrate in a straight line.