One of the great pleasures of working in academic research is in following the progress of our pre- and post-doctoral trainees and former staff members after they leave the lab. We are very proud of all that our lab alumni have accomplished and the good work they continue to do. Below are brief bios of our former lab members and some recent news items.

Alumni News

Lab Alumna Wins Best Talk Prize

We would like to wish Lauren Walker, a former graduate student in the lab, a hearty congratulations for winning the best talk prize at the Hilde Mangold Postdoctoral Symposium at the recent Society for Developmental Biology meeting. She won the award for her presentation on “Identification of extrinsic cues promoting target-selective axon regeneration”.

Where are they now?

The list of bios below is not comprehensive (yet!) and if you are a former lab member reading this, please do send us an update!

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Kwang Woo Ko

Kwang Woo Ko

Former Postdoc, Currently: Scientist II at PTC Therapeutics

Dr. Kwang Woo Ko joined the lab in 2015.  His work looked at the roles of Sarm1 and inflammation in neurodegeneration, specifically in the context of glaucoma.  In 2021, he accepted a position at PTC Therapeutics where he will continue to work on eye diseases.

Dan Summers, PhD

Dan Summers, PhD

Former Postdoc, Currently: Assistant Professor of Biology at the University of Iowa

Dr. Dan Summers was a shared postdoc in the DiAntonio and Milbrandt labs whose work investigated pathways in sensory neurons that regulate protein degradation of axonal survival factors. He is now an Assistant Professor of Biology at the University of Iowa where his lab continues studying cellular pathways responsible for protein homeostasis in developing and diseased neurons.

Chunlai Wu, PhD

Chunlai Wu, PhD

Former Postdoc, Currently: Associate Professor of Cell Biology and Anatomy, and Neuroscience at the Neuroscience Center of Excellence, LSU Health

Dr. Wu was a postdoc in the lab from 2002-2008. His research focused on synaptic development and the role of Highwire.  He left the lab to take a faculty position at the LSU Health Sciences Center where his lab continues to work on the molecular pathways that shape and support synaptic connections as well as using Drosophila to identify novel molecules that play a role in neuronal development and degeneration.

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Martha Bhattacharya, PhD

Former Postdoc, Currently: Assistant Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Arizona

Dr. Bhattacharya was a postdoc in the lab starting in 2008.  Her work modeled toxic neuropathy in Drosophila and identified a role for TMEM184b in axonal and synaptic maintenance.  After leaving the lab, she joined the St. Louis College of Pharmacy as an Assistant Proferssor before moving to her current position as an Assistant Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Arizona where her lab continues to study molecular pathways that promote axon degeneration.

Yogesh Wairkar, PhD

Yogesh Wairkar, PhD

Former Postdoc, Currently: Assistant Professor at the Mitchell Center for Neurodegenerative Disorders at UTMB Health

In 2004, Dr. Yogesh Wairkar joined the lab as a postdoc.  His research looked at synaptic formation and regulation at the neuromuscular junction in Drosophila.  He left the lab to take an Assistant Professor position in the Mitchell Center for Neurodegenerative Disorders at UTMB Health where he continues to study proteins involved in the active zones of the synapse.

Ethan Graf, PhD

Ethan Graf, PhD

Former Postdoc, Currently: Instructor at Mary Institute and Saint Louis Country Day School

Ethan joined the DiAntonio Lab as a postdoc in 2005 and studied the mechanism of synapse development.  In 2010, he left to take a position as an Assistant Professor at Amherst College.  In 2018, he returned to the St. Louis area and is now teaching at the prestigious Mary Institute and Saint Louis Country Day School.

Elisabetta Babetto, PhD

Elisabetta Babetto, PhD

Former postdoc, Currently: Research Assistant Professor at the Institute of Myelin and Glia Exploration at the University at Buffalo

Dr. Elisabetta Babetto was a postdoc in the lab from 2010 to 2014 before leaving to take a position at the Hunter James Kelly Research Institute (now known as the Institute of Myelin and Glia Exploration) at the University at Buffalo. Her current work focuses on axon-glia communication after injury and in neurodegenerative diseases.