People

Kristy Welshhans, PhD

Assistant Professor

email: kwelshha@kent.edu

Dr. Welshhans received her BA in Biology from Agnes Scott College and her PhD in Neurobiology & Behavior from Georgia State University. She received an NIH post-doctoral fellowship for work examining the role of mRNA binding proteins during axon guidance while in the laboratory of Dr. Gary Bassell at Emory University School of Medicine. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences , affiliated with the graduate program in Biomedical Sciences at Kent State University and a member of the new Brain Health Research Institute at Kent State University.


Manasi Agrawal, MS

PhD Student

School of Biomedical Sciences

Email: magrawal@kent.edu

Manasi is a Cellular and Molecular Biology Ph.D. candidate in the School of Biomedical Sciences at Kent State University. Born and brought up in India, she obtained her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Biotechnology. In the Welshhans Lab, she uses mouse models and human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-derived neurons from individuals with Down syndrome to gain insight into the intellectual disability phenotype of this disorder. Specifically, her research focuses on the contribution of Down Syndrome Cell Adhesion Molecule (DSCAM) to altered axon growth and guidance in Down syndrome.


Christina Watts, BS

PhD Student

School of Biomedical Sciences

Email: cwatts9@kent.edu

Christina is a Cellular and Molecular Biology Ph.D. candidate in the School of Biomedical Sciences at Kent State University. Reared in East Lyme, Connecticut, Christina received her B.S. in Biology at Bryant University (Smithfield, RI). In the Welshhans Lab, she investigates how adhesion (i.e. point contacts) and the local translation of proteins regulate axon growth and guidance during development. Additionally, Christina explores how changes in these mechanisms contribute to intellectual disability in Down syndrome, by using a mouse model of this disorder. 


Katelyn Rygel, BS

MS Student

School of Biomedical Sciences

Email: krygel@kent.edu

Katelyn is currently pursuing her Masters degree at Kent State University, studying Cellular and Molecular Biology in the School of Biomedical Sciences. In the Welshhans Lab, she studies the local translation of beta-actin, and how it regulates axon guidance through adhesion based mechanisms during development. Additionally, she investigates how these mechanisms are altered in Down syndrome.


Nikita Kirkise, MS

MS Student

School of Biomedical Sciences

Email: nkirkise@kent.edu


Current Undergraduates

  • Bryan Soth
  • David Morgan
  • Labeeb Ahmad

Lab Alumni

Leah Kershner, PhD

Graduated in 2018

Currently a Postdoctoral Associate at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

Shruti Jain, PhD

Graduated in 2017

Currently a Postdoctoral Associate at Stanford University School of Medicine

Undergraduate Lab Alumni

  • Anna Montazzoli
  • Paige Cassidy
  • Taylor Bumbledare
  • Shelby Kelemen
  • Connor Neifert
  • Vindya Perera
  • Lisa Sukenaga
  • Sami Bailey
  • Bailey Chute
  • Joel Serre
  • Haikoo Shah
  • Aarushi Suneja
  • DeAnte Russ