People

Kristy Welshhans, PhD

Assistant Professor

email: kristyw@mailbox.sc.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 at the University of South Carolina and a Center Affiliate of the University of South Carolina Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Center of Excellence (USCAND).


Manasi Agrawal, MS

PhD Student

School of Biomedical Sciences
Kent State University

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.


Katelyn Rygel, BS

PhD Student

Biological Sciences: Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology Program
University of South Carolina

Email: krygel@email.sc.edu

Katelyn is currently pursuing her PhD at the University of South Carolina in the Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology program. 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

PhD Student

Biological Sciences: Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology Program
University of South Carolina

Email: nkirkise@email.sc.edu

Nikita is currently pursuing her PhD at the University of South Carolina in the Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology program. In the Welshhans Lab, she is interested in studying the underlying mechanisms of local translation, specifically the effect of the ECM protein, laminin, on both local translation of proteins and axon growth and guidance. She further aims to study the role of laminins, integrins, and RACK1 in local translation and how this signaling pathway may regulate axon growth and guidance.


Current Undergraduates

  • Gracie Gotberg
  • Kasey Gillespie
  • Juhi Patel
  • Cayla Mathis

Lab Alumni: Graduate Students

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


Lab Alumni: Undergraduate Students

  • David Morgan
  • Bryan Soth
  • 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