Principal Investigator

Ukpong Eyo, Ph.D.

Eyo (pronounced “A”-“Yo”) was born in Nigeria and grew up in several different countries. He immigrated to the US in 2003 to pursue undergraduate studies at Northwest Missouri State University. He then went on to graduate school at the University of Iowa where he developed a keen interest in real-time imaging of microglia during development under the mentorship of Dr. Michael Dailey. During his time in the Dailey Lab, Eyo reported remarkable migratory capacities for neonatal microglia and elucidated purinergic mechanisms in microglial demise under simulated ischemic conditions. Following his Ph.D studies, Eyo joined the lab of Dr. Long-Jun Wu, first at Rutgers University in New Jersey, then at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota to study microglial-neuronal communications. His postdoctoral research in the Wu Lab uncovered novel physical interaction phenomena between microglia and neurons. These were shown to be governed by glutamate-dependent NMDA receptor signaling that subsequently elicited purine release to activate microglial P2Y12 receptors. Moreover, he showed that this communication axis was beneficial following experimentally-induced seizures. In August 2018, Eyo started his independent lab in the Department of Neuroscience and the Center for Brain Immunology and Glia (BIG) to continue his research on microglia with a focus on the developing brain. Away from the lab, Eyo enjoys time with his blessed family including his wife, sons, and daughter. 


Postdoctoral Research Fellows

Kaushik Sharma, Ph.D.

Kaushik obtained his Bachelors and Masters degree from the University of Pune, India. His doctoral research work was focused on understanding the mechanisms of memory formation in the hippocampus, focusing on long-term potentiation recordings. He did his first postdoctoral training with Dr Marie-Eve Tremblay at Université Laval, Quebec, Canada, where his work was focused on elucidating the effects of diet on neuron – microglia interactions in chronic stress paradigms. His current postdoctoral research is to study the involvement of microglia-specific purinergic receptors in seizures and understand the governing mechanisms. He is fond of reading, instrumental music, nature walks, and anything that is creative.


Kanchan Bisht, Ph.D.

Kanchan got her neuroscience research training in the labs at the National Brain Research Center (NBRC), India, as well as Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH) Zürich, Switzerland. As a doctoral student in Dr Marie-Eve Tremblay’s lab at the Université Laval, Quebec, Canada, she described a novel microglia phenotype, the dark microglia, associated with pathological states, stress, and aging. Her postdoctoral research is focused on elucidating the intricacies of microglia-vasculature interaction in the context of both brain physiology and pathology. Outside of the laboratory, she enjoys spending time with her son, travelling, cooking, and reading.


Bruce Corliss, Ph.D.

Bruce obtained his Bachelors in Biomedical Engineering from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. He worked four years at the biotech startup GrassRoots Biotechnology (acquired by Monsanto Inc. in 2013, acquired by Bayer in 2018) developing automated high-throughput gene expression analysis pipelines for de novo promoter elements for use in genetically modified food and biofuel crops. His PhD research at the University of Virginia Department of Biomedical Engineering focused on probing the role of pericyte detachment from the microvasculature as an initiating event in diabetic retinopathy. His current postdoctoral research, as a trainee of the NIH-sponsored Cardiovascular Training Grant at UVA, is focused on developing data analysis techniques to measure changes in microglia association with the microvasculature, a phenomenon that could play a role in a variety of neurovascular diseases such as epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, and dementia. For hobbies, he enjoys rock climbing, swing dancing, yoga, and acrylic painting.



Laboratory Technician 

Bria Friestad

Bria is a University of Virginia graduate and a Virginia native. Growing up along the eastern shore in Norfolk, VA instilled an interest in biology and the environment which she nurtured through her education. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in 2016, double majoring in Biology and English. During her undergrad she focused on genetics and ecology, studying evolution and polyploid complexes in the Galloway Lab with (now) Dr Brittany Sutherland. She also spent time exploring English and American classic literature, as well as more modern genres of writing/reading. She hopes to proceed to a PhD program in Biology while cultivating her skills as an author and editor. In her free time, she likes to read, write, go on nature walks, practice photography and travel with her family. 



Graduate Students 

Joseph Uweru, B.Sc., M.Sc.

Joseph (Joe) was born and raised in Nigeria where he obtained his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Physiology from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and the University of Lagos, Lagos, respectively. His research seeks to elucidate the role of microglia P2Y12 receptor in neurodevelopment and neurodevelopmental pathologies. Outside the lab, he enjoys listening to music, reading, exercising/strolling etc.



Undergraduate Students

Camille Favero

Camille is a fourth-year student from Sacramento, CA. She is a double major in Cognitive Science, with a Neuroscience concentration, and Drama. When not in class or in the lab, you can find her competing for the UVA Varsity Women’s Tennis Team.


Jordan Benderoth


Jordan is an undeclared third-year student. She plans on majoring in neuroscience or cognitive science and psychology. She lives in Virginia Beach and can do a back-flip.


Lara Jabbour

Lara is a pre-medical student from Fredericksburg, VA. Alongside involvement in research, Lara enjoys traveling, ice skating, and finding opportunities to care for individuals in need.


Zainab Calcuttawala


Zainab is a third-year student from Herndon, VA. She plans to major in biology and minor in psychology. She loves traveling to new places and exploring a variety of fields in science.


Brij Patel

Brij is a second-year student from Roanoke, VA. He plans on majoring in neuroscience. He loves playing tennis and learning about the different aspects of science.


Saipranusha Amancherla

Saipranusha is a first-year student from Aldie, VA. She plans on majoring in cognitive science and minoring in statistics. She loves to travel and explore new cultures, dance, and expand her knowledge by exploring different areas of science.



Visiting Student

Antony Brayan Campos Salazar 

Brayan (Hispanic form of “Bryan”) is a visiting student from Peru. He received his BSc. from Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, in the land of Ceviche and Pisco (aka Peru). He then moved to Brazil where he obtained a Master’s degree from the University of Sao Paulo. During his Master’s, he explored the association of several polymorphisms in genes associated with the pharmacodynamics of immunosuppressants with clinical outcomes in kidney transplantation. Now, driven by personal experiences, he seeks to pursue a career in Neuroscience in the U.S., where he will combine all his past experience in genetics and immunology. He came on a FONDECYT Peruvian Research Mobility Program to the Brain Immunology and Glia (BIG) Center to do a 6-month internship to learn more about microglia and the techniques the Eyo lab uses to study them. When he is not in the lab, he spends his time on science communication and mentoring. He also loves basketball, biking, running, and watching animes.