Today is Monday, Nov. 18, 2019

Department of

Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience

McCullumsmith Lab: Lab Members

Robert McCullumsmith

Robert McCullumsmith, MD, PhD

Board Certified in Psychiatry

Dr. McCullumsmith studied biochemistry (BS) at Indiana University, then pursued joint MD, PhD degrees at the University of Michigan. Following a research-track residency in Psychiatry at the University of Michigan, he joined the faculty and began to study abnormalities of glutamate transporter expression in severe mental illness. Dr. McCullumsmith was promoted to Associate Professor with Tenure while at the Department of Psychiatry and Neurobiology at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. Dr. McCullumsmith relocated to the University of Cincinnati in 2013, and sees patients at the Cincinnati Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center and the University of Cincinnati Department of Psychiatry.

Jennifer McGuire

Jennifer McGuire, PhD

Research Instructor

Dr. McGuire earned her PhD in Molecular and Developmental Biology in 2009 at the University of Cincinnati. Her thesis examined neuroendocrine, behavioral and alterations in neuropeptides in a non-habituating chronic stress model. She has extensive experience working in animal stress models, and most recently has worked with the closed cortical impact (CCI) model of traumatic brain injury at the Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, MD. She is currently using a rodent model of traumatic brain injury to test the hypothesis that changes in glutamate transporter expression and localization contribute to the cognitive deficits observed following injury.

Adam Funk

Adam Funk PhD

Research Scientist

Dr. Funk received his undergraduate degree from the University of Nevada Reno (2004). After graduation he accepted a research assistant position with a local biotech company, Sierra Sciences, were he performed research related to telomere biology and telomerase activation. Adam joined Neurobiology graduate program at the University of Alabama Birmingham (2006). Adam found abnormalities in multiple intracellular signaling cascades in postmortem brain tissue from patients with schizophrenia. Upon receiving his PhD (2011), Adam joined the lab of Dr. Tara DeSilva as a postdoctoral fellow studying the role of glutamate in oligodenrocyte development and demyelinating disease. Currently, with Dr. McCullumsmith Adam is studying the protein-protein interactions of PSD-95, a scaffolding and trafficking protein in the postsynaptic density in postmortem brain.

Sinead Odonovan

Sinead O'Donovan PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. O'Donovan received her undergraduate degree in Neuroscience from Trinity College, the University of Dublin, Ireland. She conducted her PhD thesis, "The Molecular, Cellular and Behavioural Effects of Electroconvulsive Stimulation in the Rodent," with the Neurobiology of Depression research group under the supervisor Professor Declan McLoughlin. This project included examining the effects of electroconvulsive stimulation on rat hippocampal and frontal cortex proteomes.

In 2014, Dr. O'Donovan joined the McCullumsmith laboratory, where her work is focused on abnormalities of glutamate transporters (EAAT2) in schizophrenia. This includes examining postmortem region- and cell-specific alterations in EAAT2 splice variants, with a focus on EAAT2b. In addition, she is interested in the aberrant metabolism of the adenosine system in disease. Adenosine modulates the glutamate and dopamine neurotransmitter systems which are dysregulated in schizophrenia and contribute to the positive, negative and cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia. 

Courtney Sullivan

Courtney Sullivan, BS

Graduate Student

Courtney received her undergraduate degree (BS) in Neuroscience from the University of Pittsburgh in 2013. Her senior thesis was with Drs. Eric Kelley and Meg Tarpey studying reactive oxygen species damage in the brains of morbidly obese mice. After graduation, she joined the Neuroscience Graduate Program at the University of Cincinnati and began rotations in July 2013. In 2014, she joined the McCullumsmith laboratory where she is studying metabolic abnormalities in schizophrenia.

For her dissertation work, she is currently examining metabolic abnormalities at the region and cellular level from schizophrenia subjects compared with control subjects. This includes measuring mRNA expression, protein expression, enzyme activity, and substrate levels in postmortem brain. Laser-capture microdissection-qPCR was used to examine these pathways at the cellular level. She is also working to examine these pathways in an animal model of schizophrenia, the GluN1 hypomorph.

Courtney will graduate in Spring 2018 where she plans on pursuing a career in science commercialization.

Emily Photo

Emily Devine, BS

Laboratory Associate: Lead Laser Capture Microdissection Technician

Emily earned a BS in neurobiology from the University of Cincinnati in 2016. During her undergraduate career, she spent two years researching Parkinson’s disease where she analyzed ultrasonic vocalizations in rat models as a way to study dysarthria and cognitive function during disease progression. Emily joined the McCullumsmith lab in September 2016 where she is the lead laser capture microdissection technician. She is currently using this technique along with QPCR to explore glutamate transporter expression in schizophrenia. In the future, Emily plans to pursue an MD/PhD program.

Rebekka Photo

Rebekka Meeks, MS

Laboratory Associate

Rebekka received her undergraduate degree in chemistry from the University of Cincinnati in 2014. As an undergraduate student, she worked primarily in biochemistry research at Northern Kentucky University. Following completion of her undergraduate work, she completed an MSc in chemical research at the University of Reading in England (about 20 minutes outside of London). Her graduate research was in mass spectrometry method development for real-time reaction monitoring using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI). After a few months of working as an LC-MS chemist in industry, Rebekka joined the McCullumsmith lab to work on a project studying protein-protein interaction abnormalities in the postsynaptic density of postmortem schizophrenia brains.

Lauren Herrera, BA

Medical Student

Lauren received her undergraduate degree in neuroscience from Boston University in 2012. She completed her senior thesis in the lab of Dr. Howard Eichenbaum investigating the electrophysiology and behavior of overlapping contextual memories. After graduation, she worked with Dr. Ariel Deutch at Vanderbilt University studying serotonergic pathology in Parkinson's disease and dendritic spine morphology in a rodent model of schizophrenia. Lauren came to University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in 2016. She joined the McCullumsmith lab via the Medical Student Scholars Program, where she is studying the protein interactions of PSD-95 in chronically stressed animals. 


Cassidy Moody

Undergraduate Student

Cassidy is currently a junior at the University of Cincinnati pursuing a Medical Sciences major with a Psychology minor. She currently works with Sinead on exploring changes in adenosine kinase expression levels in schizophrenia. Cassidy hopes to attend medical school after finishing undergrad.


Mario Cribari

Undergraduate Student

Mario is currently a senior at Xavier University, and is double majoring in Chemistry and Biophysics, along with minors in Math, Psychology, and Spanish. He was brought to the lab through UC’s SURF program (Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship). After graduating from Xavier he plans to pursue an MD/PhD program.

His current project focuses on the protein neural nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) and how its expression varies in brain tissue from subjects with or without schizophrenia. Nitric oxide modulates many synaptic proteins and is known to be dysregulated in schizophrenic neurons, making it an interesting protein to study. Specifically he has built an in silico protein-protein interactome for nNOS and is looking at mRNA expression levels of the targeted interacting proteins via PCR quantification. Additionally, he is working on an immunopurification of nNOS so that its interactome can be analyzed via mass spectrometry.

McCullumsmith Lab: Previous Lab Members

Rachael Koene

Laboratory Associate: Lead Laser Capture Microdissection Technician

Erica DePasquale

Research Assistant

Amanda Gardner, PhD

Laboratory Manager and Research Associate

Keith Click

Research Assistant

Katie Hasselfeld

Research Assistant: Lead Laser Capture Microdissection Technician

Astrocytes Immunoflourescence
Image of a double immunoflourescence stained glial cell in the brain; using GFAP (red), EAAT2 (green) and DAPI (blue). Astrocytes and the glutamate transporter EAAT2 are highly expressed in the brain.