Meet the Lab team members. We welcome requests for information about our work and collaboration opportunities.
Evangelos Kiskinis, PhD
Assistant Professor of Neurology
View Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine faculty profile
Evangelos was born in Thessaloniki, Greece. He moved to the UK when he was 19 and did his undergraduate studies at the University of Surrey and graduate studies at Imperial College in London. In between he also spend a year in Basel, Switzerland working as a research trainee at Novartis Pharmaceuticals. Evangelos trained as a postdoctoral fellow in Kevin Eggan’s lab at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute working on harnessing the utility of stem cells to study, understand and treat neurodegenerative disease. He has been the recipient of postdoctoral fellowships from the European Molecular Biology Organization (2008), the New York Stem Cell Foundation (2011) and the Charles King Trust (2013). Evangelos moved to Northwestern University in January 2015 to head his own group, which focuses on studying neurological diseases using stem cell based approaches. He is also the Director of the Stem Cell Core Facility. In his spare time he enjoys spending time with his young family as well as reading about his literary heroes that include Corto Maltese and Hellboy.
Alberto Ortega, PhD
Alberto was born and raised in Barcelona. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in the Faculty of Biology and graduated in the Faculty of Medicine from the University of Barcelona where he was also a teaching assistant for five years. Before moving to Northwestern, Alberto did his first post-doctoral training at UConn Health Center in Nada Zecevic Lab, where he studied the development of the human cerebral cortex and the origin of multiple neurodevelopmental disorders. Alberto is interested in the impact of single genetic modifications on cortical neurons development and functionality. Outside the lab, Alberto enjoys cooking, discovering new places to eat authentic local food, traveling, and playing soccer.
Dina Simkin, PhD
Dina was born in Moscow, Russia and moved to the US when she was 8. She received her Bachelors of Science from Beloit College and her PhD in Neuroscience from Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science and a second PhD from Université of Nice, France in Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology. Dina trained as a postdoc with Dr. John Disterhoft at Northwestern University studying the electrophysiological properties associated with learning and aging. Her long-term research goals are to identify and understand how normal neuronal function can be dysregulated by defective ion channels associated with human disease (channelopathies) such as certain types of epilepsy. Dina is working on a collaborative project using stem cell culturing techniques in the Kiskinis laboratory and patch-clamp electrophysiology with Dr. Alfred George of the Department of Pharmacology at Northwestern University to understand the electrophysiological and molecular mechanisms behind human neurological diseases. She has been the recipient of several doctoral and postdoctoral fellowships and awards including l’Association Française contre les Myopathies predoctoral fellowship (2009), Chateaubriand predoctoral Fellowship (2010), NIH Training T32 postdoctoral fellowship (2014), and Chicago Biomedical Consortium postdoctoral Research Grant (2014). In her free time Dina enjoys oil painting, skiing and fixing things.
Konstantinos Tsioras, PhD
Konstantinos was born and raised in Athens, Greece. After his graduation from the Department of Biology of Athens University, he performed his PhD thesis at the Hellenic Pasteur Institute studying the mechanisms that control the balance between the cellular proliferation of neural stem cells versus their differentiation towards mature neurons. His emphasis was on protein-protein interactions of neural specific molecules implicated in signaling pathways that direct cell-cycle exit and neuronal differentiation. Afterwards and in the same Institution, he had the great opportunity to get involved in iPSC technology, studying the pathological mechanisms of Parkinson’s Disease in human neurons derived from patients carrying the A53T mutation in alpha-synuclein gene. In the beginning of 2016 he joined the lab of Dr. Evangelos Kiskinis at Northwestern University at Chicago, in order to elucidate the common mechanisms between the different familiar forms of the severe neurological disorder ALS, using the humanized cellular model of iPSCs. Outside the lab, Konstantinos is planning to explore Chicago as much as he can and progressively more cities and states, to buy a bicycle keeping on his favorite habit, and (hopefully) to deepen his love of photography.
Elizabeth Daley, BS
Beth grew up in Riverside, Connecticut. She received her undergraduate degree in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from the University of Notre Dame. She was then granted a post-baccalaureate fellowship in Dr. Eugene Major's lab at NINDS, where she studied the interactions between B cell transcription factors and JC virus, the etiological agent of the fatal demyelinating disease, progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). In 2012 she joined Dr. Jeff Rothstein's lab at Johns Hopkins, where she used patient-derived iPS neurons to further our understanding of the recently discovered ALS mutation C9Orf72. This experience impressed upon Beth the incredible power of iPS cells for modeling neurological disease. In 2015 she joined NUIN as a graduate student. During her graduate studies, she would like to continue research in neurodegeneration, particularly ALS, using the iPS model. In her spare time, Beth likes to play squash, read, and watch college football. (Go Irish!)
Eric J. Martin, BS
Eric was raised in Tampa, Florida. He received his Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Florida in 2015. While in undergrad, he studied the cardiovascular response and the orexin system in the lab of Dr. Linda Hayward. After graduating, he remained at the University of Florida working on adeno-associated virus (AAV) based gene therapy with Dr. George Aslanidi. This led to Eric’s interest in cell culturing and ultimately his desire to work with iPS models of disease. His current studies focus on characterizing stem-cell derived motor neurons. In his free time, Eric likes to watch basketball and football, listen to music, and play video games.
Research Technologist I
Brandon grew up in the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio, and is currently majoring in Biology with a concentration in physiology at Northwestern University. He joined the Kiskinis lab in January 2017 and is working with Dina on her collaborative project by assisting with the analysis of neuron images and by providing help for day-to-day lab operations involving culturing techniques. Outside of the lab, Brandon enjoys swimming, exploring Chicago's food and comedy scene, going to concerts, and watching NBA basketball.
Gabriella Lou Puig Robertson
Research Technologist I
Gabriella grew up in Miramar, Florida and she obtained her Bachelors of Arts in Molecular Biology from the University of Pennsylvania. While at Penn, she conducted cancer biology research in the lab of Dr. Lewis Chodosh. Her work focused on the regulation of a protein kinase, Hunk, which has been shown to play a role in primary mammary tumor formation and metastasis. At Northwestern, she is working on developing stem cell-based models of epileptic channelopathies to better understand how ion-channel mutations impact the development and function of human cortical neurons. Outside of the lab, Gabriella enjoys cooking, playing the drums, exploring new places, and spending quality time with her friends and family.
Marisa grew up in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. She is a sophomore undergraduate student at Northwestern majoring in Biology, minoring in Spanish. At Northwestern, she is involved in the Biology Students Association as well as Northwestern to Benefit Special Olympics. Within the lab, Marisa is working with Alberto investigating the degenerative mechanisms associated with C9ORF72 mutations in ALS/FTD. In her free time Marisa enjoys spending time with friends and family, reading, skating, and watching hockey.
Liana was born in Miami, FL, but grew up part-time in Boston, MA. She is a sophomore undergraduate majoring in Biological Sciences at Northwestern University. In the future, she hopes to receive a PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology. In the Kiskinis lab, she is helping graduate student Elizabeth Daley with her research on PML bodies and the ALS mutation C9Orf72 using iPSC-derived motor neurons. Outside of the lab, Liana enjoys hanging out with her friends, playing the piano, and serving on the exec board for a feminist club on campus.
Colin Franz, MD, PhD
Currently: Principal Investigator Shirley Ryan Ability Lab
David Santos, BS
Currently: Project Manager at Brickell Biotech, Inc.