Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Ozdinler Lab

Lab Members

Meet the Lab members! We welcome requests for information about our work and collaboration opportunities.

Principal Investigator

P. HandeOzdinler

P. Hande Ozdinler, PhD
ozdinler( at )
Associate Professor
PhD: LSU/Health Sciences Center
View Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine faculty profile

Dr. Ozdinler received training in the fields of molecular biology, genetics, biotechnology, cell biology, anatomy and neuroscience. She is the recipient of Harvard NeuroDiscovery Center and NUCATS Translational Innovation awards. She was recruited to be the founding director of the 2nd Les Turner ALS Laboratory at Northwestern, which focused on the biology and pathology of upper motor neurons. She is now a faculty member to the Chemistry Life Sciences Processes Institute, Les Turner ALS, Mesulam Center for Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer's Disease, and Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Research Centers.

Research Professors


Mukesh Gautam, PhD
mukesh.gautam( at )
PhD: University of Delhi (2013)

Mukesh Gautam joined the Ozdinler lab in June 2013 and he is working on the health and vulnerability of corticospinal motor neurons (CSMN) in prpTDP-43A315T and Alsin Knock Out mouse model of ALS. He received his PhD in reproductive endocrinology from University of Delhi, India in 2013. During his doctoral research he studied comparative gene expression by immature and mature testicular Sertoli cells in response to FSH and testosterone hormone. For his work in ALS during his time at the Ozdinler Lab, Dr. Gautam received the inaugural Ellen McConnell Blakeman ALS Research Fellowship.

Visiting Professor


Mihailo Radojicic, M.D.
mihailo.radojicic( at )

Mihailo S Radojicic received his M.D. at Belgrade University School of Medicine, Belgrade, Serbia and was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT. He is currently a Research Scientist at University of Belgrade, Faculty of Biology, Department of Physiology and Visiting Research Scientist at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Department of Neurology.


Emel Ulupinar, MD/PhD

Professor Emel Ulupinar graduated from Gazi University Faculty of Medicine in 1992. She studied at Cell Biology and Anatomy Department of Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center and received her PhD in 1999. Since then she has been a faculty member at Eskisehir Osmangazi University, Faculty of Medicine, Anatomy Department. She received "Distinguished Young Scientist Award" from the Turkish Academy of Sciences in 2001. She was the Congress Secretary of "First National Neuroscience Meeting" in 2002. She has been working as the head of Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Department, in Health Sciences Institute of Eskisehir Osmangazi University, since 2012.

Postdoctoral Fellows


Jong-Min Lee
Jongmin.lee( at )

Jongmin Lee received her PhD at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia of Pharmacology. She studied the involvement of the kynurenine pathway in ALS. She worked as a postdoctoral fellow in Ewha Womans University Mokdong Hospital in Seoul, South Korea in researching diabetic nephropathy and moved to Dr Kim lab at Sejong University to study zinc toxicity in Alzheimer's disease. She joined the Ozdinler lab in 2022 and is currently studying the MCP1/CCR2 signaling-mediated astrogliosis-microgliosis in upper motor neurons.

Onur KPolat

Onur K Polat, PhD
onur.polat( at )

Onur K Polat completed his PhD degree at Kyoto University, where he worked under Prof. Yasuo Mori laboratory to identify the mechanism behind TRPC6 induced focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), a type of renal failure. He is currently a visiting post-doctoral fellow at Ozdinler Lab where he co-shares his time with Rush University Medical Center. At Ozdinler lab he is tasked in assisting Dr. Christopher Quintanilla with setting up an electrophysiological system to understand upper motor neuron physiology.


Christopher Quintanilla, Ph.D.
christopher.quintanilla( at )

Christopher Quintanilla completed his doctoral research at the University of Chicago, where he studied the role of Cdx genes in the early development of the zebrafish embryo. He joined the Ozdinler lab in the fall of 2020 and is currently studying how cytoskeletal dysfunction of upper motor neurons (UMNs) contributes to the onset of neurodegenerative diseases.

Lab Manager


Baris Genc, PhD
PhD: Louisiana State University Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy (2004)

Dr. Baris Genc has received his PhD at Louisiana State University Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy where he investigated the role of neurotrophic factors in sensory neuron development. During his Postdoctoral training he switched from neurodevelopment to neurodegeneration field. Currently his research is focused on understanding upper motor neuron biology in ALS, and cellular and molecular mechanisms of selective motor neuron vulnerability in ALS. He was the recipient of the NIH Mechanisms of Aging and Dementia T32 training grant investigating molecular mechanisms of selective vulnerability of motor neurons in ALS.

Technical Staff


Izaak Aguilar
izaak.aguilar-wickings( at )

Izaak Aguilar received his BS in Biology from Texas Tech University. He started working with the Ozdinler lab since September 2020. He is interested in pursuing his PhD in neuroscience.


Angela Ahrens
angela.ahrens( at )

Angela Ahrens graduated from Texas Tech University with a BS in Cell and Molecular Biology. She joined the Ozdinler lab in September 2021. With interest in the inner mechanisms of the cell specific to an individual, she hopes to get her PhD in Biochemistry to one-day work in drug development and personalized medicine for diseases.

Öge Gozütok

Öge Gozütok, DVM
oge.gozutok( at )

Graduated from the University of Istanbul, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in 2008. Founded a small animal practice and pursued her career as veterinary surgeon for 10 years. In parallel, she completed M.Sc. studies and directed her curiosity to neuroscience field. Currently, she focuses on approaches to translate and compare animal behavioral tests and applications for delivery of viral vectors.


Omar Kashow

Omar graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a B.S. in Bioengineering and a minor in Chemistry. His research interests lie in nanotechnology, drug discovery and targeted therapeutics which he hopes to explore and utilize towards neurodegenerative disorders. He is interested in pursuing a PhD in Biochemistry/Bioengineering. Outside the lab, he likes to skateboard and produce music.


Kate Pauss

Kate Pauss graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas with a BS in Neuroscience. She joined the Ozdinler lab in the fall of 2021 and hopes to pursue a PhD in neuroscience. Her interests include nanotechnology and bioelectronics for long-term neural interfacing.

Undergraduate Students


Ben Helmold
BenHelmold2023( at )

Ben is a first-year student at Northwestern University and an alumni of the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy. He is currently on the pre-med track, majoring in Chemistry and minoring in Business Institutions with aspirations for a career in the medical field. He has been with Ozdinler Lab since fall of 2019.



Ina Dervishi
ina.dervishi( at )

Current Location: Resident Physician at University of Chicago (NorthShore) Program


Aksu Gunay
aksu.gunay( at )

Aksu has received her BS in Biology from Middle East Technical University (METU). She has been with the Ozdinler Lab since November 2019. Her interests include molecular mechanisms of neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases. She would like to do a PhD in Neuroscience program in her future academic career.


Javier Jara, PhD
j-jara( at )
Research Assistant Professor
PhD: University of North Dakota, Pharmacology, Physiology and Therapeutics (2008)
View Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine faculty profile

Dr. Javier Jara is a neuroscientist trained in the field of neurodegenerative diseases with high emphasis in ALS. During his postdoctoral training he received the prestigious Milton Safenowitz Postdoctoral fellowship for ALS research to investigate the role of immunity and neuroinflammation in ALS. He has published several papers that have shed light on the importance of upper motor neuron degeneration. Currently, Dr. Jara is working in the ALS field and has received funding from ALS Association to investigate the role of TBI in ALS.

Nabil Khan, MD

Current Location: Weiss Memorial Hospital, Physician


Nuran Kocak
nuran.kocak( at )

Nuran has received her MSc at Istanbul University Department of Neuroscience and graduated from Istanbul Kultur University, with a major in Molecular Biological and Genetics. She's been with the Ozdinler Lab since February 2018. She is interested in pursuing PhD in neuroscience and studying neurodegenerative disorders.

Amiko Lagrimas
amiko.lagrimas( at )
BS: Northwestern University (2015)

Current Location: MS Bioinformatics at UIC


Timothy Mathew
TimothyMathew2020( at )

Timothy is an undergraduate student at Northwestern University, pursuing a B.A. in Neuroscience with aspirations for a career in medicine. He has been working at the Ozdinler lab since Fall of 2019 as a laboratory assistant. His extracurricular interests include cooking and fantasy football.

Jessica Park

Current Location: MD Student at Northwestern University School of Medicine


Mina Peric
mina.peric( at )

Mina Peric is a visiting pre-doctoral scholar. She is a PhD student at the University of Belgrade and she joined the Ozdinler Lab in July 2019 as part of MSCA-RISE grant AUTOIGG. Her research focuses on mechanisms of neurodegeneration and neuroinflammation in ALS.

Santana Sanchez

Current Location: MD Student at University of Minnesota

Heather HyeShin

Heather Hye Shin
hyeshin2018( at )

Heather (Hye) grew up in South Korea and is currently an undergraduate pre-med at Northwestern University, majoring in Economics and Mathematics major. She has been with the Ozdinler since Fall of 2018, working as an lab assistant and learning as a scientific researcher. Her two most important lifetime projects are Ironwoman triathlon and ever-evolving herself.

Macdonnell Stanford
BA: Northwestern University 2014

Current Location: MD student at Georgetown University


William Weber

Current location: University of Chicago Emergency Medicine

Edward Xie
edward.xie( at )

Current Location: MD Student at Chicago Medical School of Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science


Marina Yasvoina, PhD
PhD:Northwestern University 2013

Current Location: University College London, Post-doctoral fellow

If you'd like to join our lab, click here for more information.