our Research team
Jeffrey Iliff, Principal Investigator
Jeff is the Associate Director for Research at the VISN 20 NW Mental Illness, Research, Education and Clinical Center (MIRECC) at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System. He is a Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and in Neurology at the University of Washington School of Medicine, where he is the Arthur J. and Marcella McCaffray Professor in Alzheimer’s Disease.
Starting as an undergraduate researcher at the University of Washington studying cerebral blood flow regulation, Jeff’s research has always focused on the brain vasculature as the crossroads of the CNS. He completed his PhD in Physiology and Pharmacology at Oregon Health & Science University focusing on mechanisms governing the release of neuropeptides from perivascular trigeminal afferents at the brain surface. As a postdoc in the lab of Maiken Nedergaard at the University of Rochester Medical Center, he led the team that initially characterized the glymphatic system, the network of perivascular pathways the supports the clearance of wastes from brain tissue during sleep. Since starting up his own lab in 2013, Jeff’s work has focused on defining the glial and vascular changes in the aging and post-traumatic brain that underlie impairment of glymphatic function and the vulnerability to the development of conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
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Katie Suchland, Lab Manager
Katie started in research as an undergrad at the University of Washington in the lab of Dr. Cecilia Giachelli in the Bioengineering Department. Beginning in 2000, she joined the lab of Dr. David Grandy in the OHSU Department of Physiology and Pharmacology as lab manager working in animal behavior in the dopamine and trace amine fields. In 2009, she joined Dr. Mike Morgan’s lab in the Departmesnt of Psychology at Washington State University, Vancouver, were she worked in pain and opioid tolerance in a rat behavior model. Between 2011-2019, she worked with Dr. Susan Ingram in the Department of Neurological Surgery, continuing to work on projects related to her interest in pain modulation, studying opiod and cannabinoid-sensitive circuits in the midbrain. Now with our lab back in Seattle, she is the ringleader of the research circus in the Iliff lab.
Marie Wang, senior Fellow
Marie is a translational neuroscience researcher with interests in neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases. Coming from an academic family, Marie started working in research lab while in high school. She received her BS in Life Science from Peking University in 2011 where she studied physics and biology, developing a passion for how these fields interact. She received her PhD in Neuroscience from OHSU, where she used cell culture, in vivo and fluorescence imaging techniques to study lysosomal abnormalities in Krabbe disease, a neurodevelopmental lysosomal storage disorder. After her PhD, Marie accepted a technical support specialist position at a biomedical device company where she worked closely with external customers and internal sales, marketing, quality control, and service teams and further enhanced her professional skills in public speaking, communication, outreach and collaboration. In 2017, returned to OHSU as a postdoctoral researcher in the Iliff lab where she began work in neurogenerative diseases, In 2019, Marie relocated with the Iliff lab to Seattle and joined the University of Washington as a senior fellow. Marie’s main research interests include investigating the molecular determinants of the glymphatic system and its roles in Alzheimer’s disease pathological progression. In her spare time, Marie is a circus aerial trainee on silks and flying trapeze and enjoys playing musical instruments and chess, all of which teach her how to be persistent, competitive, collaborative in practice and how to stay calm under pressure in front of large audiences.
Profiles: Google Scholar
Deidre Jansson, Postodoctoral Fellow
Deidre completed her MSc at the University of Ottawa where she studied molecular mechanisms of insulin and calcium signalling in pancreatic beta cells. She completed her PhD in Molecular Neuropharmacology at the University of Auckland, New Zealand where she investigated the role of inflammation and signalling pathway important in human brain pericyte biology. Ongoing projects have branched out to include the use of novel MRI techniques for blood-brain barrier imaging in humans, inflammatory biomarker analysis, as well as ongoing molecular work in human primary cells to identify drug targets for neurodegenerative diseases. New projects in the Iliff lab will surround the role of the choroid plexus in glymphatic clearance, and how this may impact/or be impacted by age-related neurodegeneration.
Juan Piantino, Pediatric Neurologist and K12 Fellow
Juan is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, section in Child Neurology at OHSU. He also serves as the Director of inpatient Child Neurology and as Director of the Pediatric Critical Care and Neurotrauma Recovery Program. Through this program, children and adolescents with traumatic brain injury of all severities receive multi-disciplinary care.
His research focuses on the mechanisms involved in recovery after traumatic brain injury. In particular, Dr. Piantino is interested in how sleep disruption affects recovery in adolescents and young adults with mild traumatic brain injury. He uses novel imaging technologies to understand the effects of sleep on glymphatic function, and post-concussive symptoms.
Profile: Elsevier Pure
selda yildiz, senior Research Associate (K99 Fellow)
Selda is a Senior Research Associate in the OHSU Department of Neurology, with a research focus on cerebrospinal fluid circulation, yogic breathing and sleep. Her research background is in engineering, high-level mathematics, programming, signal processing and imaging techniques using electromagnetics (BS, MS Istanbul Technical University), underwater acoustics (PhD, UC San Diego), MRI and EEG (postdocs, Georgia Tech and OHSU). In 2012, Selda completed a Yoga-Alliance registered yoga & meditation teacher training. Through her research, she seeks to use rigorous analytical methods to shed light on the mechanistic underpinnings of the effects of yogic practices. During her postdoc studies, Selda spearheaded multidisciplinary human subject research projects to measure respiration-driven CSF flow dynamics (Georgia Tech) and to evaluate human glymphatic function (OHSU, Co-Mentors Rooney and Iliff). Beginning in 2019, Selda has funded by a K99/R00 award from the NIH - NCCIH to study the effects of yogic breathing practices on CSF flow dynamics, glymphatic function, and sleep. In parallel studies funded by the Oregon Partnership for Alzheimer’s Research, she is also evaluating the role of changes in CSF circulation in age-related cognitive decline. These studies reflect her long-term interest in the use of quantitative and qualitative approaches to understand the underlying neurological mechanisms of the mindfulness practices, and design mindfulness interventions for specific target populations including Alzheimer’s disease patients, and family & caregivers of Alzheimer’s disease patients.
Profiles: Google Scholar