Meet Our Team

Mathieu Wimmer, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator | mathieu.wimmer@temple.edu | @WimmerLab

The once controversial idea that parental experiences, such as stress or diet, can shape the physiology and behavior of their offspring via epigenetic mechanisms has become an active area of research. Dr. Mathieu Wimmer studies the influence of drug abuse in fathers (sires) on future generations. His research program combines animal models of drug addiction and memory formation with molecular biology techniques to investigate the impact of paternal drug taking on drug-related behaviors and memory formation in progeny.

Dr. Wimmer is also interested in epigenetic remodeling events in the brain that underlie these inherited changes in behavior. Dr. Wimmer received his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania under the mentorship of Dr. Ted Abel. His postdoctoral training under the guidance of Dr. Chris Pierce at Penn focused on the transgenerational epigenetics of cocaine addiction. Dr. Wimmer’s research is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Dr. Wimmer's Publications

Charlotte Bavley, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow | @CBavley

Charlotte graduated from Colgate University in 2013 with a degree in neuroscience and biology. Following graduation, she worked as a research technician at McLean Hospital studying the role of muscarinic receptor subtypes in rodent models of cocaine addiction. She then decided to pursue her PhD at Weill Cornell Medicine, where she joined the lab of Dr. Anjali Rajadhyaksha. Her thesis research examined the role of a neuropsychiatric risk gene, cacan1c, in rodent models of relapse behavior, focusing on the neural circuits underlying behavioral phenotypes. In the Wimmer lab, Charlotte is excited to explore the epigenetic and transcriptional changes underlying persistent opioid craving and relapse.

Dr. Bavley's publications

Reza Karbalaei, PhD.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Reza graduated from Tehran University in 2005 with a B.S. in Cell and Molecular Biology. He earned an M.S in Molecular Biology from the national institute of genetic engineering and biotechnology (NIGEB), where his work focused on cloning new genes in the B. subtilis genome. His Ph.D. in Medical Proteomics from Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences focused on the meta-analysis of available high-throughput data on Alzheimer's disease. In the Wimmer lab, Reza has been developing bioinformatic analytical pipelines for large sequencing data sets. His projects are aimed at delineating the molecular signatures associated with chronic drug exposure in reward-related brain regions. He is also continuing to purse meta-analyses of existing data sets related to addiction-like behaviors in rodents and chronic drug use in humans.

Dr. Karbalaei's publications

Caesar Imperio, MD, PhD.

Psychiatry Resident and Postdoctoral Fellow

Caesar graduated from The University of Scranton in 2009 with a B.S. in Neuroscience. Upon completion of his undergraduate studies, he then pursued a Ph.D. in Neuroscience at the Penn State College of Medicine under the mentorship of Drs. Sue Grigson and Bill Freeman. His graduate work focused on developing an animal model that behaviorally stratified animals on their addiction-like behavior based on their avoidance of a natural reward. Furthermore, he also examined the interplay between environmental enrichment and heroin self-administration at the behavioral, genetic, and epigenetic levels. After obtaining his Ph.D. in 2015, Caesar decided he wanted to do more with his knowledge of the basic sciences and integrate it into clinical practice. Therefore, Caesar then enrolled at the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and obtained his M.D. in 2019. Caesar is currently a psychiatry resident on the research track at Temple University. In the Wimmer laboratory, Caesar plans to investigate the molecular changes associated with extended drug abstinence that may influence craving and relapse.

Dr. Imperio's publications

Hannah Mayberry

Ph.D. Student | @HannahLMayberry

Hannah Mayberry is a first-year graduate student in the Brain and Cognitive Sciences doctoral program. Prior to joining Dr. Wimmer's lab, Hannah earned her B.S. in Biology from Virginia Commonwealth University. During her undergraduate studies, Hannah also interned at the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics. Following graduation, Hannah worked for two years as a full-time Research Assistant at the Clinical Behavioral Pharmacology Lab. These experiences introduced Hannah to the biopsychosocial factors contributing to substance abuse and anxiety disorders; both of which are research themes she hopes to expand upon in graduate school. Hannah is specifically interested in examining the neural and epigenetic mechanisms contributing to maintenance of drug addiction and propensity for relapse.

Andre Toussaint

Ph.D. Student | @AndreBToussain1

Andre graduated with a Master’s degree in Psychology, with a concentration in Biopsychology, from Hunter College at the City University of New York. While at Hunter College, he was a research fellow studying the neural mechanisms of addiction. For his Master thesis, he investigated methamphetamine-induced conditioned place preference in adolescent male and female mice of two strains, C57Bl/6 and 129/SvEv. After graduating from Hunter College, he joined Dr. Wimmer’s lab as a PhD student in Temple’s Brain and Cognitive Sciences program. Under Dr. Wimmer’s guidance, Andre plans to investigate the transgenerational epigenetics of drug addiction. In his free time, he enjoys listening to music, visiting the Caribbean and reading.

Angela Bongiovanni

Lab Manager and Research Technician

Angela Bongiovanni graduated from Temple University in December of 2017 with a B.S. in Neuroscience and a B.A. in Psychology. She joined the Wimmer lab in 2016 as an undergraduate researcher, and post-graduation, moved on to become the laboratory manager in January of 2018. Her primary project in the lab focuses on the effects of the female estrous cycle on drug-taking in a transgenerational model of opioid addiction. Her past projects have included analyzing the effects of a novel pharmaceutical, NS2359, on opioid reinstatement and rewarding efficacy; profiling spatial memory deficits produced by opioid use; and investigating the effects of early life adversity on drug-taking. She is also looking forward to providing data for a collaborative project focused on the effects of aging on drug-taking. Dedicated to science education, Angela has also spent time teaching chemistry at Temple. Her long-term plans are to enroll in a PhD program in Neuroscience.

Sydney Famularo

Laboratory Technician

Sydney Famularo is a 2019 graduate of the neuroscience program at Temple University. In 2017, she began working at Temple as an undergraduate research assistant in Dr. Bangasser's lab, studying neuroendocrinology and stress. Now, beginning in the summer of 2019, she works full time for Dr. Wimmer, using many of the skills acquired as an undergraduate to contribute to his research. Sydney is broadly interested in the neural underpinnings of behavior, and hopes to attend graduate school in the near future.

Heather DeSalvo

+1 Master Student | @DeSalvoHeather

Heather is majoring in Neuroscience in the College of Liberal Arts (Class of 2021) and is minoring in Chemistry. She joined the Wimmer Lab in June 2018 and is excited to learn about research on addiction and its societal applications. Heather plans to attend medical school after graduation.

Charita Kunta

Undergraduate Student | @Charita_Kunta

Charita is currently majoring in Neuroscience, as well as minoring in Global Studies and a certificate in Genome Medicine (class of 2022). She joined the Wimmer lab in the Spring of 2019, and is excited to gain scientific insight into addiction and memory. After graduation, Charita hopes to attend medical school and pursue a surgical career in the field of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Cindy Lam

Undergraduate Student

Cindy Lam is a CLA Neuroscience major at Temple (Class of 2022). She joined the Wimmer Lab in the Fall of 2019. Cindy's project focuses on the influence of the estrous cycle on drug craving in females using the rodent incubation of craving paradigm. After graduation, Cindy plans on pursuing a career in biomedical research and medicine.

Danait Selamawi

Undergraduate Student

Dani is currently majoring in Neuroscience at Temple university (class of 2020). She joined Wimmer lab fall of 2019 interested in understanding the underlying mechanisms of addiction. She is a member of Nhu Rho Psi. Dani hopes to attend medical school after graduation.

Priya Doshi

Undergraduate Student

Priya is majoring in Psychology with a minor in Cognitive Neuroscience (class of 2022). She joined the Wimmer Lab in the Spring of 2020 to gain a deeper understanding of epigenetic mechanisms underlying addiction and relapse vulnerability. Priya hopes to attend medical school in the future with a potential specialty in child psychiatry or pediatrics.

Dyess Ellis

Undergraduate Student

Dyess is currently an undergraduate at Temple University, majoring in Neuroscience (class of 2021). He joined the Wimmer Lab in Fall of 2020 and hopes to learn more about the neurobiology of addiction as well as behavioral response in humans and animals. After graduation, Dyess plans to attend medical school in his pursuit of being a pediatrician.

Citlalli Tomas Baltazar

Undergraduate Student

Citlalli is currently majoring in Neuroscience (Class of 2023) and is also minoring in Accounting. She joined the Wimmer Lab in the Fall of 2020 and hopes to learn more about the STEM research field as well as gain knowledge about drug addiction and epigenetics. After graduation, Citlalli plans on applying to graduate schools and getting more research experience.

Sydney Hewitt

Undergraduate Student

Sydney is a CLA Neuroscience major at Temple (Class of 2021). She joined the Wimmer Lab in the Spring of 2020. Sydney is excited to continue working in the lab and expand her knowledge on addiction and memory. After graduation, Sydney plans to pursue a Master's Degree and a career in research.

Mariyah Jiwanji

Undergraduate Student

Mariyah is currently majoring in Neuroscience, as well as minoring in Public Health with a certificate in American Sign Language (class of 2023). She joined the Wimmer lab in the fall of 2020 in order to better understand the relationship between environment and addiction-like behaviors. Mariyah is also interested in the neurobiology of relapse. She hopes to pursue a PhD in Neuroscience in the future.

Ricardo Fortuna

Undergraduate Student

Ricardo is majoring in Neuroscience in the College of Liberal Arts, as well as minoring in Spanish and Psychology. He joined the Wimmer lab in August 2020 and is excited to learn more about research in addiction. He hopes to attend the 4+1 program at temple and get a PhD after graduation

Alumni

Chau Do, B.S. Neuroscience 2020

Sam Schumacher, B.S. Neuroscience 2020

Abubakar Elhassan, Diversity Scholar, summer 2020

Drew Peterson, PhD, Former Postdoc

Tara Thompson-Felix, MD. Former Postdoc/Psychiatry Resident

Tamia Johnson, Diversity Scholar, summer 2019

Annaka Westphal, NIDA Summer Intern 2019

Colin Pierce, Former Webmaster and Research Assistant, Temple Class of 2021

Rachel Carpenter, M.S. Neuroscience 2019

Shivam Bhakta, B.S. Neuroscience 2019

Sara Downey, B.S. Neuroscience 2018, M.S. Neuroscience 2019

Kyle Peer, M.S. Neuroscience 2018

Alexandra Ellis, B.S. Neuroscience 2017; former lab manager and technician

Anna Kolesnik, B.S. Neuroscience 2017

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