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.

Drew Peterson, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow | @DrewRPeterson1

Drew graduated from Northeastern University in 2008 with a B.S. in Biology and minor in Chemistry. He then worked as a lab technician studying novel sleep-related genes using Drosophila at University of Pennsylvania/Thomas Jefferson University. He completed his MSc in Marine Affairs, with a focus on Integrated Coastal Management of organic compounds, at Xiamen University in 2011. He then pursed a PhD in Environmental Science from the City University of Hong Kong. His PhD research investigated the transgenerational impacts of estrogen exposure on the reproductive and immune fitness of marine medaka (Oryzias melastigma). Specifically, he was interested in trying to explain the underlying mechanisms of transgenerational epigenetic inheritance via the germ cell line. In the Wimmer lab he will work towards identifying heritable changes in the sperm cell epigenome (DNA methylation, small RNAs and Histone modifications) of drug exposed fathers, and elucidate the mechanisms through which altered epigenetic marks may lead to aberrant phenotypes in the germ cell exposed (F1) and unexposed (F2) offspring.

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.

Tara Thompson-Felix, M.D.

Psychiatry Resident

Dr. Thompson-Felix graduated from Rutgers, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in 2016 and is currently a psychiatry resident physician on the research track at Temple. Prior to medical school, she worked as a postgraduate research associate at the Yale Child Study Center where her work focused on investigating the genetic and epigenetic basis of child and adolescent psychiatric disorders. Dr. Thompson-Felix is working with Dr. Wimmer and the department of OBGYN in a collaborative effort to investigate the epigenetic landscape of fetal neural exosomes associated with maternal exposure to opiates. Her research interests include the epigenetic basis of child and perinatal psychiatric disorders.

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

Undergraduate Student | @DeSalvoHeather

Heather is majoring in Neuroscience in the College of Liberal Arts (Class of 2021) and is minoring in Biology. 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.

Chau Do

Undergraduate Student

Chau Do is majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in Clinical Health and Psychology at Temple (class of 2020). She joined the Wimmer lab in the summer of 2018 and her project focuses on the neurobiology of drug craving and relapse. She is a member of Nhu Rho Psi. Chau plans on attending medical school after graduation in pursuit of becoming a psychiatrist.

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.

Sam Schumacher

Undergraduate Student

Sam is a senior neuroscience major in the college of liberal arts (class of 2020). Sam's project examines the impact of paternal drug exposure on impulsive-like behavior in offspring. His research has been funded by the CLA LAURA award for the past two semesters. After graduation, Sam plans on becoming a physician's assistant.

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.

Alumni

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