Dr. Michael Lacagnina received his BS in Psychology from the Barrett Honors College at Arizona State University, where he worked in the laboratories of Dr. Ron Hammer and Dr. Ella Nikulina investigating neural circuit adaptations involved in drug addiction. He attended graduate school at Duke University and received his PhD in Psychology & Neuroscience under the mentorship of Dr. Staci Bilbo. His doctoral research examined neuroimmune and developmental mechanisms responsible for opioid drug reinforcement.
In the Grace lab, he intends to study neuroinflammatory mechanisms in the spinal cord and its related circuitries in order to characterize and manipulate specific cellular and molecular targets involved in the manifestation of chronic pain. He hopes to delineate the contribution of neural-glial interactions in the pathophysiology of opioid-induced hyperalgesia and chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, in hopes of developing novel therapies for managing pain.
Dr. Jiahe Li received her BS and PhD degrees in Veterinary Medicine from China Agricultural University. She took training in Dr. Wenxue Wu’s lab during her doctoral project focusing on the rapid detection and mechanism of Mycoplasma bovis. Then she worked as a postdoc in the lab of Dr. Xiuping Yu at LSU Health Sciences Center, doing research on inhibitors for castration-resistant prostate cancer.
Jiahe Li is a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Dr. Grace, in the Department of Critical Care Research, at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Her project focuses on the behavioral, immunological/neuroimmunological, and functional effects of voluntary wheel running, nerve injury, and their interaction after nerve injury. Her goal is to reduce the risk of developing chronic pain by pharmacologically exploiting the neuroprotective mechanisms of exercise.