Dr. Risher was inspired to become a biology researcher after doing gel electrophoresis in his High School AP Biology class. He graduated with a B.S. in Biological Sciences from the Calhoun Honors College at Clemson University (South Carolina). He then went on to receive his Ph.D. from the first ever class in the Neuroscience Graduate Program at the Medical College of Georgia (now Augusta University). While at MCG, he trained in the labs of Drs. Kristen Harris (foremost expert in serial section electron microscopy) and Sergei Kirov (in vivo 2-photon light microscopy disease modeling). Also during grad school, he met and married Dr. Louise Risher. For his postdoctoral work, Dr. Risher moved to the Research Triangle of North Carolina to work in the lab of Dr. Cagla Eroglu at Duke University. There, he received advanced training in cellular and molecular biology, mouse genetics, and fluorescence immunohistochemistry in order to investigate the mechanisms underlying synapse formation and maturation in the developing cortex.
After moving to West Virginia to start his faculty position at Marshall in March 2018, Dr. Risher now lives in Huntington with Louise (herself now a faculty member at Marshall as well) and his daughter Abigail. He is the recipient of a 2018 NARSAD Young Investigator Award from the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation.
Ania has been working in research for over ten years. She graduated with a M.S. degree in biotechnology from the Warsaw University of Technology in Warsaw, Poland. To pursue her dream of being a biomedical researcher she moved to United States in 2007 and started working in a biochemistry laboratory at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) in Little Rock, AR. There, she studied Phase II metabolism enzymes. Shortly afterward, she enrolled in the UAMS Graduate School where she received her Ph.D. degree in Cancer Biology. Subsequently, she worked in aging and cryopreservation research. She joined the Risher lab in 2018 to work on molecular processes underlying neonatal abstinence syndrome and to manage the lab.
Ania loves working at the benchtop and learning and developing new assays and techniques. When she is not in the lab she enjoys time with her family, friends, and animals. She likes cooking, outdoors, and digging in the garden.
Shanai Brown is a PhD student at Marshall University conducting research on effects of maternal drug use on early astrocyte development, neuronal connectivity and maturation in neonates. Shanai has a Bachelors in Science from Morgan State University where she won multiple awards for research in variety of areas in microbiology. She is experienced in a wide range of bench and informatics techniques that have helped her become a more open-minded scientist. Shanai is a New York native who is embracing the beauty and the intellectual experiences Appalachia has to offer.
Taylor joined the Risher lab in September of 2018 as a graduate research assistant working towards a dual MD/PhD degree with interests in neurology and neuroscience. Currently, Taylor is involved with our project investigating neonatal abstinence syndrome. He is working to develop and maintain mouse models of the disease and is utilizing such techniques as immunohistochemistry, fluorescence microscopy, and cell culture to examine changes in neuronal protein expression and synaptogenesis.