Team Bios

As principal investigator in the Neuropathology and Microscopy Lab, Dr. Dickson leads a dedicated team that is focused on unraveling the causes for a variety of neurological diseases.

Nikhil B. Ghayal

  • Special Project Associate II

Nikhil received his Bachelor of Science with honors in biomedical sciences from the University of North Florida. Prior to receiving his degree, Nikhil participated in a six-month observation under Dr. Dickson where he learned about the process of brain banking, neuropathology and novel research topics in neuroscience. Nikhil's training goals are focused on the neuropathology of neurodegenerative diseases and investigating disease subtypes within frontotemporal lobar degeneration, namely corticobasal degeneration (CBD) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration fused in sarcoma (FTLD-FUS). Additionally, Nikhil is gaining experience in the neuropathology of vascular and demyelinating diseases. He hopes to use this new knowledge as he goes through his medical school application process to eventually become a neuropathologist and principal investigator.

Peizhou Jiang, Ph.D., M.S.

  • Associate Consultant I and Assistant Professor

Dr. Jiang is a molecular and cellular biologist with 14 years of research experience specializing in Parkinson's disease and related disorders. Dr. Jiang's previous research is mainly focused on deciphering mechanisms underlying α-synuclein aggregation and Lewy body formation in brains of patients with Parkinson's disease; his work is also focused on neurodegeneration and Alzheimer's disease.

After receiving his Ph.D. degree in China in 2003, Dr. Jiang was recruited as a research fellow at Mayo Clinic, starting his neuroscience research career. In 2014, Dr. Jiang joined Dr. Dickson's lab, where he is now a key member, focusing on identifying the mechanisms underlying the formation of Lewy pathology in human brains; he is also an electron microscopy specialist in charge of sample preparation and examination for cell cultures, animal brains and human brains.

Shunsuke Koga, M.D.

  • Research Fellow

Dr. Koga works on clinicopathologic studies of tauopathies and α-synucleinopathies, with a particular focus on progressive supranuclear palsy, corticobasal degeneration and multiple system atrophy. He creates a clinical database of these diseases by reviewing patient clinical records as well as pathological findings to clarify the causes of discrepancy between clinical and pathological diagnoses.

Dr. Koga received his bachelor's degree in engineering from Keio University, Tokyo, and his M.D. from Chiba University School of Medicine, Chiba, Japan. Following the completion of his residency at the Chiba University Hospital, he trained in neurology at the Chiba University Hospital and Chiba Rosai Hospital. After receiving his Ph.D. from the Chiba University's Graduate School of Medicine, he joined the Neuropathology and Microscopy Lab at Mayo Clinic in 2014.

Naomi Kouri, Ph.D

  • Research Fellow

Dr. Kouri received her Bachelor of Science in chemistry at the University of North Florida. She then went on to receive her Ph.D. from the Mayo Graduate School in 2014 under the mentorship of Dr. Dickson. Her research interests are focused on the identification of protein modifications, biomarkers and novel therapeutic targets in TDP-43 proteinopathies.

Shanu F. Roemer, M.D., M.S., FEBN

  • Research Associate

Dr. Roemer is a European board-certified neurology consultant and an expert in neuropathology and neuroimmunology. She received her medical degree at the University of Copenhagen. Her neuropathology training included mentorships with Christine Stadelmann-Nessler, M.D., and Wolfgang Brück, M.D., in the Department of Neuropathology, University Medical Center Göttingen, Germany, followed by a postdoctoral position under the co-mentorship of the late Dr. Bernd W. Scheithauer, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.

While practicing as a consultant neurologist in Copenhagen, Dr. Roemer chaired the multiple sclerosis division, acted as an advisory committee member in neuroinflammation and neuro-oncology, and served as a national clinical investigator targeting neuroinflammatory disorders. She further held a position as clinical associate professor on the faculty of health and medical sciences at the University of Copenhagen supervising and mentoring medical students during their clinical rotations while serving as a primary committee member on medical theses and medical licensing examinations.

Since joining Dr. Dickson's lab as a full-time clinician-scientist in translational neuropathology, Dr. Roemer's primary focus is investigating clinicopathological correlations and red flags, the role of the innate and adaptive immune response in neurodegenerative diseases, and neuropathological characterization of autoimmune movement disorders. She collaborates with Melissa E. Murray, Ph.D., on projects related to 4R tauopathies and α-synuclein and is a teaching assistant in her neuroanatomy course. Under the direct supervision of Dr. Dickson, she strives to achieve in-depth neuropathological training in the pathology of neurodegenerative diseases.

Past and ongoing projects include atrophy and microglial responses in frontotemporal dementias, immunology of multiple system atrophy, clinicopathological correlates of Lewy body diseases and mimics, paraneoplastic movement disorders, and the role of complement membrane attack complex and glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD65) in neurodegeneration.