As principal investigator in the Translational Neuropathology Lab, Dr. Murray leads a team that is advancing research in brain aging and neurodegenerative disorders, especially focusing on the vulnerability or resilience in affected individuals in the setting of Alzheimer's disease.
- Special Project Associate II
Sydney Labuzan focuses on utilizing immunohistochemistry and neuroimaging techniques to investigate the neuropathologically-defined Alzheimer's disease subtypes. Additionally, she is gaining proficiency at assessing Thal amyloid phase for cases identified as pathologically normal as well as those along the Alzheimer's disease spectrum.
She received her bachelor of arts in biology from Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida in 2016. She completed a master's of science degree in biology at the University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida, in 2019, working with David Waddell, Ph.D. Labuzan's project during that time focused on characterizing two novel genes, Ppme1 and Dusp4, and their putative roles in skeletal muscle, culminating in a thesis entitled "Characterizing the Role of Neurogenic Atrophy-Induced Protein Phosphatases in Skeletal Muscle". During her time at UNF, she gained proficiency in a variety of different molecular techniques such as cell culture, performing transfections, western blotting and qPCR.
- Special Project Associate II
Billie Matchett is focused on identifying the biochemical differences in the Alzheimer's disease protein Tau between different disease subtypes and ethno-racial groups. In addition, using neuroimaging technologies, she works on assessing the burden of another Alzheimer's disease-associated protein, TAR DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43), in different clinical cohorts. Her research goal is to help the laboratory find a blood-based biomarker for Alzheimer's disease.
Matchett has been a research intern in Dr. Murray's lab, working in the field of frontotemporal dementia (FTD). During that time, she gained expertise in a variety of different techniques, including DNA and protein extraction from brain tissue, sequencing of known disease-associated genes and whole genome sequencing (WGS) and RNA sequencing (RNAseq) analysis. Matchett obtained experience in neuroimaging analysis under the guidance and mentorship of Dr. Murray, which, in addition to her other research ventures, gained her co-authorship on a number of scientific papers during her undergraduate internship. She received her bachelor of science in microbiology from the University of Leeds, United Kingdom in 2018.
- Senior Research Technologist
Kelly Ross has research expertise in cell biology and molecular genetics, with a focus on neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer's disease, related dementias and Parkinson's disease. She performs studies utilizing human brain tissues donated by patients and their families to the Mayo Clinic Brain Bank. Her goal is to elucidate what goes wrong with specific genes and proteins involved in the disease process and identify clinicopathologic subtypes of disease that may improve therapeutic strategies for individuals in a targeted way. Ross extracts DNA and RNA from brain tissues to run on expression arrays, generating large data sets to identify novel genes that may modulate disease progression. These approaches also provide data that can be shared with colleagues and collaborators across the world with the common mission of halting, and even preventing, the progression of these devastating disorders.
Ross received her bachelor of science degree in 2002 from the University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida. She joined Mayo Clinic in August, 2005. Her research focus was on characterizing the most clinically relevant Parkinson's disease gene-protein leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2), using cell culture model systems and developing novel antibodies. As her research progressed, Kelly performed behavioral studies on various LRRK2 mouse models (developed by Heather Melrose, Ph.D., of Mayo Clinic's campus in Florida). In 2011, she received a master's degree in biomedical sciences from the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Her thesis is titled, "Characterization of Leucine-Rich Repeat Kinase 2-Associated Parkinson's Disease Using In Vivo Models".
Ross joined the Neuropathology and Microscopy Lab to study how neuropathological changes in the microtubule-associated protein tau (MAPT) lead to Alzheimer's disease. In 2017, she began investigating the heterogeneity of Alzheimer's disease with Dr. Murray, to understand the molecular mechanisms that cause selective hippocampal vulnerability.
- Program Coordinator
As a program coordinator in for Dr. Murray's lab, Jessica Tranovich has supported all aspects of the lab including providing neuropathologic documentation for the research team. Currently her focus is on understanding neurodegenerative diseases by utilizing the Aperio digital analysis program. She also extracts patient clinical and neuropathology data to understand trends within the patient population. She has a significant role in Dr. Murray's NIH funded research grant titled Clinicopathologic and Neuroimaging Differences in Atypical Alzheimer's Disease Variants.
Tranovich started her career at Mayo Clinic in 2016 helping families navigate the donation process for the Mayo Clinic Brain Bank. She earned a bachelor's degree in business administration in 2017.