Principal Investigators at the USF Health BYRD Alzheimer's Institute

David Morgan

David Morgan, Ph.D.

Distinguished Professor, Molecular Pharmacology & Physiology 

Phone: (813) 974-3949
Email: scientist.dave@gmail.com 

Research Areas:
Dr. Morgan’s research team develops and characterizes animal models of Alzheimer's disease, and identifies novel treatments using antibodies and vaccines against amyloid and tau proteins. Morgan’s team also explores treatments using gene therapy. Recently, he has expanded his focus to include clinical research in the areas of PET imaging for amyloid in AD cases, and computer- based home memory measurement.

Edwin Weeber

Edwin Weeber, Ph.D.

Professor, Molecular Pharmacology & Physiology 

Phone: (813) 396-9995
Email: eweeber@health.usf.edu 

Research Areas:
Dr. Weeber’s Laboratory utilizes a multi-disciplinary approach that combines the use of molecular and protein biology with electrophysiology and the behaving animal to understand the basic processes of learning and memory formation and how those processes are altered in different neurological diseases. His team’s research in Alzheimer’s disease is centered on amyloid and the different signaling proteins with which it interacts. Weeber is particularly interested in mechanisms the brain uses to reduce amyloid. Other therapeutic development is focused on cognitive enhancers to overcome disease-specific disruption in brain cell communication and cognitive function.

Chuanhai Cao

Chuanhai Cao, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Molecular Pharmacology & Physiology 

Phone: (813) 396-0742

Email: ccao@health.usf.edu 

Research Areas:
Dr. Chuanhai Cao and his research team focus on how the immune system is affected by aging and how those changes are associated to the onset and progression of Alzheimer's disease. Their goal through this research is to identify novel ways to delay or slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Current research focuses on natural and nutraceutical products such as coffee, caffeine, melatonin and herb extracts

Marcia Gordon

Marcia Gordon, Ph.D.

Professor, Molecular Pharmacology & Physiology 

Phone: (813) 974-9926
Email: mgordon@health.usf.edu 

Research Areas:
Dr. Marcia Gordon is interested in how the brain changes during aging and how that contributes to Alzheimer’s disease. Her lab uses animal models to test new drugs and other therapies to protect brain cells from dying during Alzheimer’s disease.

Josh Gamsby

Josh Gamsby, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Molecular Medicine 

Phone: (813) 396- 0667
Email: jgamsby@health.usf.edu 

Research Areas:
Dr. Gamsby’s research is focused on understanding how circadian rhythms function to influence the timing of physiological and molecular processes, and how this control is impacted by disease. His current research involves uncovering the link between circadian rhythm disruption in neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, as well as addiction.

Danielle Gulick

Danielle Gulick, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Molecular Medicine 

Phone: (813) 974-7402
Email: dgulick@health.usf.edu 

Research Areas:
Dr. Danielle Gulick’s research focuses on understanding the factors that contribute to the high rate of substance abuse, primarily alcohol addiction, in schizophrenia. Specific projects include studies examining the role of circadian and sleep disorders in schizophrenia and addiction, and the interplay of genetics and environment in the development of schizophrenia and addiction. Experiments focus on the question of how the environment during development - from prenatal through early adolescence - can predispose individuals to addiction.

Umesh Jinwal

Umesh Jinwal, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, College of Pharmacy 

Phone: (813) 396-0673
Email: ujinwal@health.usf.edu 

Research Areas:
Dr. Umesh Jinwal’s research involves discovery of novel biomarkers, drug targets, and drugs for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and other neurological disorders using cellular, C. elegans, and mice models.

David Kang

David Kang, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Molecular Medicine 

Phone: (813) 396-0606
Email: dekkang@gmail.com 

Research Areas:
The Kang Lab is interested in understanding the mechanisms of neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and related disorders. Specifically, his team uses molecular, cell biological, imaging, biochemical, and behavioral tools to study how the Amyloid beta protein accumulates and exerts neurotoxic effects in brain. Dr. Kang is currently testing several novel mechanism-based therapeutic targets and drugs in the lab in the hopes of eventual testing in human clinical trials for AD. In addition, his lab is developing biomarkers to detect subtle biochemical changes in human blood or brain fluid (CSF) that may occur prior to the onset of AD.

daniel lee

Daniel Lee, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, College of Pharmacy

Phone: (813) 974-8594
Email: dlee1@health.usf.edu 

Research Areas:
Dr. Daniel Lee focuses on inflammation pathways in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. His lab uses animal and cellular models to identify the role of inflammatory products that may influence Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease-related proteins such as amyloid beta, tau, and alpha synuclein.

Professor, Pathology & Cell Biology

Phone: 813-396-0662
Email: pmouton@health.usf.edu 

Research Areas:
Dr. Peter Mouton has a long-standing interest in using state-of-the-art quantitative methodology to understand the alterations in brain structure. To help carry out these studies, Mouton has pioneered the application of cutting-edge mathematical approaches, especially unbiased stereology, to human diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, bipolar disorder, and autism, as well as a wide range of experimental models in non-human primates and rodents. The long term goal of his research is to enhance therapeutic strategies by understanding the specific neural changes that occur with brain disease.

Kevin Nash

Kevin Nash, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Molecular Pharmacology & Physiology

Phone: (813) 974-3788
Email: knash@health.usf.edu 

Research Areas:
Dr. Kevin Nash is examining the beneficial effect of reducing inflammation in the brain. His team is using a gene therapy approach to over express a protein called fractalkine which reduces inflammation. Dr. Nash hopes that by using this gene therapy approach they are able to reduce both Alzheimer and Parkinson's disease pathology.

Maj-Linda Selenica

Maj-Linda Selenica, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, College of Pharmacy

Phone: (813) 974-5336
Email: mselenic@health.usf.edu 

Research Areas:
Dr. Maj-Linda Selenica’s research is focused on the interplay between the accumulation of pathological proteins (amyloid beta, tau, TDP43), age and inflammation in the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Her team investigates therapeutic agents using various cellular and animal models to rescue the pathology of the disease.