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The Neuroscience Research Institute is a team-oriented project-based research facility.
Each team members' experience and expertise is integral to our success.  Below you will
find our faculty and staff backgrounds and areas of expertise, as well as e-mail links.

 

bulletGeorge B. Stefano, Ph.D.
Director
bulletStephen C. Pryor, Ph.D.
Associate Director
bulletFernando Nieto, Ph.D.
Senior Research Faculty
bulletRichard M. Kream, Ph.D.
Senior Research Faculty
bulletPatrick Cadet, Ph.D.
Senior Research Faculty
bulletWei Zhu, Ph.D.
Senior Research Faculty
bulletFederico Casares, Ph.D.
Post-Doctoral Research Faculty
bulletKirk Mantione, Ph.D.
Lecturing Research Faculty
bulletMelinda Sheehan, Ph.D.
Research Support Specialist
bulletDanielle Benz, BS
Research Secretary / Web Administrator
bulletPatricia Roccanova
MHIRT Program Coordinator

Past and Present Students   

 

George B. Stefano, Ph.D.

NRI Director
     

Dr. George B. Stefano is the Director of the Neuroscience Research Institute.  Dr. Stefano is a Distinguished Professor of SUNY and CASE Professor of New York.  He serves as Vice Chair of the Research Foundation of SUNY Board of Directors, as well as a member of its Executive Committee.  He is the editor of Medical Science Monitor, as well as several other international journals and has published over 275 peer reviewed reports.  He has funding from the NIMH, NIDA and NIH Fogarty International Center.  The Neuroscience Research Institute has also received grants from LifeWaves International Inc., Cell Dynamics, Corp, and the Kiernan Wellness Center. 


 

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Stephen C. Pryor, Ph.D.

Associate Director
     Dr. Pryor is the Associate Director of the Old Westbury Neuroscience Research Institute as well as the Director of the NIMH  Career Opportunities in Research (COR) program  and the NIMH Neuroscience High School Honors Research program. He is also Principal Investigator of an NIMH funded project entitled: "Chronic Opiate Processes in Parasitism."  He has numerous peer reviewed publications in the areas of parasitology and neurobiology. He has both a Ph.D. and M.P.H. from the University of Texas, School of Public Health. Before coming to Old Westbury, he did post doctoral research at the Center for Population and Demographic Genetics at the University Texas Health Science Center at Houston.


 

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Fernando Nieto, Ph.D.

Senior Research Faculty

    Dr. Nieto-Fernandez is originally from Madrid, Spain, where he completed his undergraduate studies in Biology (specialty Zoology) in 1984 at the Universidad Complutense of Madrid. In 1986 he moved to New York City to attend the Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York (CUNY) where he obtained his doctoral degree in Biology (Ecology, Evolution and Behavior subprogram) in 1995. In the fall of 1996 he became an Assistant Professor at SUNY College at Old Westbury where he joined the Neuroscience Research Institute. His research interests include the study of the effects of xenobiotics, particularly heavy metals, on biological systems, and the role of opiates and opioids on host-parasite interactions and in nociception using nematode models. He is also the Director of the MHIRT International Program.

 


 

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Richard M. Kream, Ph.D.

Senior Research Faculty

Dr. Richard Kream earned his PhD in Biochemistry from Albert Einstein School of Medicine in 1980.  He was a Professor of Anesthesiology and Pharmacology at Tufts University Medical School until 2000.  He was then Professor of Biochemistry at SUNY Downstate before joining the Neuroscience Research Institute as a recipient of an Empire Innovation Program position.  His field of expertise involves non-addicting analgesics and novel opioid compounds.  He is the founder of and chief scientific officer of Chimeracom LLC.


 

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Patrick Cadet, Ph.D.

Senior Research Faculty

Dr. Cadet received his Ph.D. in virology at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston Texas.  He also had a postdoctoral fellowship at Vanderbilt University in Molecular Biology.  Dr. Cadet is currently a Senior Research Scientist on a project for the National Institute on Mental Health.  He currently is working on cloning novel opiate receptors from human vascular and immune tissues.  His knowledge in the area of molecular biology is extensive.


 

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Wei Zhu, Ph.D.

Senior Research Faculty

    

Dr. Zhu received his Ph.D. from the Laboratory of Developmental Physiology and Molecular Biology, Zoological Institute, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium.  He had a post-doctoral fellowship with the Mind Body Medical Institute of Harvard University.  He is currently working on various projects as a protein and opiate alkaloid biochemist and has pioneered techniques in their detection in small samples of tissues. Dr. Zhu is also a visiting professor at National Center for Pain Management of China Japan Friendship Hospital in Beijing, China.  He is editor of 2 journals: Medical Science Monitor and Letter of Neuroendocrinology. He has over 50 publications in peer viewed journals. He was recently awarded an Empire Innovation Program position.


 

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Federico Casares, Ph.D.

Post-Doctoral Research Faculty

   

Dr. Casares received his M.S. in Marine Environmental Sciences and his Ph.D. in Marine and Atmospheric Sciences from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.  He specializes in the bio-detection of opiate alkaloids via HPLC coupled to electrochemical detection and radioimmune assays. Additionally, he works with invertebrate and human immune cells, examines their behavior via computer-assisted image analysis, as well as examines calcium transients and constitutive nitric oxide production. He also studies neuromimmune processes in marine invertebrates in response to different stressors, including common environmental contaminants.

 

 


 

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Kirk Mantione, Ph.D.

Lecturing Research Faculty

     

Received his Ph.D. in Public Health from St. Elizabeth University of Health and Social Sciences in Bratislava, Slovakia.  He has been with the Neuroscience Research Institute since 2000.  He had previously been a researcher for Brookhaven National Laboratory as a chemistry associate and at SUNY Stony Brook Marine Sciences Research Center.  He specializes in gene expression analysis and the measurement of constitutively expressed nitric oxide. His research interests include the way the changes in genes involved in morphine biosynthesis affect human health. He was recently awarded an Empire Innovation Program position.
 

 


 

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Melinda Sheehan, Ph.D.

Research Support Specialist

     

 

Melinda Sheehan received her Ph.D. in Public Health from St. Elizabeth University, College of Health and Social Sciences in Bratislava, Slovakia. As for her undergraduate degree, she was awarded a Bachelor of Science in computer science from Fordham University in 2003 after attending for only 3 years. In 2005, she was recruited to work at the Neuroscience Research Institute while enrolled in upper level science courses at SUNY College at Old Westbury, during this time she was also working as a physics tutor employed by the university. Melinda specializes in molecular biology techniques and has been trained by Applied Biosystems to use the 1700 Chemiluminescent Microarray Analyzer. Her research interests focus on unique mu opiate receptor subtypes found in humans and other vertebrates as well as in invertebrates and how those novel receptor isoforms change pain perception and tolerance.
 

 


 

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Danielle Benz, BS

Research Secretary / Web Administrator

     

Received her Bachelors Degree in Biology from State University of New York College at Old Westbury, receiving honors and the Chancellors Award for her academic performance.  She has received her NYS Teaching Certificate in Biology and General Science and pursued post graduate work in Ecology at SUNY Stony Brook.

 


 

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Patricia Roccanova

MHIRT Program Coordinator

Photo coming soon!
Patricia received her Bachelor degree in Biology from York College which is part of the City University of New York (CUNY) . She completed her MA, also in Biology, at Queens College. She spent the last 5 years at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory working on finding rare copy number variations associated with Autism and Schizophrenia using Microarray, as well as being responsible for all the administrative aspects that went with managing the laboratory.  She is now organizing the MHIRT International Program and tracking our student achievements.  If you are a former student and would like to update us on your progress, please send her an email!

Email

 

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