We are a diverse group with different scientific and personal interests but with a common bond – to make contributions that will advance science and our society.  Our group is composed of postdoctoral fellows, graduate, medical and undergraduate students.

Gregorio_Valdez-cropped_crop_150x150Greg Valdez, Associate Professor

My overarching goal is to develop treatments to preserve and restore the health and function of neurons, muscles and their synapses in old age, and affected by diseases and injuries. In particular, I seek to identify endogenous and exogenous molecules with critical roles in maintain cellular health . In addition to research, I am passionate about teaching and mentoring students at all stages of their careers.

Email: gvaldez1@vtc.vt.edu; Phone: 540-526-2076



Thomas Taetzsch, Posdoctoral Fellow

My research focuses on characterizing the function of the fibroblast growth factor binding protein (FGFBP1) at synapses and in skeletal muscles. In another line of research, I am studying the role of synaptically-enriched microRNAs in skeletal muscles.  In addition, I am investigating the integrity of the RISC-complex, molecules require for microRNA biogenesis and function, in disease conditions.

Email: taetzscht@vtc.vt.edu; Phone: 540-526-2096




Sydney Vaughan, Graduate Student, TBMH program

I am studying the role of Lynx1, a modulator of nAChRs, in developing, injured and disease-affected skeletal muscles and NMJs. In this project, I am utilizing molecular, biochemical, electrophysiological, and imaging techniques. In another project, I have examined the cellular and molecular changes that occur in sensory neurons, and particularly proprioceptive sensory neurons, in animal models for ALS and during normal aging.

Email: sydneyv@vt.edu; Phone: 540-526-2096



Vanessa Brayman, Graduate Student, TBMH program






Ryan Castro, Graduate Student, TBMH program







Kerilyn Godbe, Medical Student, VTCSOM







Hailey Gosnell, Medical Student, VTCSOM









Natalia Sutherland, Lab manager.

Nicholas Maxwell, Lab manager.

Katie Pereira, Undergraduate student, VT.

MacKenzie Miko, Undergraduate student, VT.

Jonathan Feaster, 

Shreyaska Dahal,

Ryan Nasser,

Michael Mykins,

Graham Taylor, 

Tyler Celuck,

Caleb Wood,

David Martin, 

Natalia Gutierrez,


Matheus Proenca, Visiting Graduate Student from Cristina Guatimosim lab at UFMG, Brazil: ; lead a collaborative project between our respective labs.

Alyssa Huntington, Undergraduate Student, VT:  Summer intern supported by Scieneering fellowship, made possible by a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Science Education Grant to VT.

Sabah Bangash, Lab Manager.

Patrick Stewart, Undergraduate at Elon University

Clare Burton, Undergraduate at Elon University

Austin Tatum, Undergraduate at VT

Kisha Gresham, Undergraduate at VT now a Grad student in TBMH program.

Lauren Kennedy, Undergraduate at VT now a Grad student in TBMH program.

Jessica Stockinger, Undergraduate at Roanoke College now Med Student at East Carolina Medical School.

Zachary Kemp, Roanoke Governor’s School now an Undergrad at VT.

Kaiwen Su, Undergrad at UVA


High School Students:

Virginia Owen Trinkle, high-school student, North Cross, Roanoke VA (2016-current)

Shayom Debopadhaya, high-school student, Roanoke Valley Governor School (2017)

Olivia Stanley, high-school student, Roanoke Valley Governor School (2016)

Zachary Kemp, high-school student, Roanoke Valley Governor School (2014)