Richard S. Beard Jr., Ph.D.

Richard S. Beard Jr., Ph.D.

Assistant Research Professor/Principal Investigator

Before I began my academic career trajectory, I was exposed to clinical medicine while serving as a U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman. Throughout my undergraduate education I worked as a Registered Medical Assistant and a Study Coordinator for NHLBI-funded clinical trial AIM-HIGH. During this time, I formed an appreciation for the complexity of vascular disease. In fact, acknowledgement of the vast disconnect between the pathophysiological basis of vascular disease and current therapeutic options is what led me to pursue a Ph.D. in Dr. Shawn Bearden’s Lab at Idaho State University. My dissertation was centered on investigating how elevated levels of plasma homocysteine initiate and propagate small blood vessel disease. Following graduate school, I completed a four year postdoctoral fellowship in Dr. Sarah Yuan’s Lab where my efforts broadened to investigating commonalities in how microvessels respond to a host of inflammatory mediators. I am now an Assistant Research Professor at Boise State University where my lab continues to research microvascular pathologies during aberrant inflammatory challenges.

Nilufar Ali, Ph.D.

Nilufar Ali, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Ali has recently accepted a postdoctoral position ​with the Beard​ ​Lab​, and she will be officially starting in next couple of months. Her doctoral research included several advanced techniques in molecular neurobiology, preparing and studying trans-mitochondrial hybrid (cybrid) cell lines carrying pathological mitochondria from Parkinson’s disease patients, co-culturing CNS cells, evaluating neurological outcomes in murine models, survival stereotaxic surgery in rodents, and isolating primary CNS cells from the brain. She ​recieved her Ph.D. from CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, Kolkata, India and her Ph.D. advisor was Dr. K. P. Mohanakumar, currently, Director of Inter University Centre for Biomedical Research & Super Speciality Hospital-Mahatma Gandhi University, Kerala, India. Her research thus far has included projects studying mitochondrial (dys)function in neurodegenerative disorders, which has resulted in 3 publications in reputable neuroscience journals​, several international conference abstracts, and a number of manuscripts still in preparation.​ Welcome aboard Dr. Ali!​

Brian Hoettels, B.S.

Brian Hoettels, B.S.

Graduate Research Assistant/In vitro Project Manager

Brian coordinates all of the lab’s projects utilizing in vitro models. He is currently the lead on a project titled: “The Extracellular Matrix Proteoglycan Decorin is Upregulated by Endothelial Cells During Inflammation and Contributes to Blood-Brain Barrier Dysfunction”.

Travis Wertz, B.S.

Travis Wertz, B.S.

Graduate Research Assistant/In vivo Project Manager

Travis coordinates all of the lab’s projects utilizing in vivo models. He is currently lead on a project titled: “Oncostatin M Induces Barrier Dysfunction in Brain Microvascular Endothelium via Snail-Dependent Repression of TAMPs”.

Desiree Self, B.S.

Desiree Self, B.S.

Graduate Research Assistant

Desiree is interested in leukocyte – endothelial interactions during neuroinflammation, and coordinates all of the lab’s flow cytometry experiments.

Kristina Chapman, B.S.

Kristina Chapman, B.S.

Molecular Biology Technician

Kristina coordinates all of the lab’s molecular cloning and protein biochemistry projects.

Ofeira Faapouli, B.S.

Ofeira Faapouli, B.S.

Histology Technician

Ofeira manages all of our histology experiments.

Marianne Meindertsma, B.S.

Marianne Meindertsma, B.S.

Administrative Project Manager

Marianne has a Bachelor’s in Organizational Leadership with a focus in Project Management. She coordinates various projects, schedules, and collaborations.

Jessica McAllister

Jessica McAllister

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Jessica is an undergraduate researcher looking at the relationships between blood-brain barrier dysfunction and white-matter demyelination.

Colton Brodock

Colton Brodock

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Colton is an undergraduate researcher working on imaging inflammation-mediated microvascular leakage in spinal cords.