Current Lab Staff

Current Lab Staff

Charles Jason Frazier, PhD
Principal Investigator

Research Interests: I have a fundamental interest in developing a better mechanistic understanding of how excitability is regulated, and information is processed, at the cellular and synaptic level, in the mammalian central nervous system. I am also interested in learning how cellular and synaptic function is altered by aging, stress, drug abuse, or disease. In recent years we have also worked hard to leverage new techniques, and collaborations, to more directly implicate cellular and synaptic mechanism in systems level physiology, pathophysiology, and behavior of interest.

• Bachelor of Arts in Neuroscience, Oberlin College
• PhD in Neuroscience, University of Colorado


Scott W Harden, DMD, PhD
Research Scientist

Biographical Sketch: As a scientist with academic and clinical training, my chief interests lie at the intersection of science, medicine, and technology. I have extensive experience using quantitative fluorescent microscopy (epifluorescence, confocal, and multi-photon) and electrophysiological methods (whole-cell patch-clamp, calcium imaging, and optogenetics) to advance the field of biomedical science. My current research interests involve identifying and characterizing novel pathways of neurohormonal signaling in the brain. My interest in cellular neurophysiology and affinity for technology and engineering lead me to use new and emerging electrophysiological, optical, and computational techniques to enhance our understanding of central and peripheral neuroscience.

• Master’s of Science in Biotechnology, University of Central Florida
• Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD), University of Florida
• PhD in Neuroscience, University of Florida


Todd Sahagian, MS
PhD Student

Research Focus: I am fundamentally interested in understanding mechanisms of biological aging and, more specifically, the neurological basis of cognitive impairment in aging. I use whole-cell patch-clamp technique to study the electrophysiological properties of neurons in aged rats (up to two years old), with a focus on cellular and synaptic physiology of neurons in the basolateral amygdala (BLA) which project to the prefrontal cortex (PFC) or nucleus accumbens (NAc). These findings will improve our understanding of age-related impairments in decision making behavior as it pertains to risk and impulsivity. It is my hope that enhanced understanding of the neurobiology of aging can be leveraged to ultimately increase the human healthspan.

• Master’s of Science in Biomedical Sciences, University of Florida
• Bachelor of Science in Biology, University of Florida


Jordan Howard
PhD Student

Research focus: My current research investigates cellular and synaptic effects of oxytocin receptor activation in the hippocampus. Specifically I am interested in elucidating the relationship between neuro-hormonal modulation of hippocampal information flow and its influence on anxiety and stress responsiveness.

• Bachelor of Science, Florida Southern College


Nadine Alshakhshir, MS
PhD Student

Research Interests: My research focuses on studying the mechanisms that regulate the physiological release of oxytocin in the brain from the dendrites of hypothalamic magnocellular neurons. We believe that developing a more detailed understanding of how release of oxytocin is regulated in the CNS has potential to help improve therapeutic interventions for a wide range of conditions impacting mental health.

• MS in Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Kansas
• Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy, University of Jordan


Jeffrey Thinschmidt, MA
Scientific Research Manager

Expertise: Cellular and synaptic neurophysiology, rodent stereotactic brain surgery, neuroanatomy, histology, immunohistochemistry, cell culture, fluorescent and light microscopy, neuropharmacology.

• Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Stockton University, Galloway, New Jersey
• Master’s of Arts in Physiological Psychology, Florida Atlantic University (laboratory of Dr. Robert Vertes)