Terrance T. Kummer, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Neurology
Terrance T. Kummer, MD, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Neurology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, a clinical neurointensivist in the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Neurological and Neurosurgical intensive Care Unit, the Director of the EXPLORE program in the Gateway Curriculum, and the Director of the Neurotrauma ICU. Dr. Kummer received his MD and PhD from Washington University in St. Louis where he studied synaptogenesis at the neuromuscular junction. He completed his clinical training in Neurology and Neurocritical Care at Harvard Medical School (Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital) before returning to St. Louis in 2012. Dr. Kummer’s initial work at WashU revealed a novel injury mechanism in subarachnoid hemorrhage—axonal injury—that linked this deadly form of brain hemorrhage to traumatic brain injury (TBI). The application of MRI-based measurements, validated in preclinical models against gold-standard histological analysis, permitted confirmation of these findings in human patients. Dr. Kummer now focuses on identifying and measuring the key loci of cellular injury in TBI and Alzheimer’s disease with a particular interest in synaptic and other forms of CNS gray matter injury. The lab developed a novel imaging technique to quantify synapses called SEQUIN, and applied this technique to identify synaptic loss after TBI. We are now using SEQUIN to better understand the mechanisms of synaptic injury in TBI, and the relationship between this process and subsequent neurodegeneration. Dr. Kummer was born and raised in Rochester, Minnesota, and completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Minnesota.
Assistant Professor of Neurology
Andrew Sauerbeck is an Assistant Professor of Neurology at Washington University School of Medicine and the lead experimentalist and lab manager of the Kummer lab. Andrew completed his undergraduate and graduate training at the University of Kentucky’s Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center working with Dr. Patrick G. Sullivan. His graduate research focused on metabolic dysfunction after TBI, and specifically on the role of mitochondria in secondary brain injury. He subsequently completed post-doctoral research in the laboratory of Dr. Dana M. McTigue where his studies revealed important roles of oxidative damage after spinal cord injury (SCI) and a surprising connection between SCI and hepatic injury. Since joining the Kummer lab, Andrew created a novel, nonsurgical, rapid and reliable model of diffuse complicated-mild and moderate TBI called modCHIMERA. Andrew subsequently developed a novel super-resolution microscopy-based method—SEQUIN—to quantify synapses that he is utilizing to understand gray matter injury after TBI and Alzheimer’s disease in pre-clinical models and in humans. Andrew received a T32 award and the Central Society for Clinical and Translational Research Early Career Development Award in recognition of his work in the Kummer lab.
Reitz is a graduate student in Neuroscience in the Kummer lab. Sydney previously worked and studied at Harvard Medical School in the lab of Dr. Mark Albers, where she focused on neurodegeneration using the vomeronasal organ as a model system. Her current work involves identification of positive markers of gray matter injury in TBI, and on further development of the SEQUIN method.
Postdoc Research Associate
Zaffar Equbal is a postdoc in the Kummer lab. He received his thesis from the National Institute of Immunology in New Delhi, India, where he studied human mesenchymal cell differentiation into neurons. Zaffar also received an MSc in genetics from the University of Delhi. He has conducted disease-focused research in several laboratories and made important contributions to our understanding of gene expression, cell development, and disease modeling. Zaffar joined the Kummer lab in 2021 where his studies focus on untangling the molecular mechanisms of synaptic injury after TBI.
Research Technician II
Alyssa Beck is a technician with the Kummer lab. Before joining the lab Alyssa worked as an emergency room tech and patient care technician. She is a graduate of Bradley University and St. Louis Community College and an expert at crafting unique and clever, sometimes groan-inducing jokes.
Research Technician I
Jacob Harman is a technician with the Kummer lab. Before joining the lab Jacob worked as an animal technician in the mouse facilities at Washington University. He has had several prior jobs in veterinary medicine. Jacob is a graduate of Moberly Area Community College.
Instructor in Neurology
Enmanuel Perez is a Neurology resident working with the Kummer and Holtzman labs. He received his MD and PhD from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. There he completed his thesis research with Dr. Daniel Liebl studying synaptic mechanisms of injury following TBI. Enmanuel subsequently entered neurology residency at Washington University, where is was named the chief QI resident and was awarded an R25. He is currently working with the Kummer and Holtzman labs on the interaction between brain trauma and AD-related molecular processes.
Research Nurse Coordinator II
Porche Braun is a Nurse Research Coordinator with the Kummer lab. She received her degree in biology from Drury University and her nursing degree from Maryville University, and worked for many years as an RN in the Neurology and Neurosurgery Intensive Care Unit (NNICU) at Barnes Jewish Hospital. In 2021 she became the dedicated Research Coordinator for the Division of Neurocritical Care. She provides essential support for numerous ongoing clinical and translational studies in the Kummer lab, assisting with efforts to translate results from the laboratory to patients in the ICU.
Research Nurse Coordinator ll
Michelle Allen is a Nurse Research Coordinator with the Kummer lab. She received her nursing degree from St. Louis University and worked for many years as an RN in the Neurology and Neurosurgery Intensive Care Unit (NNICU) at Barnes Jewish Hospital. In 2013 she became the dedicated Research Coordinator for the Division of Neurocritical Care. Allen provides essential support for numerous ongoing clinical and translational studies in the Kummer lab, assisting with efforts to translate results from the laboratory to patients in the ICU.
Richard Davenport is a prior technician with the Kummer lab. Davenport received his undergraduate education at Webster University and the University of Missouri. He currently works in the genome center where he assists with the processing and analysis of human genetic material.
Claudia Fanizzi is a neurosurgery resident from Milan, Italy (Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico) who joined the Kummer lab between 2016 and 2017 as a Visiting Scientist to study subarachnoid hemorrhage pathophysiology. Claudia’s work was instrumental in the development of neurobehavioral tests in subarachnoid preclinical models, an important point in determining the suitability of these models for understanding neurocognitive deficits in human victims of subarachnoid hemorrhage. Fanizzi has since returned to Milan to complete her neurosurgical training.
Mihika Gangoli is a former graduate student in Biomedical Engineering at Washington University. She transitioned to the Kummer lab when her graduate mentor, Dr. David Brody, departed Washington University. Mihika developed quantitative radiological-pathological correlation methods in human brain tissue and implemented these methods to perform radiological-pathological correlations in chronic traumatic encephalopathy. She has gone on to a post-doctoral position at NIH where she continues to investigate MRI correlates of brain injury.
Hao is a post-doctoral researcher in the Kummer lab investigating synaptotoxic factors in the human brain. Hao developed a high-throughput in vitro assay for synaptotoxicity and is using this method to identify unique synaptotoxins for future therapeutic targeting. Hao’s second project involves the purification and structural characterization of amyloid-beta oligomers from the human and mouse brain using chemical and biochemical approaches.
Keshav is an undergraduate from Washington University in the Biomedical Engineering Department who joined the Kummer lab in the summer of 2019 and is working on advanced quantitative analysis pipelines for SEQUIN datasets.
Corey Kersting is a technician with the Kummer lab. Before joining the group Corey was a veterinarian with the Arnold Animal Hospital, where he performed a number of tasks related to animal care. He is a graduate of Jefferson College.
Samuel Kim’s focus is on the role of complement in the opsonization of synapses after brain injury, and on development of the SEQUIN method. He was awarded a BioSURF award to conduct his research in the Kummer lab. Sam is now working with Dr. Erin Gibson at Stanford.
Akshata Korgaonkar is a post-doctoral researcher in the Kummer lab with a long-standing interest in TBI. She received her graduate training at Rutgers University working with Dr. Viji Santhakumar where she identified a novel mechanism of altered hippocampal plasticity after TBI involving TLR4 modulation. She also conducted research into memory formation using a custom-built VR and 2-photon imaging platform before joining the Kummer lab in 2017. Since joining, Korgaonkar has focused her studies on the development of an MRI-based imaging paradigm with sensitivity for synaptic endpoints. She is also interested in the mechanism of gray matter injury in contusional TBI, and is investigating neuroinflammatory interactions after trauma. Korgaonkar’s recent work was recognized with an award to attend and present at the International Neurotrauma Society Meeting, and her research was a finalist in the abstract competition for the National Neurotrauma Society Meeting in 2019.
Tejaswi Makkapati received her bachelor of arts at the University of Tulsa, where she conducted chemistry, biochemistry, and clinical research. At Washington University, she conducted research in the Integrative Muscle Physiology lab before joining the Kummer lab. Makkapati is now a medical student at Hackensack University Medical Center.