Laboratory Members


Jennifer Dulin, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator

Jennifer Dulin has been researching in the field of spinal cord injury since 2008. She received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and performed her postdoctoral work at the University of California, San Diego. Jen is a native Texan and an Aggie (’05), and she is proud to have returned to Texas A&M as a faculty member in the Department of Biology. 

Google Scholar Link


Miriam Aceves, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Miriam has been a proud Aggie since 2007. In 2011, she received her B.A. in Psychology from Texas A&M University and began conducting spinal cord injury research as a graduate student in the laboratory of Dr. Michelle Hook. In 2017, she received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the Texas A&M Health Science Center and joined the Jeffery Laboratory for her first postdoctoral position. In 2019, she joined the Dulin Laboratory, where she is investigating neural progenitor cell transplantation and integration into spinal cord circuitry with the ultimate aim of improving recovery of forelimb motor function following injury.  Outside of the laboratory, her interests include running, dancing, playing sports, reading, movies, and politics, and she is also deeply invested in community outreach and service.


Ashley Tucker

Graduate Student
B.S. Biomedical Engineering from Texas A&M University

Ashley Tucker received her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering in the Spring of 2018 with a focus on Biomaterials and a minor in Neuroscience. Her project in the Dulin Lab focuses on optimizing neural progenitor cell transplantation approaches in a spinal cord injury model. Ashley enjoys participating in STEM based community outreach events (i.e. Engineering and Physics Festival) and can be frequently seen teaching middle school students the fundamentals of biomaterials with Texas A&M's Society for Biomaterials chapter.


Prakruthi Amar Kumar

Graduate Student

Prakruthi is a Ph.D. student in the Dulin Lab. She received a Master’s degree in Microbiology from St. Joseph’s College, India in May 2016 and has worked for 2 years as Associate Research Scientist in the Microbiology and Molecular biology team at BUGWORKS Research India Pvt Ltd. Prakruthi's project is aimed at understanding hyperactivity of pain neurons in the injured nervous system, and working to regulate/silence the activity of these neurons to promote functional recovery post spinal cord injury. Prakruthi is also an Indian Classical vocalist and has performed at many concerts in India. During her free time, she enjoys singing, playing Badminton and reading novels.


Valerie Dietz

Graduate Student

Valerie received a B.S. in Biology from Texas A&M in Spring of 2018. Her undergraduate research experience was in molecular plant ecology. The focus of her graduate work is to map the changes in nociceptive neural circuitry that occur after spinal cord injury.


Amy Leonards

Graduate Student

Amy is a Microbiology major. She is working on a very cool project to understand how axon regeneration permits locomotor recovery in grasshoppers! Amy is a fantastic insect surgeon.

amy leonards.jpg

Sunjay Letchuman

Undergraduate Student Researcher

Sunjay is a Business Honors major and University Scholar who is also on the pre-med track. He joined the lab at the end of Fall 2018. He is currently working on two different projects focused on neural progenitor cell development and astrocyte development. In his free time, he enjoys ice skating, rock climbing, and playing tennis.


Michael Pitonak

Undergraduate Student Researcher

Michael is a junior Biology Honors major from Tyler, TX who joined the lab in the summer of 2019. He is also on the pre-med track in the hopes of becoming an orthopedic surgeon specializing in hand reconstruction. His current work includes studying the biological variables that affect the success of neural progenitor cell grafts in the injured spinal cord. When not in the lab, he enjoys fishing, scuba diving, and playing his guitar and saxophone.


Joseph Chen

Undergraduate Student Researcher

Joseph is a Biomedical Engineering student from Houston, Texas. He is working under Miriam, the best Post-Doctorate in the world, on various projects that explore the therapeutic possibilities of neural progenitor cell transplantation and integration. With plans of going to medical school and specializing in cardiology, Joseph hopes to live a life of faithful service to the world, playing his part in making it a brighter and happier place day by day. In his free time, he enjoys wasting time with friends, making music, and playing basketball and tennis.


Katelyn Knox

Undergraduate Student Researcher

Katelyn is a Biology Honors major from Cedar Park, Texas. After graduating from Texas A&M, Katelyn hopes to attend physical therapy graduate school. She is currently working under Valerie on a project understanding changes in neural anatomy after spinal cord injuries and its potential implications on pain development. In her free time outside the lab, she enjoys playing soccer, reading, and watching football.


Nolan Roberts

Undergraduate Student Researcher

Nolan is a junior Biology Honors major from Dallas, Texas. He hopes to attend medical school after graduation with the goal of becoming an orthopedic surgeon. He is currently working with Valerie on the characterization of spinal cord injuries that cause chronic and neuropathic pain. In his free time, he enjoys working out, playing video games, and hanging out with friends.


Julius Jang

Undergraduate Student Researcher

Julius is an Economics and Psychology major from Katy, Texas. After
graduating from A&M, he hopes to attend medical school and specialize in psychiatry with a focus on addiction. In the lab, he works with Ashley to identify the most beneficial interneuron subtypes for locomotor function recovery in the spinal cord.


Aleena Lukose

Undergraduate Student Researcher

Aleena is a Biology Honors student from Houston, Texas. She is on the pre-med track and plans to specialize in radiology. In the lab, she works with Miriam to research the rehabilitative potential of neural progenitor cell transplantation and integration in regards to motor function abilities post injury. Outside of the lab, Aleena enjoys drawing and animating, playing video games, running, and trying different foods.


Vanessa Tang

Undergraduate Student Researcher

Vanessa is a Biology major. After graduating, she plans on attending medical school in the pursuit of a career as a trauma surgeon. She will be joining the lab Spring 2021. Her hobbies include working out and playing the guitar.


Angelina Baltazar

Undergraduate Student Researcher

Angelina is a Biomedical Engineering Honors student from College Station, Texas. After graduating from Texas A&M, she hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in neuroscience. In the lab, she works with Ashley identifying NPC-derived interneurons most important in the recovery of locomotion after injury. During her free time, she enjoys baking, playing the flute, and spending time with her cat.


Jacob Stallman

Undergraduate Student Researcher

Jacob is a sophomore biology honors student from Houston, Texas. He is planning on going to medical school after he graduates with the hopes of becoming an adolescent physiatrist. He is currently working under Prakruthi on a project to silence the hyperactivity of nociceptors that can occur after a spinal cord injury. In his free time he enjoys playing basketball, hanging out with friends, and watching TV shows.


Ethan Kerim

Undergraduate Student Researcher

Ethan is a senior Genetics major and Spanish minor from Tomball, TX who joined the lab in the summer of 2021. Prior to working with us, he was the Head Health Care Attendant for a high level C4-C5 quadriplegic patient and brings hands-on clinical experience to our research. He is now working on a project focused on the use of chemogenetics to silence nociceptors in the acute phase of spinal cord injury. Ethan plans to attend medical school after graduation from Texas A&M. When he is not in the lab he enjoys weight lifting and playing intramural sports.


Natalia Cruz-Vespa

Undergraduate Student Researcher

Natalia is a neuroscience student from Wesleyan University. As a College Station native, she is joining the lab for the summer. After graduating she hopes to attend medical school or pursue a Ph.D in neuroscience. In the lab, she works with Miriam to investigate neural progenitor cell transplantation and integration into spinal cord circuitry regarding the recovery of motor function abilities following injury. Outside of the lab, her interests include tennis, piano, ukulele, singing, traveling, and watching The Office.


Diego Miranda

Undergraduate Student Researcher

Diego is a Public Health major from Brownsville, TX who joined the lab in the summer of 2021. He is currently in the Texas A&M Pre-Med Fellows program and will attend the Texas A&M College of Medicine starting Fall 2023. He is currently working with Michael studying the effect of biological variables on the success of neural progenitor cell grafts in an injured spinal cord. Outside of the lab he enjoys being outdoors and exploring new foods.


Ratt Damon M.D., Ph.D.


Dr. Damon has had a career path that has been nothing short of unconventional.  Dr. Damon initially pursued a career in Hollywood, appearing in the Harry Potter films as a stunt double for the character Scabbers and assisting in the motion capture work used for Ratatouille.  However, after being beaten out for the lead role in the Jason Bourne film series he redirected his attention to science and medicine.  Now, Dr. Ratt Damon is responsible for teaching skeletal structures to all incoming lab members.


Dulin Lab Alumni


Tarun Sontam

Undergraduate Student Researcher

Britney Nguyen

Undergraduate Student Researcher (2020-2021)

Sherilynne Moore

Undergraduate Student Researcher (2020-2021)


Margaret Newman

Undergraduate Student Researcher (2020-2021)

Daniel Caceres

Undergraduate Student Researcher (2019-2020)

David Drake

Undergraduate Student Researcher (2017-2020)


Kass Corona

Undergraduate Student Researcher (2018-2019)

Trey Adkins

Undergraduate Student Researcher (2018-2019)

Greg Bain

Research Assistant (2017-2019)


Rosalyn Brown

Undergraduate Student Researcher (2018)

Kimberly Loesch, Ph.D.

Associate Research Scientist