People in the Developmental Psychobiology Lab

Find out how to join the lab


Principal Investigator 


Susanne Brummelte Ph.D.

Dr. Brummelte is an Associate Professor for Wayne State University Department of Psychology. Her current research focuses on the effects of early adverse life experience on brain development and the subsequent behavioral and neuroanatomical changes in both males and females.




Graduate Researchers 


Jennifer Kott M.A.

Jennifer is a graduate student in the Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience program, minoring in psychopharmacology. Her research focuses on the effects of pregestational stress and prenatal antidepressant exposure on development. Outside of the lab, her interests include cooking, all kinds of outdoor activities and traveling as much as possible.


Chela Wallin


Chela Wallin is an active 4th year doctoral student in the Behavioral Cognitive Neuroscience (BCN) Program at Wayne State University. She received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Grand Valley State University and came to graduate school as a trained McNair Scholar.  Chela’s preclinical research experiences have focused on the facets of biopsychology and neuroscience. Her intersts are in psychopharmacology and behavioral and neurochemical effects of drug abuse and have expanded to building and improving translational models for studying opiate addiction in pregnancy and increasing maternal care. Under the guidance of Drs. Susanne Brummelte and Scott Bowen, she is just completed her Master’s Thesis investigating the effects of gestational opioid exposure on offspring and effects on neonatal abstinence syndrome and offspring neurobehavioral development. Her dissertation will focus on the effects of opioid maintenance therapy on the tranistion to motherhood and the effect on the maternal brain network. 


Brian Timmerman  B.S. 

 Brian is a third-year graduate student in the Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience program. He is interetsted in research regarding excerbatnig and alleviating factors in the development of behavioral and neurobiological correlates of psychiatric illnesss. His current work examines the short- and long-term impact of neonatal stressors on brain development. 



Emily Baltes Thompson



Emily is a graduate student in the Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience program. She received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Northern Kentucky University where her research investigated the impact of early-life atypical antipsychotic drug application on behavior and neurological development. Her Masters is focussing on the effects of sertraline exposure during gestation on long-term behavioral outcome and neurotransmitter levels in the brain after cocaine sensitazation. 


Jordan Skully 



Jordordan is a second year graduate student in the Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience program. He graduated from Alma college in 2016 earning his Bachelors of Science in Psychology. During his time at Alma he studied the effects of stressors on exacerbation of certain living conditions in rodent models. Examples include effects on Parkinson's, alcohol, etc. Jordan looks to expand his understanding of developmental psychobiology and psychopharmacology during his time at Wayne State University. Jordan was awarded a prestigous Dean's Diversity Fellowship and he is currently working on his MAster's thesis on the effects of cannabinoids on behavior in a rodent model. 

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Undergraduate Researchers  


Evien Albazi  



Evien is a junior at Wayne State University pursuing a double major in Biology & Psychology. She aspires to one day attend medical school in hopes of becoming a Dermatologist. Evien began working with graduate student Jennifer Knott as a sophomore and is currently studying the effects of maternal antidepressant treatment on neurogenesis levels in offspring rodents. 




Chelsea Roberge  



Chelsea Roberge is a Biochemistry and Chemical Biology major and Psychology minor with an interest in neurochemistry as it relates to psychological and behavioral disorders. Her research investigates the underlying biochemical mechanism behind the benefits of skin-to-skin contact and assisting graduate student Chela Wallin with her Master’s Thesis studying the long-term behavioral and neurochemical offspring effects of habitual, gestational buprenorphine exposure. 


Lauren Richardson   



Lauren is an undergraduate sophomore at Wayne State University, majoring in Psychology with a pre-med route. She is also a ReBUILDetroit scholar. 


Kristy Tilson 


Kristy Tilson is an honors student and an undergraduate research assistent in the Brummelte Lab. She has been essential in several studies and is cureently writing her thesis. 


James Kina


James is a junior dual majoring in Biological Science and Psychology at Wayne State University. He plans to attend graduate school for a PhD with the hopes of becoming a neuropsychopharmacology researcher. Currently, he's working with graduate student Brian Timmerman on rat brain slicing.



Saadia Taj  


Saadia Taj is an Undergraduate Research Assistant in Dr. B's lab as well as a Senior Psychology student here at WSU pursuing a career in Clinical Psychology. She loves neuroscience, from understanding the brain structures and different effects of drugs to the connection between mind and body. She hopes in the future to be a Clinical Neuropsychologist and study different brain injuries such as Alzheimers. When she is not busy being fascinated by something in Psychology or Neuroscience she loves to travel. A fun fact about her is that she has traveled to tons of different countries throughout her life including the Netherlands, Dubai, India, Pakistan and even Nicaragua to name a few. 


Hailee Zahreddine   


She is an undergraduate student majoring in psychology. She is planning on graduating in December 2019. Her interests in psychology are biological and developmental psychology. Currently, she is working in the lab counting cells in the hippocampus of rat brains.  


Yusuf Yasarlar  


Yusuf is an Undergraduate Research Assistant in Dr. B's lab.  


Alexis Taylor    



Alexis is an undergraduate sophomore at Wayne State University, majoring in Neuroscience with a minor in Psychology. She is also a ReBUILDetroit Scholar. 

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Previous Graduate Researchers 


Sean Mooney-Leber                Ph.D.

Sean was a graduate student in the Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience program minoring in developmental neuroscience. His research investigated the neurobiological consequences of early adverse life experience and how maternal care modulates these negative outcomes. He was the first Ph.D. student to graduate frmo the lab, when he earned his Ph.D. in December 2017. Sean is now a postdoctoral fellow in the Biobehavioral Health program at Penn State working with Dr. Thomas Gould. 



Previous Undergraduate Researchers 

Fay Shoubah


Fay started as an undergrad and then joined the BCN graduate program. Unfortunately she had to leave the program after the first year. Fay's study involved investigating the effects of gestational antidepressant exposure on the second generation. 


JIll Young  


Jill was a Psychology major and our lab manager for a while. She was involved in many projects and kept everything and everyone in check. Her honors project involved findign a way to pair-house male rats after they were used for breeding. She graduated in 2016. 


Susan Woods


Susan was a senior psychology honors and journalism student. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology with a focus on suicidology. She was awarded a UROP and McNair Research award to pursue research in Dr. Brummelte's lab on how to best investigate stress-induced corticosterone level variations using ELISA assays. In 2015 she founded the African American Psychology Student Organization (AAPSO) at Wayne State. The organization provides a platform to discuss psychological and social issues that impact marginalized communities, in particular the African American community. 


Kethrine Badria


Kethrine was a biochemistry major and wanted to join the lab after watching TED Talks dealing with neuroscience and neurochemistry. She wanted to work in a lab where she could apply what she was learning. She is interested in how depression and anxiety effects the brain and the patient. In the future, she wants to be involved in projects that benefit people who have neurodegenerative diseases. Kethrine was  the lab expert for running ELISA assays. She gradauted in 2017 and is now attending veterinary school.



Samer Dubaisi


Samer was a Biology Major student working with grad student Sean Mooney-Leber and was in charge of counting new neurons in the frontal cortex of neonatal rats exposed to early-life stress and reduced maternal care. 



Esmeralda Sustaita


Esmeralda joined the lab after receiving a prestigious APA summer scholarship and we are happy that she decided to stay on with us. She investigated the effects of early-life adversity and reduced maternal care on neuronal cell death working with grad student Sean Mooney-Leber. 



Gabe Haas  


Gabe's research interests focus on potential antidepressant properties of probiotics and their impact on development, behavior, and brain mechanisms. Outside of the lab, his passions include travel, food, and learning new things. 


Paramveer Swaich  



Parm joined the lab as an honors student in 2016. His thesis was about the effects of gestational antidepressant exposure on neurotransmitter levelsin adult offcpring after cocaine sensitazitation. He graduated in 2017 and joined a medical graduate program. 


Abdul-Rahman Suleiman  


 Abdul was dual majoring in biology and political science. As well as research, he is heavily involved in leadership and social organizations. He cites his Middle-Eastern upbringing in making him increasingly interested in the effects of stressors on continuing generations. Abdul was working on a project that focused on the transgenerational effects of preconceptional stress and gestational antidepressant exposure. He graduated  and is now in medical school at WSU. 


Wan Wang


 Wan was a sophomore when she started in the lab in 2015, working with Gabe on his project investigating the effects of probiotics on depressive-like behavior in male and female rats. She  graduated in Summer of 2018 with a dual degree in Psychology (B.S.) and Asian Studies (B.A.). She is interested in cognitive neuroscience and its medical applications. 



Caite Wiacek   


Caite was an honors pre-Veterinary student with minors in Psychology and Biology.  In the lab, she wasworking with Chela in a translational study of maternal usage of Buprenorphine. She graduated in Spring of 2019 and is now attending veterinary school. 



Sandi Gorges   



Sandi was a senior majoring in biological science at Wayne State. She joined the lab in her junior year and she plans to get her Master's degree in the Pathology Assistant Program. She was the lab expert for running ELISA assays.



Fariba Rana   



Fariba was a senior majoring in Psychology and minoring in Biology. She was also on the pre-medical track and hopes to become a physician someday. Her project in the lab focused on assessing the impact of neonatal pain and reduced maternal care on hippocampal cell proliferation.  She graduated in Spring 2019. 




Malak Saffar


Malak was a senior and Biological Science major at Wayne State University. She is interested in becoming a future physician. She was working with graduate student Jennifer Kott with HPLC (High-Performance liquid Chromatography) to help determine the developmental effects of prenatal exposure to a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor in an animal model of maternal depression. She graudated in 2019. 


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Other former students: 


Danielle KlovskiDanielle Was an honors student in the lab between 2015-2016. Her thesis was titled: 'The Effects of Pre-Conceptual Corticosterone and Gestational Antidepressant Exposure on Rat Dams' 
Manell AboutalabManell was the first udnergradute honors student in the lab. She completed her thesis with the title:‘The effect of different corticosterone administration methods on the estrous cycle in female rats’ in 2014.  

Pauline Hyrzodub

Pauline joined the lab for abit in 2016.

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