Who We Are
Who We Are
Building Researchers and Innovators in Neuroscience and Society (BRAINS) is a student organization dedicated to a higher understanding of the human mind and body. Its commitment to discovery, collaboration and developing technologies in the field of neuroscience provides an exciting environment for development, growth, and improvement of undergraduate and graduate research at Texas A&M University. In order to fulfill the mission of BRAINS, we provide an enriched environment, promoting interdisciplinary communication and scientific collaboration for all students interested in neuroscience research at Texas A&M University. In addition to scientific advancement amongst the students of Texas A&M, BRAINS is committed to the future of scientific education, funding, and discovery. In order to improve the future of neuroscience, BRAINS regularly participates in outreach activities in the community (i.e. Brain Day; Alzheimer’s Association Walk). It is critical for the public, young and old, to understand past and current work in neuroscience in order to appreciate the need for support, participation, and funding to continue these advances. Collectively, BRAINS is an organization focused on the perpetual pursuit of education, innovation, and unity for advocates of neuroscience within Texas A&M University and beyond.
Advisor – Sylvia Bernal
Officers 2020 – 2021
- Ashley Tucker
Ashley Tucker received her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering in the spring of 2018 at Texas A&M and is currently pursuing a PhD in Neuroscience. Here research 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. BRAIN Day, Night at the Zachary) and spends her free time training for a half marathon and doing yoga. She is excited to be the 2020-2021 president of BRAINS and work with the officers to uphold the mission of BRAINS.
- Vice President (Graduate)
- Adelis Cruz
Adelis is from Savannah, Georgia, but she grew up in a military family, so she had the chance to experience living in different places. Out of all the places she’s lived, the two places she calls home are El Paso, Texas and Barranquitas, Puerto Rico. Currently, she is a 3rd year graduate student in the Behavioral and Cellular Neuroscience program in the department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. Her research interests include drug addiction, learning mechanisms underlying compulsive behavior, and motivation. She is also interested in science education and supporting underrepresented minorities in STEM. Outside of grad life, her hobbies include reading, experimenting with makeup, and making jewelry.
- Vice President (Undergraduate)
- Adrian Barron
Adrian is a senior Psychology major with a minor in Neuroscience. He is currently a Research Assistant in the Eitan Addition Lab and is the Vice President of the Undergraduate division of BRAINS.
- TAMIN Graduate Representative
- Gizelle Fauss
Howdy! Gizelle Fauss is currently the Graduate Student Representative for TAMIN. She is also a fifth year Ph.D. Candidate majoring in Neuroscience for the Texas A&M Institute for Neuroscience (TAMIN) program here at Texas A&M. She works in Dr. James Grau’s lab where her research focuses on how supraspinal systems affect the progression of secondary injury after spinal cord injury. Treasurer – Jacob Davis
- Outreach chair
- Corrine Kelly
Corinne Kelly received her undergraduate degree in neuroscience from the University of Texas at Dallas and is currently a second year PhD student in the Texas A&M Institute for Neuroscience. Her research interests include social behavior in Fragile X Syndrome and how that compares with Autism both behaviorally and in terms of neuroanatomical/chemical changes.
- Symposium Chair
- Taylor Huntington
Taylor Huntington is currently a fourth year PhD candidate and NSF GRFP Fellow in the lab of Dr. Rahul Srinivasan. Her thesis focuses on mitochondria in astrocytes in both healthy and Parkinson’s disease brains. She is also interested in the modulation of anxiety by mitochondria during early Parkinson’s disease. She is the symposium chair for BRAINS this year and is looking forward to seeing everyone whether the symposium is virtual or not! When not in lab you can find her playing golf or volleyball and running with Mars, her border collie/lab mix.
- Social Chair and Media Chair
- Johnny Odeh
Howdy, Johnny Odeh is a Junior Biomedical Engineering major from El Paso, Texas. This will be his second year in BRAINS, and he is extremely excited to serve as the Social and Media Chair for this upcoming year. He is working diligently to truly make this year one to remember. Johnny aspires to attend medical school so his research interests revolve around medicine, specifically within the cancer realm. Some of his favorite hobbies include playing/watching basketball, volunteering, and spending time outdoors. A fun fact about Johnny is that he is a HUGE LeBron James fan!
- GPSC Representative
- Cecily Oleksiak
Cecily Oleksiak received her B.S. in Neuroscience from UT Dallas and is currently a third year in the TAMIN PhD program. Her research with Dr. Maren and Dr. Moscarello is focused on the effect of context on avoidance behavior. She serves as a delegate for the Neuroscience department in the graduate and professional student government and is on the outreach committee for BRAINS.
- TAMIN Webmaster
- Michael Totty
Michael is originally from Camden, a small town in West Tennessee. During undergrad, he attended the University of Tennessee where he graduated with his bachelor’s in biomedical engineering. He is currently a 4th year PhD candidate in the Texas A&M Institute for Neuroscience with broad interests in learning and memory, relapse of fearful and traumatic memories, and neural computation. Outside of the lab, Michael is also interested in scientific outreach to young and underrepresented groups. His hobbies include reading, traveling, and sports.
- Fundraising Chair
- Ericcson Onyewuenyi
Ericson Onyewuenyi is a junior biomedical science major from Houston, Texas and he is the Fundraising Chair for BRAINS for the next school year. He enjoy playing sports, eating, and hanging out with friends.
- Outreach Committee:
- Chair – Corinne Kelly
- Member 1: Ashley Tucker
- Member 2: Michael Totty
- Member 3: Adelis Cruz
- Member 4: Ericcson Onyewuenyi
- Member 5: Cecily Oleksiak