Parastoo (Parry) Hashemi
Principle Investigator

Parry received her MSci degree in Chemistry from King's College, London. She performed her PhD with Martyn Boutelle in the Department of Bioengineering in Imperial College, London where she developed online biosensing technology to measure brain metabolites from human traumatic brain injury patients. After her PhD she skipped over the pond to Chapel Hill where she worked with Mark Wightman. Here she learned fast scan cyclic voltammetry (FSCV) at carbon-fiber microelectrodes (CFMs) and developed the first method to measure serotonin in vivo using FSCV. Parry and her team tackle some of the world's most pertinent issues with analytical engineering and have a long list of accolades attesting to their success. Outside of her work and her family, Parry loves cities, dogs, exercise, design and fashion,  gardening and learning how to make the local cuisine of all the places in which she's lived (including killer Carolina BBQ).

Rachel Saylor

O.U. graduated with a B.Sc in Chemistry and biochemistry from Florida State University in 2011 and earned her Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh in 2017, working with Dr. Steve Weber. Her main intellectual goals are two-fold: 1) to develop new bioanalytical techniques for in vivo neurochemical sensing with high spatiotemporal resolution, and 2) to understand how neurochemical systems are altered in individuals suffering from psychiatric illnesses. To pursue these goals, she joined the Hashemi Lab in Jan 2018 and is spearheading a project that studies ambient oscillations in ambient serotonin concentrations. In her free time, she enjoys travel, Pure Barre, and exploring restaurants in every city she visits, including her current home of Columbia, SC.  

Post Doctoral Scholar

Yangguang (O.U.) Ou

Jordan received her bachelor of science in Chemistry from Florida State University. #gonoles! She is currently a PhD student in analytical chemistry and has been a member of the lab since 2015. Jordan’s research goals are three-fold: 1) to design an on-site speciation sensor for trace metal analysis, 2) to develop a sensor for in vivo glutamate to understand glutamate-related psychiatric disorders and 3) to electrochemically characterize successful differentiation of serotonin neurons from human induced pluripotent stem cells. She works closely with collaborators to develop new ionophores and stem cell models. In the lab, Jordan has the difficult task of planning lab social events and coercing everyone to participate in 5k’s, hikes, and escape rooms. As a Florida native, Jordan likes to lay by the pool in her free time and despises all things cold.

Graduate Student

Jordan Holmes

Shane received his B.S. in chemistry from Penn State University in 2015, after which he joined the Hashemi lab as an analytical chemistry Ph.D. student.  Shane is interested in the link between pesticide exposure and developing depression later in life.  As serotonin disruption is thought to be a key player in depression, Shane is investigating how pesticide exposure affects basal and evoked serotonin levels.  In his free time, Shane loves spending time in the great outdoors while hiking, fishing, and biking.

Graduate Student

Shane Berger

Alyssa attended University of West Florida where she obtained a bachelor of science in chemistry. She joined the lab in the fall of 2015 and is in the analytical chemistry PhD program. Alyssa’s research focus is on the role of serotonin in autism spectrum disorder using genetic mouse models and environmental risk factor exposures. She currently spends all her free time counseling her dog who is afraid of his own reflection, storms, water, bags, and anything new or remotely unfamiliar.

Graduate Student

Alyssa West

Melinda received her bachelors of science in biochemistry with minors in biology and exercise sport science from Elon University. She is a graduate student in the integrated biomedical science PhD program that joined the lab in the spring of 2016. Melinda currently works with Dr. Parry Hashemi and Dr. Larry Reagan to explore the role of serotonin in comorbid obesity and depression using both microdialysis and fast-scan cyclic voltammetry. Melinda enjoys eating chocolate, working out, and being outside.

Graduate Student

Melinda Hersey

Anna Marie received her bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Auburn University. She is a member of the Integrated Biomedical Science program with a focus in neurochemistry, and joined the Hashemi Lab in the spring of 2017. She is interested in understanding copper’s role in the formation of the amyloid beta plaques commonly present in Alzheimer’s Disease, and thus merging both the metal analysis and neurochemical focuses of the Hashemi Lab. Anna Marie enjoys the finer things in life, including roaming the streets of Paris, surf and turf, and a crisp white wine. Outside of the lab, she likes to listen to music, Coldplay is her favorite, and watch lots of Netflix on the weekends!

Graduate Student

Anna Marie Buchannan

Colby attended Francis Marion University where he obtained a B.S. in chemistry and a B.S. in biology. He is currently a Ph.D. student in analytical chemistry. Colby is working on understanding the fine-tuning mechanism behind the release and reuptake of serotonin in the central nervous system. In his free time Colby enjoys learning how to cook in his crockpot, binging the latest Netflix hits, and traveling to new places.  

Graduate Student

Colby Witt

Brenna attended the University of Iowa where she obtained  a BS in Chemistry and Biochemistry. She literally joined the lab like last week. Brenna is ecstatic to begin working on building a bridge to find a link between rodent models of depression to human models via cultured serotonin neurons from stem cells.In her free time she likes to attend cycle and barre classes via class pass(cough cough subtle plug endorsement), while also binging on Netflix and watching hawkeye football. She also likes eating really really good food with her friends. 

Graduate Student

Brenna Parke

Damion Graham

Undergraduate Student

Damion is currently enrolled at the University of South Carolina for his Bachelors in Integrated Information of Technology. Damion is interested in building and designing websites and applications based on user research findings. In the Hashemi Lab Damion is the current content creator for Hashemi Lab website. He is also an assistant in lab making electrodes and assisting with other duties. In his free time Damion likes to go on hiking trails. When he is not going on trails he is binge watching Netflix and Hulu. Last but not least in his free time he likes to play with and walk his pet guinea pig Oliver.

Navid Tavakoli

Undergraduate Student

Navid is a premedical undergraduate student at the University of South Carolina planning on majoring in biological sciences and minoring in statistics. He is from Columbia, SC and in addition to receiving his High School Diploma, he received an International Baccalaureate Diploma from the International Baccalaureate Program. In the lab Navid works under Alyssa’s guidance. Outside the lab Navid, enjoys playing ultimate frisbee and soccer and has been a recreational boys soccer coach for the past 5 years. Navid also really likes chicken tenders.

Deanna (Dee Dee) Keen

Undergraduate Student

Deanna is enrolled in the University of South Carolina working to earn her B.S. in chemistry and B.A. in Chinese studies. After graduation, she hopes to enroll as a Ph.D. student in biomedical science somewhere in her favorite city and hometown of Chicago. She has a passion for travel and spent 6 months studying abroad in Beijing. In her spare time, you can catch her training to run a marathon or eating to refuel for another workout.

Ginger Hashemi

Hashemi Lab Consultant

Ginger (Gingy) Hashemi is a founding member of the lab, and provides boundless positive energy to lab members. Her primary role has been to elevate lab member's serotonin levels, which she does with resounding success, likely via an oxytocin mediated mechanism. Parry has had multiple offers/threats from others to buy/steal her. Nonetheless, Gingy's destiny is to serve the psychological health of the Hashemi lab and she can't imagine any higher calling. Ginger cannot catch a ball thrown slowly and deliberately to her, yet will catch a bread-crumb traveling at the speed of light. In her youth, Gingy loved to train for marathons with Parry, running for hours in the woods with her tail awaggin' and her tongue ahangin'; chasing smaller animals (much to her detriment when those animals happened to be skunks or porcupines). These days our old girl is content with just a short stroll, giving and getting lots of cuddles (Gingy is a great proponent of canine intervention therapy), followed by 16 hrs of sleep. 

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