West Lab Research Staff


The West lab staff breaking bread for Thanksgiving and going over data at a lab meeting.


West lab staff members presented a bank of 5 posters on LRRK2 and Parkinson’s disease at SFN 2012 in New Orleans.

West Laboratory Personnel

Andrew West


Associate Professor of Neurology and Neurobiology
John A. and Ruth R. Jurenko Endowed Professorship in Neurology

Andrew West directs the Jurenko laboratory for Parkinson’s disease research. Andrew trained at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine for graduate work and performed post-doctoral work at UCLA and Johns Hopkins University. In late 2007, NIH received the first request for the then brand new R00 award at UAB in the newly founded Center for Neurodegeneration and Experimental Therapeutics, and the laboratory was opened in 2008.


João PL Daher


JP completed medical school in Rio de Janeiro with a focus in experimental pathology, and his work there led him to pursue biomedical research in the laboratory of Professor Dan Berkowitz at Johns Hopkins. JP continued onto a Master’s Program jointly in the laboratory of Professor Daniel Weinreich at the University of Maryland, where he focused on physiology of the autonomous nervous system. JP next pursued a doctoral degree focused on understanding molecular mechanisms in Parkinson’s disease in the laboratories of Ted and Valina Dawson. His research focus was on initial characterizations of transgenic models of LRRK2 and alpha-synuclein. After successful thesis dissertation defense, JP joined the laboratory of Dr. Andrew West to further investigate the interaction between LRRK2 and alpha-synuclein, the two autosomal dominant causes of Parkinson’s disease.

 Jane Hu

Jane completed a Master’s degree from Peking Medical University and is an expert in molecular and cellular biology with particular expertise in mouse models.  Jane runs a tight ship in the West lab, and she is the go to person for things that need to get done quickly and accurately.

Mark Moehle


Mark is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute graduate fellow, has been previously supported on a T32 fellowship, and is the current holder of an individual NRSA award from NIH. Mark focuses on understanding neuroinflammatory processes in Parkinson’s disease.


Kyle Fraser


Kyle is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute graduate fellow in the Neuroscience program that recently joined the West laboratory in 2011. Kyle had top honors from Auburn as an undergraduate in neuroscience and has already won best poster presentation at the UAB Graduate school competition.


Zhiyong Liu


Zhiyong is a graduate student in the Genetics and Genomic Sciences Graduate Program and works on structure based studies of LRRK2. Zhiyong worked as a post-baccalaureate graduate in China on developing LRRK2 based assays and biochemical approaches.


Laura Volpicelli-Daley


In January, 2013 Laura Volpicelli-Daley began as an Instructor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in the department of Neurology, working with Andrew West, Ph.D., and David Standaert, M.D., Ph.D.  She was previously a Senior Research Investigator in the laboratory of Virginia Lee, MBA, Ph.D. in the Center for Neurodegenerative Disease at the University of Pennsylvania. In Dr. Lee's lab, Dr. Volpicelli-Daley developed a novel model in which addition of pre-formed fibrils of alpha-synuclein to primary neuronal cultures induces formation of Lewy-body and Lewy-neurite pathology.

In addition to her work at the Center for Neurodegenerative Disease, Dr. Volpicelli-Daley performed her postdoctoral fellowship in the Cell Biology department at Yale University in the laboratory of Pietro De Camilli, MD, Howard Hughes Investigator and Co-Director of the Center for Neuroscience, Neurodegeneration and Repair. Here she studied the role of lipid metabolism in the function of the nervious system. She also received postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Richard Kahn, Ph.D., Professor of Biochemistry at Emory University studying the role of small GTPases in membrane traffic.  In graduate school at Emory University, Laura studied the cell biology of muscarinic acetylcholine receptors in the laboratory of Allan Levey, M.D., Ph.D., Chairman of the Neurology department and director of the Alzheimer's Disease Center. 


Undergraduate Fellows


Nicole Lassiter


Nicole is currently an undergraduate at UAB.


Danielle Smith


Danielle is currently an undergraduate at UAB.


West Lab Alumni

Patrick Yu, transitioned to medical school at UAB

Saurabh Sen, transitioned as a principle scientist at Lucigen Inc.

Philip Webber, transitioned to a post-doctoral fellowship at Emory University

Brooke Horton, transitioned to graduate school at the University of Michigan

Cristina Harmelink, transitioned to a post-doctoral fellowship at Vanderbilt University