Mualla Eraslan

EraslanManager, Rehabilitation Medicine Laboratory
I received my first B.S. degree in chemistry education from Hacettepe University in Turkey. Following my undergraduate education I worked as a Histo-technologist at Boston University Medical Center’s Anatomic Pathology Lab for 12 years. Specifically, I worked in immunohistochemistry, histology, cytology, and molecular diagnostic laboratories. While working as a Histo-technologist I earned my second B.S. degree in Biomedical Sciences and Clinical Laboratories from Boston University. I moved to Birmingham in August 2014 to get my Master’s Degree in Biotechnology at UAB, which I received in August 2015. Following my Master’s Degree I joined Dr. Yarar-Fisher’s laboratory as a laboratory manager. My current projects investigate the effects of long-term neuromuscular electrical stimulation and high protein diet on metabolic and hypertrophic signaling in the paralyzed muscle.

Jia Li

Jai Li picturePost-doctoral Scholar
I earned my Masters degree in Molecular Genetics from University of Cincinnati and my PhD degree in Nutrition Sciences from Purdue University (Boiler up!). I am currently a post-doctoral scholar at Rehabilitation Medicine Laboratory. During my PhD training, I was involved with clinical trials investigating several aspects of dietary components on metabolic health outcomes. I greatly appreciated the applicability of human clinical nutrition research. In the meanwhile, I became interested in exploring the underlying mechanisms. In this regard, Dr. Yarar-Fisher’s research lab offers me an opportunity to gain knowledge in both basic and clinical science. My current research projects include investigating the effects of a high-protein/low-carbohydrate diet on body composition, metabolic health, and gut microbiome in patients with long-standing spinal cord injury.

Hatice Cetin

Hatice CetinErasmus Research Scholar
I received my B.S degree in Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation from Hacettepe University in Turkey. Following graduation, I started working as a research assistant at Hacettepe University in 2013. I completed my Master’s degree in June, 2016. The focus of my thesis was investigating the effect of exercise after radiofrequency denervation in patients with facet joint syndromme. I am still working at the same university as a research assistant while pursuing a PhD in Rehabilitation Science. My research focus is on spinal cord and traumatic brain injury rehabilitation. I joined Dr. Ceren Yarar-Fisher’s lab in September, 2017, and I’m currently studying the effects of neuromuscular electrical stimulation on muscle metabolism in individuals with sub-acute spinal cord injury.

Baris Cetin

Baris etinErasmus Research Scholar
I earned my B.S. degree in Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation from Hacettepe University in 2013. After graduation I started working at the same university as a research assistant at the neurological rehabilitation unit. I earned my MSc degree in 2016 in the field of neurological rehabilitation. My research focus was studying the effect of spinal stabilization exercises on walking and balance in patients with Multiple Sclerosis. I have continued my studies at Hacettepe University and started my doctoral training in the field of neurological rehabilitation. I am currently studying at Dr. Ceren Yarar-Fisher’s Lab and investigating the effect of neuromuscular electrical stimualtion on muscle metabolism in individuals with sub-acute spinal cord injury.

Christian Behren

BehrensRotation Student
I am a graduate student in the Department of Nutrition Science rotating in Dr. Yarar-Fisher’s lab. I grew up in Miami, Florida, and attended Appalachian State University in Boone, NC earning my B.S. in Nutrition and Foods, and Exercise Science as well as my M.S. in Dietetics. I am incredibly excited and appreciative for the opportunity to work in Dr. Yarar-Fisher’s lab. Rehabilitation Medicine is an area of research that has always interested me, but I have previously not had the opportunity to be exposed to. As a lifelong competitive athlete, I am interested in examining the differences both small and large between injured and trained muscle. Along with differences in how injured vs. trained muscle responds to nutrition. Gaining a better understanding of these intricate differences could lead to novel and improved nutrition and exercise intervention strategies for those with injury. Outside of school, my interests include running, hiking, cycling, cooking, traveling and hanging out with my French Bulldog, Django.

Perry W. Griffin II

Perry Griffin picSummer Medical Student
As a medical student just completing their first year, I chose to pursue research over the 2017 summer to increase the breadth of my research experience to include working with patients in a clinical setting and pursuing answers to questions that may later impact patient care and recovery. I was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama and graduated with a B.S. in Kinesiology from The University of Alabama at Birmingham. My college career began nontraditionally at the age of 27 after working as a personal fitness trainer. I felt led to pursue higher education as I realized my passions were with caring for and educating others in areas of health and well-being. Ultimately, I felt the call of medicine and began attending The University of Alabama School of Medicine in late 2016. My first research experience was during my undergraduate career under Dr. Gordon Fisher, where I performed immunohistochemistry to determine muscle fiber type ratios in participants before and after interventional exercise programs and performed cross-sectional analysis comparing vital measurements such as blood pressure, arterial elasticity, and insulin sensitivity. I became much more familiar with principles and pathways for which I was already passionate, while also being able to see how these phenotypic differences may affect health outcomes and risk in certain patient populations. My limited experiences have led me to believe that a career in physical medicine and rehabilitation would be exceptionally rewarding and I was fortunate enough to be selected to receive the Summer Research Fellowship Award from the Diabetes Research Center. This opportunity involves conducting research under the guidance of Dr. Yarar-Fisher, as it relates to patients with spinal cord injuries and the examination of novel nutritional modalities and their effects on protection and recovery from damage, as well as brown adipose tissue distribution, functionality, and activity. Personally observing how dramatically a patient’s mobility can be altered by a single event and then being able to explore questions and seek answers that may lead to improvements in such patients’ quality of life is a reward without parallel.

Adarsh Kulkani

Adarsh pictureSummer Medical Student
I am a medical student about to start my second year here at the University of Alabama School of Medicine (UASOM). Born and brought up in Birmingham, I headed to Nashville, Tennessee for a change in scenery to attend Vanderbilt University for my undergraduate studies, earning a degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology. After gaining some perspective on basic science research during my time in college, I was curious to expand my horizons in the realm of research and try clinical or translational research. As a medical student, I wanted to enter an area of research that greatly interests me as well as an area that I could possibly see myself pursuing as a career. Taking neuroscience courses as an undergraduate gave me immense enthusiasm for medicine involving the nervous system and played a significant role in my decision to join Dr. Yarar-Fisher’s lab. Through the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Functional Neurorehabilitation Research Program, I received the FNR Scholarship award to do research this summer. My research will be investigating the effectiveness of a ketogenic diet in facilitating neuro-recovery following spinal cord injury (SCI). We believe processes that typically occur after SCI, such as glutamate excitotoxity, inflammation, and induction of apoptotic pathways, will be inhibited by ketone bodies resulting from a ketogenic diet. Our hypothesis is that 8 weeks of a ketogenic diet, as compared to a standard diet, immediately following SCI significantly improves motor and sensory function as well as functional independence in patients with complete SCI.