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Lab Directory

Cassandra Gipson, Ph.D.

(859) 218-0625


Cassie received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of California, San Diego in 2004, and a Ph.D. in 2010 from the University of Kentucky in the Psychology Department with Dr. Michael Bardo. Dr. Gipson then continued her postdoctoral training in the lab of Dr. Peter Kalivas in the Neuroscience department at the Medical University of South Carolina from 2010-2015. Cassie then joined the Department of Psychology at Arizona State University in 2015 as an Assistant Professor. She joined the Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences as an Associate Professor. Cassie accepts PhD students from the Integrated Biomedical Sciences and Nutritional Sciences programs, as well as MD/PhD students and post-doctoral scholars.


Gipson_CV_Tenure May 2023

Shailesh Khatri

Post-Doctoral Scholar

Dr. Khatri received his Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Toxicology under Dr. Marvin Schulte from Philadelphia College of Pharmacy. Dr. Khatri’s doctoral dissertation examined pharmacology of novel antidepressive drug class, their structure-function activity at the binding site of 5HT3A receptors. In addition, he studied nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) as potential targets for OCD drug candidates using behavioral assays in mouse models of OCD which resulted in a US patent. In his current work he has demonstrated, for the first time, the presence of δ-subunit containing GABAARs in cerebellar Purkinje cells. These signaling pathways overlap with a mechanism by which sleep aids, some antiepileptic drugs, and anesthetics seem to work.

In Dr. Khatri’s second Postdoctoral position in Dr. Gipson-Reichardt’s lab, he will study synaptic/extrasynaptic changes acquired by neurons in Nucleus accumbens (NAc) by nicotine addiction. Dr. Khatri wishes to examine the epigenetic change induced by nicotine that increases the susceptibility of relapse and reward by ‘Patch-Seq’, a combination of whole cell patch clamp with single cell qPCR and RNA-seq.  He is also interested in studying cerebellar projections in the NAc and their contribution in nicotine addiction.

Percell (Tyrone) Kendrick, Jr.

Graduate Student

Tyrone Kendrick is entering his third year in the Pharmacology PhD program, and is funded by a supplement from NIDA (R01 DA046526-S1). Tyrone was previouly funded by the NIDA T32 (PI: Craig Rush) in Behavioral Science. Tyrone is interested in studying sex differences in neuroinflammatory signaling underlying nicotine use, and specifically, astrocytic progesterone receptor contributions to nicotine-induced neuroinflammatory processes within the reward pathway.

Christa Corley

Post-Doctoral Scholar

Christa received her Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences under Dr. Añtino Allen at the University of Arkansas for Medical Science. Christa’s doctoral dissertation examined the physiological and cognitive changes in the hippocampus that occur after breast cancer chemotherapy. In her post-doctoral position, she will study the effects of xylazine/fentanyl co-use on the glycemic index and sleep as well as neurophysiological changes in the nucleus accumbens after extended access of opioid use.

Mary Beth Matocha

SURES 2023 Undergraduate Researcher

I am a rising senior at the University of Kentucky, with the goal of attending pharmacy school. My interests include neuropharmacology and the mechanisms behind drug abuse.

Mei Hong

Scientist I

Mei Hong joined the lab in 2021 and is our senior research technician. She conducts neuropeptide analyses to measure hormone expression, chemokine expression, and glutamate transporter expression to further understand the molecular biology of addiction.

Ashley White

MD/PhD Student

Ashley White is a first year MD/PhD student who was recently awarded the Professional Student Mentored Research Fellowship for 2023. Ashley is interested in understanding how sex differences play a role in drug seeking behavior and cessation efforts.

Safiyah Sadek

Undergraduate Researcher

Safiyah Sadek is an undergraduate researcher in the lab. She won the Commonwealth Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) Fellowship for summer 2023, and will continue her work on xylazine and fentanyl co-use.

Ashley Craig

NIDA Summer Research Undergraduate Intern

Ashley received her undergraduate degree in neuroscience from the University of Kentucky in 2023. She is a post baccalaureate researcher through the National Institute on Drug Abuse Summer 2023 Internship. Her research interests include molecular processes driving addiction.