Faculty and Research

NeuralCODR Faculty List

Philip J. Horner, PhD



Dr. Horner has a long-standing passion and commitment to graduate and postgraduate training. He has proven expertise in training graduate, postdoctoral, and clinical fellows in the basic biology of neural stem cells and plasticity to whole animal systems of disease modeling and preclinical translation. Many of his former students currently hold faculty positions or remain in research positions in private or public research institutions. He strongly supports the development of innovative training structures that drive collaborative research. For example, he co-founded Route28 Summits in Neurobiology which is a one-week intensive problem-solving workshop for trainees and early stage faculty (www.route28.org). Horner spearheaded the development of the NeuralCODR program. He also founded and directs the graduate-level Neural Control of Organ Degeneration and Regeneration course that is team taught annually in support of NeuralCODR.


Horner’s research laboratory focuses on the interaction between glial and neural cells following central nervous system challenge and aging; specifically: 1) mechanisms of adult stem cell‚Äźderived lesion remodeling/repair, and 2) the role of gliogenesis and gliosis in neural degeneration and aging.

Mary C. “Cindy” Farach-Carson, PhD



 As a professor of biochemistry & cell biology at Rice University, Dr. Farach-Carson provided scientific leadership and vision for the BioScience Research Collaborative and helped foster a climate of interdisciplinary and translational research and innovation. She became a strategic advisor for the Texas Medical Center, and rejoined the UTHealth School of Dentistry faculty as director of clinical and translational research and professor in the Department of Diagnostic and Biomedical Sciences.

Cindy Farach-Carson’s laboratory explores bioengineering and organ modeling with a focus on the innervated salivary system. She has a long-standing history of leading development efforts within the Texas Medical Center and as the co-director of the Gulf Coast Consortium for Regenerative Medicine, she will cultivate educational opportunities for NeuralCODR trainees. In 2016, Farach-Carson received the Presidential Mentoring Award from Rice University, reflecting the contributions of her many trainees throughout the years who have gone on to successful careers in academia, industry, biotech, scientific writing, medicine, dentistry, and research funding agencies including the National Institutes of Health , private research foundations, and regulatory agencies including the United States Food and Drug Administration . Through her leadership roles, Farach-Carson seeks to strengthen NeuralCODR training opportunities and to increase the number of women and underrepresented groups in training cohorts.

Neural Development and Tools

In this research area, laboratories apply molecular and systems approaches to discover how the brain is wired using genetic models, stem cells, or neural organoids and neuromodulation to dissect the molecular pathways in glia and neurons that build the nervous system.


Ben Arenkiel 

Vittorio Cristini
Ben Deneen
Carmen Dessauer

Amir Faraji
Robert Krencik

Matthew Rasband

Dimitry Sayenko

François St-Pierre

Farhaan Vahidy
Jin Wang
Yi-Lan Weng


Nervous System and Peripheral Organ Disorders

In this research area, laboratories develop and apply system-level models of nervous system and peripheral organ disorders, with a particular focus on the basis for disease or injury (e.g. musculoskeletal system, pain, neural trauma, and degenerative disease).


Philip J. Horner 
Shu-Hsia Chen
Jeannie Chin
Florent Elefteriou

Muralidhar Hegde

Caleb Kemere
Rose Khavari
Hui-Lin Pan
Robert Rostomily
Sonia Villapol
Edgar T. Walters
Qi Wu


Neural Innervation and Organ Engineering

In this research area, laboratories share a common bio-engineering approach to create organ model systems including bone, bowel, vascular, and tissue-level system for modeling or therapeutic resources.


Mary C. "Cindy" Farach-Carson 
John Cooke
Jane Grande-Allen

Marcia O'Malley
Jae-Il Park

Jinsook Roh

Mario Romero-Ortega

Amy Sater
Francesca Taraballi


Clinical Applications/Rotations

This faculty group brings a much needed and rare exposure to real-world diseases, clinical challenges, and human samples.


Tim Boone 
Tetsuo Ashizawa

Sean Barber
Gavin Britz
John Cooke

Amir Faraji
Osama Gaber
Rose Khavari
Xian Li
Eamonn Quigley
Michael Reardon
Dimitry Sayenko