Dr. Abigail Koppes, Principal Investigator

Kyla Nichols

Effects of bacterial metabolite-derived neurotransmitters on visceral pain

Up to 25% of the population experiences visceral pain at any one time, but the underlying mechanisms of this pain remain poorly understood. Kyla’s work aims to investigate the connection of neurotransmitter signaling, specifically gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), to visceral nociception (feeling of pain) within the gut. The project includes developing a neural microphysiological system to model the microbiota-gut-brain axis.

Kyla joined ABNEL in the Fall of 2019 as a Chemical Engineering PhD student. Prior to starting graduate school at Northeastern University, Kyla was working at GE Healthcare Life Sciences in the Upstream Product Management and Operations Department. Kyla completed her BS in Biomedical engineering and Mechanical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) the spring of 2017. During her undergraduate studies, she participated in an NSF funded Research Experience for Undergraduates at Syracuse University’s Biomaterials Institute. Her project studied astrocyte motility on tunable hydrogels which sparked her interest in neuroengineering.

B.S. Biomedical Engineering
Worcester Polytechnic Institute ’17
Worcester, MA

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Best wishes to Francesco!

Best wishes to Francesco!

Francesco Fontana joined the lab as a visiting scholar over the winter from Italy and conducted experiments in magnetism on cells. He will hopefully defend his thesis in the coming months. Good luck Francesco!