•   Mailing Address
    The Scripps Research Institute
    130 Scripps Way #3C1
    Jupiter, Florida 33458

  •   Phone and Fax Numbers
    Lab      (561) 228-2104
    Admin  (561) 228-3509
    Fax      (561) 228-2107

Lab Members

Principal Investigator

Dr. Srini Subramaniam is an Associate Professor (Tenure Track.) He obtained his PhD in 2004 from the University of Heidelberg, Germany, where he worked on the molecular signaling that triggers neuronal death. At Johns Hopkins University for his postdoctoral research, he addressed the mechanisms for tissue-specific dysfunctions, focusing Huntington's and Parkinson's disease. Both experiences continue to inform his work at The Scripps Research Institute. His hobbies involve running, boxing and sketching.

Research Associates


Dr. Neelam Shahani is a staff scientist in Dr. Srini Subramaniam lab. She graduated in 2000 from National Institute of Mental Health and Neurological Science (NIMHANS), Bangalore, India. Her PhD thesis was developing in vitro and in vivo model for ALS. She obtained her postdoc training at the University of Heidelberg, and worked as a faculty member at the University of Osnabruck focusing on Alzheimer disease. Later, she moved on to Johns Hopkins University as a senior researcher, where she focused on integrative signaling in psychiatric and neurodegenerative disease, the area she continues to focus on in the Subramaniam lab. In college days, she enjoyed flying; nowadays, she prefers reading.


Dr. Manish Sharma joined the lab of Dr. Srini Subramaniam as a postdoctoral research associate in April 2017. He graduated in December 2016 from the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI), Faridabad, India. The title of his thesis was "Role of Autophagy in Japanese Encephalitis Virus (JEV) Lifecycle" where he demonstrated an interplay between autophagy and viral replication and their link to neurodegeneration. Currently, he is studying on the physiological role of Rhes, a striatal-specific protein implicated in Huntington's disease. Outside of the lab, Manish enjoys music, cooking and spending time at the beach with family.


Dr. Mehdi Eshraghi joined the Subramaniam Lab in September 2017, as a postdoctoral research associate. He obtained his PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Ottawa where he studied Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), a genetic neurodegenerative disease of the lower motor neurons. Currently, he is studying how mRNA translation is affected in Huntington’s Disease. He is also studying how the lack of several striatum specific genes affects L-Dopa Induced Dyskinesia (LID).

Mehdi enjoys watching movies, biking and exploring Florida’s nature during his free time.


Dr. Sumitha Rajendra Rao joined the lab as a Research Associate. She obtained a dual PhD from the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, India and Maastricht University, The Netherlands. Her interest is to harness the potentials of stem cells to study the pathogenic mechanisms underlying neurodegenerative diseases. Her thesis work was on the rat model of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and developing an in-vitro disease model using Human Embryonic Stem Cells to understand the multifaceted disease mechanisms. Currently, she is involved in disease modeling in a dish for Huntington Disease using HD Embryonic Stem Cells and patients’ fibroblasts. Her main focus is to unveil the role of aberrant mTORC1 signaling contributing to the disease. Apart from this, she spends time admiring the beauty of silence over noise in the routine life, in the pursuit of self-realization.


Dr. Uri Nimrod Ramírez Jarquín is a Mexican scientist, who joined the Subramaniam’ lab in February 2018 as a postdoctoral research associate. He obtained his PhD in Biomedical Science from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), studying the processes of motor neuron degeneration induced by excitotoxicity in the lumbar spinal cord of rats in vivo and the role of the inhibitory systems blocked in the spinal cord. Nowadays, he is studying the components of the mTOR pathway in a transgenic model of Huntington disease. He is also working on the characterization of the striatal mitochondrial alterations induced by 3-Nitropropionic acid treatment in vivo and how it is related to the Rhes protein.

Some hobbies that Uri enjoys are exercising, watching movies and television, reading books and outdoor activities in Florida.

Rotating students/Undergraduates


Oscar Rivera is A U.S. Marine who served as an infantryman for four years, and became a private investigator soon after his honorable discharge from the service. He worked insurance fraud and domestic cases throughout the states of Florida, South Carolina and North Carolina. He is currently wrapping up his undergraduate degree in Neuroscience at FAU and with the aid of Dr. Subramaniam, he has secured an NIH grant; which supports his goal of furthering our understanding of the underlying molecular factors that lead to Huntington's Disease.

When Oscar is not in the lab or studying for his classes, you can find him with his family at a park enjoying nature, or at his kitchen where he likes to cook for family, friends and of course, for himself too.



Melissa Benilous provides administrative support to the Subramaniam lab. Melissa graduated from Palm Beach State College with an Associate in Science/Paralegal degree. Before joining Scripps Florida in November 2013, Melissa worked as a Paralegal for a local Personal Injury/Worker’s Compensation law firm, and then as a fundraiser for the Norton Museum of Art. 

In her spare time, Melissa enjoys visiting museums, photography, travel, and spending quality time with her family. 



Vincenzo Andrew Giovinazzo was an undergraduate student of the FAU Honor’s College with a concentration in Neuroscience. He conducted his thesis research at the Scripp’s Institute under the tutelage and direction of Dr. Srini Subramaniam. His thesis project, titled, “Dissecting the Stability of Rhes; a striatal protein involved in Huntington’s disease”, aimed to elucidate the degradation pathway of the Rhes protein. He is pursuing a career in medicine.

When he is not studying or conducting research in the laboratory, his hobbies and personal interests are diverse. They include basketball, golf, chess, football, traveling, cooking, art, yoga and all types of adventure and activity. He enjoys conversations of philosophy and he has a curiosity about the world that can’t be satisfied. 

Jensen Wong joined TSRI as a graduate student in the summer of 2016. A native of Honolulu, HI, Jensen graduated from the University of Washington in 2014 with a Bachelor’s degree in molecular and cell biology. Prior to becoming a TSRI graduate student, he worked in process development for biopharmaceuticals at Boehringer Ingelheim, and also did research on early B cell development and oncogenic signaling in acute lymphoblastic leukemia at UC San Francisco. Currently, he is interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms of neurodegeneration, especially when caused by protein misfolding and aggregation. Outside of his scientific pursuits, he enjoys working out, cooking and eating, going to the beach, and electronic music.


Jennifer Hernandez worked as a research intern in Dr. Subramaniam's lab. She received her B.S. in Neuroscience and Behavior in May 2016, and is currently pursuing medical degree at Temple University, Pennsylvania. She enjoys snorkeling, bike riding, yoga and spending time at the beach.


Dr. Megan Varnum joined the lab of Dr. Srini Subramaniam as a postdoctoral research associate in March 2016. She studied the complex roles of Rheb and BACE1 in the development of beta-amyloid in Alzheimer’s disease. Megan graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology/ Neuroscience from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. After that, she obtained her Ph.D. in Pharmacology from Boston University where she began her study of neurodegenerative diseases. At Subramaniam lab she spent one year as a postdoc focusing on Rheb pathway in BACE1 regulation and AD-related memory function. She currently at Entrepreneur In Residence at Spartan Innovations. In her spare time, Megan enjoys reading, exploring the wildlife in Florida with her dog, and exercising her artistic side by painting and drawing. See samples of her artwork here.


Dr Vindhya Nawaratne was a research associate in the. Subramaniam lab. She completed her Bachelor of Biomedical Science and PhD in Pharmacology at Monash University, Australia. She then worked as a research officer in the MIPS-Servier Drug Discovery Program at Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, and as a visiting academic at Reproductive Biology Assisted Conception Laboratory, University of Melbourne. Her research has focused on characterizing ligand-receptor interaction and investigating signal transduction and cell biology for the purpose of improving drug discovery for neurological disorders. She enjoys traveling, snorkeling, scuba diving and spending time at the beach.


Sophia Park joined the graduate program at Scripps in Fall 2015. In the Subramaniam lab, she worked on elucidating the role of mTOR signaling in both normal brain function as well as in Huntington’s disease. Sophia is from Tucson, Arizona, where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from the University of Arizona. During her undergraduate research, she explored mechanisms of photoxidative stress in skin as well as autophagy inhibitors as novel anti-melanoma therapeutics, allowing her to develop a passion for cellular signaling. She was awarded NSF fellowship to work on mechanisms of mTOR regulation while at Subramaniam lab, now she is working for her PhD in Dr.Katrin Karbastein’s lab. Outside of the lab, Sophia enjoys powerlifting, music, traveling, and cooking.


Dr. William (Bill) Pryor was a research associate in Dr. Srini Subramaniam lab who graduated from the University of Georgia, Atlanta, USA, in 2012 with his PhD in physiology. He studied the effects of chronic motor activity on immune cell infiltration and molecular pathways that resist cell death in the central nervous system in animal models of multiple sclerosis. As a postdoc, Bill worked on unraveling the molecular events involved with Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s disease, and examined regulators of protein synthesis, which have implications in neurodegenerative diseases. He has published several important papers, and earned an F1000 recognition. Bill is now a Scientist at Stiefel, a GSK Company.



Lindsay Gorgen was an honors graduate student at Florida Atlantic University, majoring in Biology. She did her undergraduate thesis in the Subramaniam lab, working to understand the molecular mechanism and biological significance of Rheb-PERK signaling, which led to her co-authoring a publication. She is currently at the Washington State Department of Health.


Dr. Supriya Swarnkar was a research associate in the Subramaniam lab from 2012 to 2015. She obtained her PhD in 2012 from CSIR-Central Drug Research Institute. She worked on investigating the mechanisms of striatal vulnerability in mouse models of Huntington’s disease focusing on small GTPase Rhes and published the work in the journal, Neurobiology of disease, for which she was F1000 selected. Currently, she is doing her second postdoctoral training in the Puthanveettil lab at Scripps Florida.


Sofia Karabasevic, worked as a summer trainee in the Subramaniam lab, and was later selected for the competitive Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows (SURF) Program of the Scripps Kellogg School of Science and Technology. Sofia is currently majoring in neuroscience at Dartmouth College.


Nikhil Patwardhan worked as a Research Assistant in 2013 the Subramaniam lab where he studied the role of the mTOR pathway in mediating the striatal damage from Huntington's Disease.

He is currently pursuing a Ph.D in the signaling mechanisms underlying the etiology and pathology of neurodegenerative disorders at University of Central Florida. They have generated a mouse model harboring a human dynein heavy chain mutation associated with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, a common peripheral neuropathy. This is the first model of its kind. Nikhil is working on elucidating the molecular basis of the observed phenotype in these animals utilizing a number of biochemical techniques and microscopes.

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