Michelle Bridi, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Neuroscience. She received her doctoral degree from the University of Pennsylvania before completing a postdoctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins University. She established her lab at WVU in 2022. Her overarching aim is to examine how synaptic function is controlled in the brain under typical and atypical conditions, with a focus on the role of sleep. In particular, she is interested in exploring how stroke affects synaptic function and sleep in the brain, using in vivo and ex vivo recordings of brain activity in animal models. The goal of this research is to identify pathological and compensatory changes in synaptic function that occur following stroke in order to improve therapies for cognitive recovery.

Morgan Bridi, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Neuroscience. He received his bachelor’s degrees from West Virginia University, before earning his doctoral degree from the University of Pennsylvania. After completing postdoctoral fellowships at the Hussman Institute for Autism and the University of Maryland School of Medicine, he returned to WVU to establish his lab in 2022. His primary research goal is to investigate how the brain's circuits and synapses (especially those made by inhibitory neurons) develop and change under typical and atypical/aversive/challenging conditions. He is interested in studying the mechanisms of dysregulation in neuronal populations upstream of HPA axis activation after stroke due, and the potential for targeting those neurons to reduce post-stroke neuronal damage, attenuate corticosteroid release, and improve functional/behavioral outcomes.

A photo of Martin Hruska.
Martin Hruska, PhD
West Virginia University
Assistant Professor, Department of Neuroscience
Assistant Professor, Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute (SOM)

Martin Hruska, PhD, is an Assistant professor who earned his doctorate from the University of Vermont, completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania and Thomas Jefferson University, and joined the WVU faculty in 2021. Dr. Hruska focuses on defining how changes in synaptic architecture at the nanoscale level underlie synaptic plasticity. To this end, Dr. Hruska's proposal aims to understand how nanoscale changes at a single synapse level might promote functional recovery after stroke. By focusing on how surviving synapses adapt their nano-architecture after injury, we hope to shed light on the mechanisms of synaptic plasticity involved in repairing damaged brain circuitry.

Moriah Katt, PhD, is an Assistant Professor who received her doctorate at Johns Hopkins University before completing a postdoctoral fellowship funded by NHGRI at the University of Wisconsin: Madison. She joined the WVU faculty in 2022, in a joint appointment between the departments of Neuroscience and Chemical and Biomedical Engineering. Her research is focused on developing models of the human blood-brain barrier. To this end, her project is centered around designing an in vitro model of stroke using human induced pluripotent stem cell derived cell sources. The goal of this research is to identify antibodies that are able to specifically target the ischemic regions of the brain to improve therapeutic delivery following stroke.


Zachary Weil, PhD is an Associate Professor who received his PhD at Ohio State University completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Rockefeller University with Drs. Bruce McEwen and Donald Pfaff. He returned to Ohio State as a faculty member in 2010 and joined the faculty in the WVU School of Medicine in 2019. His research has been previously funded by the American Heart Association and he is currently funded by a NIH R21 (Neuroendocrine determinants of sex differences in post-traumatic drinking). His research project is designed to investigate the increased incidence and severity of strokes in individuals with a history of traumatic brain injuries. The central hypothesis of this project is that neurometabolic dysfunction following TBI renders the brain disproportionately vulnerable to ischemic damage.

Research Forrest