Appel Lab


Appel, Bruce

Bruce Appel, PhD

Bruce joined the University of Colorado and the Section of Developmental Biology in 2008 after having begun his faculty career at Vanderbilt University in 1998. He got his training as a Drosphila developmental biologist during his Ph.D. work at the University of Utah and as a zebrafish developmental neurobiologist as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Oregon. Bruce served as the Director of the Graduate Training Program in Cell Biology, Stem Cells and Development from 2013-2019 and was appointed as Head of the Section of Developmental Biology in 2018.  

Doll, Caleb

Caleb Doll, PhD

Caleb joined the Department of Pediatrics and Section of Developmental Biology at the University of Colorado in the spring of 2017. He completed his graduate training in Neuroscience and a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Biological Science at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. His work broadly focuses on how neurons and glia establish and refine connections during early development of the central nervous system. His latest hypotheses center around the subcellular regulation of mRNA in distal oligodendrocyte processes and how these regulatory programs promote myelin sheath growth.

Kearns, Christina

Christina Kearns, M.S.

Laboratory Manager

Christina joined the lab when it opened at CU AMC in 2008. She earned her B.S and M.S at Colorado State University and is a long time resident of Colorado. As the laboratory manager, she manages zebrafish stocks, lab purchasing, laboratory compliance, zebrafish facility compliance, training, repairs and mentoring students. She also performs her own research projects focused on neural progenitor specification and myelination. She resides in Evergreen with her husband and 2 children.

Hughes, Alex

Alex Hughes

Neuroscience Graduate Training Program

National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship, 2016-2019

Alex is from Corvallis, Oregon and Boise, Idaho, where she received a BS in Biology and Mathematics at Boise State University in 2014. She taught math for a year before joining the Neuroscience Graduate Program at CU Anschutz in 2015 and the Appel lab in 2016. Alex spends her free time running, reading, and cooking.

In her thesis work, Alex is determining how developmental processes that regulate synapse formation and elimination also contribute to myelin sheath formation and elimination. To do this, she uses the larval zebrafish to visualize and manipulate cell and gene function paired with live-imaging of myelination. Alex has found that molecules canonically associated with synapse formation are present at the axon-myelin interface and a subset of these regulate sheath growth. After initial ensheathment, many nascent sheaths (and synapses) are spontaneously lost. Similar to synapse elimination, Alex found that microglia phagocytose nascent myelin in a neuronal activity-regulated manner. She is currently developing optogenetic tools to further test the contributions of cell type-specific activity to myelin sheath formation and elimination.

Fedder, Karlie

Karlie Fedder

Neuroscience Graduate Training Program

Neuroscience Training Grant, 2017-2018

NIH F31 NRSA Fellowship, 2019-present

Karlie received a B.A. in Biochemistry from Case Western Reserve University in 2013. Following graduation, she worked as a Research Assistant in the Sabo lab at CWRU before joining the Neuroscience Graduate Program in 2016. In the Appel lab, Karlie is interested in the role of NG2 glia in synapse development. To this end, she utilizes a combination of genetic and pharmacological manipulations of signaling cascades paired with molecular biological and imaging analyses of developing zebrafish.

Scott, Kayt

Kayt Scott

Cell Biology, Stem Cells and Development (CSD) Graduate Training Program

Kayt grew up in Missouri and moved to Colorado in 2012 for college. She attended Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, where earned a degree in Biology in 2016, and then joined CSD in the same year. Kayt is an outdoor enthusiast and often is hiking, fishing, camping and cross-country skiing when she is not in the lab or at Red Rocks for concerts.

Kayt is interested in the mechanisms that regulate temporal changes in spinal cord patterning and neural stem cell fate. Specifically, she studies the motor neuron-oligodendrocyte switch in the ventral spinal cord. Her thesis work has focused on the role of the transcriptional co-factor, Prdm8, in regulating the onset of oligodendrocyte specification through attenuating Shh sensitivity in ventral progenitors.

Bromley-Coolidge, Samantha

Samantha Bromley-Coolidge

Neuroscience Graduate Training Program

Neuroscience Training Grant, 2019-2020

Sam grew up surrounded by animals, circus kids, and nerds in Northern California. She has traveled the world trying to find the perfect ratio of each. Sam received B.A.s in Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience and Cognitive Psychology from Pitzer College. After completing a Fulbright Fellowship and working at NIH as a postbaccalaureate fellow, she joined the Neuroscience Graduate Program in 2018 and the Appel lab in 2019. She is a dedicated glia geek, fascinated by the exquisite and powerful cells. When not in the lab, she can be found sprinting in a soccer game, running neuro trivia at a local brewery, making dog friends at the local park, or occasionally feeding the entire 12th floor with impromptu “happy un-birthday” baking.

Sam’s current project probes the functions of oligodendrocyte precursor cells beyond differentiation into myelinating oligodendrocytes. To do so, she uses genetic and optical techniques to manipulate certain features of cellular interactions in the zebrafish model system. 

Carey, Natalie

Natalie Carey

Neuroscience Graduate Training Program

Natalie is from Yuma, AZ and received a B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology and a B.A. in Gender and Women’s Studies from the University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ.  She worked in Tucson in the lab of Fernando Martinez where she studied rare genetic variants of asthmatic patients.  Having discovered a passion for neuroscience, she switched fields and joined Carol Barnes’s lab to study the impact of non-diseased aging on cognition.  She joined the Neuroscience Graduate Program in the fall of 2018.  When not in the lab, she enjoys going to concerts, reading, crafting, and gaming. She’s also a huge animal and nature lover. 

Natalie is interested in how myelin is established along axons during central nervous system development.  She is working on understanding the molecular mechanisms by which axons signal to oligodendrocytes to promote myelin sheath formation in the developing zebrafish by investigating synaptic-like connections between axons and oligodendrocyte lineage cells.

Kaitie image description: EGFP labels oligodendrocyte cell bodies and myelin sheaths in the zebrafish hindbrain. mbpa mRNA puncta localizes to myelin sheath (5 dpf).

Benjamin, Amanda

Amanda Benjamin

Amanda joined the Appel lab in the spring of 2019 during her undergraduate career. She is responsible for the genotyping needs of the Appel lab and Sunday feeding for the entire zebrafish population - juvenile through adults. She is currently working towards her M.S. in Bioengineering. 

Vareed, Rebecca

Rebecca Vareed

Neuroscience Training Grant, 2020-2021

Rebecca is originally from San Antonio, TX, and completed a B.S. and an M.S in Biology at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA. She is currently a PhD student in the Neuroscience Graduate program, starting in 2019 and joining the Appel lab in 2020. Rebecca likes to spend her free time skating, baking, and being outside. 



Katie Yegert, Postdoctoral Fellow, Emory University, Dr. Gary Bassell laboratory

Hae-Chul Park, Associate Professor, Korea University

Jimann Shin, Postdoctoral Fellow, Washington University

Andrew Latimer, Research Scientist, University of Virginia

David Mawdsley, Staff Scientist, Def. Sci. & Tech. Org., Australia

Karen Meisch, Associate Professor, Austin Peay University

Norio Takada, Assistant Professor, Nara Inst. of Science & Technology

Andy Ravanelli, Research Scientist, Sigma, St. Louis MO

Sarah Kucenas, Associate Professor, University of Virginia

Brandon Kirby

Randolph Roberts (deceased)

Denise Zannino, Science Policy and Communication Analyst in the Office of Legislative and Public Affairs, NSF

Julia Snyder, Laboratory Manager, Stowers Institute for Med. Res.

Tim Simmons, Lawyer, Denver CO

‚ÄčLaura Hudish, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Colorado SOM

‚ÄčEmily Mathews, Postdoctoral Fellow, Washington University, St. Louis MO

Melissa Langworthy, Tech. Writer, SurveyGizmo

Macie Walker, Research Assoc., University of Colorado SOM

Jacob Hines, Assistant Professor, Wynona State University

Yuying Wang, Research and Development Manager, BGI, Shenzhen, China

Alex Blasky, Global Market Development Manager, ThermoFisher

Anita Quintana, Assistant Professor, University of Texas El Paso

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