M. Carmen Varela, BA, BS
Carmen Varela is a PhD candidate in the Neuroscience Graduate Program. She began her research career in the lab of Dr. David Jaffe as an undergraduate student at the University of Texas at San Antonio where she used in vivo and in vitro rodent models to study the electrophysiological effects of chronic stress on hippocampal memory replay. She then transitioned into the stem cell field and joined the lab of Dr. Asif Maroof where she worked on developing directed differentiation protocols to produce deep layer cortical projection neurons and interneurons from human induced pluripotent stem cells. Carmen joined the Parent lab in 2019 and is currently using 2D and 3D models derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells to study the mechanism and test potential therapeutics for a rare pediatric form of epilepsy linked to mutations in the GABA transporter encoding gene, SLC6A1.
In her free time Carmen is an artist, rock hound, numismatist and avid meme consumer. She enjoys traveling, karaoke, trivia, and general science nerd shenanigans. She has a passion for mentoring the next generation of scientists and is active in several STEM education and science outreach programs.
Carmen is interested in understanding the role that interneuron disfunction plays in the pathogenesis of epileptic, neurodevelopmental, neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disorders.
Undergraduate, Midwestern State University, B.A. Psychology, 2008
Undergraduate, University of Texas at San Antonio, B.S. Biology, Neurobiology concentration, 2018
Rackham Merit Fellow, University of Michigan, Current