Lauren Schnabel | Principal Investigator
Lauren is a Professor of Equine Orthopedic Surgery in the Department of Clinical Sciences at NCSU College of Veterinary Medicine. She is also the Associate Director of the NIH T32 funded Comparative Medicine and Translational Research Training Program and an Associate Director of the Comparative Medicine Institute at NCSU. Lauren completed her DVM, Large Animal Surgery Residency, and PhD at Cornell University under the mentorship of Dr. Lisa Fortier and Dr. Douglas Antczak. She is board certified in both the American College of Veterinary Surgery and the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation. Lauren’s research focuses on stem cell immunology, use of biologic therapies to treat musculoskeletal injuries and diseases, and advancing equine rehabilitation protocols.
In February of 2019, Lauren was named an NC State University Faculty Scholar.
In April of 2020, Lauren received the Zoetis Award for Veterinary Research Excellence.
Phone: (919) 515-7410
Julie Long | Research Specialist
Julie joined the Schnabel Lab as a research specialist in the fall of 2013. She received her BS in Animal Science from the University of Maryland at College Park and has 20+ years of experience working with research animals. In addition to the day-to-day management of the laboratory, Julie is responsible for running the MSC culture service for the equine hospital at NCSU and maintaining records for equine MSC clinical trials at NCSU in compliance with the FDA.
Phone: (919) 513-7213
Drew Koch | Research Assistant Professor
Drew is a board-certified large animal surgeon and currently a Research Assistant Professor. He completed his DVM and surgical residency at Colorado State University and his PhD in Comparative Biomedical Sciences at NC State in 2023 within the NIH-funded Comparative Medicine and Translational Research Training Program. His PhD research in the Schnabel Lab focused on cytokine licensing of mesenchymal stem cells in the context of tendon injury. His current research interests focus on tendon stromal cell-immune cell interactions in tendon health and disease.
Rachel Gagliardi | Graduate Student
Rachel joined the Schnabel Lab in 2018 after completing a Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science at University of Maryland College Park. She previously worked in the lab of Dr. Heidi Reesink at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine studying equine osteoarthritis and in the lab of Dr. Chad Stahl at University of Maryland studying neonatal musculoskeletal development in swine. Rachel is currently pursuing a DVM/PhD dual degree at NCSU CVM. Rachel’s research focuses on optimizing osteoarthritis models and identifying novel therapies to improve joint biology and prevent the onset of post-traumatic osteoarthritis.
Shannon Connard | Graduate Student
Shannon completed her DVM at the University of Georgia in 2017. She then finished an equine rotating hospital internship at Louisiana State University. She then completed a large animal rotating internship followed by a large animal surgery residency at The University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center. She joined the Schnabel Lab in 2022 as a NIH T32 sponsored postdoctoral fellow through NCSU’s Comparative Medicine and Translational Research Training Program. In the lab, Shannon will explore different biologic regenerative therapies for intrasynovial tendon injuries in the horse.
Andrew Ratchford | Graduate Student
Andrew graduated from NCSU with a BS in Microbiology: Microbial Health Science in May of 2020. His research interests are focused on bacterial mechanisms of antibiotic resistance. Andrew is currently a Ph.D. student in Microbiology (with the Plant and Microbial Biology Department) under the co-mentorship of Dr. Joshua Pierce and Dr. Lauren Schnabel. His project involves characterizing the antimicrobial activity and investigating the mechanism of action for several marine natural products that have been synthesized by the Pierce group at NCSU.
Kimberly Young | Graduate Student
Kim completed her DVM at North Carolina State University in 2018. She then completed a rotating equine internship at the Equine Medical Center of Ocala before returning to NCSU and completing a three-year equine internal medicine residency. She joined the Schnabel Lab in 2022 as a Comparative Medicine and Translational Research Training Program NIH T32 Postdoctoral Fellow. Kim works jointly with the Schnabel and Gilger Laboratory groups to explore biologic therapeutics, including mesenchymal stem cells, platelet lysate, and gene therapy in equine and translational ocular disease. Her research is currently focusing on equine recurrent uveitis and fungal keratitis.
Brenna Pugliese | Graduate Student
Brenna completed her dual degree DVM and Master of Comparative Biomedical Sciences at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University in 2018. She went on to complete an equine internship at Kendall Road Equine Hospital in 2019, followed by a one-year Veterinary Research Fellowship at the AO Research Institute in Davos, Switzerland. Brenna joined the Schnabel lab in 2023 as a PhD student in NCSU’s Comparative Medicine and Translational Research Training Program after finishing her residency in large animal surgery at Cornell University. Brenna‘s interests include large animal and translational orthopedics, including regenerative therapies to treat equine osteoarthritis, which she will expand through her work in the lab.
- Anna Froneberger (NCSU DVM, Class of 2027): Undergraduate researcher 2021-2023; CMI SIRI student 2022
- Anna Castillo (NCSU Engineering, Class of 2026): Undergraduate researcher 2023; CMI SIRI student 2023
- Duke Lewis (NCSU Engineering, Class of 2026): Undergraduate researcher 2023; Grand Challenges Scholars Program
- Madeline Castleman (UNC – Chapel Hill, Class of 2025): Undergraduate researcher 2023
- Alexa Kuyvenhoven (NCSU, Class of 2025): Undergraduate researcher 2023 – Beckman Scholars Program
- Caitlyn Vester Coleman (NCSU DVM, Class of 2025): T35 Program Summer 2023
Lab Alumni (Graduate Students)
Alix Berglund | Assistant Professor University of Maryland Department of Veterinary Medicine
Alix joined the Schnabel Lab in 2014 after completing her DVM at Washington State University. Her PhD work was supported by a Morris Animal Foundation Training Fellowship and focused on how manipulation of MHC expression on equine mesenchymal stem cells alters the ability of immune cells to recognize and reject donor stem cells. Alix is now a K01-funded Research Assistant Professor studying the specific mechanisms by which TGF-β is able to alter MHC expression on stem cells.
Gilbertie | Associate Professor VCOM-Virgina
Jess joined the Schnabel Lab in 2016 after completing a fellowship in orthopedic research at the University of Pennsylvania with Dr. Thomas Schaer. She received her MS at Virginia Tech in 2010 and her DVM at Iowa State University in 2014. She followed that education with a clinical internship in equine medicine and lameness at BW Furlong and Associates. Under the mentorship of Dr. Schnabel and continued collaboration with Dr. Schaer, Jess completed her PhD in 2019 on the pathogenesis of infectious osteoarthritis and novel treatments for this disease. Her PhD was funded by a Morris Animal Foundation Training Fellowship and Jess also received a Grayson-Jockey Club Elaine and Bertram Klein Career Development Award for her work. Jess’ postdoctoral fellowship work in both the Schnabel and Jacob Laboratories was focused on further development and clinical application of a novel therapeutic to combat biofilms in multiple diseases.
Frank Zackary Jenio | Program Manager Mile High Behavioral Healthcare
Zack joined the Schnabel Lab in 2018 as an undergraduate student at NC State studying Biological Sciences: Integrative Physiology and Neurobiology. He previously performed research in the United Arab Emirates under Dr. William D. Murrell studying platelet-rich plasma in clinical practice. Zack completed an accelerated bachelor’s/master’s degree through the NCSU College of Sciences and College of Veterinary Medicine as part of the prestigious Park Scholar Program. Zack’s MS research focused on identifying novel therapies to treat osteoarthritis.
Lab Alumni (Undergraduate and Veterinary Students)
- Ali Schubert (NCSU DVM, Class of 2023): Undergraduate researcher 2017-2019; CMI SIRI student 2018
- Carlee Shaw: Undergraduate researcher 2023
- Mary Wells: Undergraduate researcher 2022-2023
- Muskan Aslam: CMI SIRI student 2022
- Chloe Hincher: Undergraduate researcher 2022-2023
- Sahana Prakash: CMI SIRI student 2021
- Alexis Souther: Veterinary Scholar’s Program Summer 2021
- Ilene Ellis: Veterinary Scholar’s Program Summer 2020, T35 Program Summer 2021
- Priya Allen: Veterinary Scholar’s Program Summer 2020
- Alexandra Grobman: Veterinary Scholar’s Program Summer 2019, T35 Program Summer 2020
- Margaret Flanders: Undergraduate researcher 2019-2020, CMI SIRI student 2019
- Jennifer Daiker: Undergraduate researcher 2019-2021; CMI SIRI student 2019
- Sharmita Dixit: CMI SIRI student 2019
- Elizabeth Byers: Undergraduate researcher 2019
- Alexa Frink (UPenn Vet, VMD Class of 2020): Veterinary student researcher Summer 2017; Veterinary Scholar’s Program Summer 2018
- Miriam Chari: Veterinary Scholar’s Program Summer 2018
- Gwyn Montemuro: Undergraduate researcher 2018-2020
- Bryanna Gristina: Undergraduate researcher 2018-2019
- Sloane Patterson: Undergraduate researcher 2018-2019
- Shea Woodbury: Undergraduate researcher 2018-2019
- Payton Smith: Undergraduate researcher Fall 2017
- Alexandra Grobman: Undergraduate researcher 2016-2017, NCSU CALS Honor Program 2017, Summer 2017 Undergraduate Research Grant
- Cole Martini (Washington University in St. Louis, Class of 2019): Undergraduate researcher Summer 2017
- Laura Barrachina, DVM: Visiting Ph.D. Scholar (Zaragoza, Spain) Fall 2016
- Garrin Shipman: Undergraduate researcher Fall 2016
- Elizabeth Harris: Veterinary Scholar’s Program Summer 2016, NCSU CALS Honors Program 2015
- Latanya Linton: Veterinary Scholar’s Program Summer 2015
- Jennifer Patterson: Veterinary Scholar’s Program Summer 2015
- Aryn Krueger: Undergraduate researcher 2015-2016
- Katrina Leser: Undergraduate researcher 2015-2016
- Christina Vezza (Virginia Tech University): Undergraduate researcher Summer 2015, Summer 2014
- Olivia Seybold: North Carolina School of Science and Mathemathics Mentorship Program, 2014-2015
- Emma Poole: Veterinary Scholar’s Program Summer 2014
- Kristin Cameron: Veterinary Scholar’s Program Summer 2014
- Mario Vezza (Ohio Wesleyan University): Undergraduate researcher Summer 2014