Dr. Liz McCullagh


I have a very diverse background, in no small part due to the curiosity about the world that my parents and teachers imparted in me. This curiosity lead me to pursue a masters in Biology at Virginia Tech (with John Phillips) studying whether mercury contamination impacts feather microstructure and color. However, I’ve always been interested in Neuroscience and understanding behavior. I got my PhD in Neurobiology at the University of Illinois Chicago (with David Featherstone) studying how a mutation in a gene in the brain might lead to alterations in behavior. Finally, I was a postdoc at the University of Colorado Anschutz (with Achim Klug) learning about the auditory system. The aims of my lab at Oklahoma State University are to use the auditory system to better understand functioning of the brain using diverse organisms, changes to the brain that occur in autism, and manipulations using modern neuroscience techniques.


On a personal level, I love to travel, play ultimate frisbee, and advocate for women in STEM.

Graduate Students

Amita Chawla, PhD student

Master of Science Biophysics, current graduate student in Integrative Biology

Main scientific interests: has always been mainly in neuroscience, also interested in genetics and molecular science. 

I like reading books, playing tennis and singing. I love to talk with my friends. 

Sabiha Alam, PhD student

Major: Graduate Student in the Integrative Biology Department

Main scientific interests: auditory neuroscience, which has direct impact on human health and diseases. More specifically, I am interested in observing whether the collaboration of nutritional science with auditory neuroscience may bring out some meaning therapeutic targets to prevent hyperexcitability in autism.

I love dancing, traveling, singing, and listening to music. Music is a big part of my life as it has the unique power to rejuvenate me.

Luberson Joseph, PhD student

Major: Past M.S. Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Development (University of the West Indies, St Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago), current graduate student in Integrative Biology

Main Scientific Interests: understanding the biology and ecology of terrestrial organisms (amphibians), the biodiversity of inland water bionetworks and contribute toward the preservation of both terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity against pollution, climate change, invasive alien species, habitat degradation and catchment disturbances.

In my spare time, I love going to the beach, reading, listening to music, visiting new places, hanging out with my friends, and play video games.

Jesse Hurd, PhD student

Major: Graduate Student – Integrative Biology

Major Scientific Interests: Reproductive biology, neurobiology, and auditory processing. I’m interested in researching the connections between neurobiology and reproduction – particularly the potential effects of noise pollution on reproductive function and physiology in mammals. 

Something I Do for Fun:  I love long road trips with my husband, binge-reading fantasy novels in one sitting, and hosting parties for friends, coworkers, and family.

Andrea Gensky, PhD Student

Major: Graduate student – Integrative Biology

Major Scientific Interests: endocrine, reproductive, and the nervous systems!

Something I do for fun… I’m a total hermit and LOVE staying home and doing things around the house/yard! Also like to exercise and read!

Casey Sergott, MS student

Major – MS graduate student Integrative Biology

Main scientific interests: I’m really interested in animal behavior, conservation biology, and how organisms cope with various types of environmental stressors. More specifically, I’m interested in how individuals, as well as ecosystems, are affected by anthropogenic disturbances such as light and noise pollution.  

Something I do for fun: I love spending time with friends, family, my two cats. I also love to hike and be outdoors, listen to music, and go thrifting. 

Undergraduate students


Margaret New

Major: Biology, Pre-Medical Sciences (Sophomore), Freshman Research Scholar, Wentz Recipient

Main Scientific Interests: Environmental toxicology and the human body have
definitely captured my attention. I would love to go into the medical field, but
am not sure what direction yet.

Something I do for fun: I love going to concerts, thrifting, hammocking, and
hanging out with friends.

Kaitlyn Welker

Major: Multidisciplinary Studies, minors in Neuroscience and Russian Language (Senior).

My main scientific interests auditory processing, anuran neurobiology, marine biology, coral reef ecology and conservation.

What I like to do in my free time: hang out with my cat, play video games, and spend time with my friends.

Ishani Ray

Major: Chemistry pre-med and Psychology (Junior)

I have so far worked in biochemistry (proteins), chemical/biophysical techniques such as fluorescence and NMR, and computational chemistry, but I am hoping to branch out and get involved in more neurobiology/neuroscientific research. 

I love writing, sketching, running, politics and spending time with my yorkie. His name is Dolby and he’s super cute!

Madeline Loosen

Major/year: Junior Honors Student, Physiology pre-med 

Scientific interests: I enjoy general anatomy/physiology and I specifically am interested in skin and ailments involving the dermis.

One of my favorite things to do is go to the lake and surf! In Stillwater, I like to hang out with friends, go on walks, and go to the Colvin! During the summer I like to go hiking in national parks or just travel in general! 

Gabby Byus

Major/year: Junior in Biochemistry with a minor in ASL

Main Scientific Interest: I’m interested in the way the auditory systems work in living things as well as the process of anesthesia. I am also very interested in how all things work in the human body, and of course other living things. I plan on attending medical school and (hopefully) becoming an anesthesiologist! 

Something I do for fun: I like to bowl, work out and hangout with friends and family

Elizabeth Farmer

Majors/year: Junior Biochemistry and Microbiology majors

Scientific Interest: I really enjoy learning about the human body and how everything works, and plan on applying for medical school after my undergrad to become a Dermatologist.

Something I do for fun: I enjoy painting, reading, and spending time with my family, friends, and dog Bella.

Collin Stringer

Major: Microbiology, Pre-Med with a minor in Neuroscience (freshman)

Scientific Interests: Neurology and how disorders affect the nervous system

Something I do for fun: I love going to concerts, spending time with my family, and learning new things. I also like to go on road trips with friends.

Gracie Toben

Major: I am a Biochemistry major with a Neuroscience minor (freshman).

Research interest: I am interested in researching neurodegenerative diseases and neurobiology.

Free time: In my free time I enjoy reading and I recently started a tea collection.

Mckenleigh Kelly

My Major is in Communication Sciences and Disorders with a minor in Neuroscience. 

My interest is in Medical Speech Pathology – particularly neurological disorders, and how they pertain to speech and language. 

Something I do for fun is that I am an avid outdoors person, I enjoy hiking, archery, and Skiing. I also love to meet new people and hang out with friends. 

Shayla (Shay) Nguyen

Major: Psychology, Pre-Med with a minor in Biology

Main scientific interests include clinical psychology as well as biopsychology.

Aside from school, I like to spend time with my friends and write poetry.

Aika Parish

Major: Biology 

Main specific interests: I enjoy dog training, so animal behavior intrigues me. I have an ever-growing collection of houseplants so I am interested in botany as well. My main interest is the effects of pharmaceutical drugs on the brain. I hope to become a pharmacist one day. 

Something I do for fun: I love spending time with my dog, embroidering, and baking. My favorite dessert to bake is apple pie! 

Katelynn Rodman

Major: Biology Pre-Med (sophomore)

My scientific interests include plastic surgery and the psychological effects it has on the patient. I am also interested in the field of anesthesiology. I plan on going to medical school after undergrad to become a plastic surgeon.

Something I do for fun: I love to hangout with my family and friends, I also enjoy traveling, and baking.

Vanessa Franco

Major: Pre-PA Psychology with a Minor in Microbiology (sophomore)

Scientific Interests: I’m really interested in neuroscience. Specifically how the brain creates new neural pathways. I’m interested in hormones and the pituitary gland. I am also interested in women’s health. I hope to become a physician assistant in either neurology or OBGYN. 

Things I like to do: I enjoy painting, reading, going to the gym, and playing volleyball. I also like listening to music and traveling.

Abigail Steelhammer

Major: Animal Science/Pre-Veterinary, minor: Applied Music (freshman)

Research Interests: I’m mainly interested in the effect of music on mouse neurology, namely in brain anatomy and hormone expression. I am also interested in the chemical composition of lethal substances and how to develop indicators to test for them in drinks and food (such as instances with drink spiking).

Free time: What I do in my free time: I am on the OSU Polo Team and work at a veterinary clinic in Piedmont, Oklahoma. I also sing and act with the OSU Greenwood School of Music. Lastly, I am in the Freshman Representative Council as part of the OSU Student Government.

Tamara Woodley

Image of Oklahoma State University Track and Field Athletes Taken Thursday, September 2, 2021, Orange Power Studios, Stillwater, OK. Bruce Waterfield/OSU Athletics

Major: Biology with hopes in pursuing my Ph.D. in Pharmaceuticals.

From a young age I’ve always been into trying new things, whether it be a new recipe in the kitchen or a different sport. I grew fond of track and field when I was about 12 years old and every opportunity took off after that. I also enjoy doing makeup, online shopping and theatre. Besides being able to contribute to the research industry in the future I one day aspire to be an ambassador for my country and represent them at the 2024 Olympic games.

Alyssa Hickerson

Degree: Master’s in Public Health with a focus in rural and underserved populations.

Research interests: I am interested in many different things! I love research that has to do with social epidemiology – basically, how different determinants of health affect different populations of people and their healthcare outcomes.

Free time: In my free time I love watching documentaries, playing ultimate frisbee, and getting into trouble with my new puppy, Kahlua!

Anya White

Major: Psychology pre-med major, minor in neuroscience (Freshman)

Research interest: My main scientific interests include neurology and neurodegenerative disorders. I plan on going to medical school to pursue a career in medicine in relation to neurology.

Free time: In my free time I weight lift and spend time with friends, family, and my partner.


Undergraduate students

Libby Frizzell (Spring 2020)

Emily Warmath (Fall 2020)

Bailey Hinshaw (Honor’s Student, Spring 2020-Spring 2021)

Alex Blackwell (OK LSAMP, Spring 2020-Spring 2021)

Molly Hood (co-advised with Dr. Jodie Wiggins, Fall 2020-Spring 2021)

Allison Lawrence (Spring 2021)

Prekshika Patel (Spring 2021)

Jordyn Sisovsky (Fall 2020-Spring 2021)

Kanece Ham (Spring 2021)

Patrick Crotty (Fall 2021)

Addi Gaut (Summer 2020-Fall 2021)

Adam Ramirez (Fall 2020-Spring 2022)

Brittney Crumb (Spring 2022, Senior Capstone)

Melissa Sullivan (Fall 2021-Spring 2022)

Brooke Crabb (Fall 2021-Spring 2022)

Graduate students

Courtney Byrd (Fall 2020-Spring 2021 co-advised with Dr. Michael Reichert)

Courtney is going on to get her teaching certificate at UNC Chapel Hill, we are so excited to see what she is going to bring in the future for her high school teaching aspirations!

Rachael Brodsky (Fall 2020-Fall 2021)

Rachael is off to OU to pursue a program in social work, she is perfect for that career path and I am very proud of her for going after her dreams!