The Lloyd Lab

Welcome to the Lloyd Lab at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine!

Principal Investigator

Thomas Lloyd, M.D., Ph.D

Associate Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience

Dr. Thomas Lloyd specializes in neuromuscular disorders in adults, with a particular interest in neurogenetics and motor neuron diseases including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), motor neuropathies, and muscle diseases such as Inclusion Body Myositis (IBM). His research interests include understanding the mechanisms of motor neuron degeneration using simple genetic model systems. Current investigations focus on the role of genes that regulate transport of organelles and survival signals along motor nerve axons. In the lab, he is developing genetic and pharmacologic screens to identify novel drug targets for motor neuron diseases. Tom received his M.D. and Ph.D. from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. He then came to Johns Hopkins Hospital for residency training in Neurology, after which he completed a fellowship in Neuromuscular Medicine.

Post-Doctoral Fellows

Kai Ruan, Ph.D

Kai received his BS degree in life science at his hometown, Xi’an, China. Later, he went to Xiamen University to obtain his MS degree in Cancer Biology. In 2009, Kai attended the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine where he received his PhD degree studying the post-transcriptional regulation of a neuronal maintenance factor, NMNAT in Drosophila with Dr. Grace Zhai. He joined the Lloyd Lab in March 2016 and interested in dissecting the potential molecular mechanisms underlying neuronal maintenance and neuroprotection in neurodegenerative diseases. He enjoys swimming, travelling with friends, and playing video games.

Hyun Sung, Ph.D

Hyun is from Seoul, South Korea. He received his BS and MS in life sciences at Hanyang University, and received his PhD in neuroscience and physiology at Purdue University. During his PhD, he studied axonal transport of mitochondria and organelle quality control with Dr. Peter Hollenbeck. At the Lloyd lab, he is interested in the role of axonal transport with organelle dynamics in motor neuropathies, such as ALS and CMT.

Sandeep Dubey, Ph.D

Sandeep has received his PhD degree in the laboratory of Prof. Madhu Tapadia at Banaras Hindu University, India, where he worked on the role of Hippo pathway and nucleocytoplasmic transport in PolyQ-meditated neurodegeneration using genetic and cell biology approaches in Drosophila. In Lloyd lab, he is interested to stufy how C9orf72 disrupts the nucleocytoplasmic transport machinery by using expansion microscopy to perform super-resolution imaging of the nuclear pore complex.

Sunyuan Zhang, Ph.D

Sunyuan Zhang received her Bachelor degree in Life Sciences from Peking University, China in 2014. Later she finished her PhD degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in the University of Melbourne, Australia in 2018. She joined Iloyd lab in Septermber 2019 and became part of the ALS disease mechanism team with main focus on RNA metabolism. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, badminton, running, and hiking.

Graduate Students

Kyla Britson

Graduate student, Cellular Molecular Medicine graduate program. Her thesis project is on pathogenesis and biomarker development for IBM. Awarded travel fellowship to attend Global Conference on Myositis in Berlin, Germany where she was awarded best overall oral presentation (out of 33 eligible speakers) and a “speed funding” 15,000 Euro award to support her research (funded by MyositisUK).

Kyla Britson graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science in Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development. It was her interest in cell and developmental biology that initially drew her to Johns Hopkins to work as a technician in Dr. Deborah Andrew’s laboratory studying the cellular dynamics of Drosophila salivary gland development. In 2015, she matriculated in the Cellular and Molecular Medicine graduate program, and joined the Lloyd lab shortly thereafter to pursue a thesis exploring the cellular mechanisms underlying Inclusion Body Myositis. In her free time, Kyla enjoys rock climbing, hiking, and playing violin in the Hunt Valley Symphony.

Kirstin Maulding

Kirstin Maulding graduated from Texas A&M University in 2016 with a BS in Molecular and Cell Biology and minors in Genetics and Neuroscience. Her interest in neuroscience and neurodegenerative disease peaked her interest in the Cellular and Molecular Medicine program here at Johns Hopkins. She joined the Lloyd lab and is now studying the underlying mechanisms that cause neurodegeneration, including aberrant signaling pathways and disruption of the nuclear pore. In her free time, she enjoys backpacking, reading, and hanging out with her cats.

Laboratory Manager

Andrew Cheng

Andrew Cheng joined the Lloyd Lab in July of 2017 as a research technologist and lab manager. Prior to joining the lab, Andrew graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park where he studied bioengineering with interests in biomedical devices and electronics. In lab, Andrew studies the role of the Dynactin complex in neurodegenerative diseases such as HMN, ALS, and Perry Syndrome. In his spare time, he enjoys physical activities, such as weightlifting, tennis, and ultimate frisbee, as well as the occasional movie or video game night.

Undergraduate Research Assistants

Dominick Rich

Dominick is a junior at Johns Hopkins University studying Neuroscience. He has been in the Lloyd lab for a year and a half and is very happy he chose to work here. His current focus is the p150-Glued gene, and mutations to this gene that are implicated in ALS, CMT, and HMN7. On campus, Dominick is a Training Officer and EMT on the Hopkins Emergency Response Unit, an active volunteer in Thread Mentorship Program, and a member of the JHU chapter of Nu Rho Psi. Dominick is from Long Island, NY, and in his free time enjoys working out, playing basketball, surfing, snowboarding, and playing card games and video games with his friends.

Alumni: Postdoctoral Fellow Advisees

Rajnish Bharadwaj, Ph.D

Current Position: Assistant Professor, University of Rochester

Time In Lab: 9/2010-12/2013

Research project on Drosophila model of CMT type 4J. He performed his residency in Combined Anatomic Pathology/Neuropathology Program at University of Washington, Seattle. Currently Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Rochester medical school.

Profile Website:

James Machamer, Ph.D

Current Position: ORISE Research Fellow, USAMRICD

Time In Lab: 11/2010-1/2016

Research project on Drosophila model of ALS type 6 caused by mutations in FUS/TLS. Awarded first place poster at 2013 Postdoc Scientific Symposium. Has presented his research at CSHL Neurobiology of Drosophila meeting, Society for Neuroscience meeting, Drosophila Research Conference, and Robert Packard Center for ALS Research meetings. Currently ORISE Fellow at USAMRICD.

Jim Machamer attended Louisiana Tech University as an undergraduate, where he studied bioengineering and biology. Jim received his PhD from the University of Alabama Birmingham where he performed his graduate work investigating the role of actin cytoskeleton regulators in synaptic plasticity in Drosophila. He enjoys running and card games and finds it only somewhat humorous that most people are surprised that he grew up in Mississippi.

Ke Zhang, Ph.D

Current Position: Assistant Professor of Neuroscience, Mayo Clinic

Time in Lab: 8/2013-9/2019

Research project on Drosophila model of C9ORF72 ALS. Awarded Milton Safenowitz Postdoctoral Fellowship for ALS research 08/01/2014 – 07/31/2016. Dr. Zhang has given platform presentations on this research performed in the Lloyd laboratory at many major meetings including Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting (11/2014), Robert Packard Center for ALS Research Annual Symposium (2/2015, 3/2016, 3/2017), Drosophila Research Conference (3/2015), and Neurobiology of Drosophila Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Conference (10/2015). He was awarded the Target ALS Springboard Fellowship in 2017. He started a new position as Assistant Professor of Neuroscience at Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida 9/2019.

Ke seeks to understand the mechanism underlying neurodegenerative diseases. He uses genetic tools to dissect the cellular and molecular pathways that play critical roles in the pathogenesis of ALS. Ke attended the Baylor College of Medicine where he received his PhD studying the role of mitochondrial chaperones in Leigh Syndrome, an infantile neurological disorder.

Lab Website:

Harlan Michelle, M.D.

Current Position: Neurologist, Sinai Hospital

Adjunct Assistant Professor, Johns Hopkins University, Department of Neurology

Time In Lab: 7/2015-8/2017

Neurology Resident, Neuromuscular Fellow. Research project on sporadic Inclusion Body Myositis. Presented poster entitled “Familial Inclusion Body Myositis Associated With Digenic Inheritance Of Mutations In Valosin-Containing Protein and Filamin C“ at ANA meeting 2016. She is currently a neurologist at Sinai Hospital and Adjunct Assistant Professor at Johns Hopkins University, Department of Neurology.

Alumni: Predoctoral Graduate Student Thesis Student Advisees

Kathleen Cunningham, Ph.D

Current Position: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, UCLA

Time In Lab: 3/2014-6/2019

Graduate student, Cellular and Molecular Medicine graduate program. Awarded F31 NRSA award to study “the role of p62/SQSTM1 in the pathogenesis of motor neuron disease”. She was awarded second place for her poster presentation at the Drosophila Research Conference in Chicago in March of 2015, and she also presented at the Gordon Conference on Cell Biology of the Neuron. She gave a platform presentation at 2017 CSHL Neurobiology of Drosophila meeting. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow in Leanne Jones laboratory at UCLA.

Kathleen graduated with a BA in Biology from Dartmouth College in 2013. She is interested in the role of protein homeostasis in the mechanism of hexanucleotide repeat-mediated motor neuron degeneration in ALS. When not in lab, she enjoys running, training for triathlons, mentoring high school students through Thread, and reading sci-fi and fantasy literature.

Brian Woolums, Ph.D

Current Position: Medical Writer, inScience Communications, Springer Healthcare

Time In Lab: 4/2014-6/2019

Graduate student, Pharmacology graduate program. He presented a poster on his research on TRPV4 at the Drosophila Research Conference in Chicago in 3/2015 and gave a talk at the Peripheral Nerve Society meeting in Quebec City, Canada in 2015. He was awarded the Scheinberg Travel Award to attend and present his research at the Peripheral Nerve Society meetings in St. Gitges, Spain (2017) and Genoa, Italy (2019).

Brian grew up near Green Bay, WI and earned his bachelor's degree in Neuroscience and Biochemistry at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. He then worked as a research technician at the University of Minnesota for 2 years before enrolling as a PhD student here at Hopkins. Despite growing up in Green Bay, Brian is a rabid fan of all Minnesota teams. In his spare time he enjoys playing basketball, watching any kind of sport, and trying new kinds of beer.

Alumni: Managers and Staff

Mark Wilhem

Current Position: Medical Student, Wayne State University

Time In Lab: 10/2016-5/2018

Mark Wilhelm joined our team as a research technologist/manager in October of 2016. Beforehand, he attended the University of Michigan and graduated with a bachelor's degree in Neuroscience and German Studies. In lab, Mark mainly focuses on disruptions in nucleocytoplasmic transport in our C9-ALS model. Outside of lab, he engages with his community by volunteering with organizations such as Higher Achievement and the VoloCity Kids Foundation. He enjoys staying active by hiking and biking in nature when not watching sports or traveling with his friends. Mark is currently attending medical school in Chicago.

Alumni: Undergraduate Advisees

Lee Tacon (JHU Neuroscience, 5/10-7/12), currently software engineer at Mixmax.

Morgan Yang (JHU Neuroscience, 5/10-7/14), awarded Honors in Neuroscience for work done in my lab. He went to University of Cincinatti College of Medicine and worked in my lab summer after first year. Awarded “top poster” at medical student research symposium 11/2014. Currently Anesthesiology resident at Johns Hopkins.

Brian Lee (Neuroscience, 1/11–6/12), currently senior analyst at Grifols Diagnostic Solutions.

Amanda Le (JHU Biology, 1/11–8/13), currently Medical Student at University of Miami.

Arielle Kempinsky (JHU Neuroscience, 1/12–5/13), currently Medical Student at Stanford Medical School.

Morgan Dauer (JHU Neuroscience, 5/12–6/13), currently medical student at SUNY Downstate Medical Center College of Medicine.

Gregory Fuller (JHU Molecular and Cell Biology, 3/13–6/15), currently Ph.D. student in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology program at University of Michigan.

Ben Szatanek (JHU Molecular and Cell Biology, 5/13–1/14), currently project manager at EPIC.

Saksham Gupta (JHU Neuroscience, 5/13–6/15), awarded Provost’s Undergraduate Research Award (PURA) for summer 2014 research project entitled “An Analysis of E3 Ubiquitin Ligases in C9ORF72-related ALS” ($2500 for summer), currently medical student at Harvard Medical School.

Maggie Ireland (UMBC, 6/15-2/17), worked summer 2015 and 2016, currently research technologist at Washington University, St. Louis, MO.

Andrew Cheng (University of Maryland Bioengineering, 6/15-8/16), worked summers 2015 and 2016.

Jeffrey Eskra (JHU Neuroscience, 8/15-8/16)

Harsh Wadhwa (JHU Neuroscience, 8/15-5/18), Provost’s Undergraduate Research Award (PURA) for summer 2016 research project entitled “Effect of ATXN-2 polyglutamine expansion on Nucleocytoplasmic Transport Defects in C9ORF72-mediated ALS” ($2500 for summer).

Victoria Marino (Palomar College, 5/16-7/16), Hopkins Summer Internship Program, now undergraduate student at Harvey Mudd College.

Dan McLoughlin (College of the Holy Cross Psychology/Neuroscience, 6/16-7/17)

Bryan Larin (JHU Neuroscience, 9/16–5/19)

Sindhu Ramachandra (JHU Biophysics, 9/16–7/17)

Safraz Akma (JHU Neuroscience, 9/16-2/17)

Hunter Pyle (JHU Post-Bac Program, 9/16-4/17), currently medical student at UTSW.

Amber Follin (Berea College, 6/17-8/17), Hopkins Summer Internship Program. Currently medical student

Matthew Goynatsky (JHU Neuroscience, 5/17–8/18)), also worked summer 2015.

Andrew Xu (JHU Biomedical Engineering, 8/17–8/18)

Fermin Mendoza (JHU Neuroscience, 2/18–8/18)

In Collaboration With:

Dr. Mark Wu, MD, PhD

Dr. Charlotte Sumner

Dr. Jeffrey Rothstein