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Top professionals in the neuroscience field will participate in the Seventh Annual Raniyah T. Ramadan Symposium on Wednesday, Jan. 23, beginning at 1 p.m. in East Central University’s Foundation Hall of the Chickasaw Business and Conference Center.

The Ramadan Symposium, which is free and open to the public, is named in honor of the late Dr. Raniyah Ramadan, who was a research scientist in neuro-ophthalmology. The symposium was established and is sponsored by Dr. and Mrs. Tawfik Z. Ramadan, the parents of the late Raniyah Ramadan.

The symposium will feature Dr. Lauren Ethridge, Dr. Martin-Paul Agbaga and Dr. Jonathan Wren.

Here are biographies on these three professional speakers:

Dr. Lauren Ethridge

Ethridge is an assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and Department of Psychology at OU.

She is currently using phenotyping techniques to develop EEG biomarkers for use as treatment outcome measures across clinical populations with particular emphasis on sensory processing abnormalities in Autism Spectrum Disorder and Fragile X Syndrome.

Ethridge completed her graduate studies at the University of Georgia where she studied systems neuroscience and neurophysiology in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. She was then a postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

She has expertise in advanced EEG methods with clinical populations as established by her work in EEG time-frequency and ERP biomarker studies of major mental disorders.

Dr. Martin-Paul Agbaga

Agbaga is an assistant professor of ophthalmology, cell biology and a member of the Oklahoma Centre Neuroscience, Harold Hamm Diabetes Center and the Reynolds Center of Aging at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

His long-term research interests are in understanding the role of lipids in health and diseases of the central nervous system with particular interest in retinal and brain lipid metabolism.

Agbaga combines molecular biology and lipidomics approaches in dissecting the role of lipids in retinal and brain functions as these tissues are enriched in unique lipids containing very long-chain fatty acids (VLC-FA).

He obtained his Ph.D. in cell biology at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

Dr. Jonathan Wren

Wren is an associate member in the Arthritis and Clinical Immunology Research Program at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation as well as adjunct associate professor in the Departments of biology and Molecular Biology and Geriatric Medicine, Stephenson Cancer Center and the Oklahoma Center for Neuroscience at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

In his lab, Wren focuses on using computers to make sense of the “data deluge” by finding patterns within large databases and using different sources of information to identify and experimentally verify casual relationships buried within the data.

Using this method, he has been able to predict the function of thousands of the remaining human genes that still have no known function. With collaborators, he has been able to test the predicted functions of dozens of these genes in the lab and has discovered that several of these formerly unknown genes play important roles in immune cell movement, coagulation, breast cancer progression, DNA repair and cell division. Of neuroscience interest, he helped discover a novel gene, ELTD1, that is an angiogenic factor for glioblastomas.

Wren obtained his Ph.D. in Genetics and Development at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.


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