Current Lab Members
Dayna Loyd Averitt, MSCI, Ph.D.
Dr. Averitt received her bachelors in Biological Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin in 2001. She completed her doctorate in Neuroscience from Georgia State University in 2009 under the mentorship of Anne Z. Murphy, Ph.D. studying sex differences in opioid analgesia. She then completed a post-doctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Ken Hargreaves, DDS, Ph.D. studying peripheral pain mechanisms underlying craniofacial pain. Dr. Averitt worked as a Principle Investigator for the U.S. Army Institute for Surgical Research studying burn pain before joining the faculty at Texas Woman's University in 2014. Dr. Averitt is currently an Associate Professor of Biology at Texas Woman's University where she is leading a research team of undergraduate and graduate students in neuroscience research.
Sukhbir Kaur, Ph.D.
Recent Graduate Student
Sukhbir Kaur received an undergraduate degree in Biotechnology from Pune University and MS in Medical Biotechnology from Maharaja Sayajirao University, India. In Aug 2015, she relocated to the United States to pursue her doctorate degree. She recently completed her doctoral studies to gain her Ph.D. Her dissertation work focused on understanding the neuromodulatory effects of estrogen and serotonin on female trigeminal sensory neurons. As craniofacial pain conditions involving the trigeminal sensory neurons, like migraine and temporomandibular joint disorder, are 2 to 3 times more prevalent in females than in males, it is likely that gonadal hormones may play a major role in this differential pain modulation. Sukhbir has accepted a postdoctoral fellowship in the pain lab of Nader Ghasemlou, Ph.D. at Queen's University. When not in lab, Sukhbir likes to travel, sing, and participate in community service.
Daisy Cantu, M.S.
I graduated from Martin High School in Laredo, Texas, in 2014. Then, I attended Texas Woman's University (TWU) in 2014, where I obtained my B.S. in biology in 2018. I also received a master's degree in biology at TWU during the summer of 2020. I am now working on my doctorate degree, which I am expecting to complete by 2023. My current research focuses on identifying craniofacial and cortical brain pathways in males and females. I also aim to determine whether hormones and psychological stress alter these neural processes differently in males vs. female rats. This research is significant because most current studies in pain and stress are exclusively conducted on male rats. However, understanding female neural circuitry activity is vital for developing sex-specific therapeutic strategies to treat women's pain.
Taylor Hickman, M.S.
Hi! I’m Taylor Hickman, a native Texan, but spent some time in Oklahoma. I received a Bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University in Exercise and Sport Science in 2013. After several years out of school I realized I wasn’t done with my education, and I enrolled at Texas Woman’s University where I earned a Master’s degree in Biology in 2020. I am currently a doctoral candidate in Dr. Averitt’s lab investigating how the interaction between the immune and nervous systems can cause a greater female prevalence in certain pain disorders.
Temiloluwa Peace Olaoluwa, B.Sc.
My name is Peace Olaoluwa. In 2017, I graduated with my BSc in Physical and Biological Sciences from Cottey College, in Nevada, MO. I worked in the food and medical industry as a part of the Quality Department for 3 years before joining Texas Woman’s University’s Molecular Biology PhD program. I am currently a graduate student in the Averitt lab working on developing the phytochemicals in the native Texas plant Euphorbia bicolor as a non-opioid therapeutic for burn pain.
Rebecca Hornung, Ph.D.
Laboratory of Phillip Kramer, Ph.D. at Texas A&M Dentistry
Paramita Basu, Ph.D.
Laboratory of Brad Taylor, Ph.D. at the University of Pittsburgh
Bachelors of Science in Biology
Angela Lopez-Ramirez, Natalia Santos, Erica Rodriguez, Emily Simmons, Estefany Montelongo, Hanna McDonald, Taylor Harris, Sushmitha Ananth, Sirima Tongkhuya, Cierra Lopez, Jin Lee, Rowda Besher, Will Benton
Off to change the world
Alexis Barton, Hansa Boddu, Tia Tewari