BREATHE Trainees


Postdoc Alum

Alison Barnard, PhD, DPT

Dr. Barnard’s research is focused on investigating the effects of muscle degeneration and neuromuscular scoliosis on respiratory function in individuals with neuromuscular disease using advanced magnetic resonance imaging methods. Dr. Barnard is now an assistant professor at the University of Florida.

Alison Barnard, DPT, PhD


Andrew D’Lugos, PhD

Dr. D’Lugos’s research focuses on cancer cachexia, a metabolic condition characterized by progressive skeletal muscle loss and weakness. Recent work in Dr. Andrew Judge’s lab, has focused on pancreatic cancer cachexia and identified a particular immune system pathway as a contributor to skeletal muscle weakness and pathology.

Andrew D'Lugos


Claire DeLucia, PhD

Dr. DeLucia was a postdoc in Dr. David Fuller’s lab where her research focused on hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBO) as an adjunct therapy for Pompe disease. During her appointment, Dr. DeLucia gained proficiency in hyperbaric oxygen treatments, animal survival surgery and immunohistochemical techniques in brainstem/spinal cord tissues. She also contributed to and will continue writing a literature review on cellular mechanisms of HBO effects in a variety of neurogenerative or neuromuscular disorders. 

Claire DeLucia

postdoc alum

Cara Donohue, PhD, CCC-SLP

Dr. Cara Donohue is a practicing speech-language pathologist, an Assistant Professor, and the Director of Medical Speech-Language Pathology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She completed her doctoral studies in the Computational Deglutition Lab under the mentorship of Dr. Jim Coyle at the University of Pittsburgh in 2021. Following this, she completed her post-doctoral research fellowship in the Aerodigestive Research Core Laboratory at the University of Florida under the mentorship of Dr. Emily Plowman. Current research interests include instrumental methods of swallow screening and signal processing, respiratory interventions to improve cough and swallowing in patients with neurological/respiratory diseases, and principles of exercise training in dysphagia rehabilitation.


Predoc Alum

Rachel Kelley, PhD, RD

Dr. Kelley’s research focuses on respiratory muscle dysfunction in disease. Using animal models, she is exploring diaphragm muscle abnormalities in aging, heart failure, and obesity. Dr. Kelley is now a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Florida.

Rachel Kelley


Mia Kelly, BS

Mia Kelly is a Ph.D. candidate in the laboratory of Dr. Gordon Mitchell. She is interested in characterizing the intricacies of biological rhythms (circadian /sleep cycles) within the neural network that controls breathing. The specific aim of her work during the T32 training grant appointment WAs to enhance the ability of acute intermittent hypoxia to restore breathing by timing administration when AIH is most effective and best tolerated. Her work across the light-dark cycle in rodent models supports the existence of temporal windows best suited for the induction, maintenance, and accumulation of respiratory plasticity.  

Mia Kelly

predoc alum

Ian Malone, BS

Malone’s research is focused on developing neuroprostheses to improve respiratory function following cervical spinal cord injury. He is currently investigating the electrical and physiological mechanisms of electrical epidural stimulation within the context of upper cervical spinal cord injury and the neural control of breathing.

Ian Malone, PhD


Gerard Robinson, PhD

Robinson’s research explores the role of skeletal muscle in the innate response to infection, particularly in sepsis. He is currently working as a Consultant at Fenix Group International.

Gerard Robinson

Predoc Alum

Thomas Sutor, PhD, CSCS

Dr. Sutor’s chief interest is improving motor function after severe spinal cord injury. He is currently researching the use of acute intermittent hypoxia to increase breathing and sitting ability for people with chronic spinal cord injury. Dr. Sutor is a Postdoctoral Research Scientist at Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center

Thomas Sutor


Lauren Tabor, PhD, CCC-SLP

Dr. Tabor is the co-director of the Phil Smith Neuroscience Institute ALS Center in Fort Lauderdale. The mission of her current research is to develop efficacious treatment regimens to improve cough function and airway protection in individuals with ALS, in effort to maintain oral intake and improve quality of life.

Laren Tabor

Postdoc alum

Adrienn Varga, PhD

Dr. Varga’s research focuses on the role of opioid-sensitive respiratory neurons in the brain in both normal breathing and under the influence of opioids. As a postdoc in Dr. Erica Levitt’s lab, she is looking for potential therapeutic targets to combat respiratory depression in opioid overdoses.

Adrienn Varga

Predoc Alum

Alicia Vose, PhD, CCC-SLP

Dr. Vose’s research focuses on physiologic mechanisms underlying normal and disordered airway protection. She has 7 years experience as a licensed speech-language pathologist. Dr. Vose is now a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Florida.

Alicia Vose

Postdoc Alum

Lila Wollman, PhD, MSPT

Dr. Wollman is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Arizona. Her research is focused on enhancing respiratory neuroplasticity and promoting respiratory motor recovery after spinal cord injury using pharmacological approaches. Dr. Wollman is now a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Arizona.