Current Scholars and Alumni

Current PRIME Scholars

Elizabeth Pitts (2017-present)

Elizabeth completed her B.S. in psychology at Davidson College. She earned a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Emory University, where her dissertation research was on impaired goal-directed decision making following adolescent cocaine exposure and the potential of neurotrophin-based therapeutics. Additionally, she taught introductory biology and neuroscience and has been involved in K-12 outreach programs to teach students about science and neuroscience.

As a PRIME-IRACDA scholar, she works in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine studying adolescent self-administration and nicotinic receptor modulation of striatal dopamine release."
Elizabeth Pitts
Manuel Ramirez (2017-present)
Manuel received his Bachelor of Science in Cellular Molecular Biology from Humboldt State University in 2010.  He received his PhD in Cancer Biology from University of California, Irvine in 2017. His interest in biology played a key role in his choice to attend Humboldt State University (HSU). HSU has been recognized by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), NSF, Dryfus, Keck and Welch foundations for its excellence in biological sciences education.  Seeing that there was still much we do not know about biology instilled in him a desire to work in a research lab.   As a stipulation of the HHMI funding, he took part in bi-monthly meetings with fellow minority researchers where they presented and discussed their research. 

To continue his development as both an instructor and researcher, Manuel joined the PRIME program at Wake Forest University Health Sciences in October of 2017. Manuel currently works in Dr. Katherine Cook’s and Dr. David Soto-Pantoja’s laboratories. His research focuses on how the unfolded protein response impacts cancer progression and immune response to cancer cells.
Manuel Ramirez
Tristan Lee (2017-present)
Tristan completed his B.S. in Biology and Classical Humanities in 2010 at Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri. He then began his graduate education in the Neuroscience Training Program at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. There, Tristan researched neural development in the lab of Dr. Mary Halloran. His Ph.D. thesis analyzed the effects of microtubule polarity and microtubule regulators on axon development in sensory neurons. In 2017 Tristan was accepted into Wake Forest School of Medicine as a PRIME IRACDA research scholar.

He is researching in the lab of Dr. Kim Raab-Graham in the Physiology and Pharmacology department. His current research focus is on the effects of the mTOR pathway in addiction. Tristan's teaching interests are in neuroscience, developmental biology, and cell biology. Tristan has taught various biology courses throughout his undergraduate and graduate education and plans to pursue a career in both teaching and research.
Tristan Lee