Lab Members

Current Lab Members

Rajkumar Verma, Ph.D.
Principal Investigator



Dr. Verma's unwavering dedication lies at the crossroads of pharmacology and neuroscience research, where his passion for pioneering drug discovery shines brilliantly in the context of ischemic stroke treatment. With a journey marked by persistent curiosity, he embarked on a transformative path. Having completed his Ph.D. at Central Drug Research Institute in Lucknow, India, Dr. Verma's academic journey took a significant step forward with the attainment of his doctoral degree in Pharmacy from Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra, Ranchi, India. These academic pursuits laid the groundwork for his impactful career. In February 2012, Dr. Verma found a new home at UConn Health to continue his interest in stroke therapy.

Daylin Gamiotea-Turro, Ph.D.
Post Doctoral Fellow


I completed her PhD in Chemistry at Sao Paulo State University, Brazil in 2018. I joined Verma lab us as a Research Assistant in Dec 2020 and and later on promoted to postdoctoral fellow in July 2022. I am working on the development of neuroprotection strategies after ischemic stroke using in vitro and in vivo approaches .

Sanjeev Kumar Yadav, Ph.D.
Post Doctoral Fellow

I am an experienced cellular and molecular Biologist. I received my PhD from the Indian Institute of Toxicology Research and received a doctoral degree in Biological Sciences from the Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research (AcSIR), India in 2022. Currently, I am investigating the potential novel targets for the treatment of stroke and validating those targets using genetic and pharmacological manipulation.

Anthony Diaz MD
Neurosurgical Resident

Anthony is a Neurosurgical Resident at the University of Connecticut. He completed his medical training at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in 2021, where he was awarded the Research Distinction Award for his research in deep brain stimulation (DBS) and peripheral nerve regeneration. Anthony is interested in pursuing an academic career is cerebrovascular neurosurgery. His current research interest is in the role of encephalomyosynangiosis (EMS) as a therapeutic tool for revascularizing ischemic cortical tissue following an MCAo stroke.

ArunKumar Yadawa
Postdoc Fellow

Dr. Arun Yadawa completed his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India where he investigated the effect of different stressors on brain and HPA axis. Then he joined CSIR-Central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow, India as National Postdoctoral Fellow and he studied the neuroprotective role of KeenMind (CDRI08) in Parkinson’s disease model. He joined Dr. Verma’s lab in December 2023 as postdoctoral fellow. Currently he is deciphering the novel role of purinergic receptor P2X4 in Alzheimer’s disease animal model.

ShreyaR Savla
Graduate Student,
PhD in Biomedical Sciences,
UConn Health

Hailing from a family of healthcare professionals, I have been closely related to the field of medicine and healthcare since childhood. My aspiration of becoming a scientist stemmed from the vision of contributing to healthcare by working towards elucidating the molecular mechanisms of some serious diseases of today’s time, and facilitating relevant target-based drug discovery. Having completed my Bachelor's in Pharmacy and Master's of Pharmacy, majoring in Pharmacology from Mumbai, India, my preparedness for donning the PhD Scholar’s hat is evident from my education and research journey so far. Having an adept understanding of vascular disorders and being particularly intrigued by the human nervous system, I now find myself keen on exploring the mechanisms and pathophysiology of neurovascular disorders, such as stroke






Mary-Katherine Cormier, BS
SP Research Assistant

Mary is a recent UConn graduate, earning her B.S. in Allied Health Sciences in May of 2023. Her great interest in neurology and laboratory work led her to the Verma lab, where she assists lab members in their research projects. Mary ultimately has plans to earn her MD/PhD and establish a career at the intersection of research, education, and medicine


Vraj is an undergraduate student at the University of Connecticut studying Physiology and Neurobiology. He plans on attending medical school where he hopes to specialize in neurosurgery. Vraj’s interest in neuroscience led him to join the lab as a sophomore through the Health Research Program and he is interested in the role of encephalomyosynangiosis (EMS) as a therapeutic tool after an ischemic stroke

Previous Lab Members

Pranay Srivastava, Ph.D.


Pranay was a postdoctoral fellow in the lab from May 2017-October 2019. He was working on development of novel target for the treatment of stroke. Pranay has completed his Ph.D. from CSIR- Indian Institute of Toxicology Research. He is currently doing his second postdoc in Harvard Medical School.

Victoria Scranton

Victoria is a Research Assistant with 25 years of experience at UConn Health. Her interests revolve around studying the impact of trauma (both physical and mental) on the inflammatory process in the brain. Victoria currently has dual employment in the Department of Psychiatry where she coordinates clinical trials with young children and their mothers looking at intergenerational stress and how it impacts the epigenetics of the stress pathway, and in the Department of Neuroscience where she assists in various drug target validation projects.

Mitch Paro
Medical Student Class of 2023
UConn School of Medicine

Mitch is a medical student at UConn School of Medicine. He received his bachelor’s degree from Connecticut College and has studied at Middlebury College and University of Virginia. He is interested in pursuing neurosurgery as a clinical specialty and he intends to remain an active clinician-researcher throughout his career.

Melisha Budhathoki
Medical Student Class of 2023
UConn School of Medicine

Melisha is a medical student at Uconn school of Medicine. She completed her undergraduate at Boston university with a degree in Neurobiology. Melisha has previously done research studying the role of microglia in Autism Spectrum disorders. Currently, her interests are to study Neuroinflammation as a therapeutic target for stroke.

Sarah Swetz
Undergraduate Researcher


Sarah is an undergraduate student at the University of Connecticut studying Physiology and Neurobiology. She joined the lab after her sophomore year through the UConn Health Research Program. Her goal is to study miRNA inhibitors for the treatment of stroke through an in vitro cell line based system.

Kiana Klafter

Kiana is a HRP summer fellow in Verma lab. She is sophomore at UConn undergrad program at Storrs campus

Maria Antony 

Maria joined Verm lab as an undergraduate summer student during her sophomore year and completed her honors thesis studying the role of miR-181c in post stroke social isolation. She is currently a UConn medical student and aspires to become a physician scientist in the field of geriatrics, as well as stroke research.

Michael McGonnigle
Research Assistant


Michael has joined a Medical school at Utah to fulfill his dream