Lab Head

Jacob is an assistant professor in the physiology department at SIU school of medicine. He received his PhD from George Mason University where he studied novel cholinergic signaling pathways in neural development. For his postdoc, Dr. Nordman investigated the neurocircuitry of aggression priming at the National Institutes of Health. Currently, his lab studies the impact of early life stress on the neurocircuitry of aggression and the role of context in complex social behavior. In his free time, Dr. Nordman likes to rock climb, cook, and play with his son Ian.


Keystone Grant Awardee
Jessica earned a PhD in Neuroscience from Georgetown University, where she studied primate social behavior. Her current work focuses on examining the role of limbic structures in regulating social interaction using a variety of techniques including in vivo electrophysiology, fiber photometry, pharmacology, and optogentics. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family.

Graduate Students

Florence M. Foote Physiology Scholar
Nooshin Mojahed received her master’s degree from Azad University in Molecular Genetics where she worked on the catalytic domain of COX-2 in relation to pancreatic cancer. She is currently working on cortical dysfunction in maladaptive aggression. In her free time, she enjoys playing the piano, reading and traveling.

Magdalene Pine Adjei is a PhD student in the Nordman lab. Magdalene received her bachelor’s degree in biomedical sciences at the University of Cape Coast, Ghana. She is currently working on socially transmitted aggression. When not studying, she enjoys cooking, reading, and hiking.

Undergraduate Researchers

REACH Awardee, Florence M. Foote Physiology Scholar, and Emma Smith Hough Library Research Scholarship Awardee
Elana Qasem is an undergraduate student majoring in biological sciences. She is the winner of the REACH award and Foote Scholarship. In her free time, Elana enjoys reading, baking, and crocheting.

REACH awardee, Emma Smith Hough Library Research Scholarship Awardee, and Florence M. Foote Physiology Scholar
Sophia Aaflaq is an undergraduate student majoring in Biological sciences. She recently won the REACH award and plans on attending medical school after graduation. When not studying Sophia enjoys baking, reading, and playing the piano.

Medical Students

Medical student
Molly Smith completed her undergraduate degree at SIUE and is currently a 1st year MD student at the School of Medicine. During her time in Edwardsville, she gained experience in a plant molecular biology research lab as well as served on the SIU Board of Trustees which allowed her to appreciate SIU as a whole and contribute to its advancement. Molly is the chair of her class and has enjoyed working among her peers while getting acclimated to medical school. In her free time, she enjoys eating good food and spending time with her Miniature Aussiedoodle, Benji.

Medical student
Fletcher is a medical student at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. In his free time he enjoys swimming, oil painting, and listening to podcasts.

MPEE student
Oliver Caldwell is a medical student who previously worked for: Illinois Department of Public Health as a molecular lab technologist, ScribeAmerica as an emergency department medical scribe, Walgreens as a pharmacy technician, and the United States Postal Service. He presently serves as an officer in the Illinois Army National Guard and is his school's acting representative to the Graduate and Professional Student Council. He enjoys woodworking, gardening, and beekeeping.


Undergraduate researcher, REACH awardee, Chandrashekhar Memorial awardee, CABRI fellow, and Lonnie Russell Research awardee
Caitlyn Bartsch is an undergraduate researcher in the physiology department and the recipient of the 2022 REACH award, the Chandrashekhar Memorial Award, the Trainee Professional Development Award from the Society for Neuroscience, the CABRI fellowship, and the Lonnie Russell Undergraduate Research Award. She enjoys working part-time as a medical scribe in various emergency departments in Southern Illinois. When not working or studying, you can find Caitlyn traveling, hiking the beautiful Shawnee National Forest, or playing with her cat named Turkey!

Undergraduate researcher, REACH awardee, and Chandrashekhar Memorial awardee
Savannah Skinner works as a Certified Nursing Assistant in an Emergency Department. She plans to attend medical school after graduation and pursue trauma surgery in the United States Air Force. Savannah is the recipient of the 2022 REACH award. In her free time, Savannah enjoys weight lifting and competing in athletic events such as volleyball and basketball leagues.

Undergraduate researcher
Rylee Thompson is an undergraduate student majoring in biological sciences. She plans to attend physical therapy school after graduation. When not working or studying Rylee enjoys reading, spending time outdoors, and playing with her two cats.

Research Assistant
Claudia Spotanski currently works as a computer tomography technologist at a local hospital here in Southern Illinois. She has received a baccalaureate degree in radiological sciences and is currently awaiting acceptance in Physician Assistant school. In her free time she enjoys spending time with friends and family.

Undergraduate researcher
My name is Umama Afsar. I am an undergrad student majoring in biomedicine. I plan to apply for medical school after graduation. A fun fact about me: I am an international student and can speak 4 different languages.

Undergraduate Researcher
Alex is in his Junior year as a Physiology major at SIU Carbondale. He currently works for Community Health and Emergency Services as a Licensed Practical Nurse while not attending classes on campus. Alex also works as a volunteer in Dr. Jacob Nordman’s lab assisting lab personnel in conducting Social experiments on early life stress and aggression in Mice.

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