Meet the Lab

Dr. Jill Turner

Dr. Jill Turner has investigated nicotinic receptors since 2002, as a graduate student with Dr. Kenneth Kellar at Georgetown University. After graduating, Jill continued her training as a post-doctoral fellow with Dr. Julie Blendy at the University of Pennsylvania.  Her main interest lies in how nicotinic receptors can both help and hinder brain function.  In addition to science, Jill enjoys books and traveling with her family.


Lab Members


Lilian Custodio Goncalves, Post-Doctoral fellow

Lilian received her Doctorate in Dental Surgery from the University Federal of Parana, Brazil where she worked in the clinical setting and academia for several years. She then moved to Kentucky to pursue a residency and Master of Science degree at the University of Kentucky Orofacial Pain Center. After completion of her clinical training, she earned her Ph.D. in Physiology. When not in the lab, she enjoys movies, fencing and spend time with her husband and kids.

Jack Keady, Graduate Student 

Jack Keady is originally from St. Louis, Missouri. He is finishing up his undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering at the University of Kentucky. He’s is now pursuing his PhD. at the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy. In his free time he enjoys watching the NFL and playing fantasy football with his friends. He also enjoys running while listening to history podcasts.”

Emily Prantzalos,​ Graduate Student 

Emily received her B.S.E. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan in 2020. She is now pursuing her Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy. In her free time she enjoys watching movies and spending quality time with her friends and family.

Alexia Alsum, Graduate Student

Alexia received her B.S.E. in Chemical Engineering from Dordt University in 2021. She is now a graduate student at the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy seeking to acquire her PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences. Outside of school, she enjoys reading, trapshooting, and spending time with her dog.

Taylor Elder, Graduate Student

Taylor graduated from UK in 2017 with a BS in psychology and a minor in neuro. Taylor has worked in labs that specialize in cardio and neuro research before continuing her education in the Pharmaceutical Sciences program.  Outside of the lab, Taylor spends her time trying to keep her plants alive.

Jane Palagi, Master Student

Jane is a current student at the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy pursuing a Doctorate of Pharmacy and Master of Pharmaceutical Sciences. She plans to graduate with both degrees in Spring 2024. Outside of school and lab, Jane enjoys playing guitar, reading, and spending time with friends.

Anthony Marcelletti, Undergrad

Anthony is receiving his BHS in Clinical Leadership and Management with a minor in Biology in the Spring of 2022. He plans to pursue a MD degree and continue with his research endeavors after graduation. In his free time Anthony enjoys going to concerts and traveling.


Marissa Hessing, Sr.Laboratory Technician/Manager

Marissa received her bachelors in Animal Science at Morehead State University in 2016. Since then she has worked in animal facilities and other agricultural jobs. She’s currently our lab manager. She assist in surgeries, protocols and has many side projects of her own. She’s a helping hand to all of our graduate students and post docs. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family. She also loves reading books, hiking and going on bike rides with her wild boys. 

Judy Songrady-Logan, Sr. Laboratory Technician

Judy graduated from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and went on to work at the Laboratory of Comparative Ethology at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD), National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Poolesville, Maryland. After several years at the NICHD/NIH she went on to work at the Hominid Psychology Research Group & Duke Canine Cognition Center at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. From there her and her husband moved to Budapest, Hungary to pursue other interests, and after seven years of living abroad she moved back to the states to continue chasing our goals and dreams. Outside of work she enjoys gardening, cooking/baking, and hanging out with her husband and their two rescue dogs.

css.php