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  • Group photo of lab members

    Russell Research Team

    A component of the Center for Neuromuscular Disease at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

  • Doctors Joungil Choi and Cheng-Ying Ho working together in the lab

    Russell Research Laboratory

    Investigators Joungil Choi, PhD and Cheng-Ying Ho, MD, PhD

  • Drs. Chen-Ying Ho and Mohammad Salimian working in lab

    Russell Research Laboratory

    Investigators Cheng-Ying Ho, MD, PhD and Mohammad Salimian, MD.

  • Diagram showing dietary supplement nicotinamide riboside (NR) to treat diabetic peripheral neuropathy

    Diabetic Neuropathy (DN) Peripheral Study

    Dietary Supplement Nicotinamide Riboside (NR) to Treat DN.

    LEARN MORE about Diabetic Neuropathy (DN) Peripheral Study

Russell Research Laboratory

Welcome to the Russell Research Laboratory! For an appointment, call (410) 328-3100.

The Russell Research Laboratory is an NIH-funded, translational research lab within the Department of Neurology at University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Founded by Dr. James Russell, Head of the Neuromuscular Divsion and Vice Chair of Research for the Department of Neurology, our team is interested in examining neuromuscular diseases linked to mitochondrial dysfunction, specifically diabetic neuropathy.

Our research is focused on better understanding the pathways of oxidative and mitochondrial injury in the peripheral nervous system and the mechanisms involved in preventing or reversing cellular injury. We hope to investigate glucose-induced injury in the peripheral nervous system in hopes to possibly discover new, novel therapies that can ameliorate diabetic-induced neuropathy.

To learn more about what we do, click here

Meet Our Team

Principal Investigator

James Russell, MB,ChB, MS

James W. Russell, MB,ChB, MS
Head of the Neuromuscular Division, 
Vice for Chair for Research, and 
Director of the Peripheral Neuropathy Center,
Department of Neurology

Highlighted Publications


Krish Chandrasekaran

Krish Chandrasekaran, PhD

Dr. Krish Chandrasekaran is the Lab Manager of the Russell research laboratory team. With backgrounds in Chemistry and Biochemistry, Dr. Chandrasekaran has devoted nearly 45 years to better understanding the mechanisms of neurological pathways. Originally from India, Krish received his PhD from Madurai Kamaraj University in Tamil Nadu in 1978. Prior to his current role as a research scientist for the University of Marlyand, he also has previous tenures as an assistant professor for the Department of Anesthesiology at UMSOM and as a post-doctorate visiting scientist at the National Institute of Health. His current research focuses on studying axonal degenerative mechanisms and the contribution of mitochondrial dysfunction to axonal injury. 

Joungil Choi, PhD

Dr. Joungil Choi has been a collaborative partner and research member of the Russell laboratory since 2012. Her background includes experience from the fields of molecular biology, microbiology, biochemistry, and neurology. She received her PhD in biochemistry & biomedical sciences from the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth, Texas in 2002. Her research is interested in investigating the molecular mechanisms underlying diabetic-induced cognitive dysfunction and dementia. Currently, she is focused in investigating the role of PINK1- and 35-kDa novel PGC-1 alpha signaling in mitochondrial regulation function, and neuroprotection against high-fat diet-induced neuronal abnormalities in the hippocampus.

Cheng-Ying Ho, MD/PhD

Dr. Cheng-Ying Ho is an Assistant Professor of Pathology at University of Maryland School of Medicine. Her main research interests are in sensory neuroscience and sensory neuropathy. Her research is devoted to understanding skin-derived neurotrophic factors in the development and maintenance of the cutaneous mechanosensory nervous system, which is responsible for touch and pain sensation. Her lab is currently focused on elucidating the role of skin-derived BDNF for neuroprotection against diabetic neuropathy and for the development of novel therapeutics for diabetic neuropathy.

Dr. Ho publishes extenstively in high-impact journals, including New England Journal of Medicine, Cell, Annals of Neurology and Acta Neuropathologica. She is the recipient of the 2018 Passano Physician Scientist Award and NIH Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Award (K08). Learn More


Shreya Vuchula

Shreya Vuchula
Research Volunteer

Jen Holland

Jennifer Holland
Research Volunteer

Contributing Staff & Faculty

  • Gregg Davis- Gregg has provided administrative support for the Neuromuscular Research Program for 4 years under the direction of Dr. Russell. He works to assist with grant and manuscript submissions, maintains PubMed bibliographies and CV’s, and performs general administration for research activities. 
  • Yvonne Pratt, BS- Yvonne has provided administrative support for the ALS Center of Excellence for 3 years under the direction of Dr. Russell and Dr. Montserrat Diaz-Abad.  She works directly with pharmaceutical companies and infusion care providers to coordinate patient treatment for patients seen in the ALS Center of Excellence.  She has also worked closely with the Department of Neurology Research office to apply for a grant specifically to educate and assist the caregivers of our ALS patients.
  • Victoria Richards, BS
Dr. Lindsey Zilliox Headshot

Lindsay Zilliox, MD, MS


Diabetes Research Focus: Highlighted Publications

View Publications

Translational Research

  • Choi J, Ravipatia A, Nimmagadda V, Schubert M, Castellani RJ, Russell JW.  Potential roles of PINK1 for increased PGC-1α-mediated mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation and their associations with Alzheimer disease and diabetes. Mitochondrion Vol. 18C:41-48, Sept 2014. PMID: 25260493
  • Choi J, Chandrasekaran K, Demarest  T, Kristian T, Xu S,  Vijaykumar K, Dsouza KG, Qi NR, Yarowsky  PJ, Gallipoli R, Koch LG, Fiskum GM, Britton SL and Russell JW.  Brain diabetic neurodegeneration segregates with low intrinsic aerobic capacity.  Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology 1(8):589-604, Aug 2014. PMID: 25356430.
  • Choi J, Chandrasekaran K, Inoue T, Muragundla A, Russell JW.  PGC-1a regulation of mitochondrial degeneration in experimental diabetic neuropathy.  Neurobiology of Disease Vol. 64; Pages118–130, Apr 2014. PMID: 24423644
  • Biessels GJ, Bril V, Calcutt NA, Cameron NE, Cotter MA, Dobrowsky R, Feldman EL, Fernyhough P, Jakobsen J, Malik RA, Mizisin AP, Oates PJ, Obrosova IG, Pop-Busui R, Russell JW, Sima AA, Stevens MJ, Schmidt RE, Tesfaye S, Veves A, Vinik AI, Wright DE, Yagihashi S, Yorek MA, Ziegler D, and Zochodne DW.  Phenotyping animal models of diabetic neuropathy: a consensus statement of the diabetic neuropathy study group of the EASD (Neurodiab). Journal of the Peripheral Nervous System Vol 19 (2):77-87, June 19, 2014 PMID: 24934510
  • Chandrasekaran K, Muragundla A, Inoue T, Choi J, Rao Sagi A, Chen C, Ide T and Russell JW. Mitochondrial Transcription Factor A Regulation of Mitochondrial Degeneration in Experimental Diabetic Neuropathy.  American Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism, 2015 Jul 15;309(2):E132-41. PMID: 25944881
  • Nimmagadda VK, Makar TK, Chandrasekaran K, Sagi AR, Russell JW, Bever CT. SIRT1 and NAD+ Precursors: Therapeutic Targets in Multiple Sclerosis: A Review. Journal of Neuroimmunology, 2017 Mar 15;304:29-34. doi: 10.1016/j.jneuroim.2016.07.007. Epub 2016 Jul 17. PMID: 27474445
  • Chandrasekaran K, Muragundla A, Demarest TG, Choi J, Sagi AR, Najimi N, Kumar P, Singh A, Ho CY, Fiskum G, Koch LG, Britton SL, Russell JW.  mGluR2/3 Activation of the SIRT1 Axis Preserves Mitochondrial Function in Diabetic Neuropathy.  Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology, 2017 1;4(12):844-858. PMID: 29296613

Clinical Research 

  • Litchy WJ, Albers JW, Wolfe J, Bolton CF, Walsh N, Klein CJ, Zafft AJ, Russell JW, Zwirlein M, Overland CJ, Davies JL, Carter RE, Dyck PJ. Proficiency of Nerve Conduction using Standard Methods and Reference Values (Cl. NPhys Trial 4). Muscle and Nerve. Vol. 50, Issue 6, pages 900–908, Dec 2014.; PMID: 24644133
  • Zilliox LA, Ruby SK, Singh S, Zhan M, Russell JW.  Clinical neuropathy scales in neuropathy associated with impaired glucose tolerance.  Journal of Diabetes and its Complications, April 2015 Volume 29, Issue 3, Pages 372–377, PMID: 25690405
  • Bril V, Blanchette CM, Noone JM, Runken C, Gelinas D, Russell JW. The Dilemma of diabetes in chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy.  Journal of Diabetes and its Complications. 2016 Sep-Oct;30(7):1401-7; PMID: 27389526
  • Zilliox LA, Chandrasekaran K, Kwan JY, Russell JW.  Diabetes and Cognitive Impairment.  Current Diabetes Reports, 2016 Sep;16(9):87. PMID: 27491830
  • Gewandter JS, Burke L, Cavaletti G, Dworkin RH, Gibbons C, Gover TD, Herrmann DN, Reeve BB, Russell JW, Smith AG, Smith SM, Turk DC, Vinik AI, Freeman R.  Content Validity of Symptom-based Measures for Diabetic, Chemotherapy, and HIV Peripheral Neuropathy.  Muscle & Nerve, 2017 Mar;55(3):366-372. doi: 10.1002/mus.25264. Epub 2016 Dec 23. PMID: 27447116
  • Adler BL, Russell JW, Hummers LK, McMahan ZH.  Symptoms of Autonomic Dysfunction in Systemic Sclerosis Assessed by the COMPASS-31 Questionnaire, Journal of Rheumatology, 2018 Aug;45(8):1145-1152. PMID: 29907667
  • Gwathmey KG, Sadjadi R, Horton WB, Conaway MR, Barnett C, Bril V, Russell JW, Shaibaini A, Mauermann ML, Hehir MK, Kolb NA, Guptill J, Hobson-Webb LD, Gable K, Raja S, Silvestri NJ, Wolfe GI, Smith AG, Malik R, Traub R, Joshi AS, Elliott MP, Jones SM, and Burns TM. Validation of a simple disease-specific quality of life measure for diabetic polyneuropathy; the CAPPRI. Neurology, Jun 5, 2018. PMID: 29728528
  • Diaz-Abad M, Buczyner J, Venza B, Scharf SM, Kwan JY, Lubinsky B, Russell JW.  Poor Sleep Quality in ALS Patients at the Time of Diagnosis. Journal of Clinical Neuromuscular Disease 2018, (in press).

Contact Us

Russell Research Laboratory
University of Maryland Medical Center
Department of Neurology
3rd Floor, 110 S. Paca Street
Baltimore, MD 21201

Tel: (410) 328-3100
Fax: (410) 328-8981