David Benavides head shot

See Dr. Benavides' faculty profile.

David R. Benavides, MD, PhD – Principal Investigator

Dr. Benavides directs the translational clinical neuroscience research program to investigate immune regulation of neuronal function, with particular interest in autoantibody-mediated neurological syndromes.

Dr. Benavides joined the faculty as Assistant Professor of Neurology in April 2017. He earned M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the Medical Scientist Training Program at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. As a neuroscience graduate student in the laboratory of James A. Bibb, Ph.D., he employed a multidisciplinary approach using biochemistry, electrophysiology, transgenic rodent models, and animal behavior to study reward signaling, learning and memory, and mood-related behavior.

Dr. Benavides completed adult neurology residency training at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland followed by fellowship training in the Division of Neuroimmunology and Neurological Infections. He also completed postdoctoral fellowship training in neuroscience at Johns Hopkins in the laboratory of Richard L. Huganir, Ph.D., where he used neuronal culture models to investigate the effects of autoantibodies on intracellular signal transduction cascades.

Joo Yuyoung head shot

Yuyoung Joo, PhD - Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Joo received a PhD in neuroscience from Seoul National University, Korea in 2011. During her doctoral training, she studied neurodegenerative disease using neural stem cells and rodent animal models. From 2011 to 2013, she worked as a neuroscience instructor at Dongguk University.

In 2013, she worked in NIH to investigate a genomic mechanism of the neuropsychiatric disease using next-generation sequencing analysis. Dr. Joo joined the Benavides Laboratory in 2018, and she is studying the molecular mechanisms of anti-NMDAR encephalitis.

She has received the Fellow Award for Research Excellence (2016, NIH), the Mentoring Achievement Group Award (2016, NIH), the Nathan Shock Award (2017, NIH), and the Butler-Williams Scholarship (2017, NIH).

Charles A. Dean, BS, MS – Graduate Research Assistant

Charles Dean received a BA in Biology and History from Hood College in 2013. He is currently in the Program in Neuroscience (PIN) at UMB.

He has diverse research background in ecology, biochemistry, tissue culture, and stem cell biology. He worked in industry as a stem cell technician and scientist before joining graduate school. He joined the Benavides Laboratory in 2019 and applies advanced microscopy techniques to define autoantibody effects on synaptic function.

Charles was appointed to the T32 Training Program in Integrative Membrane Biology (TPIMB) to pursue this graduate work.

Hien Vu, BS, MS – Laboratory Research Technician

Hien Vu received a BS in Biotechnology from the University of Natural Sciences, Vietnam, in 2008. She also received a BS in Food Science (2011) and a MS in Grain Science (2014) from Kansas State University.

In her graduate work, she developed a novel sorghum flour and has extensive training in analytical chemistry in starch chemistry. She has worked as a biological science technician at the USDA Center for Grain and Animal Health Research. She joined the Benavides Laboratory in 2018.

Laboratory Alumni

  • Sophia Liu, undergraduate student – UM Scholars Program (Summer 2019)
  • Tia Douglass, BS – Laboratory Research Assistant (2017-2018)
  • Xavia Lemott, undergraduate student – Research Volunteer (Fall 2017)
  • Julian Peregoff, high school student – Research Volunteer (Summer 2018)