Gator NeuroScholar: Dr. Andrea Merchak

Andrea Merchak
Dr. Andrea Merchak

Lab of Malú Gámez Tansey, Ph.D.

Department: Neuroscience

Age: 29

Hometown: Lexington, Kentucky

Doctorate from: University of Virginia

Research focus: Understanding how the gut environment and gut microbiome influence the nervous system in neurodegenerative disorders.

What drives me: A desire to understand how our bodies work and what goes wrong during disease. I find the communication between the microbes that live within us and our own bodies fascinating. By further understanding these processes, we can also push medicine forward and give patients hope for new therapies.

Something few people know about me: I would love to go to clown school!

My favorite food: Grilled cheese and tomato soup.

In my free time, I like to: Knit, read and run.

“I am really interested in a wide swath of neurodegenerative disorders. I think ultimately what I’d like to do is utilize knowledge from certain diseases and apply that to others where it might not necessarily have ventured into the scientific zeitgeist yet.”

McKnight Brain Institute

Gator NeuroScholars Highlight Series

This post was published as part of a larger article on Gator NeuroScholars, a new postdoctoral fellowship program. At UF’s McKnight Brain Institute, postdocs come from across the globe, attracted by access to renowned neuroscientists and pioneers in their fields who serve as mentors and by a wide array of leading scientific programs ranging from cognitive aging and brain tumors to Alzheimer’s disease and respiratory physiology.

Drone photo of the M-B-I building