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Our Research Lab

The Martinez Lab is located on the 5th floor of Cooper Medical School of Rowan University.

The Martinez Lab is focused on understanding the role of the nucleus tractus (nTS) solitarii and other brain regions in cardiorespiratory dysfunctions. As a postdoc, her work elucidated the role of astrocytic transporters in chronic intermittent hypoxia (CIH), a model of sleep apnea and the transporters' effect on nTS function. Her lab now focuses on nTS dysfunction and its role in the development of hypertension and other cardiorespiratory diseases.

The Team

The Martinez Lab is currently seeking volunteers or those searching for research course credit. Keep an eye out on our news page as we may post job availabilities soon!

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Diana Martinez, PhD


Dr. Martinez graduated from NJIT/Rutgers in 2015 with her PhD in Neuroscience/Biology and worked with Dr. Farzan Nadim. Her interest in the interplay between intrinsic cellular dynamic and synaptic transmission began here. Following a postdoc at McGill University in sensory processing, Dr. Martinez joined the lab of Dr. David D. Kline to study how the nucleus of the solitary tract,  intrinsic cell dynamics, and synaptic transmission coordinate physiological mechanisms, such as cardiorespiratory function.

Fun Fact about DM: Diana is ambidextrous (except for writing) and in high school softball pitched both lefty and righty.



Dominic Coutinho

Undergrad/Medical Student Researcher

Dominic is  a third year student, currently attending Rowan University as part of the 3+4 BS/MD Program with Cooper Medical School. He's very excited to be joining the Martinez Lab, and  can’t wait to see what our future holds!

Fun Fact about DC: Outside of school, he loves to cook everything from homemade pasta to hand rolled sushi.


Alyssa Exarchakis

Medical Student Researcher

Alyssa is currently a third year medical student at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University. She is interested in pursuing Anesthesia as a specialty. Her hobbies include snowboarding, cooking, and spending too much time on TikTok. She is very excited to join the Martinez Lab and explore how disruptions in the circadian rhythm can impact cardiorespiratory function.

Fun Fact about AE: Alyssa's favorite animal is a goose!



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Sekou Bayo

Medical Student Researcher

 Sekou is a third year as a medical student. He is interested in internal medicine with aspirations to become either a cardiologist or neurologist. He is passionate about serving underserved communities and helping the less fortunate.  

Fun Fact about SB: Played varsity soccer in high school and he love cakes :)



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Kush Patel

Medical Student Researcher

Kush is currently a second-year medical student at Rowan-Virtua School of Osteopathic Medicine. He is interested in internal medicine with thoughts about pursuing either cardiology or sports medicine. Kush enjoys playing basketball and working out in his free time. He is very curious on learning how circadian misalignment plays a role in understanding cardiorespiratory parameters.

Fun Fact about KP: He  ran cross country and track for 9 years from 8th grade through all four years of college.



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Raymond Crowthers IV

Medical Student Researcher

Ray graduated from Rowan University in 2020 and is a student at Rowan-Virtua School of Medicine! He loves reading, running, and keeping up with the news. Some of his interests outside of medicine include religious philosophy, the US Supreme Court, mathematics, and mindfulness

Fun Fact about RC: Ray's favorite culinary dish is Chicken Tikka Masala.



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Jesse Viggiano

Medical Student Researcher

Jesse is a third-year medical student at CMSRU, and like many other students Jesse is interested in everything.  He has interests in everything from emergency medicine, cardiology and dermatology to ENT and GI surgery.  Jesse is a hands-on worker, and loves applying what he is learning in the textbooks to real life organisms. Jesse is not only passionate about growing his own knowledge, but also loves to teach and help others grow as well. 

Fun Fact about DC: Jesse loves cooking!



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Priscilla Ahwin

Medical Student Researcher

Priscilla is a third medical student at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Biological Science from Rowan University and is excited to apply what she has learned in research to help people in the future. Priscilla enjoys running, playing chess, and crocheting.

Fun Fact about PA: Priscilla can play three instruments - violin, flute, and piano.



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Yoshna Rajendran

Undergrad/Medical Student Researcher

Yoshna is currently a junior at Rowan University in the 3+4 accelerated medical program. She is excited to research how interferences in circadian rhythm affect blood pressure. She officially joined the lab in February 2022. 

Fun Fact about YR: Yoshna loves watching and tv shows, especially Marvel.



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Lab Volunteer

Interested in joining the lab? Contact Dr. Martinez. 

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Interested in joining the lab? Contact Dr. Martinez.

Lab Alumni

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Richa Prabhu

High School Student

RISER Program

Richa is a rising senior at Eastern Regional High School. She is aspiring to become a pediatrician/neonatologist in the future. Her strong interests in cell biology, biochemistry, and genetics led her to participate as a student researcher in Rowan University’s RISER program. Richa’s hobbies outside the lab include playing piano, badminton, and watching cute baby and puppy videos on Instagram. She is humbled to be part of the Martinez Lab and is excited to learn about the science behind cardiorespiratory dysfunctions.

Fun Fact about RP: Richa is obsessed with playing with Scotch tape whenever she can get her hands on it.


Summer 2022

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Eric Greenwald

Undergraduate Researcher

Eric is starting his junior year at Ursinus College. He is currently working on his degree in Biology, and is planning to go to medical school after he completes his degree. His goal is to be a surgeon. His strong interest in neurology and cardiology has brought him to this lab. His favorite topics include evolutionary genetics, Darwinian studies, and exercise science. In addition to his studies, he is a member of the varsity baseball team at Ursinus College.



Fun Fact about EG:  Coming from a musical family, Eric has played piano for 13 years.



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Jason Conviser

Research Assistant/Lab Tech

Jason just graduated from  Rowan University as a Biochemistry major with a minor in Public Health and Wellness. He is interested in medicine, drug development, and in-vivo research. His goal is to work in pharmaceutical R&D after obtaining his Master's or Doctorate in the field. Aside from that, Jason is interested in almost every sport, attempting to go to baseball, basketball, and football games whenever possible.

Fun Fact about JC:  He loves animals, but has never had a pet.




Olawale Babalola

Research Assistant

 Wale is a product of College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences, University of Sierra Leone. He is a highly motivated clinician with experience in pre-clinical and clinical research. With Dr. Lori Rink at Fox Chase Cancer Center he elucidated the mechanisms of resistance of Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor (GIST) to Receptor Tyrosine Kinase (RTK) inhibitors. At Penn Medicine, he worked as a Clinical Services Associate and also trained in Good Clinical Practice. Under the supervision of Dr. Martinez at CMSRU, he’s involved in academic research looking into the central mechanisms of cardiorespiratory dysfunction.

Fun Fact about OB: Wale is a talented soccer player but then loves the smell of a new book.


Maria Celeste Lopez Vazquez

U-RISE Fellow/ Undergraduate Researcher

Maria Celeste is a U-RISE fellow of Rowan University going into her Sophomore year. She's a biochemistry major and plans to do an MSTP and aspires to study Infectious Diseases and Family Medicine. Aside from medicine, she likes to learn new things, language learning being one of them.  

Fun Fact about MCLV: Maria Celeste can solve the Rubik's Cube in 2 minutes or less!

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