Pre-pandemic lab social activities: Christmas party 2019 and MS Walk Chicago Spring 2019

Sarah E. Lutz, Ph.D. 

Dr. Lutz opened her lab in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at UIC in 2017. Dr. Lutz obtained her Ph.D. from Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY in 2010 and completed postdoctoral training at University of California, Irvine and Columbia University Medical Center in New York.  Her undergraduate degree is in Neuroscience from Pomona College, Claremont, California.  She trained with Dr. Dritan Agalliu (Columbia, UCI), Dr. Sunil Gandhi (UCI), and Drs. Eliana Scemes, Celia Brosnan, and Cedric Raine (Einstein). Her work has been recognized with funding from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the NIH and the Stereology Resource Center, and presentation awards from University of California Riverside Center for Glial Neuronal Interactions and the Institute of Immunology at University of California Irvine. She has taught courses including Cell Biology, Modern Techniques in Neuroscience, Stem Cells in Society, and Effective Mentoring of Undergraduate Students in the Research Lab.


Graduate Students:

Troy Trevino is a graduate student in the GEMS program, studying caveolar transmigration of T cells across the BBB.




Lab Manager:

Andrea Ochoa-Raya graduated with Distinction for her laboratory research in our lab and Honors for her GPA with a BS in Neuroscience from UIC. She has received two prestigious fellowships supporting her research in the Lutz lab: The Latin@s Gaining Access to Networks for Advancement in Science (L@S GANAS) program at UIC, and a LASURI fellowship for summer 2018 research, and was selected for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society Travel Award to present her research at a national conference in 2019. Her research includes whole tissue clearing for three-dimensional reconstruction of immunostained structures in the intact CNS. Congratulations to Andrea for entering the UIC GEMS PhD program!


Current Undergraduate students:

Quinton Crisman is an undergraduate at UIC pursuing a double major in Neuroscience and Philosophy. His main research interest is how COVID-19 damages neurovasculature. Outside the lab, Quinton’s interests include rock climbing and performing improv comedy at Second City.


Vidya Babu joined us a freshman in the GPPA program with a pre-medicine focus. She is a member of the Honors College.

Bhoomi Desai is a Neuroscience major and member of the Honors College.



Lab Alumni:



Lutz Lab Spring 2018

Elizabeth Pietruczyk obtained her bachelors degree in Biology from Benedictine University. Elizabeth’s research focused on integrin-mediated trafficking of T cells across the blood-brain barrier. She is now pursuing an advanced degree in nursing. In lab she generated a first author methods paper regarding improvements to laminectomy and two photon microscopy strategies.

Jenson Phung graduated from UIC College of Liberal Arts & Science with a Bachelor of Science in Biological Science in 2017, worked in the Lutz Lab from 2017-2018, and went on to Medical School at UIC.  His research project addressed blood-brain barrier repair in chronic mouse models of neuroinflammation. Outside of his lab work, he enjoys playing volleyball and hip-hop dancing.


Mary Grace Horne graduated from UIC in 2019 with Distinction for her laboratory research and GPA. Her research project was to measure regulatory T cells in the spinal cord.  She is now working as a lab manager in Monica Lee’s lab at UIC.



Bryan Del Toro is a member of the Honors College at UIC and L@S GANAS fellow. His research project tested the expression of Stabilin in the blood-brain barrier.