Oleksii Shandra is Research Scientist at Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at Virginia Tech Carilion of Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University in Roanoke, Virginia. He graduated from the Odessa National Medical University as an MD in 2009 and completed the Residency in Dermatology in 2011. During his research throughout medical training, Dr. Shandra bridged his clinical specialty in Dermatology with Physiology as he studied sleep-wake cycle disturbances and the role of the nervous and immune system in an experimental model of contact allergic dermatitis in rats. He received his PhD from Odessa National Medical University in Pathophysiology in 2015.
Dr. Shandra developed a keen interest in Neuroscience and electrophysiological approaches for brain research. As a Post-Doctoral Fellow (2014-2016) in Dr. Galanopoulou’s Developmental Epilepsy lab at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, New York he studied a rare type of epileptic seizure syndrome of infancy, called infantile spasms, and tested efficacy and tolerability of anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-epileptic and glucocorticoid agents on spasm suppression.
Dr. Shandra’s research in seizures and epilepsy then continued at Dr. Stefanie Robel’s lab in 2016 as he became attracted to the role of glial cells in development of seizures. As a Post-Doctoral Associate, he studied the role of astrocytes in development of spontaneous seizures characterized a mouse model of diffuse traumatic brain injury (TBI) that reproduces post-traumatic epilepsy. He then developed and described a technical approach to image live mice before and repeatedly after TBI. This approach help Dr. Shandra to identify alterations in calcium signaling between astrocytic domains and loss of protein expression using multiphoton microscopy of cortical astrocytes in live transgenic mice before and months after TBI.
In 2018 Dr. Shandra earned a Research Scientist position at Robel Lab. He designed and taught a course “Principles of Epilepsy Research” at the School of Neuroscience at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. This course aimed to introduce students to medical and research side of epilepsy as well as hands-on training in electroencephalographic analysis. Dr. Shandra now continues his research of the changes in astrocytes in response to injury and their role in development of post-traumatic seizures and works on further characterizing animal models of post-traumatic epilepsy.