Who We Are

The Sombers Lab is an interdisciplinary group comprising researchers from Chemistry, Biochemistry, Engineering, Biology and Physics. Our research focuses on the development, characterization, optimization, and application of analytical techniques to study neurochemical changes in living brain tissue. Our ability to make complex biological measurements in behaving animals distinguishes us from most analytical chemists by allowing us to use our developments to make significant advances in the field of Neuroscience.  Read More >>

The Sombers Lab is affiliated with the Department of Biomedical Engineering and with the W.M. Keck Center for Behavioral Biology at NCSU.

You can also find us on Facebook.


Recent Happenings

Summer 2016

  • Leslie Sombers, Greg McCarty, Samantha Smith, Christie Lee, and Leslie Wilson presented their work at the Monitoring Molecules in Neuroscience Meeting in Gothenburg, Sweden. They then went on to work with Olaf Paulson, Leif Ostergaard, and Kirsten Moller on an exciting project at Copenhagen University. It was a very productive and super awesome Scandinavian tour! Photos in the gallery here and here.

Spring 2016

  • Carl Meunier has won a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship. This very prestigious award recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines.
  • Congratulations to Sambit Panda for winning a Goodnight Scholars Undergraduate Research Grant.
  • Leslie Wilson has been selected to be the first recipient of the Early Mentoring Award from the Undergraduate Research Student Advisory Council (URSAC). This is a student-driven nomination that reflects Leslie's commitment to teaching and mentoring.
  • Undergraduate researchers Sambit Panda, Shelby Winchester, Brennen Guzik, and Catie Mason presented their work at the 2016 State of North Carolina Research and Creativity Symposium.
  • Congratulations to Samantha Smith! Samantha was awarded a fellowship to attend the Monitoring Molecules in Neuroscience (MMIN) meeting in Gothenburg, Sweden, where she will present her work on "Simultaneous Real-Time Measurements of Dopamine and Glucose at Single Recording Sites in Striatal Tissue."
  • Congratulations to Leslie Wilson for winning a Keck Center for Behavioral Biology award to attend the (same) MMIN Meeting in Sweden and present her work on "Real-Time Striatal Measurements of Oxidative Stress and Dopamine in the Dyskinetic Rat During Chronic L-DOPA Treatment For Parkinson's Disease." Leslie's award will furthermore allow her to give an invited talk at Indiana University's 2016 Indiana University Animal Behavior Conference.
  • Congratulations to Leslie Wilson for a third place poster at the Graduate Student Research Symposium!
  • Congratulations to Carl Meunier for completing his cume exams.
  • The Sombers Lab is participating in the State of the Sciences Museum Takeover at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences. Come on out on April 8 to celebrate the work of NC State scientists with laboratory tours, local craft beer, image-rich theater presentations and hands-on demos.
  • Brain and Behavior Night 2016!!!! Brains make behavior happen. Come explore the Sombers Lab outreach event on March 17 from 6 - 8:30 PM at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences.
  • The Sombers Lab rocked PittCon 2016 in Atlanta. Photos in the gallery. A big shoutout to Brennen Guzik and Catie Mason for winning undergraduate travel grants to present their work at this conference, and to Lars Dunaway for winning a SEAC travel award. Brennen also won a PittCon undergraduate poster award.
  • Congratulations to Leslie Wilson for winning The Comparative Medicine Institute Award for Chemistry at the Interface of Medicine.
  • Dr. Leslie Sombers and her research group hosted a group of teenagers who are affiliated with the group "My Brother's Keeper." This organization was founded by President Obama to "address persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color and ensure that all young people can reach their full potential." The Sombers lab gave them a tour of the lab, including an examination of rat and pig brains, and the group did some hands-on demonstrations for them. The group also had a Q&A time with group members about college selection and career preparation.
  • Leslie takes 1st place in snowboarding for the 4th time in a row at the Smitty Stevens Ski Race at the Winter Conference on Brain Research!
  • Congratulations to Sarah Calhoun and Nastassja Rhodes for completing their cume exams!

Fall 2015

  • Leslie Sombers was named a 2015 - 2016 University Faculty Scholar, a group of high-performing faculty recognized for their significant achievements in scholarship, teaching, and service.
  • Congratulations to Samantha Smith for passing her preliminary exam and becoming an official doctoral candidate!
  • Christie, Lars, Samantha, Tiger, and Leslie traveled to Chicago to present their data at the Society for Neuroscience meeting.
  • Rockstar undergraduate student Catie Mason won the I. M. Kolthoff award sponsored by the ACS Division of Analytical Chemistry. This $750 award will fund her travel to PittCon, where she can present her work investigating the chemical mechanisms that underlie the initiation and progression of Parkinson's disease. Only three of these awards are given annually.
  • Leslie Wilson will represent the Sombers Lab at SERMACS — the Southeast Regional Meeting of the ACS.
  • A huge welcome to Carl Meunier, the newest member of our team!
  • Congratulations to Leslie Wilson for passing her preliminary exam — she is an official candidate for the doctoral degree.
  • Leslie Sombers joined the Editorial Advisory Board for ACS Chemical Neuroscience.
  • Sarah Calhoun presented her work at the Annual Symposium for the Molecular Biotechnology Program.

Summer 2015

  • Congratulations to Dr. Lingjiao Qi for recently defending her dissertation!
  • Congratulations to Brennen Guzik for winning an NCSU Dept of Chemistry Summer Research Award to support his work.

Spring 2015

  • Congratulations to Catie Mason for winning an NCSU Undergraduate Research Grant to support her work.
  • Congratulations to Leslie Wilson for winning a poster award at the Triangle Society for Neuroscience Spring Neuroscience Meeting.
  • Leslie W., Tiger, Samantha, Lars, and Lingjiao presented their work at the Triangle Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience Spring Neuroscience Meeting.
  • Dr. Sombers and her daughter, Evalena (age 7), gave public talks for the NCSU College of Sciences. The talks were entitled "Monitoring the Molecules of the Mind - My Quest to Understand How Chemistry Underlies Behavior," and "Why It's Cool to Have a Mom Who is a Scientist at NCSU."
  • Congratulations to Dr. Andy Schmidt, who recently defended his dissertation and accepted a position at Sealed Air in Charlotte, NC.
  • Leslie Wilson, Samantha Smith, Lars Dunaway, Edwin Mitchell, and Lingjiao Qi all gave talks at PittCon 2015 in New Orleans.
  • Leslie Sombers gave a talk at PittCon in the PittCon Awards Symposium Honoring Andy Ewing.
  • Christie Lee gave a great talk at the NCSU Brains and Behavior outreach event at the NC Science Museum.
  • Leslie Wilson has won a University Graduate Student Association (USGA) Teaching Award.
  • Sarah Calhoun has won an NIH/NCSU Molecular Biotechnology Training Program (MBTP) Traineeship to support her graduate research.

Fall 2014

  • Christie Lee, Lingjiao Qi, and Kristen Blanton attended the Society for Neuroscience meeting in DC.
  • Several grads from the Sombers Lab attended SERMACS 2014 in Nashville. View the photo gallery of the event here.
  • Andreas Schmidt and Dr. Sombers were invited to visit the labs at BASF in the Triangle. They gave research talks and had interesting discussion with several scientists from "The World's Leading Chemical Company."
  • Lars Dunaway, James Roberts, Andy Schmidt, and Leslie Wilson visited Sara Jones' lab at Wake Forest University Medical School. They learned first hand about microdialysis sampling and optogenetics, and Lars delivered an electrochemistry lecture to the first-year neurobiology graduate students.
  • Samantha Smith has been selected to participate as an associate in the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) Neuroscience Scholars Program sponsored by NINDS. This is an outstanding achievement.
  • Nastassja Rhodes has been selected as an NCSU IMSD Scholar, funded by the NIH. Congratulations, Nastassja!

Summer 2014

  • Several Sombers Lab students participated in an outreach event for the SciTech Summer Technology Institute, an annual community enrichment program in science, math, and technology for middle school students in Winston Salem and Forsyth County, sponsored by Wake Forest Innovations. View the photos here.

Spring 2014

  • Congratulations to our graduating seniors, Kristen Blanton and Kyle Martin! Way to go!
  • Chelsea Sumner, our Project SEED high school student, was featured in an ACS Promotional Video.

Fall 2013

  • Leyda Lugo-Morales was hired as a forensic scientist by the NC State Bureau of Investigation — Congratulations, Leyda!
  • Andy Schmidt's nanotube yarn electrodes are featured in a nanotechnology spootlight on nanowerk.com

Summer 2013

  • Leyda Lugo-Morales's glucose paper was accepted to Analytical Chemistry
  • Andy Schmidt's first paper was accepted to ACS Nano
  • Lingjiao and Leslie are working with Lee County teachers in two Chemistry workshops in July
  • Congratulations to Doctora Leyda for defending her PhD in Chemistry!
  • Leslie, Lingjiao Qi, and Elina Thomas are working once again with Carol Chappell and Lee County elementary and middle school teachers to help build a strong foundation in Chemistry for our NC kids.
  • The Sombers Lab Outreach Video, created for 8th graders at Lee County Schools, directed and produced by Julie Gras-Najjar, is fricking SWEET!
  • We are happy to welcome incoming graduate students Nathalia Ortiz and Samantha Smith, as well as a new Research Asst Prof, Tiger Xie this summer.

Spring 2013

  • Congratulations to Steph Hughes for her master's degree in Chemistry and a great new job in the triangle at bioMerieux Inc.
  • Leyda Lugo-Morales, was awarded the SIGMA XI Chapter Research Award in recognition of superior achievements in academic research.
  • Marina's paper was just accepted at ACS Chemical Neuroscience.
  • Steph Hughes has won an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship! Way to go, Steph!
  • Leyda's voltammetric glucose sensor work was featured in SCOPE magazine.
  • Leyda's voltammetric glucose sensor work was featured in the Technician.
  • Congratulations to James Roberts, the first PhD from the Sombers Lab!
  • Leyda Lugo-Morales has won first place in the 8th Annual Graduate Student Research Symposium with her poster presentation entitled "Enzyme-modified Carbon Fiber Microelectrode Based on the Voltammetric Detection of H2O2". The Symposium was held, Tuesday, March 19. More information is posted at the Symposium web page.
  • Dr. Sombers, Lingjiao Qi and Andy Schmidt presented their work at PittCon 2013 in Philadelphia, March 17-21.
  • Congrats to Steph Hughes! She has lined up a job for after her defense this spring. She will be an Inorganic Environmental Chemist at First Analytical in Raleigh.
  • The Sombers lab participated in the “Building the Brain” interactive exhibit at the NC Museum of Life and Science for Brain Awareness Week, Durham NC, March 2013.
  • The Sombers lab has been BUSY with some outreach! We developed and taught exciting chemistry activities to eighth grade students at East Lee Middle School in Sanford, NC. Prior to this event, we sent a SWEET introductory video and held a video chat discussion with each of the six classes to prepare them for our visit.
  • Dr. Sombers was elected to the Society of Electroanalytical Chemistry Board of Directors.
  • New publication! Roberts, J.G., Lugo-Morales, L.Z., Loziuk, P.L.*, and Sombers, L.A. Real-time Chemical Measurements of Dopamine Release in the Brain, Methods Mol Biol. 2013; 964:275-94.
  • Dr. Sombers gave a lecture at the Winter Brain Conference in January, and won first place in the Smitty Stevens race — on a snowboard!
  • Filming begins for the Sombers lab outreach video.

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