Timothy Monko

Ph.D. 2021

PhD Thesis Title:

Thalamocortical Axons Regulate Superficial Layer Neurogenesis and Cell Fate in the Embryonic and Neonatal Sensory Cortex.

Undergraduate Institution and Major:

Lebanon Valley College, B.S. in Neuroscience, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology – Summa Cum Laude

Graduate Advisor:

Yasushi Nakagawa, MD, PhD, Department of Neuroscience

Description of Graduate Research:

My research explores thalamus-cortex interactions during development with the goal of understanding the regulation of cortical neural stem cells and microglia. I use mouse models which alter thalamocortical connections and investigate changes in neural stem cell division and neuro-immune interactions during embryonic and postnatal development in mice. I am developing a model to investigate microglial maturation and thereby the regulation of neurogenesis.

Graduate Publications:

  • Brown JL, Lyons CE, Toddes C, Monko T, Tyshynsky R. Reevaluating tear gas toxicity and safety. Inhal Toxicol. 2021 Sep 12:1-16.
  • Brown JL, Lyons CE, Toddes C, Monko T, Tyshynsky R. Tear gas safety and usage practices. Journal of Science Policy and Goverance. 2021;18(1):https://doi.org/10.38126/JSPG180104.

Graduate Abstracts:

  • [Oral] Gordon Research Seminar - Neural Development 2017
  • [Poster] Gordon Research Seminar and Conference - Neural Development 2017

Graduate Level Awards:

  • T32 Stem Cell Biology Training Grant 2017-2019
  • Morris Smithberg Memorial Award 2017

Professional Outreach:

Brain Awareness Week 2017, 2018

Thesis Committee Members:

Steven McLoon, Ph.D., Department of Neuroscience (Chair)
Yasushi Nakagawa, MD, Ph.D., Department of Neuroscience
Lucy Vulchanova, Ph.D., Department of Neuroscience 
Lorene Lanier, Ph.D., Department of Neuroscience
Marija Cvetanovic, Ph.D., Department of Neuroscience


What Got You Interested In Research?

I have always wanted to investigate more deeply into science, so once I learned about research as an undergraduate, I knew that I had to go to graduate school.

Research Categories:

  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Neurogenetics
  • Regenerative Medicine and Neural Systems

Why Did You Choose MN?

I chose the University of Minnesota because the neuroscience program was very diverse in research interests, but also had an open and collaborative environment.

Student Mentor and the Best Advice They Gave:

Caitlin Durkee: “Better is the enemy of good” as she quoted Alfonso Araque’s “Mejor es enemigo de lo bueno”.

Favorite Itasca Memory:

Tying all the kayaks and paddleboards together with my classmates and floating leisurely on Lake Itasca.