School of Biomedical Sciences


Dr. Stella Goulopoulou

Stella Profile Pic Circle



Dr. Stella Goulopoulou is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physiology and Anatomy. Dr. Goulopoulou’s research training and career has always been concentrated on cardiovascular physiology. She received her MS and PhD from Syracuse University at Syracuse, NY. Her MS studies focused on pediatric cardiovascular exercise physiology, while her PhD thesis was on the effects of exercise training on venous function in adults with pre-hypertension. At the end of her graduate studies in 2010, she transitioned from the field of applied human physiology to basic science research and did her postdoctoral training in basic science vascular physiology with Dr. R. Clinton Webb in Augusta University, Augusta, GA. In 2014, she moved to Fort Worth, Texas to join the faculty at the University of North Texas Health Science Center and start her own research program. In addition to directing her laboratory, Dr. Goulopoulou is actively engaged in teaching graduate students in the Master’s and PhD programs at the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS), in the Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) at the School of Health Professions (SHP), and in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program in SHP. Dr. Goulopoulou is dedicated to graduate education and her trainees and she is an avid advocate of women’s health. She serves in editorial boards and various national committees in the American Heart Association and the American Physiological Society. Dr. Goulopoulou is the founder and chair of the annual Women’s Cardiovascular and Brain Health research symposium at UNT health Science Center, an activity that combines research, collaborations, trainee mentoring, and community outreach.



Meet current and past members of our lab! 

Jessica Bradshaw, PhD
Postdoctoral Researcher



Jessica Bradshaw earned her BS in Microbiology/Cell and Molecular Biology at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, OK and PhD in Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, MS. After completing a postdoctoral fellowship in cardiovascular and renal physiology under the mentorship of Dr. Joey Granger at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Dr. Bradshaw moved to Texas in 2020 to join Dr. Goulopoulou’s lab at UNTHSC. Dr. Bradshaw’s research interests include examining the contribution of placenta-derived mitochondrial DNA on aberrant activation of the maternal innate immune response and vascular dysfunction during pregnancies complicated by hypertension and organ damage. Outside of the lab, Dr. Bradshaw enjoys spending time with her family, attending sporting events and concerts, watching videos of baby hippos, and boating at a local lake.


Contessa Ricci, PhD

Research Specialist




Contessa Ricci is originally from Hawaii. She earned two BS degrees in zoology and marine biology at Humboldt State University in Arcata, California. She then moved to Arlington, Texas, where she earned her PhD studying coral reefs (coral immunology and symbiosis) at the University of Texas at Arlington using proteomic and bioinformatic techniques. Dr. Ricci joined Dr. Goulopoulou’s lab in June 2020. In addition to lab management duties, she uses machine learning and high performance computing to answer questions regarding the development of pregnancy hypertensive disorders. Dr. Ricci has an avid interest in health and environmental policy, and seeks to pursue this in the future. Her hobbies include taking her dog on adventures, outdoor sports and activities (camping, hiking, rock climbing, kayaking, etc.), taking care of plants, art (creating it herself and enjoying what others create), and building things. Pronouns: she/her

Spencer Cushen, BS

DO/PhD candidate specializing in integrative physiology



Previous education and work history: In 2015 I received my Bachelor of Science in Biology at Baylor
University in Waco, TX. From there I matriculated into the University of North Texas Health Science Center in the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (TCOM). It was during my first and second years of medical school that I became interested in pursuing a PhD in physiology. I began working in Dr. Goulopoulou’s lab in the summer of 2016, where I studied the effects of a dietary antioxidant (L-sulforphane) on mesenteric arterial function.

Current research interests and career goals: My dissertation is focused on the contribution of cell free DNA to the vascular dysfunction present in pregnancy complications. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) has been noted to be increased in pregnant women suffering from preeclampsia. mtDNA is an immunostimulatory molecule, and our lab has previously demonstrated that pregnant rats given a mtDNA mimetic express preeclampsia-like features; however, its source and function in human pregnancy is currently unknown. My project consists of approximately three parts: 1) two observational studies in human pregnancy to more precisely measure mtDNA in blood, 2) in vitro and ex vivo experiments to determine the source and cause of mtDNA release, and 3) determine the effect of in vivo administered mtDNA on coronary arteries of pregnant rats. After completion of my dissertation, I will return to medical school to finish my clinical education. After graduation, I plan to continue my career at a research focused residency program in interventional radiology, where I intend to pivot my extensive basic science training to more clinical or translational research interests to align with my clinical practice of medicine.

Hobbies: Rock climbing, finding new coffee shops, going to museums to pretend to understand art, and arguing with my closest friends

Jordan Gardner, BS

Master’s student



Jennifer “Jordan” Gardner completed her Bachelor of Science in Chemistry at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas. In the spring of 2019, she joined Dr. Goulopoulou’s lab at the University of North Texas Health Science Center as a traditional master’s student. Her research interest includes understanding the relationship between autophagy and the release of placenta-derived mitochondrial DNA. After completion of her master’s, Jordan hopes to continue her research in the Goulopoulou lab by pursuing a PhD in physiology. Outside of the lab, Jordan enjoys frequenting coffee shops and reading classic novels.

Selina Tucker

PhD student



Selina Tucker is a PhD student coming from Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, CO where she earned a B.S. in Cellular, Molecular, and Developmental Biology with an emphasis in Forensic Science. Selina joined the Goulopoulou lab at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in the Fall of 2020. Her research interests include coronary vascular function and cardiac function during pregnancy and in the post-partum period. Outside of the lab, Selina enjoys rooting for her hometown Kansas City sports teams, baking, traveling and continuing her quest for the perfect office supplies!

Juhi Singhal, BSA

Medical Student



I am currently a third year medical student at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine. I am from Austin and I went to the University of Texas at Austin for my undergrad. I joined Dr. Goulopoulou’s lab in the summer of 2019 where I study chronic intermittent hypoxia’s effect on postpartum maternal vascular function. I hope to pursue an OBGYN residency in the future. In my free time, I enjoy baking, hiking, watching sports (go Spurs!), and trying new restaurants with my friends.


Deborah Osikoya, PhD

Integrative Physiologist


Chloe Benichou, MS

Medical Student