Savannah Rocha

Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences

216 Physiology

(970) 491-7317

About Savannah

Hey, my name is Savannah, and I am a PhD Candidate within Dr. Zabel's and Dr. Tjalkens' laboratories. I primarily look at mechanisms that drive glial reactivity and neurodegeneration resulting in Parkinson's Disease onset through the chemical exposure of pesticides. In concert, I investigate protein misfolding that leads to numerous disease such as prion diseases, Parkinson's Disease, Alzheimer's Disease and Lewy Body Dementia. More recently, I have switched gears and do research out in the Biosafety Level 3 at CSU Foothills Campus looking into therapeutic targets to mitigate inflammation caused by SARS-CoV-2. In addition, I have investigated the potential neurological affects that may result from this virus. I also work closely with pathologists out at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital/Diagnostic Medicine Center looking into equine medicine and neurological disorders produced by viral insults. I am extremely passionate about the research that I conduct and strive to form long lasting bonds with collaborators, colleagues and students throughout the course of studies. I graduated undergraduate with my degree in Microbiology from CSU and have a deep love for the unseen world of microbes!! Aside from research, I love to be outside with my four dogs! Fishing has always been a favorite activity of mine, probably stemming from my upbringing in a small mountain town in western Colorado. I am highly involved in the fitness community and enjoy making jewelry along with other crafts.


B.S. Microbiology, Colorado State University, 2017


Rocha, S.M., et al., A novel glucocorticoid and androgen receptor modulator reduces viral entry and innate immune inflammatory responses in the Syrian Hamster model of SARS-CoV-2. bioRxiv, 2021: p. 2021.02.20.432110. Fagre AC, Manhard J, Adams R, Eckley M, Zhan S, Lewis J, Rocha SM, Woods C, Kuo K, Liao W, Li L, Corper A, Challa D, Mount E, Tumanut C, Tjalkens RB, Aboellail T, Fan X, Schountz T. A Potent SARS-CoV-2 Neutralizing Human Monoclonal Antibody That Reduces Viral Burden and Disease Severity in Syrian Hamsters. Front Immunol. 2020 Dec 18;11:614256. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2020.614256. PMID: 33391285; PMCID: PMC7775388. Fagre A, Lewis J, Eckley M, Zhan S, Rocha SM, Sexton NR, Burke B, Geiss B, Peersen O, Kading R, Rovnak J, Ebel GD, Tjalkens RB, Aboellail T, Schountz T. SARS-CoV-2 infection, neuropathogenesis and transmission among deer mice: Implications for reverse zoonosis to New World rodents. bioRxiv [Preprint]. 2020 Aug 7:2020.08.07.241810. doi: 10.1101/2020.08.07.241810. Update in: PLoS Pathog. 2021 May 19;17(5):e1009585. PMID: 32793912; PMCID: PMC7418741. Bantle CM, Phillips AT, Smeyne RJ, Rocha SM, Olson KE, Tjalkens RB. Infection with mosquito-borne alphavirus induces selective loss of dopaminergic neurons, neuroinflammation and widespread protein aggregation. NPJ Parkinsons Dis. 2019 Sep 13;5:20. doi: 10.1038/s41531-019-0090-8. PMID: 31531390; PMCID: PMC6744428. Kane SJ, Swanson E, Gordon EO, Rocha S, Bender HR, Donius LR, Aguzzi A, Hannan JP, Zabel MD. Relative Impact of Complement Receptors CD21/35 (Cr2/1) on Scrapie Pathogenesis in Mice. mSphere. 2017 Nov 22;2(6):e00493-17. doi: 10.1128/mSphereDirect.00493-17. PMID: 29202042; PMCID: PMC5700378.