Meet Our Graduate Students
Rifqi Affan received his B.A. in Psychology from San Diego State University in 2018. His previous research experience includes the investigation of resting-state and task-related neural oscillations associated with high-intensity binge drinking using electroencephalography, as well as the examination of theta rhythm and neural noise in human intracranial recordings during memory encoding and retrieval. At Boston University, he hopes to study how the brain encodes and processes information at the microscopic and population level. In his free time, Rifqi can be found exercising, drawing/painting, or writing while immersed in strange instrumental music. Mentor: Ben Scott.
Caroline Ahn graduated from Vanderbilt University with a B.S. in neuroscience in 2017. During and after her undergraduate years, she worked as a study coordinator for the Center for Cognitive Medicine at Vanderbilt. Her main role was to recruit and run subjects for Alzheimer’s clinical studies. Caroline is interested in using functional neuroimaging to shed light on how the human brain functions. Outside of the lab, Caroline likes to spend her time exploring the Boston food scene, reading at the local library, or hanging out with her cat. Mentor: Chantal Stern.
Joselyne Alvarez received her bachelor’s degree in Biology with a concentration in Neuroscience and a minor in Psychology from Assumption College in Worcester, MA. Her previous research experiences include working at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Cape Cod where she used electrophysiological techniques to identify mauthner cells in cunner fish. She later on worked at her school and used C. elegans as a model organism to study integrins and their role for proper synaptic development in GABAergic DD motor neurons. Lastly, she worked at the Institute of Neurobiology in San Juan, Puerto Rico in a laboratory that studied spinal cord injury. There, she was given the task of creating an immunohistochemistry protocol to stain adenosine (A1) and dopamine (D1) receptors in lumbar motor neurons in hopes to use psychostimulants such as caffeine as a future pharmacological aid for locomotor behavior. Her current interests include using molecular biology techniques to study neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric diseases. Her hobbies involve hiking, reading a good book, and exploring the city. Mentor: Douglas Rosene.
Makaila Banks graduated in 2020 with a B.S. in Neuroscience from the University of Rochester as a McNair Scholar. During her undergraduate career she researched how attention modulates neuron activity in the rhesus macaque visual system, and how optical aberrations affect temporal vision processing in humans. Most recently in the Root Lab at CU Boulder, she used fluorescent monosynaptic retrograde tracing to map the whole brain inputs to glutamate-GABA co-transmitting cells in the medial VTA of mice. At Boston University she hopes to research the neural development, and treatments of various psychiatric disorders such as substance abuse, depression, and anxiety to educate and improve the mental wellness of vulnerable members of our society. In addition to neuroscience she loves to cook, explore nature, listen to music, and make jewelry for her friends.
Madhura Baxi received her BE (Honors) in Electronics and Instrumentation engineering from Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, India. She then worked as a Technology Analyst on developing a computer vision and image processing based recommendation system at a large software company for a year. Her rising interest in the field of image processing led her to pursue Master of Science in Electrical engineering at Auburn University, with major in Medical imaging. During her master’s program, she worked on several research projects involving canines, humans and monkey brain diffusion tensor imaging and fMRI scans. She also interned for about six months at Psychiatry Neuroimaging Laboratory. She is currently interested in both experimental as well as computational neuroscience and hopes to build a bridge between both. Mentor: Douglas Rosene.
Jackie Birnbaum received her B.S. in Behavioral Neuroscience with a minor in Ethics from Northeastern University. She did most of her undergraduate research at Harvard Medical School studying the cellular heterogeneity in the dorsal raphe nucleus, a midbrain structure where serotonin is produced. Her current research interests include traumatic brain injury and psychiatric illness. When Jackie is not geeking out over science she can be found rock climbing, hiking, and camping in the mountains. Mentor: Michael Economo.
Jamie Blackband graduated from Florida State University’s College of Motion Picture Arts with a BFA in Film Production. To pivot from the arts in pursuit of the sciences, he attended the University of Florida’s Pre-Health Post-Baccalaureate program. During this time, he assisted in a study on the development of Tourette Syndrome and tic disorders over time, as well as research on genetic diversity among bees and wasps. His goal is to investigate the nature of neurological and psychiatric conditions for the development of novel treatments and therapies. In his spare time, Jamie can be found reading, writing, and playing the ukulele.
Kristyn Borrelli graduated with honors from the University of Delaware in 2016 with a B.S. in Neuroscience and a minor in Biological Sciences. As an undergraduate, she worked in a behavioral epigenetics laboratory, investigating the effects of prenatal stress on the methylation of the Bdnf gene using a rodent model. She additionally worked in the cardiology department of Hvidovre Hospital near Copenhagen, Denmark on a project assessing risk factors in the treatment of non-ischemic heart failure. For her graduate work, she is currently interested in studying epigenetic factors in addiction. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, staying active, playing guitar, and cooking. Mentor: Camron Bryant.
Shuqiang Chen graduated from Nanjing Tech University in China with a B.S. in Applied Mathematics (2018). He then received a M.A. in Statistics at Boston University (2020), advised by Dr. Uri Eden. After graduating, he worked at Brigham and Women’s Hospital with Dr. Michael Prerau. His current project focusing on the sleep apnea dynamics inspires him to transfer his major to the computational neuroscience. At GPN, he hopes to conduct research regarding neural spike train analysis, machine learning in neuroscience and bridging the gap between biological models and statistical models. Outside the lab, he enjoys swimming, fencing, table tennis, hiking and traveling, and is a big fan of Stephen Curry.
Dhinakaran Chinappen was born and raised on the beautiful island of Mauritius. Dhinakaran attended the University of Pennsylvania under full undergraduate scholarship, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science in Engineering (Bioengineering) from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences as well as a Bachelor in Economics with a minor in Mathematics. In his time at Penn, he held a 5 year fellowship with the Penn Mathematics Department and the Netter Center for Community Partnerships for this community work in Philadelphia high schools and is a recipient of the Bioengineering Senior Design Award for his work on eye-tracking in breast cancer digital mammography. His work at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia studying brain dysmorphology in children born with HIV earned him a full graduate fellowship from the Institute of African Development at Cornell University where he earned his Masters in Biomedical Engineering from the Graduate School and the Engineering School, besides being appointed on the Engineering Leadership Advisory Board and earning a top spot for his Masters Project on guided lung radiotherapy. In his role as Director of Biomedical Engineering at Picofemto, he led his team on design, engineering and testing towards FDA clearances on two Class II medical devices and in the process was awarded an O-1 visa for Extraordinary Abilities in the Sciences. After spending nearly 3 years doing community outreach programs in New York City and completing an MBA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, he joined the Neurology department at the Massachusetts General Hospital where his work in pediatric epilepsy enticed him to apply for the computational track in our GPN program, working with his mentors, Profs. Catherine Chu and Mark Kramer.
Nathanael Cruzado graduated with a Bachelors of Electrical Engineering with a Double Major in Mathematics from Auburn University. His experiences as an undergraduate include work on systems engineering and the communication systems for a cube-satellite, Android software development, system on a chip firmware documentation, and hyperspectral image processing. Through self-directed study, he became interested in computational neuroscience for it potential to both answer fundamental questions and to inspire new technologies. His current research interests are in neuromorphic hardware and software. He hopes to combine his existing engineering knowledge and skill in mathematics with the neuroscience he will learn at Boston University to develop new computational intelligence approaches. His hobbies include anime, fanfiction, and computer games. Mentor: Marc Howard.
Quan Do graduated from Northeastern University with a BS in Electrical Engineering and a minor in Physics. He has previously wrote imaging apps for security and commercial purposes, built wearables to assist patients with neuromotor impairment, automated tools for designing graphics cards, applied machine learning to identify and classify neuronal types, developed simulation software for driverless vehicles, worked on a biomimetic Lobster robot, and attempted at creating an interactive holographic display. He is currently interested in studying the canonical computations in brains that can be applied to creating better algorithms and smarter machines. When not working or traveling, he enjoys learning a new skill or trying out a new hobby. Mentor: Michael Hasselmo.
Kaitlyn Dorst graduated with honors from the College of William and Mary with a B.S. in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. During her tenure as an undergraduate, she worked in the Systems Neuroscience Lab where she studied the neural underpinnings of breathing behavior. Using optogentics and in vitro electrophysiology, she studied breathing at the cellular and molecular (ion channel) levels. She hopes to apply her skillset to study depression, anxiety, and other psychiatric disorders. Kaitlyn enjoys reading, binge watching anything on Netflix, and she has a “slight” (read: major) obsession with corgis. Mentor: Steve Ramirez.
Matt Dunne graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 2013 with a B.A. in Neuroscience and a minor in Entrepreneurship and Management. During his undergrad, he worked in a Visual Cognitive Neuroscience lab exploring navigability and scene representation using fMRI. After graduating, he worked with Dr. Karin Schon at Boston University School of Medicine investigating the effects of exercise on brain function and structure. Matt is interested in continuing to utilize human neuroimaging techniques to explore cognitive neuroscience questions. Outside of neuroscience, Matt enjoys playing soccer, hiking and trying new things. Mentor: Chantal Stern.
Wei Zhong Goh graduated with a Bachelor and Master of Physics with a minor in East Asian Studies from Brandeis University. As an undergraduate, Wei Zhong worked in the Brandeis High Energy Physics Research Group and studied the momentum resolution of high-momentum muons at the ATLAS Detector of the Large Hadron Collider. The active neuroscience research at Brandeis led him to develop an interest in the brain as a computational system. In his graduate studies, he hopes to study and model the nonlinear dynamics of neural networks. He is also interested in plant-based meal preparation, Taiwanese Mandopop karaoke, mahjong and road trips. Mentor: Marc Howard.
Janis Intoy received her B.S. in Computer Science from Caltech in 2012. As an undergraduate, she worked in a psychophysics lab studying the influence of gaze orientation on attractiveness judgments. Since then, she has been working at a small technology company in San Diego developing algorithms for speech processing, voice re-synthesis, and speaker classification. While she is still interested in speech processing and its applications, she is curious about neural modeling. Outside of academia, Janis enjoys doing triathlons and puzzles. Mentor: Michele Rucci.
Kylie Isenburg received her B.S. in Psychology at Endicott College in 2016. After graduating, she spent a few years working in a chronic pain neuroimaging lab at Massachusetts General Hospital. Her main project assessed the neural mechanisms underlying social interaction between patients and clinicians in the clinical setting, and how this influences the perception of pain. Kylie is interested in continuing to work in functional brain imaging as a graduate student at Boston University. When she’s not in the lab she enjoys running, baking, drawing, and spending time with her family and friends.
Jenny Klein graduated from the University of Vermont in 2013 with a B.S. in Biology and a minor in Spanish. While at UVM, she worked in a biochemistry lab working on double stranded DNA breaks and repair using the T4 bacteriophage as a model. After graduating, she moved down to Boston to work at Brandeis University studying the CRSIPR-Cas9 genomic editing system. After taking a year to travel in South America and backpack on the Appalachian trail, she is excited to start her graduate work at Boston University. Outside of the lab Jenny enjoys cooking, traveling, hiking, and running. Mentor: Tarik Haydar.
Scott Knudstrup received a B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Michigan in 2015. As an undergraduate, his primary research revolved around the dynamical features of synchronous behavior in brain tissue as they relate to acetylcholine and short-term plasticity. Prior to becoming a student of the sciences, Scott earned a B.F.A. in Music from the California Institute of the Arts, and subsequently taught guitar to half the kids across L.A. He is particularly interested in the neural bases of perception and cognition and their implications/applications for synthetic intelligence. His extraneural interests include film, mathematical logic, and baseball. Mentor: Jeff Gavornik.
Lisa Kretsge graduated from Vassar College in 2014 with a B.A. in Neuroscience and Behavior. After graduating, she spent two years as a technician in Dr. Joshua Gordon’s laboratory at Columbia University. She used in vivo electrophysiology, optogenetics, and behavioral testing in mouse models to study neural circuitry involved in stress and depression. She is interested in continuing to study the neural mechanisms of psychiatric disease as a GPN student. Some of her interests outside of the lab include cooking, reading, and yoga. Mentor: Alberto Cruz-Martin.
Sam Levy graduated from Cornell University in 2013 with a BA in Psychology with honors. While at Cornell, he studied learning and memory in rodents, designing a behavioral model of interference. Since graduating he has worked in the Hasselmo lab at BU, exploring other paths in memory using novel behaviors, electrophysiology, and DREADDs. In the GPN Sam is planning to dive headlong into the interaction of neural circuits and active behavior by designing and animal model of memory interference, understanding its underlying processes from animal down to cell, and using this principle as a template to understand a variety of cognitive processes. Outside of the lab Sam likes to play guitar, climb rocks. Mentor: Howard Eichenbaum/Michael Hasselmo/Ian Davison.
Stamati Liapis graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania in 2015 with a BA in cognitive science and as a member of Phi Beta Kappa. As an undergraduate, he worked in the Computational Memory Lab, where he completed a senior thesis examining the differences in the subsequent memory effect between older and younger adults using scalp EEG data. He also developed a passion for AI and how neuroscience can impact that field. After graduating, he worked as the lab manager for the Epstein Lab, also at UPenn, where he leveraged multi-voxel pattern analyses to study human memory in navigational tasks. At Boston University, he plans to continue exploring human learning and memory with the hope of one day contributing to our ability to restore “lost” memories. Outside the lab, Stamati can be found strolling around pondering the nature of reality and consciousness, playing guitar sometimes well, sometimes quite poorly, playing tennis, being a French snob about food, or either playing or watching American football. Mentor: Chantal Stern.
Will Lynch received his B.A. from Oberlin College, majoring in neuroscience and minoring in chemistry. He previously conducted research analyzing morphological decline in single dopamine cells across age in a mouse model of Parkinson’s disease while also investigating how neuromodulators of the dopaminergic system influence addiction-related behaviors. While at Boston University, Will hopes to further explore molecular underpinnings of drug addiction in hopes of developing novel therapeutic treatments. Will’s passions outside of lab include music, outreach, and most outdoor activities. Mentor: Camron Bryant.
Samantha Malmberg graduated with a B.S. in Neuroscience and B.S. in Chemistry from Northeastern University in 2017. Her academic undergraduate research focused on the structural and functional differences in neurodegenerative disease models under Dr. Craig Ferris. Through the co-op program, Samantha worked at a biotech startup studying neurodegeneration, and Pfizer asking questions about the role of the cholinergic system in attention. She completed three additional immunology internships in protein sciences, pharmacology and foundational immunology at AbbVie Inc. After graduating from Northeastern University, Samantha worked at Vertex Pharmaceuticals studying neurodevelopmental along with kidney diseases. Motivated by questions surrounding learning and memory, she returned to academia and completed an M.S. in Neuroscience at Brandeis University studying decision making under Dr. Shantanu Jadhav. All of these experiences have shaped her passion for memory research which brought her to GPN. During her free time, Samantha enjoys running with friends, practicing yoga, cooking and reading.
Catherine Mikkelsen graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2012 with degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Psychology. Since graduating, she has combined these skill sets working for Dr. Eichenbaum helping to build an automated maze and studying prefrontal-hippocampal interactions in rats. She hopes to expand on the understanding of this circuit in her graduate work. When not in lab, she can be found riding and caring for her horse Benjamin. Mentor: Howard Eichenbaum/Marc Howard.
Margaret Minnig graduated from Northeastern University with a BS in Biology, Minor in Psychology. While there, she completed co-op internships at a molecular biology lab at MIT, teaching English abroad in Cusco, Peru, and at a systems neuroscience lab at HMS, where she studied how motivation influences sensory perception. Margaret continued on as a research technician at this systems neuroscience lab for an additional year, and currently applies this lens to her graduate work on neuropeptides involved in chronic stress and alcohol use. Margaret is pursuing a dual MD/PhD degree, and is interested in the translational validity of the preclinical neuroscience she is pursuing! Outside of the lab, Margaret loves cooking new recipes, running, playing soccer, and the outdoors. Mentor: Valentina Sabino.
Amy Monasterio graduated with a B.S. in Neuroscience and a minor in Art History from the Johns Hopkins University in 2018. She worked as a research assistant studying cognitive decline and gene expression in animal models of aging. Her other experiences involved analyzing hippocampal function and epigenetics in both aged humans and animals. At BU she hopes to pursue research in the fields of neurodegenerative disease and the neurobiology of memory. Amy enjoys traveling, museum going, and reading. Mentor: Steve Ramirez.
Kylie Moore graduated from Bowdoin College with a Bachelor of Arts in neuroscience. Upon graduation, she spent two years conducting research at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, using MRI and EEG to study sleep as it pertains to mood and anxiety disorders. At Boston University, Kylie hopes to employ computational modeling and neuroimaging techniques to further understand the neurobiology of behavioral economics. Her hobbies include yoga, reading true crime novels, planning her next adventure overseas, and navigating Boston’s numerous dollar-oyster deals. Mentor: Chantal Stern.
Tom Morin (www.tmmorin.com) graduated from Tufts University in 2017 with a B.S. in Cognitive & Brain Science and Computer Science. As an undergraduate, he spent two years working with PET and MRI neuroimaging technologies at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Mass. General Hospital. Tom is interested in machine learning, functional neuroimaging, and hopes that his research will contribute to an improved understanding of memory, attention, and other aspects of basic cognition. Tom is originally from Braintree, MA and has lived in the Boston area his entire life. Outside of lab, Tom enjoys running and learning American Sign Language. Mentor: Chantal Stern.
Shen Ning is an MD-PhD candidate at BUSM. She graduated from Cornell University in 2015 with a B.A. in Biology and Society and a minor in Cognitive Science. Her research with Dr. Jan Lammerding at the Weill Institute for Cell and Molecular Biology involved elucidating the effects of an nuclear envelope protein mutation on vascular smooth muscle cell mechanics implicated in Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome. She first ventured into the field of neuroscience during her junior year abroad at Oxford University, where she worked on research projects aimed at understanding the basis of working memory. She was captivated by the complexity of the brain and hopes to expand the field of neuroscience during her studies here at Boston University. Shen has an interdisciplinary and translational approach to her research with the intent to bridge the gap between engineering and medicine. Aside from research and medicine, Shen enjoys traveling and is an avid ballroom dancer. Mentors: Angela Ho/Rudy Tanzi.
Keri Omuro graduated in 2012 from University of California, San Diego earning a B.S. in General Biology and a B.A. in Psychology. As an undergraduate, she worked with a neurogenetics lab studying developmental brain disorders. During the past two years, she has been working at San Diego State University doing research on transcription factor control of neural regeneration and stem cell regulation in planarians. She currently interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms of disease and neurodegeneration, pursuing translational research and developing therapeutics. Outside of science, Keri enjoys trying all sorts of foods and crafting. Mentor: Angela Ho.
Byron Price received a BA from Vanderbilt University in 2011, with two majors in Physics and Spanish. After school, he lived in Spain for two years working as an English teacher. Upon returning to the United States, Byron worked as a research assistant at George Mason University on a Neuroinformatics project regarding hippocampal neuroanatomy. He hopes to conduct research at BU generally regarding the hippocampus and memory function. In his free time, Byron loves to travel, exercise, meditate, and read. Mentor: Jeff Gavornik.
Luis Ramirez received his B.S. in Science and Technology Studies from NYU Tandon School of Engineering studying topics in physics, engineering, philosophy of science, public scientific literacy, and finally, perception and attention. His research interests include expanding our knowledge of sensory processing and its relationship to our moment-to-moment experience. His motivations stem not only from a passion for learning and discovery, but also from the potential to improve the lives of those with sensory disabilities, to inform others of the beauty of our ability to understand the intricacies that compose our perception, and to inspire others to pursue similar endeavors in understanding the disconnect between the physical attributes of the world and our perception of those attributes. In his spare time, Luis loves to produce music of all genres, write, travel, and catch up on his favorite TV shows. Mentor: Sam Ling.
Gabriela A. Rodríguez-Morales graduated with honors from Universidad Metropolitana, San Juan, Puerto Rico with a B.S. in Biomathematics. As an undergraduate student, Gabriela participated in two REU summer programs at Brandeis University, in which she worked with the alteration of the TDP-43 gene in cortical neurons and its effect in synapse formation and at Boston University in which she worked with aberration measurements in microscopes using wavefront sensors. During the last two years of her baccalaureate, Gabriela worked at a developmental neurobiology lab at University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus, in which she studied the effect of bioelectrical phenomena in the regeneration of the holothurian intestine. Her current research interests include studying neural circuits and computational modeling. During her free time Gabriela loves to binge watch Netflix, go hiking and on road trips and spend as much time as possible at the beach. Mentor: Ben Scott.
Michael Rosario graduated with a BS in Psychology from the University of the Virgin Islands, St. Croix and was in the STaRS program at BU for the summer of 2016. He is interested in cognitive neuroscience and health psychology research. He also completed his senior thesis in the Brain Plasticity and Neuroimaging Lab at BU. At the University of the Virgin Islands he conducted research on the social and environmental determinants of men’s health in the Virgin Islands. In his free time he enjoys hiking, cooking, and exploring new places Mentor: Karin Schon.
Emily Schlafly graduated from Tulane with a B.S. in Neuroscience. After school she spent a year volunteering in Costa Rica as a nature guide before returning to the U.S. to study mathematics. She received her M.S. in applied mathematics from the University of Illinois where she participated in research into new methods for analyzing time series data with specific application to fMRI recordings. Her goal at BU is to use mathematics to study neural systems, especially those involved in learning and memory. In her free time, Emily enjoys boxing and dancing. Mentor: Mark Kramer.
Beverly Setzer received her BS in Mathematics with a minor in Biological Sciences from North Carolina State University in 2018. As a part of NC State’s Biomathematics Research Training Group, she helped develop a method for detecting hidden nodes in neuronal networks using non-linear Kalman filtering. This project inspired her to work in a neuroscience lab where she studied the effects of Estrogen on medium spiny neuron excitability. At Boston University, Beverly hopes to increase understanding of neural dynamics resulting from diseases and medications. Beside math and neuroscience, she enjoys relaxing in nature, learning about other cultures, listening to hip hop, and thrift shopping. Mentor: Laura Lewis.
Dana Shaw graduated from The Ohio State University in 2020 with a B.S. in Neuroscience and a minor in Computer and Information Science. While there, she had worked in a few different labs and has experience with mouse, rat, and human research. As an undergrad, she was part of the Neuroambassador program I-CAN that traveled to high schools around Ohio as well as parts of the country to share neuroscience with younger generations. At BU, she wishes to gain even more experience with the computational side of the field to help fulfill her dreams of developing better treatments for those with disabilities. Some of her favorite hobbies include: reading, playing piano, listening to as much music as possible, watching horror films, and discovering TV shows from around the world to binge on Netflix.
Samantha Shelton graduated in 2014 with a B.S. in cellular/molecular biology, a B.A. in psychology, and a minor in chemistry from Humboldt State University. As an undergraduate she worked for 5 years on diverse projects within the field of neuroscience using models from zebrafish to mice to rats to human participants. She then worked at UCSF as a pre-doctoral research fellow through the CIRM bridges grant, using stem cells and viruses as a delivery tools for genes that are mutated in human psychological disorders in order to study cell development. She is interested in cell biology, epi/genetics, and psychological disorders such as substance abuse and schizophrenia. Outside of lab, she loves to try new restaurants, travel, get outside and be active. Mentor: Tarik Haydar.
Monika Shpokayte graduated with her BA in psychology from the City University of New York, Queens College in 2016. During her undergraduate career she studied ran optogenetics experiments studying nicotine addiction in the lab of Dr. Jeff Beeler. She also worked at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center studying the involvement of radial glia in glioblastoma multiforme using single caller RNASeq in the lab of Dr. Viviane Tabar. After graduation she worked in the Neuroscience department at Biogen IDEC studying Alzheimer’s disease and ALS. During her work at Biogen she also started and later completed an MLA in Biology at Harvard School of Continuing Education, where Dr. Steve Ramirez was her thesis director. She left Biogen after a year and rejoined academia through the Ramirez lab at Boston University. Since then her research has been focused on understanding the behavior, neural circuits, and genes involved in the assignment of valence to a memory in the ventral hippocampus and its outputs. Outside of the lab she really enjoy cooking, the outdoors, and getting any chance to spend time with her family and dogs in NYC. Mentor: Steve Ramirez.
Naomi Shvedov graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in Cell Biology and Neuroscience, and a minor in Psychology. There, she performed research on sensorimotor integration in the basal ganglia in Dr. Margolis’s lab. She implemented a surgical procedure in mice that optically exposed subcortical structures, such as the striatum, to two-photon microscopy, with the goal of imaging active neurons and elucidating their role in an awake, behaving animal. Her future research interests include exploring how the mammalian brain integrates multimodal sensory information into a fluid perception of an organism’s environment, and how this unique ability influences behavior. She is interested in better understanding how this unification of sensory experience is affected in certain neuropathologies with aberrant cognitive and perceptual phenotypes. She is fascinated by all aspects of nature and biology, and loves hiking and photography. Mentor: Ben Scott.
Elizabeth Spencer graduated in 2015 with a B.S. in Mathematics, a B.A. in French Language & Literature and a minor in Physics from the University of Maryland, College Park. Previous research projects include developing regression models to predict redshifts of galaxies, image processing via wavelets and multiresolution analysis, and modeling the channel capacity of satellite communication systems. She also enjoys baking cookies, going running, and eating new foods in foreign places. Mentor: Mark Kramer.
Ashley St. John received her B.S. in Neuroscience at Lafayette College in 2018. Previous research projects include using rodent animal models to investigate the relationships between aging and stress on cognitive decline in working memory performance, as well as binge-drinking behavioral impacts on fear and anxiety. As a GPN student, Ashley hopes to continue exploring neural underpinnings of emotional behavior, memory, learning and addiction. She spends her free time reading mystery and science fiction, exploring new places and catch up on her favorite TV shows. Mentor: Ian Davison.
Rebecca Suthard graduated from Boston College in 2019 with degrees in Psychology and Biology. As an undergraduate, she worked in a behavioral neuroscience lab investigating the impact of early life stress on fear discrimination in adult rats. Using transgenic lines and optogenetics, she took part in projects examining the role of the periaqueductal gray and dorsal raphe in prediction error signaling. During an internship at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, she learned in vivo electrophysiology techniques in a behavioral neurophysiology lab. In graduate school, Rebecca hopes to explore the neural mechanisms of learning and memory, and how dysfunction of these circuits may lead to the development of anxiety and PTSD. In her free time, she enjoys spending time outdoors, running, drinking coffee and taking care of her plants. Mentors: Steve Ramirez and Hengye Man.
Allison Tipton is an MD-PhD candidate at Boston University School of Medicine. She graduated from Drexel University in 2016 with a B.S. in Biology and Psychology. During her undergraduate career, she worked in the Psychology lab of Dr. Michael Lowe where she studied eating behavior, hedonic hunger, and biological correlates of eating disorders and obesity in human subjects. As a GPN student, Allison hopes to develop a solid foundation in the various techniques and technologies available for gaining a comprehensive understanding of the brain, and to cultivate a translational approach to questions in neuroscience. Specifically, she is interested in the molecular, genetic, and epigenetic underpinnings and profiles of neuropsychiatric disorders and how current treatments alter gene and protein expression to exert their effects. Outside of the lab, Allison enjoys playing with her cats, fostering kittens, crocheting, and spending time doing animal and mental health advocacy work. Mentor: Shelley Russek.
Nicole Tomassi received her bachelor’s degree in Applied Mathematics with an emphasis in Statistics from San Diego State University in 2019. Her previous research experience involved modeling E.coli bacteria and T4 phage with the goal of understanding how to effectively use bacteriophages as an alternative for antibiotics. She discovered her passion for the brain during a summer REU at the Center for Neural Science at NYU. Here she mapped the input-output function of CA3 principal cells using calcium imaging in the context of an associative memory task. On the Computational track at BU, Nicole is interested in learning more about human machine interfaces and how they can assist those suffering from neural malfunctions. In her free time, Nicole enjoys rock climbing, mother nature, drinking coffee, and teaching yoga. Mentor: Cara Stepp.
Lucius Kelton Wilmerding received a B.A. in Neuroscience from Macalester College. While at Macalester he studied the anxiolytic effects of Licorice Root and the effect of Dorsal Raphe Magnus lesion on analgesia in rat models. Most recently, he worked on optimizing new stimulation techniques for treating Parkinson’s Disease with Deep Brain Stimulation. Kelton is interested in studying the underlying mechanisms and properties of memory and applying this knowledge to brain computer interfaces and treatments for neurodegenerative diseases. Mentor: Michael Hasselmo.
Gregory Wirak received a B.S. with honors from the University of Connecticut, where he studied Physiology & Neurobiology and Molecular & Cellular Biology. He then spent three years engaged in postgraduate research at Yale University, studying the neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses, a group of inherited neurodegenerative disorders with lysosomal pathology, and palmitoylation within the context of neurodegeneration. At BU, he hopes to expand his understanding of the molecular and cellular processes underlying degeneration within the nervous system. Outside of academia, Greg enjoys skiing, hiking, and exercising. Mentor: Chris Gabel.
Zinong Yang graduated from the University of California San Diego in 2017 with a B.S. in Cognitive Neuroscience and a minor in Philosophy. During her undergraduate years, she worked as a research assistant studying visual long-term memory and testing new P300 speller. After graduating, she spent two years as a lab assistant investigating the role of gamma synchronization and cross-frequency interaction in working memory. Her research interests include computational modeling and multi-scale neuroscience. Outside school, she loves hiking, traveling and playing with her adorable cats. Mentor: Laura Lewis.
Hana Yeh received a B.S. in Biology with Neuroscience Option and minor in Psychology from Pennsylvania State University in 2015. As an undergraduate research assistant, she worked in neurodevelopment and neurodegenerative disease lab. She has worked on research projects using small molecules to convert human astrocytes to functional neurons in vitro. Currently, she is interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms and neurodevelopmental pathways of neurodegenerative diseases and developing treatments for such diseases. Some of her other interests include playing tennis, doing yoga, and baking. Mentor: Tsuneya Ikezu.
Kimberly Young received a Bachelor’s of Science, as well as a Master’s of Science in Physiology from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Her Master’s work was focused on understanding the modulation of retrograde signaling programs in coordinating synapse growth at the Drosophila neuromuscular junction. She developed a passion for all things microscopy related after working as a microscopy specialist at the Advanced Bio Imaging Facility at McGill for the past 4 years. Her scientific interests are wide-ranging and include: systems neuroscience (the encoding of information by neurons and small circuits), physics (mechanics, astrophysics, chaos and dynamics), drug-chemistry and mental health, and cell biology (especially transcriptional regulation and cell polarity mechanisms). She spends her free time reading science fiction and fantasy, cooking, and playing sports. Mentor: Michael Hasselmo.