Students

Johannes Hammacher

Program Start Year:
2021
At Freie Universitaet Berlin, I am pursuing my Master’s in Biology. I have been focused on Neurobiology, especially Neurophysiology, as well as Bioinformatics and Computer Science. I’m fascinated by the workings of the nervous system as well as the promises of modern computer technology.

Federica Mosti

Program Start Year:
2020
Mentor:
Debby Silver
Faculty lab
Email address: federica.mosti@duke.edu
My background is in molecular biology and genetics, but I have always looked at the neurobiology field with great interest. Duke gave me the opportunity to join my background and my interest, expanding my knowledge in neurobiology. I am interested in understanding the molecular pathways of neurons during the brain development and discovering how these mechanisms have changed through evolution.

Minel Arinel

Program Start Year:
2019
Mentor:
Eva Naumann
Faculty lab
Email address: minel.arinel@duke.edu
I'm interested in the gut-brain axis, specifically in how different enteric stimuli are encoded by enteroendocrine cells, vagal sensory afferents, and downstream brain regions. I use translucent and genetically accessible larval zebrafish as a model organism to decode the functional connectivity of gut-brain neural circuitry using an all-optical approach.

Isabella Fallon

Program Start Year:
2019
Mentor:
Henry Yin
Faculty lab
Email address: isabella.fallon@duke.edu
The ability to combine a series of actions into an ordered sequence is essential for executing complex behaviors and this process is impaired by Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases. The mechanisms underlying sequence production are unknown however, striatal projecting intratelencephalic (IT) and pyramidal tract (PT) pathways from the motor cortex may regulate sequence learning and performance. My research employs in-vivo calcium imaging, closed-loop optogenetics, and machine-learning based behavioral analysis to examine these cell populations during sequence production.

Thomas Nguyen

Program Start Year:
2019
Mentor:
Anita Disney
Faculty lab
Email address: thomas.nguyen@duke.edu
I study the role of neuromodulators like acetylcholine and serotonin in visual processing. By using a combination of electron microscopy, immunolabeling, and electrophysiology, my primary project explores how the anatomy of neuromodulatory systems may segregate feedforward and feedback circuits in the visual system and impact the function of these circuits.

Shaolin Ruan

Program Start Year:
2019
Mentor:
Nicole Calakos
Faculty lab
Email address: shaolin.ruan@duke.edu
I work on corticostriatal mechanism underlying habitual vs goal-directed behaviors at a circuit and system level.

Matt Loring

Program Start Year:
2018
Mentor:
Eva Naumann
Faculty lab
Email address: matthew.loring@duke.edu
I am interested in understanding functional mechanisms underlying the development and maintenance of neural circuitry. I aim to quantify how representations across both individual neurons and neural ensembles change to enable behavioral development.

Aki Min

Program Start Year:
2018
Mentor:
Michael Tadross
Faculty lab
Email address: akira.min@duke.edu
Mapping anxiolytic effect of Diazepam (a benzodiazepine) by cell-type within the basolateral amygdala - using DART (drugs acutely restricted by tethering). Modeling Diazepam's effects on neural network activity. Deep learning based analysis of mouse anxiety-like behavior.

Arthy Narayanan

Program Start Year:
2018
Mentor:
Anne West
Faculty lab
Email address: arthy.narayanan@duke.edu
I am currently interested in understanding neuronal activity-dependent gene regulation by cis-regulatory elements. I am specifically working on determining and understanding the role of enhancers in the regulation of Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF).

Meredith Schmehl

Program Start Year:
2018
Mentor:
Jennifer Groh
Faculty lab
Email address: meredith.schmehl@duke.edu
I am interested in how vision and hearing work together to guide behaviors such as locating sounds. In particular, I am studying how the primate inferior colliculus responds to sounds in the presence and absence of an accompanying light, to understand how the inferior colliculus might integrate the visual and auditory spatial codes.

Peter Weng

Program Start Year:
2018
Mentor:
Diego Bohorquez
Faculty lab
Email address: peter.weng@duke.edu
I am interested in the communication between gut and brain. In the Bohórquez laboratory, I have been studying neuropod cells, neuroepithelial cells in the gut, that synapse with vagal neurons to rapidly convey properties of dietary amino acids from to the brain.

Sasha Burwell

Program Start Year:
2017
Mentor:
Michael Tadross
Faculty lab
Email address: sasha.burwell@duke.edu
I am using DART (drugs acutely restricted by tethering) to antagonize and potentiate specific postsynaptic receptors on midbrain dopamine neurons in vivo. These manipulations will enable interrogation of how specific synaptic inputs onto VTA dopamine neurons modulate the phasic burst and pause dynamics of these cells, as well as their roles in adaptive reward learning and extinction.

Shuyang Jin

Program Start Year:
2017
Mentor:
Court Hull
Faculty lab
Email address: shuyang.jin@duke.edu
I study the circuit mechanism of cerebellar learning in mice. In particular, I am interested in testing how different behavioral states influence cerebellar processing, and how associative learning is achieved in the cerebellar cortex.

Na Young Jun

Program Start Year:
2017
Mentor:
Greg Field
Faculty lab
Email address: nayoung.jun@duke.edu
I am focusing on computational understanding of retinal information processing using deep neural networks and information theory. In the future, I hope to apply the understanding of neural information processing to the general brain-machine interface and develop visual prosthetics.

Jennifer Li

Program Start Year:
2017
Mentor:
Lindsey Glickfeld
Faculty lab
Email address: jennifer.li1@duke.edu
I am a graduate student in the Glickfeld lab. Using a variety of in vitro and in vivo electrophysiological techniques, I am identifying mechanisms underlying adaptation at time scales relevant for naturalistic visual input. Feel free to reach out with any questions!

Winston Liu

Program Start Year:
2017
Mentor:
Diego Bohorquez
Faculty lab
Email address: winston.w.liu@duke.edu
As a graduate student in the Bohórquez Laboratory, I am using electrophysiology, single cell sequencing, and quantitative behavioral phenotyping to dissect a neural circuit that transduces sensory cues from gut luminal microbes to brain areas that control behavior.  I aim to become an independent physician-scientist focused on the interactions between our mind and other organ systems.

Juan Ramirez

Program Start Year:
2017
Mentor:
Cagla Eroglu
Faculty lab
Email address: juan.ramirez@duke.edu
I study the role of glial cells, namely astrocytes and microglia, in the formation and elimination of synapses in the developing cortex. I am interested in understanding the molecular signals that astrocytes and microglia use to coordinate their respective functions in response to sensory experience. Specifically, I have been focusing on the role of a known astrocyte-secreted synaptogenic molecule, Hevin, in regulating sensory experience dependent synapse refinement by microglia.

Stuart Behling

Program Start Year:
2016
Mentor:
Steve Lisberger
Faculty lab
Email address: stuart.behling@duke.edu
I am generally interested in sensorimotor systems. I am currently using smooth pursuit eye movements to understand the modulation of motor feedback in driving eye movement behavior. I am looking specifically at circuits in area MT and the cerebellum. 

Mariah Hazlett

Program Start Year:
2016
Mentor:
Anne West
Faculty lab
Email address: mariah.hazlett@duke.edu
I study how neural activity-dependent gene regulation translates to changes in circuit function and behavior, mostly in the context of addiction. My main project focuses on the role of fast-spiking interneurons of the Nucleus Accumbens in the development of addictive behaviors. I also use CRISPR-based epigenome editing tools to study how enhancers affect activity-dependent gene expression.

Dongye Lu

Program Start Year:
2016
Mentor:
Fan Wang
Email address: dongye.lu@duke.edu
919-613-5104
Circuit mechanisms of affective pain and of internal states (arousal, motivation, emotion) related to stress.

Caitlin Paisley

Program Start Year:
2016
Mentor:
Jeremy Kay
Faculty lab
Email address: caitlin.paisley@duke.edu
I am currently interested in studying the mechanisms that underlie nervous system development, specifically the development of glia. My project is focused on determining the processes involved in the developmental death of retinal astrocytes.

Gwenaelle Thomas

Program Start Year:
2016
Mentor:
Marc Caron & Kaf Dzirasa
Faculty lab
Email address: gwenaelle.thomas@duke.edu
I study human psychiatric conditions in mouse models, specifically schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety disorders. My research focuses on dopamine dynamics in the prefrontal cortex and the broader cortico-striatal circuit. Using electrophysiology, neuroscience, and cellular biology techniques I measure how pharmaceutical agents affect the brain to better understand how to improve therapeutics for patients. 

Divya Subramanian

Program Start Year:
2015
Mentor:
Marc Sommer
Faculty lab
919-681-1176
I am broadly interested in a computational and circuit-level understanding of sensorimotor systems. Specifically, I am interested in how motor information interacts with sensory processing to drive perception and behavior.

Sam Brudner

Program Start Year:
2014
Mentor:
Richard Mooney
Faculty lab
Email address: samuel.brudner@duke.edu
919-684-5133
I graduated from Yale College in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in cognitive science. There, I completed a senior project, advised by Brian Scholl, that investigated a relationship between eye movements and memory. I have also conducted psychology research with Daniel Richardson at University College London, and with Marcia Johnson at Yale. Beyond many interests within psychology, I enjoy music and dance -- and I have studied and performed traditional and contemporary West African dance.