2020-2021 First Year Students

Mark Agrios (1)

Mark Agrios: College of William & Mary, Neuroscience & Mathematics

“My research connects neuroscience with the mathematical principles of information theory, dynamical systems, and algebraic topology in an effort to find how the nervous system processes sensory-motor information. By combining theory and experimentation I hope to uncover mechanisms of information processing at all different scales, from single neurons to brain regions to natural behavior.”

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Jacob Bhoi: Rice University, Neuroscience

“My research training has predominantly involved genetic and molecular analyses to study how cell-autonomous circadian clocks in the retina adjust retinal physiology to adapt to changing environmental conditions. Through this work I’ve gained an appreciation for how seemingly small changes at the cellular level can have profound effects on neural circuits. I’m interested in studying how neural circuits in sensory systems execute complex computations and how alterations to these circuits influence behavior.”

Castro_Hs - Nancy Castro Borjas

Nancy Castro Borjas: Minnesota State University Moorhead, Biochemistry & Biotechnology

“My research training includes in vivo two-photon imaging of human neural stem cells engrafted into mouse visual cortex to characterize their structure and function. This work, aimed at understanding the structural dynamics of human cortical development, sparked my interest in studying the link between neural circuits and behavior. During my graduate training, I hope to expand my techniques and knowledge to address questions pertaining to how neural circuitry elicits complex behaviors.”

Headshot - Sam Cermak

Samantha Cermak: Binghamton University, Integrative Neuroscience

“My past research training involved the development of a rodent model using transcranial magnetic stimulation(TMS) to treat addiction. During this time, I came to appreciate the various techniques(behavioral assays, MRI, microscopy) involved in understanding the mechanisms of neuropsychiatric disorders and addiction. In the future, I hope to use neuroimaging to understand the neural mechanisms of decision making. I am interested in applying this work to broader fields, including psychology, business, and law..”

IMG_3205 - Christopher Cyr
Christopher Cyr: University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Neuroscience

“My research background is primarily in systems-level work in rodents while studying motor control and basal ganglia/thalamocortical physiology. I am now interested in moving to human studies, and once again pairing neurophysiological data with behavior/kinematics to learn about the brain. I have a primary interest in studying motor control, but I am also intrigued by experiments in learning and memory and other topics.

Headshot_Molly - Molishka Flores-Narvaez
Molishka Flores-Narvaez: Pontifical Catholic University, Biomedical Sciences

“My research experiences have predominantly involved the use of molecular techniques and analyses to understand how sensory processing evolves across different species. Through this work I became interested in how the development and modulation of neural circuits influence sensory processing and behavior. As part of my graduate training, I wish to expand on the techniques and knowledge I learned to use an integrative approach to better understand how the properties and modulation of sensory circuits elicit different behavioral responses..”


Sheridan Goldstein (1)
Sheridan Goldstein: Tulane University, Neuroscience

“At the NIH, my research focused on subcortical neuronal circuits involved in visual selective attention and perception in mice. I am interested in continuing to use different mouse models to better understand neuropsychiatric diseases at a systems and behavioral level.”

Headshot - Eduardo Guadarrama
Eduardo Guadarrama: Amherst College, Neuroscience

“My previous research involved investigating the mechanisms of spinal cord regeneration within Petromyzon marinus, the sea lamprey, through behavioral and histological analyses. Although spinal cord regeneration interested me greatly, I also hoped to delve into physiology and plan to make that a priority in the coming years.”


IMG_4874 - Qianzi He
Qianzi (Elena) He: McGill University, Neuroscience

“My research experiences to this point have mostly involved combined behavioural and molecular studies in rodent models, with the most interesting project focusing on altered metabolic regulation in the mesolimbic system and peripheral tissue under the effect of stress, and its implications in social behaviour. In the future, I wish to expand on the techniques and knowledge I learned by studying metabolic regulation in neuromodulation, preferably in a psychiatric disease model.”

SJ_Photo - Sophia Jenz
Sophia Jenz: Northwestern University, Neuroscience

My research interests lie at the intersection of neuroscience, rehabilitation, and robotics. During graduate school I hope to combine the understanding of neurological injury with the power of machine learning to improve rehabilitation equipment for individuals who rely on assistive devices.


IMG_2959 - Yuejun Liu
Yue Jun Liu: Northwestern University, Neurobiology

“My research experience to this point have involved using chemogenetic modulation, cell-attached recording, circuit tracing, and behavioral analysis to evaluate oxytocin circuit structure and function on mice. I also gain training on monkey electrophysiology and behavior to understand saccade strategy and visual prediction. In the future, I hope I can learn more about circuit dynamics, learning and memory, as well as the decision-making process with behavioral assays, computational model and functional tools such as patch clamp, calcium imaging, and 2-photon imaging.”

Kristine McLellan
Kristine McLellan: University of Chicago Neuroscience

My previous research focused on the somatosensory system, mainly investigating the mechanisms underlying somatosensory percepts like speed, roughness, and other textural sensations. I look forward to working with different animal models and broadening my research understanding in other sensory systems.

IMG_2063 - Nkatha Mwenda
Nkatha Mwenda: Kalamazoo College, Biology

“My previous research experience focused on identifying new therapeutic targets for the treatment of age-related diseases using bioanalytical chemistry. I also have experience in research focused on the genes involved in Schwann cell-mediated peripheral nerve repair.  Through this work, I became interested in the molecular and cellular neuroscience and specifically the molecular pathology of age-related diseases.”

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Peter Salvino: John Hopkins University, Electrical Engineering, Neuroscience

“My previous research experience involved behavioral training and single-unit electrophysiology to study the development of higher order visual processing in a ferret model. I have also used fMRI, EEG, and high density electrophysiology methods to characterize a rat model of absence epilepsy. In my graduate studies, I hope to utilize my engineering background to model neural networks involved in complex behaviors.”

Miranda Torres: The University of Texas at Dallas, Neuroscience, Child Learning and Development

“My research experiences range from neuroengineering to neurogenetics in rat models. I, first, worked in a neuroplasticity lab that paired vagus nerve stimulation with a motor task to drive recovery in peripheral nerve injury, spinal cord injury, and stroke injury models. I then moved to a neurodevelopmental lab that used genetics to understand various disorders. My project focused on characterizing the behavioral and molecular outcomes of a mutation in an autism risk gene called Cntnap2. These research labs helped me focus my interests in motor systems and rehabilitation. I hope to learn more about motor pathways and develop my  workbench skills during my graduate career. “


Annie Zalon
Annie Zalon: University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience

“As an undergrad and research technician, my research focused on neurodegenerative polyglutamine diseases, specifically spinocerebellar ataxia types 1 and 3. I’ve really enjoyed studying gene suppression therapies, like ASOs, for the treatment of these diseases. In grad school I’d like to explore research more in line with my academic training, like cognition or psychiatric disorders.”