People

PI

 
Robert C. Froemke
 
Robert C. Froemke
Our lab studies neuromodulation and plasticity of the cerebral cortex. We generally focus on the functional consequences of changes to synaptic transmission and neural circuits, in terms of behavioral improvements and enhanced sensory perception.
 
I performed my PhD studies at UC Berkeley and my postdoctoral research at UCSF. Biosketch is here.
 
 

Postdoctoral Fellows

 

Christian Laut Ebbesen

I want to know more about how neural activity gives rise to complex behavior, such as social behavior. Correctly navigating the social world is of massive ecological importance, but we still know very little about how the mammalian brain integrates multifaceted sensory information to generate healthy social behavior. In my work, I focus on the oxytocin system and use a combination of experimental and computational tools to study and manipulate neural activity during social behavior in mice.

I received my PhD in Neurobiology from the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Germany. I did my doctoral research in the laboratory of Michael Brecht at the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience and I was associated with the Berlin School of Mind and Brain. During my PhD, I worked on the cortical control of rat whisker movements in the context of rat social facial touch and on spatial and temporal coding in parahippocampal cortex. I received my undergraduate degrees in physics/biophysics from the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Supported by a postdoctoral fellowship from the Novo Nordisk Foundation.

 
Michele Insanally 
Neurons recorded in behaving animals often do no discernibly respond to sensory input and are not overtly task-modulated. These nominally non-responsive neurons are difficult to interpret and are often neglected from analysis, confounding attempts to connect neural activity to perception and behavior. My postdoctoral work investigates the extent to which nominally non-responsive cells contain hidden task-information and how this information is embedded in dynamics of neural ensembles. Tackling this problem requires a multi-faceted approach. To this end, my work combines in vivo electrophysiological recordings (tetrodes and μECoG arrays) from multiple cortical areas during behavior with computational approaches (novel single-trial decoding).
 
I received my PhD in Neuroscience from UC Berkeley under Shaowen Bao and my BA in the Biological Sciences from Columbia University.

Supported by a K99 award from NIDCD and a NARSAD Young Investigator's Award from the Brain and Behavior Foundation.

 

Cyan McFarlane

My research involves performing electrophysiological and psychological experiments on human subjects to measure auditory perception and learning, combined with EEG and pupillometry recordings. As an undergraduate at NYU, I worked at under Dr. Bianca Jones Marlin, looking at the effects of oxytocin on neural plasticity within the auditory cortex and on social behavior. 
 
I received by B.S. in neural science from NYU in 2013 and my M.D. from the Medical School for International Health at Ben-Gurion University in 2018. 

 

Silvana Valtcheva

I am interested in the neurophysiological correlates of parenting. I study the mechanisms and neural circuits supporting experience-driven plasticity in the maternal brain that gate the recognition of infant cues and enable oxytocin release. I use in vivo channelrhodopsin-assisted patching of optically-identified oxytocin neurons in awake mice, combined with viral tracing approaches. I investigate the plasticity of auditory responses to natural infant vocalizations in the paraventricular hypothalamus of newly maternal mice. 

I received my PhD in Neuroscience from the University Pierre and Marie Curie in Paris, France. My graduate work with Dr. Laurent Venance at Collège de France (Paris) focused on the rules governing spike-timing-dependent plasticity in the rodent striatum and its control by astrocytes and inhibitory networks. 

Supported by a Leon Levy Neuroscience Fellowship.

 

 

Graduate Students

 
Jonathan Gill 
I study how expectation and experience alter sensory representations. In collaboration with Dmitry Rinberg, I use 2-photon imaging, optogentics and behavioral experiments to explore how neuromodulatory systems support changes in sensory perception in both the auditory and olfactory systems. 

I received my B.A. in Psychology from NYU in 2008 before working as a research technician in the labs of Dr. George Alvarez at Harvard University and Dr. Ann Graybiel at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

 
 

Erin Glennon

I graduated from Columbia University with a BA in Neuroscience and Behavior and honors in Biology. Now I’m part of the Medical Scientist Training Program at NYU and am interested in translational research in otolaryngology and neurology. I am pursuing these interests in the Froemke lab by studying the neural response of the auditory cortex to cochlear implants. Specifically, I am using optogenetics and fiber photometry in the locus coeruleus to modulate norepinephrine during auditory and cochlear implant learning to further elucidate the role of neural plasticity in cochlear implant use.

Supported by an F30 award from the NIDCD and a Vilcek Foundation Award.

 

Naomi Lopez Caraballo

I graduated from University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus with a B.S. in Industrial Biotechnology. Currently, I am part of the Neuroscience and Physiology program at NYU. For my graduate work, I study how auditory cues receive behavioral relevance, specifically during maternal behavior in mice. Using auditory augmented reality, behavior and electrophysiology I plan to further study the neural mechanisms underlying cortical plasticity.

Supported by an NSF Predoctoral Fellowship.

 
 
Katie Martin
I graduated from the University of Virginia in 2013 with a degree in Biology. Prior to starting graduate school, I worked with Josh Dudman at Janelia Research Campus studying basal ganglia circuits underlying reward seeking behavior. For my graduate work, I'm interested in how neuromodulatory signaling affects sensorimotor learning. I'm using a combination of behavior and electrophysiology to study learning-related changes in cortical, striatal, and thalamic circuits. 
 
Supported by an NSF Predoctoral Fellowship.
 
 
 
 
Jess Minder

I received my B.S. from St. Joseph’s College, and my M.S. from Stony Brook University. For my graduate work, in collaboration with Dr. Moses Chao I am interested in studying the molecular mechanisms of cortical plasticity and functional circuit changes as a result of oxytocinergic signaling over a developmental time course using primary cortical neuron cultures and electrophysiology. 

Supported by an NIH Training Grant.

 

Jennifer Schiavo

   

I graduated from Boston College where I majored in Psychology with a concentration in Neuroscience. I am interested in understanding how plasticity in the auditory cortex enables females to recognize and respond to infant distress vocalizations. In addition, I am interested in understanding how neuromodulators, specifically oxytocin, enable cortical plasticity to enhance the behavioral relevance of pup vocalizations. I am using a combination of electrophysiology and in vivo two photon imaging to study these cortical changes.

Supported by an NSF Predoctoral Fellowship.

 

 

Luisa Schuster

I am interested in understanding the spatio-temporal dynamics of oxytocin as it modulates the neural circuits for maternal and social behavior in naturalistic settings. I am currently working on documenting maternal behaviors in the nest as they are developed while, simultaneously, measuring neural activity on a long-term basis.

I studied Law at Universidad Externado de Colombia and received my B.A. in Cognitive Science from UCSD in 2016.

Supported by NIH Training Grant T-32.

 

 

Laboratory Manager

Eleni Papadoyannis

I am interested in the dynamics that enable learning. Currently, I study the effects of vagus nerve stimulation on plasticity in behaving mice. Previously, I explored how sensory perception is modulated by context-dependent behavior in mice with further examination of the dissociation between the acquisition and expression of task knowledge. I graduated with a B.S. in Neural Science from New York University.

 

 

 

 

Laboratory Technicians

Greena Kim

I graduated from Georgia Tech with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering. Afterwards, I decided to pursue veterinary medicine--specifically, lab animal medicine--to merge my love of animals, science, and research. I am taking a break from my veterinary studies at the University of Georgia to conduct research at the Froemke lab. I'm interested in neuroplasticity in the auditory cortex and how it manifests into maternal behaviors, such as recognizing pup calls, in mice. 

 

 

Joyce Mendozza Navarro

I'm currently culminating my Bachelor's degree in Cell and Molecular Biology at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus. I will continue my studies at NYU Sackler Institute's PhD program in August 2018. I am studying what social interactions and sensory stimuli lead to plasticity and behavioral changes in naive virgin female mice. My general interests aim to question how neuroplasticity modulates emotions and memories that lead to complex behavior.

 

 

Jasmin Multani

I recently graduated from New York University with a Bachelor's in Neural Science. I am interested in how behavior can be "rescued" by alternative molecular pathways. In the future, I would like to understand the biomolecular changes by punishment that suppress behavior and eventually test how these rescuing pathways can be applied to rehabilitate cognition.

 

 

 

 

Volunteers

Katie Furman

 

Alumni

 

- Postdoctoral Fellows -
 

Ioana Carcea (Carcea lab at Rutgers University, Newark)

Thorsten Kranz (University of Frankfurt)

Kishore Kuchibhotla (Kuchibhotla lab at Johns Hopkins University)

 

- Graduate Students -

 

James D'Amour (now NIH in McBain lab)

Bianca Jones Marlin (now at Columbia in Axel lab)

Ana Raquel Martins

Mariela Mitre (now finishing her MD)

Julia Scarpa (now finishing her MD)

 

- Medical, Masters, and Undergraduate Students -  

 

James Barger (NYU)

Jane Belyavskaya (SUNY Downstate Medical)

Jordan Carboy (UT Southwestern)

Anja Dorrn (now at Max Delbruck Center Berlin, Poulet lab)

Ugomma Eze (now at UCSF)

Rachel Field

Ritsa Frousios (NYU)

Christine Grosso (now at Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine)

Menghan Jin (now at Scripps)

Anna Kuo (Vassar)

Hannah LaBove (University of Miami)

Xiaofei Lin (NYU)

Jovana Maksic (NYU Shanghai)

Egzona Morina (now at UCL)

Daniel Ramos

Wasiq Rashad (Rutgers)

Feliz Reyes (INTEC, Dominican Republic)

Marwa Semerkant (Hunter College)

Ina Shehu

Emilio Soto (now at UC Berkeley, Kriegsfeld lab)

Tom Hindmarsh Sten (now at Rockefeller University)

Nesibe Temiz (now at FMI, Basel)

Chloe Verducci (Mt. Holyoke)

Natalya Zaika (now at Tufts)

Xinying Zhang (NYU Shanghai)

 

- High School Students -

Regana Alicka

Caroline Ault

Veronika Azzara

Nina Bhatia

Debby Cheng (now at Princeton)

Venus Fu

Harrison Lu (now at Wash U)

Amanda Maria

Jennifer Moskowitz

Daniel Rebibo (now at UCSD)

Cormac Thorpe