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

Ismail Ahmed   
I received my B.S. in Biochemistry from The City College of New York and my Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics from the University of Pennsylvania. Under the mentorship of Dr. Feng Gai, my Ph.D. research focused on the development and application of unnatural amino acid based-probes for biological spectroscopy and microscopy. Currently, I am interested in how neuropeptides modulate neural circuits and behavior. To this end, for my postdoc I will use an interdisciplinary approach to better understand the neuromodulatory role of oxytocin in the context of social behavior in rodents.

Supported by k00 award from NIMH.

   
Tanita Frey  
As a result of my works in the Gotoh laboratory involving the visual cortex’s nuclear responses towards visual stimulation under in vivo monitoring, I was granted my Ph.D from the University of Tokyo in Pharmaceutical Science. Prior I received my master’s degree in Neurobiology from Freie University under Dr. Craig Garner at the DZNE on NMDA encephalitis and the reconstruction of a potential therapeutic antibody. In the Froemke lab for my postdoctoral work, I am looking forward to focusing on the auditory learning processes in versatile interneuron subtypes as well as their different responses in layer specific manner under the usage of in vivo imaging and behavioural studies.
   
Ariel Edward Hight  

I study sensory neuroplasticity in Rats and Humans with Cochlear Implants (CI). The CI is an auditory neuroprosthesis that restores auditory sensation to the deafened ear by sending electrical currents directly to auditory nerve, mimicking the patterns of activity in the healthy ear. Upon hearing with the CI for the first time, however, human subjects report significantly distorted sound compared to later time points. Learning to hear the CI requires a rehabilitation period and is proposed to require plasticity within the central auditory system, e.g. via changes to synaptic transmission and neural circuits. I am interested in how neuroplasticity enables speech comprehension despite significantly distorted cues provided by the CI. I received my PhD from Harvard University working under Dan Polley focusing on compensatory plasticity in the Auditory Cortex following noise-induced high-frequency hearing loss. 

Joint postdoc with Mario Svirsky, Human CI studies.

   
Megan Kirchgessner  
I received my undergraduate degree in Cognitive Sciences and Psychology from Rice University and my PhD in Neurosciences from the University of California, San Diego. I conducted my doctoral research in the lab of Dr. Ed Callaway at the Salk Institute, studying the functional diversity of different excitatory neurons in the mouse visual cortex that project to the visual thalamus. For my postdoctoral research, I am interested in oxytocin’s role in postnatal development - particularly how the oxytocin system is engaged early in life and its contribution to sensory cortical development
   
Amy LeMessurier  

I received my B.Sc. in biology and neuroscience from MIT and my PhD in neuroscience at UC-Berkeley working under Dan Feldman. My PhD research focused on how naturalistic experience shapes the fine-scale organization of sensory representations in somatosensory cortex. For my postdoc work I am interested in sensorimotor learning in naturalistic contexts – in particular how plasticity in sensory cortical circuits supports learning of complex behaviors by social transmission.

Supported by the BRAIN Initiative NRSA/F32 fellowship.
   
Kelvin Quiñones-Laracuente  
I want to better understand pro-social behaviors, such as socialization, maternal behaviors, and altruism.  A wide range of psychiatric illnesses feature symptoms that impair social function.  Understanding social brain pathways would yield new insights on how to better diagnose, treat, and prevent psychiatric illness. I completed MD and PhD degrees at the University of Puerto Rico, School of Medicine, in the laboratory of Dr. Greg J Quirk.  For my graduate thesis, I studied the circuitry involved in retrieving aversive memories, over time.  I am now part of the physician scientist resident track at NYU Psychiatry.
   
Maria Clara Selles Japas  
I received my Biochemistry degree from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. During my graduate work in the Ferreira Lab (UFRJ, Brazil) I developed an immune-gene therapy for Alzheimer’s disease; in collaboration with Dr. Robert Froemke and Dr. Moses Chao, I studied the therapeutic potential of oxytocin for Alzheimer’s disease.  By focusing on the oxytocinergic system during my postdoctoral training, I aim to understand how social interactions could modulate the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
   
Sarah Winokur  
I received my Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and my B.A. in Neuroscience from Smith College. For my doctoral research in the lab of Mariana Pereira I focused on determining neurobiological underpinnings of depression-related maternal behavior deficits. For my postdoctoral research, I will be using an interdisciplinary approach to continue investigating the maternal brain and behavior - particularly, how sickness and inflammation alters caregiving and associated neural function. 
   
   

 

Graduate Students 

Chloe Bair-Marshall  
I graduated from McMaster University in Canada, where I worked with Deda Gillespie on development of the auditory brainstem. I then went to UCSF, where I worked with Alexandra Nelson on the cellular and circuit mechanisms underlying Parkinson's disease and Levodopa-Induced Dyskinesia. For my graduate work, I am interested in how neuromodulators affect inhibitory cortical interneurons to convey state-dependent information and alter sensory perception. I plan to use a combination of in vivo and in vitro electrophysiology and behavior to better understand neuromodulation of inhibition in the auditory cortex.
   
Asha Caslin  

I graduated from Emory University with a BS in neuroscience and behavioral biology and philosophy. While there, I studied potential therapeutics for TBI and stroke with Shan Ping Yu and social salience network activation in prairie voles with Larry Young. For my graduate work, I am interested in how sickness and inflammation alter social behavior in mice. I plan to use a combination of behavior, optogenetics, and in vivo recording techniques to study how oxytocin modulates these social interactions. 

   
Habon Issa  

I received a BS in Biology from George Washington University.  Before starting graduate school, I studied sleep homeostasis and social behavior with Mark Wu at Johns Hopkins University. I am interested in understanding how pup-related sensory cues influence oxytocin’s modulation of the basal ganglia to alter maternal motivation and related caregiving behaviors.

   
Naomi López Caraballo  

I graduated from University of Puerto Rico – Mayagüez Campus with a B.S. in Industrial Biotechnology. Currently, I’m a graduate candidate at NYU studying alloparenting in mice. Specifically we look at how pup-naÏve virgin females can learn pup retrieval through visual observation. I use a virtual environment, optogenetics and fiber photometry in order to study which visual cues and how the oxytocinergic system facilitate such learning.

Supported by a HHMI Gilliam Fellow and an NSF GRFP Fellow

   
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.

   
Patrick O'Neill  

I received a B.A. in Psychology from Cornell University.  In collaboration with Dr. Dayu Lin, I am interested in understanding how social experiences alter the function of neural circuits – particularly in the context of parental behaviors.  I plan to use a combination of in vivo recording techniques, functional manipulation approaches, and behavioral experiments to study sensory and conspecific representations in hypothalamic circuits
 

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 NSF GRFP.

   

 

Laboratory Manager

Saba Shokat Fadaei  
I am interested in studying the connection between vagus nerve activity, social behaviors, and the gut biome. The vagus nerve is the longest nerve of the autonomic nervous system and is comprised of sensory and motor fibers. 
My research focus is to observe the advantages of social buffering on inflammation through the utilization of a combination of behavioral experiments, electrophysiology, and imaging methods. 
 
I received my masters in biology from Brooklyn College, CUNY.

 

 

 

Research Technicians

Ayat A. Agha   
I am an undergraduate student at NYU pursuing a Bachelors in Psychology. I am interested in understanding the synaptic representation of infant distress cries in the auditory cortex. My work in the lab involves measuring the acoustic features of mouse pup distress cries and using confocal imaging to measure auditory cortical synaptic distributions in female mice with and without maternal experience.
   
Cheyenne Oliver  
  I received my B.S. in Biology and Chemistry from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. I am currently working on my master’s degree from NYU, and will graduate December 2021. Currently, I work with Amy LeMessurier on a collaboration project with Shy Shoham’s lab. Ultrasonic neuro-modulation can be used to target and stimulate the brain non-invasively. The purpose of this project is to understand the mechanisms through which ultrasonic waves affect neural activity.
   
Sofia Orrey Valencia  
 
   

 

 

 

Alumni

 

- Postdoctoral Fellows -

Ioana Carcea (Carcea lab at Rutgers University, Newark) Carcea Lab

Macayla Donegan

Christian Ebbesen

Michele Insanally (Insanally lab at University of Pittsburgh ) Insanally Lab

Thorsten Kranz (University of Frankfurt)

Kishore Kuchibhotla (Kuchibhotla lab at Johns Hopkins University) Kuchibhotla Lab

Cyan McFarlane (Duke University)

Soomin Song 

Janani Sundararajan 

Silvana Valtcheva (Valtcheva lab at University of Cologne ) Valtcheva Lab

 

- Graduate Students -

James D'Amour 

Erin Glennon

Bianca Jones Marlin (Marlin lab at Clumbia University) Marlin lab

Mariela Mitre

Ana Raquel Martins

Julia Scarpa

Jennifer Schiavo 

 

- Medical Students - 

Michelle Qu

Aanchal Tyagi

Angela Zhu 

 

- Masters, and Undergraduate Students -

Ayomiposi Adewakun (now graduate student at CalTech)

Maria Alvarado Torres

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)

Katie Furman (now graduate student at University of Michigan)

Christine Grosso (now at Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine)

Menghan Jin (now at Scripps)

Greena Kim (University of Georgia)

Rhonda Kolaric (now graduate student at City University of New Yor)

Anna Kuo (Vassar)

Hannah LaBove (University of Miami)

Xiaofei Lin (NYU)

Jovana Maksic (NYU Shanghai)

Joyce Mendozza Navarro (now at NYU)

Egzona Morina (now graduate student at UCL)

Jasmin Multani

Rumi Oyama (Rutgers, Carcea lab)

Eleni Papadoyannis (now graduate student at Princeton University)

Daniel Ramos (Rutgers, Carcea lab)

Wasiq Rashad (Rutgers)

Feliz Reyes (INTEC, Dominican Republic)

Marwa Semerkant (Hunter College)

Ina Shehu (now at CUNY)

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)

Haohan (Karen) Wei (now graduate studentUPenn)

 

- 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