2017 Students

emmanuelIfedayo-Emmanuel Adeyefa-Olasupo, Humboldt University- Johns Hopkins University

I am currently in the last year of my Dr.rer.nat. My areas of interest are as follows: Quantum Perception, Scotopic and Photopic Vision, Color Blindness and Cognitive Impenetrability.

I am fascinated with the following questions: What is the probability of color in a single photon? Are mammals able to hear light and see sound and if so under what conditions ?

Kate Allekate-allenn, West Virginia University

I am a graduate student currently working in Dr. Gary Marsat’s lab at West Virginia University. Broadly, I’m interested in questions about sensory processing, state dependent perception, and the production and reception of communication. I work with closely related species of weakly electric fish to study the neural adaptations that facilitate conspecific communication in noisy and complex environments. I use electrophysiology, behavior, and computational methods to explore how senders transfer information and how receivers encode and act upon that information.



diego-arribasDiego Arribas, Biomedicine Research Institute of Buenos Aires

I am a 2nd year PhD student at the Biomedicine Research Institute of Buenos Aires.  My interest is understanding the role of neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus of the mammalian hippocampus.

Jerome BeetzGoethe University Frankfurt

Currently, I am a graduate student in the lab of Prof. Dr. Manfred Kössl. My main focus during the PhD is to investigate the echolocation behavior of the frugivorous bat Carollia perspicillata and to find out how natural echolocation sequences are processed in different brain regions. Recording the behavioral output of the animals during echolocation allows us to use natural and behaviorally relevant echolocation signals as acoustic stimuli during our electrophysiological recordings. Personally, the neuroethological investigation of orientation and navigation with multidisciplinary approaches fascinates me. Especially, the high diversity of different orientation behaviors in different animal species makes the research field highly attractive and exciting.

vassilis-bitsikasVassilis Bitsikas, Harvard University

I am a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Alex Schier at Harvard University. As a PhD student I was investigating the molecular mechanisms of different endocytic pathways. During these years I was lucky enough to be working next to the labs of Mario de Bono and Bill Schafer. This experience sparked my interest in neuroscience and behavior and convinced me to switch research topic. In the last year I’ve became particularly interested in sleep behavior and the evolution of sleep. The main goal of my research is to uncover conserved mechanisms that regulate sleep behavior in vertebrates.


Ernesto Cabezas-Bou, University of Puerto Rico

My name is Ernesto Cabezas-Bou, a graduate student from the Neurobiology Intercampus PhD Program at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus. Since 2012 I’ve been working at the Dr. Díaz-Ríos Laboratory, Institute of Neurobiology, trying to understand the neural circuits organization that drives motor output in the mammalian spinal cord.

Alice Chou, University of Marylanda-chou_headshot

I am a Ph.D. candidate in Dr. Tom Cronin’s lab eager to understand multimodal sensory integration, particularly in animals with highly complex sensory systems and behaviors. Mantis shrimps, also known as stomatopods, are an order of malacostracan crustaceans famed for their predatory lifestyles and unusual visual systems. My research uses neuroanatomical techniques to understand the neural organization of mantis shrimps and to determine how and where sensory inputs converge in their braisn. Outside of the laboratory, I also enjoy experimenting in the kitchen.

Tanvi Deora, University of Washingtontanvi

I am a postdoctoral fellow at Tom Daniel’s lab at the University of Washington. I am interested in the neuromechanical basis of insect flight control. Currently, my research focuses on the role of touch in driving plant and insect pollinator interaction.

stav-emanuelStav Emanuel, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

I am interested in neuro-parasitology and the neuronal mechanisms by which a parasite alters the host’s behaviour.


Ronja HensgenPhilipps-University of Marburgronja-hensgen

I am a 2nd year PhD student in the neurobiology group led by Prof. Uwe Homberg at the Philipps-University of Marburg, Germany. I am interested in the neuronal mechanisms underlying sky-compass orientation in the desert locust. The central complex, a structure in the center of the locust brain, plays an important role in the processing of sky-compass information. I aim to unravel the interactions of specific neuron types within this structure and have so far analyzed in intracellular recordings the characteristic response properties of each cell type to visual stimuli (mainly polarized light).

sally-kimSally Kim, University of North Carolina

I’m interested in how neuronal circuit mechanisms affect behaviors and how disruptions of these mechanisms contribute to brain disorders such as autism.

manu-madhavManu MadhavJohns Hopkins University

I am interested in the neural underpinnings of sensory representation and spatial navigation. I design and perform experiments that place an animal in a closed-loop, which allows me to use tools from control theory and system identification to model and explore sensorimotor transforms and their neural correlates.

jessica-nowickiJessica NowickiJames Cook University

I’m interested in the neural basis of prosocial behavior and the extent to which it is shared across animals. I also love art, nature, yoga, and traveling!

eddieEddie Perez Claudio, University of Puerto Rico

I’m a first year Biology PhD student in the University of Puerto Rico – Rio Piedras Campus. My interests lay in the neural mechanisms of decision-making and specially how they change during addiction.




Deepa Ramamurthy, UC Davisdeepa

I am a PhD candidate in Dr. Leah Krubitzer’s laboratory at the University of California, Davis. I am particularly interested in understanding experience-dependent modifications of neural circuits. Currently, I am using single neuron extracellular recording techniques to examine somatosensory plasticity in the neocortex following early loss of vision. I work with a marsupial model, Monodelphis domestica, because the highly immature nervous system of this animal at birth allows for easy ex utero manipulations at a very early developmental stage. Outside of the lab, I enjoy reading fiction and making art.

James Roach, University of Michiganjames-roach

I’m currently finishing my PhD at the University of Michigan. Currently, I am using computational modeling to describe how neuromodulation by acetylcholine leads to spiking activity that benefits  information representation, storage, and retrieval in neural populations. In the future, I want to use in vivo techniques to learn how neurons represent the external world and influence actions in freely behaving animals.

Taylor Rupp, Michigan State Universitytaylor-rupp

I am currently a 2nd-year PhD student in Heather Eisthen’s lab at Michigan State University. I am interested in studying the delivery and detection of a class of proteinaceous pheromones found in axolotls. My dissertation goals are to determine if a male courtship behavior, known as tail fanning, is necessary for the dispersal of pheromones, and to identify the neural detection mechanism(s) for these pheromones.


Kristin Schoepfer, Florida State Universitykschoepfer

I’m a doctoral candidate in Dr. Mohamed Kabbaj’s laboratory at Florida State University. Using a rodent model system, I’m interested in studying how stress, the female estrous cycle, and rapid antidepressant treatment can alter neural and behavioral correlates of mood disorders.

Youki Tanaka, Dartmouth Collegeyouki-tanaka

I’m a graduate student in Matt van der Meer’s lab. I spent my undergrad doing cognitive science and machine learning and have transitioned my focus to experimental work in rat hippocampus. I’m interested in understanding the role of hippocampal replay in motivational states and decision processes. When I’m not in lab I enjoy gaming, soccer, dancing, cooking and mixology!

christoph_wiestChristoph WiestKavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience

Christoph is a final year MD student at Heidelberg University, Germany, currently working on his thesis project at Kavli Institute Trondheim, Norway. His research focuses on studying the behavior and neural circuit mechanisms underlying stress and anxiety in the zebrafish brain. He is using different assays to study how stressed fish’s swimming behavior differs from healthy animals and how pharmaceuticals that alter the stress axis can manipulate these behaviors. Furthermore, he applies two-photon imaging to identify areas of the zebrafish forebrain and neural networks that are modified in stressed zebrafish. Apart from neuroscience and medicine, Chris likes to travel and is an ardent soccer enthusiast.