In Depth Profiles

Q&A With the Graduates

We have a new tradition of asking our graduating students to answer several questions about their PhD studies and future plans. The resulting Q&A articles are filled with reflections and words of advice.

Studying neural circuits of the retina in the dark, photographing people in the light, Berkeley Neuroscience PhD student Malak El-Quessny describes the passions that drive her both in and out of the lab.

Neuroscientist Portrait Project

The Neuroscientist Portrait Project takes a look at the lives of neuroscientists inside vs. outside of the lab with an emphasis on highlighting the stories of those who are traditionally underrepresented in the sciences. Created by Christine Liu (entering class of 2014) and sponsored by Berkeley Neuroscience.

Directory

Below is the complete list of all current Berkeley Neuroscience PhD Program students with some basic info about their research interests and background. To view past students, go to the Alumni page.

Entering Class of 2018

Erin Aisenberg, 2018
Trinity College

Marisa Becerra, 2018
University of Arizona

Julia Bleier, 2018
Brown University

Katie Cording, 2018
University of Colorado, Boulder

Matt Davis, 2018
Emory University

Mark Gorenstein, 2018
Columbia University

Azure Grant, 2018
University of California, Berkeley

Madeline Klinger, 2018
University of Chicago

Sonali Mali, 2018
Indiana University

Brett Nelson, 2018
University of California, Santa Cruz

Entering Class of 2017

Dariya Bakshinskaya, 2017
Rutgers University
Isacoff Lab

Hayley Bounds, 2017
Brown University
National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow
Adesnik Lab

Celia Ford, 2017
Brown University
National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow
Wallis Lab

Lily Gong, 2017
Wheaton College
Theunissen Lab

Molly LaPoint, 2017
Boston College
Jagust Lab

Sylvia Madhow, 2017
UC Santa Barbara
Bouchard Lab

Ryan Schultz, 2017
University of Minnesota
Isacoff Lab

Christiane Voufo, 2017
Syracuse University
Feller Lab

Ellen Zippi, 2017
University of Texas, Austin
National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow
Carmena Lab

Entering Class of 2016

Zuzanna Balewski, 2016
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Wallis Lab

Bill Croughan, 2016
Carnegie Mellon University
Foster Lab

Vael Gates, 2016
University of Cambridge
Griffiths Lab

Holly Gildea, 2016
Brown University
National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow
Dillin Lab

Carson McNeil, 2016
California Institute of Technology
Gallant Lab

Jacob Miller, 2016
Duke University
D’Esposito Lab

Tobias Schmid, 2016
University of Florida
National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow
Yartsev Lab

Christine Tseng, 2016
California Institute of Technology
Gallant Lab

Kevin Yu, 2016
University of California, Berkeley
National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow
Theunissen Lab

Entering Class of 2015

Jenna Adams, 2015
University of California, Santa Barbara
Jagust Lab
“Associations between tau spread and functional connectivity in cognitively normal older adults”

Krisha Aghi, 2015
Brown University
Isacoff Lab
“Synaptic homeostasis and heterogeneity in vivo at the Drosophila larval neuromuscular junction”

Joseph Aman, 2015
University of Utah
National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow
Feldman Lab
“Rapid homeostatic plasticity in somatosensory cortex”

Zeke Barger, 2015
University of Washington
National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow
Dan Lab
“Medullary control of sleep”

Ruairidh Battleday, 2015
University of Edinburgh/Oxford
Griffiths/Olshausen Labs
“Probabilistic models of cognition”

Althea Cavanaugh, entered 2017
Bowdoin College
National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow

Foster Lab

“Dynamics of Spatial Coding Along the Dorsoventral Axis of the Hippocampus”

Adam Eichenbaum, 2015
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Berkeley Fellow
National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellow
D’Esposito Lab
“Mechanisms of human learning and plasticity”

Malak El-Quessny, 2015
Boston University
Chancellor’s Fellow
Feller Lab
“How visual experience shapes the interplay of dendritic form and circuit function in the developing retina”

Irene Grossrubatscher, 2015
Univ degli Studi di Bologna
Isacoff Lab
“Setting thresholds for behavior: How does internal state modulate prey capture?”

Shariq Mobin, 2015
University of California, Berkeley
Olshausen Lab
“Efficient coding of natural sound”

Arjun Mukerji, 2015
University of Texas, Austin
Silver Lab
“Parallel Visual Processing Streams in Thalamus and Cortex”

Sara Popham, 2015
Johns Hopkins University
Gallant Lab
“Investigating multimodal semantic representations in the human brain”

Maimon Rose, 2015
University of Chicago
Yartsev Lab
“Tracking the development of neural dynamics in a vocal learning mammal”

Daniel Toker, 2015
Princeton University
National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow
D’Esposito Lab
“Sensory information transmission in oscillatory networks”

Amanda Tose, 2015
University of Washington
National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow
Lammel Lab
“Role of dorsal raphe input to the lateral hypothalamus in behavior with in vivo calcium imaging”

Entering Class of 2014

Jocelyn Breton, 2014
Middlebury College
Fields/Lammel Labs
“The role of mesocortical projections in anxiety and alcohol consumption”

Franklin Caval-Holme, 2014
Stanford University
National Research Service Award Fellow
Feller Lab
“Dissecting a microcircuit that regulates the earliest light responses in the retina”

Ignas Cerniauskas, 2014
Vilnius University, Lithuania
Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds Fellow
Lammel Lab
“Dissecting habenular circuits underlying depression-related behavior”

Charles Frye, 2014
University of Chicago
Berkeley Fellow
National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow
Sommer Lab
“Extending Minimum Probability Flow to models with hidden variables”

Colin Hoy, 2014
Hendrix College
National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow
Knight Lab
“The role of surprise in error signals”

Christine Liu, 2014
University of Oregon
National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow
Lammel Lab
“Elucidating the neural circuitry underlying nicotine-related behaviors”

Ben Shababo, 2014
Columbia University
Hertz Foundation Fellow
Adesnik Lab
“High-throughput, cellular resolution mapping of neural circuits”

Emilio Soto-Soto, 2014
University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras
National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow
Kriegsfeld Lab
“The Impact of Early Life Circadian Disruption on Neural Development and Cognitive Flexibility”

Greg Telian, 2014
MIT
Chancellor’s Fellow
Howard Hughes Medical Institute Gilliam Fellow
Adesnik Lab
“Sensorimotor cortical representations in vM1 and vS1 during active sensation”

Entering Class of 2013

Charles Garfinkle, 2013
McGill University
Sommer Lab
“Identifiability in Sparse Dictionary Learning with Applications to Neuroscience”

Falk Lieder, 2013
University of Osnabruck, Germany
Berkeley Fellow
Griffiths Lab
“Beyond bounded rationality: reverse-engineering and enhancing human intelligence”

Sean Mackesey, 2013
Northwestern University
Sommer Lab
“The role of hippocampal field potentials in memory / Neuroinformatics infrastructure for electrophysiology”

Elena Ryapolova-Webb, 2013
New York University
Adesnik Lab
“The role of second-order corticothalamic loops in somatosensation”

Kata Slama, 2013
Brown University
Knight Lab
“Neural mechanisms of top-down and bottom-up audio-visual attention in humans”

Andy Ward, 2013
Williams College
Bateup Lab
“Defining the roles of mTORC1 and mTORC2 in hippocampal
plasticity and memory”

Entering Class Of 2012

Katelyn Arnemann, 2012
Case Western Reserve University
National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow
Jagust Lab
“Brain network properties in aging”

Yvonne Fonken, 2012
Radboud University, Netherlands
Howard Hughes Medical Institute International Predoctoral Fellow
Fulbright Fellow
Knight Lab
“Sensory predictions and motor control”

Jonathan Jui, 2012
University of Chicago
Flannery and Schaffer Labs
“Preservation and regeneration of photoreceptors in retinal degeneration through the manipulation of Müller glia using viral gene delivery”

Keven Laboy, 2012
University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras
National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow
Feldman Lab
“Spatiotemporal receptive fields in rodent barrel cortex”

Amy LeMessurier, 2012
MIT
Feldman Lab
“Flexibility of sensory encoding: how stable are receptive fields?”

Kimberly Long, 2012
Indiana University
National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow
Kaufer Lab
“Investigating the effects of early life experience and stress on myelination and oligodendrogensis”

Elizabeth Lorenc, 2012
Mount Holyoke
D’Esposito Lab
“Functional MRI and transcranial magnetic stimulation investigation of the neural mechanisms of precise visual working memory for complex objects”

Alexander Naka, 2012
Northwestern University
Adesnik Lab
“Optogenetic investigation of intercolumnar integration in barrel cortex”

Ryan Neely, 2012
Harvard University
National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellow
Carmena Lab
“Cortico-basal ganglia circuits for top-down control of visual processing”

Melissa Newton, 2012
UC San Diego
DeWeese Lab
“Determining important temporal features in the A1 neural code that produce auditory behaviors”

Vladimir Senatorov, 2012
University of Maryland, College Park
National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow
Kaufer Lab
“Molecular mechanisms underlying epileptogenic activity and cognitive decline in the aged brain”

Alaina Thomas, 2012
UC San Diego
National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow
Wilbrecht Lab
“The effects of early life adversity on decision-making and underlying circuits”

Eric Weiss, 2012
UC San Diego
Olshausen Lab
“3D visual perception in humans and the computational role of eye movements”

Entering Class Of 2011

Christopher Holdgraf, 2011
Tulane University
National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellow
Knight Lab
“Encoding and Decoding models of human audition using Electrocorticography”
2016-present: Data Science Fellow at Berkeley Institute for Data Science

Anwar Núñez-Elizalde, 2011
UC Berkeley
Chancellor’s Opportunity Fellow
Gallant Lab
“Investigating the representation of value in the human brain using fMRI”

Maureen Turner, 2011
University of Arizona
Ngai Lab
“The role of the Sox2 transcription factor in neural stem cells in the olfactory niche”

Entering Class Of 2010

Vanessa Carels, 2010
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
DeWeese Lab
“Coding properties of morphologically identified neurons in rat A1”

Guy Isley, 2010
Stanford University
Sommer Lab
“The dynamics and stability of recurrent inhibitory-excitatory neural networks”

Samuel Israel, 2010
Bard College
Ngai Lab
“Fish and fear: Identifying the neural circuitry of the zebrafish alarm pheromone response”