Picower Postdoctoral Fellows are researchers of exceptional ability, originality, resourcefulness, and the highest caliber of intellectual achievement. The fellowships program provides them an opportunity to pursue training under the mentorship of a Picower Institute faculty investigator in any laboratory in the Institute, including the space, resources and support needed to run their own programs and pursue an independent research agenda, freed from the burden and uncertainty of trying to secure grant funding.
Meet the current class of these outstanding researchers below.
And visit here to learn of alumni from this and preceding programs.
|Saba Baskoylu||Steven Flavell||Baskoylu uses the model C. elegans to study how repeated exposure to aversive cues over long time scales stably changes foraging behaviors, allowing animals to avoid injury and survive. By deciphering the mechanisms that underlie these long-lasting circuit changes, she hopes to reveal fundamental neural mechanisms that allow animals to stably integrate information about their environment and construct internal models of the external world.|
|Sayak Bhattacharya||Earl Miller||
Bhattacharya hypothesizes that spatially traveling waves of neural activity in the cortex organize neural oscillations in working memory tasks. He is studying various aspects of the nature of these waves to learn more about how they encode items retained in memory.
|Adele Bubnys||Li-Huei Tsai||In the Tsai lab, Bubnys is working to develop a number of projects using induced pluripotent stem cell cultures to model Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) pathologies in vitro. Projects include developing models for studying the role of choroid plexus dysfunction in AD and its relationship to cerebrospinal fluid AD biomarkers.|
|Quentin Ferry||Susumu Tonegawa||Memories are not formed in a vacuum but rather learned against a background of prior knowledge acquired through past experiences. Systems reconsolidation may be one of the pathways through which newly formed memories interact with, and are integrated into, prior knowledge. Ferry seeks to understand how the original (prior experience) and the recall-induced (novel experience) memory engrams interact during the process of systems reconsolidation of memory (SRM), as well as characterize the neural circuits supporting this mechanism.|
|Brent Fitzwalter||Myriam Heiman||Fitzwalter's research investigates the vulnerability of specific cell types in Huntington’s disease (HD) and Spinocerebellar Ataxia type 1 (SCA1). These fatal, incurable neurodegenerative diseases are caused by CAG trinucleotide repeat expansions that result in expanded polyglutamine domains in the Huntingtin (HTT) and Ataxin 1 (ATXN1) proteins, respectively.|
|Takato Honda||Matthew Wilson||
Honda is exploring the neural representations of memory and experience in specific behavioral states: active wake, quiet wake, NREM sleep, and REM sleep. To decipher those neural codes and dialogues in the brain, he combines molecular genetics, electrophysiology, optical imaging, behavioral analysis, and computational methods.
|Chad Sauvola||Troy Littleton||Sauvola is working to characterize the protein tomosyn, which has a key role in mediating plasticity in neurons that release neurotransmitters upon connection with synapses on other cells ("presynaptic" plasticity). Tomosyn interfaces with the machinery within presynaptic cells to affect vesicle fusion, a process that enables neurotransmitter release.|
|David Stoppel||Mark Bear||
Stoppel studies the molecular mechanisms underlying autism spectrum disorders. He is currently investigating a unique Fragile X syndrome phenotype with the expectation that better understanding of the causes of the phenotype will lead to novel therapeutic strategies that overcome the limitations of what have been attempted to date.
|Baovi Vo||Elly Nedivi||Vo joined the Nedivi lab to work on a project examining the link between genetic susceptibility to bipolar disorder (BD) and CPG2 expression and function. CPG (Candidate Plasticity Gene)-2 is a brain-specific protein that localizes to excitatory postsynaptic sites and regulates glutamate receptor internationalization. Previous work from the Nedivi lab found BD-related polymorphisms in CPG2 regulatory regions|
|Ji Wang||Kwanghun Chung||
To enable a crucial step in the Chung lab’s efforts to create a comprehensive 3D map of the entire human brain, Wang is engineering a vibratome that is capable of slicing a whole brain into uniform slabs several millimeters thick, which allows for tissue processing and imaging (and later image reconstruction). The sectioning achieves minimal tissue deformation.
|Liu Yang||Gloria Choi||The goal of Yang's research is to uncover how behavioral patterns are changed by cytokines in the course of sickness and the neurological mechanisms underlying these behavioral changes.|