Steve Van Hooser
Principal investigator

vanhoosr at brandeis dot edu
 | 781-330-0397

Lab Manager
Nora Anderson

I prefer dogs over cats, tea over coffee, and yoga over cardio any day. Gardening, drawing and reading, while I often don't find time for them, are my other interests. I enjoy being hands on in many things I do including making electrodes for the lab. I assist in many electrophysiology experiments. I am currently working on characterizing ferret LGN cell properties and exploring the role of experience in their development.

nmarie at brandeis dot edu 
| 781-736-2722 | 781-736-3701 (fax, use attn)



Leandro de Oliveira Royer

I am interested in how molecular properties and pathways integrate in order to accomplish cell functions. My current project is a collaboration with the Paradis lab and investigates what are the cellular functions of Rem2 in neural development and plasticity. I am also interested in technical analysis of stock and future markets. In my spare time I like to complain about overrated soccer players.

lroyer at brandeis dot edu
Arani Roy

I am interested in the plasticity of the neural circuitry during development and learning. During graduate school at Duke University I used in vivo intracellular recordings and behavioral manipulations in songbirds to study plasticity in the oscine song system. Currently I am using a combination of techniques – in vivo two-photon imaging, intracellular recordings, optogenetics, etc – to elucidate the plasticity mechanisms underlying development of motion direction selectivity in the ferret visual cortex. In my spare time I listen to Indian and western classical music and blues. My alter ego spends his life daydreaming about being a filmmaker like Bunuel.

araniroy at brandeis dot edu |

PhD students

Chelsea Groves Kuhnle

A psychology major in undergrad, my obsession with brains has only blossomed over time. As a graduate student, joint between the Van Hooser lab and the Turrigiano lab, I hope to better understand how genetics and experience lead to both healthy and diseased neural circuitry development. While science is my first love, if I were ever forced to choose another path, I would train marine mammals for a living, particularly harbor seals. When not in lab, I practice for said alternative career path by training my new puppy Marie, just in case.

cgrovesk at brandeis dot edu

Jason Osik

I am interested in how synaptic plasticity and neuronal intrinsic mechanisms modulate the information processing capacities of single neurons and sensory circuits. I use electrophysiology, optogenetics, and computational techniques to probe the experience-dependent emergence of functional maps and their underlying circuitry. I am a musician, I am interested in functional analysis and eastern European literature (in my "copious" spare-time), and was a librarian in a past life. I also use Oxford commas.

osik at brandeis dot edu
Sarah Richards

I am interested in how genes and experience interact to form functional neural circuits. My current project is in collaboration with the Paradis Lab and uses in vivo two photon imaging to explore the role of the small GTP-ase Rem2 in the development, maintenance, and plasticity of the mouse visual system. In my spare time, I enjoy cycling, baking, and adventures with my dog.

srichard at brandeis dot edu

Andrea Stacy

As a graduate student in the Van Hooser lab, I am interested in the development of neural circuits and the experience-dependent mechanisms that contribute to their formation. My project involves utilizing carbon fiber technology to identify thalamocortical connections and perform electrophysiological recordings in the LGN and visual cortex of the ferret. In my free time I enjoy running, brewing beer, and exploring both new music and old.
astacy at brandeis dot edu

Claire Symanski

As a joint graduate student between the Van Hooser and Jadhav labs, I am interested in understanding how the brain changes due to experience and learning. My project utilizes calcium imaging in awake, freely behaving rats as they learn a memory-guided decision making task. My goal is to study changes in cellular tuning properties at the level of large populations of neurons, over the course of learning. In my "free time," I enjoy painting, reading, playing board games of all kinds, and exploring Boston.
csymansk at brandeis dot edu

Shen Wang

I am interested in how neural circuits function. My current project is a collaboration with Ken Miller and focuses on experimental tests of the stabilized supralinear network model in ferret's visual cortex. 
I also like to learn anything about how the brain works, and I enjoy the moments of thinking about it while I run or swim.

swbumem at brandeis dot edu

Tudor Dragoi

I am majoring in neuroscience and hope to pursue PhD studies. I’m fascinated by how neuronal populations interact to encode internal and external variables relevant for complex behavior. One emergent property of circuits in visual cortex is orientation selectivity. In the lab I assist with computational and experimental studies  to study mechanisms of orientation selectivity.

tdragoi at brandeis dot edu

 Daniel García

I am interested in how brain circuits generate meaningful information. I want to pursue doctoral education in the future and become a researcher in neuroscience. I am currently working on spike sorting of memory experiments on the rat hippocampus. Outside of neuroscience, I like to discuss education, film and philosophy. I enjoy programming and speedsolving the rubik’s cube from time to time.

danielgarcia at brandeis dot edu 

David Landesman

I have majors in neuroscience and biology. I am working on constructing and testing carbon fiber multichannel electrodes to study the convergence of multiple inputs onto a single neuron in vivo to better understand the visual cortex and for broader use in the field.  I am particularly interested in integrating various new technologies and neuroscience. In my free time, you can find me 3D printing various objects and studying ancient military history.

dlandesm at brandeis dot edu

Andrew Lipnick 

I am double-majoring in neuroscience and math. My interests lie in understanding and modeling systems such as neural circuits. I intend to pursue these interests further after obtaining a PhD degree. In the lab, I assist with surgeries and experiments on ferrets, prepare cortical slices for microscopy, and aid in data analysis. I am also working on a computation project which aims to model velocity tuning in the retina and LGN. Outside of classes and lab work, I like reading and learning more about various topics in math and science. In my meager spare
time, I also enjoy cooking, powerlifting, and listening to music.

alipnick at brandeis dot edu

Benyamin Meschede-Krasa

I am hoping to move on to veterinary school after I graduate and am currently working together with our resident veterinarian on daily animal husbandry and health care. Neuroscience courses have fascinated me so far and I hope to delve deeper into the topics that interest me through lab work.

bmeschkra at gmail dot com
Kamil Moroz

I am an undergraduate research assistant that focuses on animal husbandry and post operative care. By being an anesthetist during surgeries I can help ensure that injections are correctly and carefully injected in order to fully optimize animal health and safety, as well as data integrity. I look forward to combining critical care with research to help advance prosthetics.

kmoroz at brandeis dot edu

 Nathan Schneider 

I love learning more about the brain and plan on getting a PhD in neuroscience. In the lab I care for the experimental ferrets and help build carbon fiber electrodes. Outside the lab you can find me singing with my a cappella group, playing clarinet with the orchestra, or dancing on my YouTube page.

nategr8 at brandeis dot edu

Ziqi Wang

I am a double major in biology and computer science. With my computer science background and interest in data science, I am currently working on a framework for neuroscience data that will allow future researchers to migrate their data easily to this platform and perform various analysis more easily and efficiently. Personally speaking, I am a huge fan of all sort of music and animation.

wangziqi at brandeis dot edu 

Jenn Wolff - aka lab Batman (2010-2015)

Program Manager at EBICS, MIT (as of 6/25/2015) 
EBICS seeks to apply engineering principles to biological systems, in order to create biological machines. I manage projects of some 25 investigators under that umbrella to further EBICS' ultimate goal: both creating and defining small, modular biological units (sensors, transporters, oscillators, switches) that can combine to create organoids and bots that address complex problems.

jwolff at brandeis dot edu | PubMed


Marjena Popović (PhD, 2016)

I am interested in how animals and humans acquire structured internal representations of their visual environment through unsupervised learning. I conduct human behavioral studies to show that human perception of low level features is probabilistic inference that relies on probabilistic representations of uncertainty about sensory stimuli. By using electrophysiological recordings in awake ferrets, I explore the neural bases of such representations in the context of development, neural variability and spontaneous activity.

marjenap at brandeis dot edu | 
Neil Ritter (PhD, 2016)

I’m a sci-fi nerd and am working to make some of the cooler of our collective ideas come about. This typically involves regular philosophising with other Van Hooserians and long electrophysiology experiments. I primarily use the model system described by Li et al., 2008 (where direction selectivity is rapidly induced in developing ferret V1) to explore how experience influences the development of neural circuits. I enjoy much of the rest of my time by playing Go, brewing beer, reading (good sci-fi and terrible fantasy), and living surrounded by interesting people. 

nritter at brandeis dot edu


Claire Symanski (Jadhav lab)

Claire has moved to be 100% in the Jadhav lab. We still like her!

As a joint graduate student between the Van Hooser and Jadhav labs, I am interested in understanding how the brain changes due to experience and learning. My project utilizes calcium imaging in awake, freely behaving rats as they learn a memory-guided decision making task. My goal is to study changes in cellular tuning properties at the level of large populations of neurons, over the course of learning. In my "free time," I enjoy painting, reading, playing board games of all kinds, and exploring Boston.
csymansk at brandeis dot edu

Aishwarya Bhonsle (BS 2015)

I’m a double major in Biological Physics and Neuroscience. I’m currently working on developing tools for colocalization detection between different fluorescent labels. These tools will be used to analyze data from Array Tomography (a technique used to image molecular structures of neural circuits). I love reading, watching (and critiquing) movies and TV shows with friends, and playing Mario Kart in my free time.

abhonsle at brandeis dot edu
Ian Christie (BS 2016)

I am a double major in computer science and neuroscience, so working as a computational modeling assistant in the lab is a great combination of my two interests. I enjoy science because there is a true thrill in seeing results that validate your ideas.

iankc at brandeis dot edu


Kelly Flavahan (BS 2014)

I am currently working on a collaborative project with Paradis Lab examining the role of the protein Rem2 in developing visual circuits. When I'm not in the lab, I enjoy long walks, writing, reading, eating (specifically cheese), and watching Netflix with my roommates.  

flavahan at brandeis dot edu
Hirvelt Megie (BS 2015)

I am a Neuroscience major hailing from Brooklyn, NY. In my current project I take part in all stages of data collection and I am also independently working on characterizing the relationship of traditional measures of development of visual circuits with the changes in the statistics of spontaneous activity recorded in the visual cortex of an awake animal.

hmegie at brandeis dot edu

Dennis Ou - Research Assistant

I am a recent graduate from Carnegie Mellon with a degree in Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering. I am currently working on developing analytical tools that will help enhance the accuracy of histology performed on cryomicrotome slices. Specifically, I am working on a current source density project that processes signals from an implanted electrode and visually maps out the layers of the primary visual cortex.

dennisou at brandeis dot edu
Kevin Wang (BS 2015)

I am a biology major from Morgantown, WV. I am currently working with brain tissue of ferrets that have undergone viral transfection to express channelrhodopsin.

yekaikwang at gmail dot com

Julia Zaltsman (BS 2015)

A senior at Brandeis, I am a Neuroscience and Biology double major. My work in the lab has focuses on searching for orientation and direction selectivity in the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN). I previously analyzed data recorded in the LGN of adult gray squirrels, and I am now involved in electrophysiological experiments looking at the developing LGN in ferrets at eye opening. Outside the lab, I enjoy reading, drawing, and playing tennis.

jzaltsman at brandeis dot edu

Wesley Alford - Masters Student (2013-2014)

I graduated from Indiana University in 2009 with a Bachelors of Science in Psychology. I've worked in several research labs where I developed a model for source memory in rats, explored novel forms of information in elementary cellular automata, and analyzed ensemble activity in acute slice preparations of rat cortex. Currently, I am working on developing an in vivo intracellular recording system. I am interested in understanding how behaviors emerge from the ensemble activity of neurons. When the weather is fortunate enough I enjoy cycling, and on less fortunate days I watch movies old, new, obscure, and mainstream.

walford at brandeis dot edu
Jared Clemens - Research Assistant (2010-2012)

jmc109 at brandeis dot edu

Gina Escobar - Postdoc

Joint appointment with the lab of Paul Miller.

gescobar at brandeis dot edu

Heather Bernstein (BS)

hbb90 at brandeis dot edu

Julie Miller (BS)

jumi08 at brandeis dot edu