postdoctoral fellows

Justin received his PhD at the University of Saskatchewan in the laboratory of Dr. Lisa Kalynchuk, where he studied cognitive impairment and aberrant plasticity in the kindling model of epilepsy. In particular, Justin investigated the differences between limbic and non-limbic seizures on amygdala- and hippocampal-dependent forms of fear conditioning, the expression of behaviorally-relevant immediate early genes, measures of hippocampal neurogenesis, and immunohistochemical labeling of hippocampal GABAergic interneurons. For his postdoctoral work, Justin has focused on the role of hilar mossy cells in epilepsy and cognition, using optogenetics, DREADDs, and slice electrophysiology. Justin was recently awarded a postdoctoral fellowship from the American Epilepsy Society to study the therapeutic potential of mossy cells in temporal lobe epilepsy. 


David completed his PhD degree in Mexico, in the laboratory of Dr. Luisa Rocha at the Center for Research and Advanced Studies of the IPN (CINVESTAV), where he studied the Dopaminergic system alterations involved in the establishment of epilepsy in the electrical kindling model. Afterwards, he did a postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Fernando Peña at the Institute of Neurobiology, UNAM, where he studied the in vivo and in vitro electrophysiological alterations of neuronal excitability and the hippocampal topological network changes induced by the amyloid-beta protein, and the relationship with the development of the epileptogenesis process. At the NKI, he is currently investigating the mechanisms underlying the development of hyperexcitability in transgenic animal models of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), which could be potential novel biomarkers, establishing new approaches about the ways that hyperexcitability is relevant to the AD pathogenesis, using different electrophysiological, optogenetic and immunostaining protocols.
Chiara earned her PhD degree in Neurobiology in the laboratory of Prof. Luciano Domenici at the Neuroscience Institute of the National Research Council in Pisa, Italy. Chiara’s PhD focused on the role of neurotrophic factors of NGF family in the control of synaptic function in the entorhinal cortex and their effects on synaptic toxicity caused by oligomeric beta amyloid (AB). She also  characterized the early stages of neurodegeneration in a murine model of Alzheimers disease, studying the effects of the intranasal delivery of BDNF and NGF in the recovery of the synaptic function affected by progressive accumulation of AB in several brain regions. Chiara worked as a postdoc in the laboratory of Dr. Emanuela Santini at Columbia University where she tested the hypothesis that exaggerated cap-dependent translation in a specific subpopulation of striatal GABAergic-medium spiny neurons causes defective striatal synapses and altered cortico-striatal synaptic plasticity, resulting in repetitive, stereotyped, and perseverative behaviors. Moreover, she explored sleep deprivation as a factor in the development and the progression of Parkinson's disease. Chiara is currently investigating sex differences and neurotrophic factors in animal models of epilepsy and Alzheimers disease. 

Christos received his Integrated Masterís Degree in Applied Biology and Technology from the University of Ioannina in Greece and his Ph.D. in Neurophysiology and Neuropharmacology from the same institution. His PhD work in the laboratory of Professor Caterina Psarropoulou, explored the long-term consequences of early-life seizures on the adult cholinergic plasticity with a particular focus on interictal spikes and concurrent high-frequency oscillations. He subsequently joined the laboratory of Professor Aristea Galanopoulou at Albert Einstein where he focused on post-traumatic EEG abnormalities and antiepileptogenic treatments a part of a preclinical consortium, the Epilepsy Bioinformatics Study for Antiepileptogenic Therapy (EpiBioS4Rx). Christos is currently investigating cholinergic aspects of hyperexcitability by using wideband video-EEG and silicone probes, slice electrophysiology and closed-loop optogenetic interventions. He has been awarded the Herbert H. Jasper Junior Investigator Award and supported by the International League against Epilepsy, the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation, the Greek National Scholarships Foundation and the World Hellenic Biomedical Association of the USA. 

Lauren completed her postdoctoral work in 2014 after a busy 3 years with a co-first author paper in Cell Reports and a first author paper in the Journal of Neuroscience, not to mention a wonderful baby boy!  She has relocated to Houston where she is applying for teaching positions. 

Sloka completed her postdoctoral work in 2014 after an extensive examination of the effects of kainic acid in mice without adult-born granule cells. Her publication in press in Experimental Neurology, she left for a job where she is more involved in clinical epilepsy.

Victor M. Luna received his PhD at SUNY Stony Brook
 in the lab of Dr. Paul Brehm, where he studied 
neuromuscular transmission and electrical coupling 
in zebrafish skeletal muscle. He then worked as a 
postdoc with Drs. Nathan Schoppa (UC Denver), Diana
 Pettit (Albert Einstein), and Alexei Morozov (NIMH) where he combined electrophysiology with photolysis, imaging, and optogenetics to study rodent olfactory cortex circuitry. He is currently investigating the specific actions of adult-born granule cells on dentate gyrus circuitry using electrophysiology, optogenetics, molecular genetics 
and behavioral assays in the labs of Drs. Rene Hen (NYS
PI/Columbia) and Helen Scharfman (NKI/NYU).

aine duffy, phd
Aine Duffy received her PhD in Ireland and then did a postdoctoral fellowship for one year with Dr. Virgina Pickel at Weill Cornell Medical College, where she studied the localization of α7 nicotinic receptors in prefrontal cortex.  She has completed several projects to add behavior and electrophysiology to her skills  She recently was awarded a Pilot grant from the Alzheimer’s Disease Center to study mechanisms of selective vulnerability in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease.

Victor Mari Luna

Justin Botterill

Yi-Ling Lu

David Alcantara Gonzalez

Chiara Criscuolo

Christos Lisgaras