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Our Team


Anne West, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor, PI

M.D. Harvard Medical School

Ph.D. Harvard Medical School



Mariah Hazlett, Ph.D.





B.S. Ohio University



Vijyendra Ramesh (VJ)

Ph.D. Candidate

Molecular Cancer Biology

B.S. University at Buffalo



Arthy Narayanan

Ph.D. Candidate 


B.S. BMS College of Engineering



Andrew Aldridge

Ph.D. Candidate (GS3)


B.S. UC San Diego


Aaron Halvorsen crop.jpg

Aaron Halvorsen

Ph.D. Candidate (GS3)


B.S. Univ of Nebraska-Lincoln



Erin Fykes

Ph.D. Candidate (GS3)


B.S. & B.A. Washington & Lee University


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Rebecca Li

Undergraduate (Senior)

Cynthia Dong

Esha Patel

Past Members

Past Members

Postdoctoral Fellows, Residents, Senior Scientific Staff


Padmanabhan Pattabiraman, postdoctoral fellow (2005-2008)

Current position: Research Scientist, Dept. of Ophthalmology and Visual Science, Case

Western Reserve University, Cleveland

Jay V. Deng, Ph.D. postdoctoral fellow (2007-2012)

First Position: CSO, Encor Biotechnology, Gainesville, FL and Adjunct Assistant Professor, Dept. of Psychiatry, University of Florida, Gainesville.

Current position: Adjunct Assistant Professor, Duke University, Dept. of Neurobiology

Dan Su, Ph.D. postdoctoral fellow (2010-201

Current position: Q2 Solutions, clinical trial laboratory testing

Anthony Zannas, M.D. Psychiatry resident (2013-2014)

First position: Postdoctoral fellow, Max Planck Institute for Psychiatry, Munich

Current position: Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Xiaoting (Tina) Wang, Ph.D. postdoctoral fellow (2013-2015)

Current position: Senior Regulatory Affairs Specialist, GW Pharmaceuticals, Raleigh, NC

Weiwei Liu, Ph.D., Visiting scholar, Chengdu University, China (2019-2020)

Current position: postdoctoral fellow, Chengdu University, China

Matthew Green, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow (2019-2021)

Current position: Senior Scientist at VyantBio

Katherine Tonn Eisinger, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow (2019-2021)

Current position: Strategic Feasibility at IQVIA

Graduate Students

Cambria Hanselman (Cell and Molecular Biology/Neurobiology, 2007-2008)

Awarded Master’s degree, fall 2008

Current position: Scientist, Parabel sustainable hydrofarming

Ashley Hutchinson (Pharmacology, 2007-2011)

Defended PhD thesis Dec. 15, 2011

Current position: Assistant Senior Lecturer, Örebro University, Sweden

Thesis title: “Monoaminergic regulation of MeCP2 phosphorylation in mouse models of psychiatric disease”

Michelle Lyons (Neurobiology, 2006-2012)

Defended PhD thesis March 12, 2012

Next and current position: Associate Partner, McKinsey and Co., New York, NY

Thesis title: “Mechanisms of specificity in neuronal activity-regulated gene transcription”

Ranjula Wijayatunge (Developmental and Stem Cell Biology/Neurobiology, 2006-2012)

Defended PhD thesis April 9, 2012

Current position: Research scientist, UTSW

Thesis title: “The H3K27-specific histone demethylase Kdm6b (Jmjd3) is induced by neuronal activity and contributes to neuronal survival and differentiation”

Young May Cha (Medical Scientist Training Program/Neurobiology, 2009-2012)

Awarded Master’s degree Dec. 2012

Next position: Anesthesiology residency, University of Pennsylvania

Liang-Fu Chen (Neurobiology 2011-2017)

Defended PhD thesis Nov 16, 2017

Next and current position: postdoctoral fellow, Stanford University

Thesis title: “Mechanisms of Specificity in Neuronal Activity-regulated Gene Transcription”

David Gallegos (Neurobiology 2013-2019)

Defended PhD thesis Nov. 12, 2019

Next and current position: postdoctoral fellow, EPA and NIEHS

Thesis title: “Psychostimulant-Regulated Plasticity in Interneurons of the Nucleus Accumbens”

Martine Tremblay (UPGG 2015-2021)

Defended PhD thesis March 2021

Next and current position: Laboratory Genetics and Genomics Fellow, Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai

Thesis title: “Functions of the histone linker protein H1.4 in neuronal development and intellectual disability”

Urann Chan (Neurobiology 2016-2022)

Defended PhD thesis March 2022

Next and current position: Associate, McKinsey and Co., New York, NY

Thesis title: “Developmental Regulation of H3K27me3 Drives Excitatory Synapse Maturation and Social Behavior”

Melyssa Minto (Computational Biology 2017-2022)

Defended PhD thesis Oct 2022

Next and current position: Bioinformatic Scientist, RTI International, Research Triangle, NC

Thesis title: "Systematic Examination of Epigenomic Regulation of Neuronal Plasticity"

Undergraduate Senior Thesis Students


Charlotte Schwarz – Duke University class of 2012. Thesis title: “Activity-regulated transcription of Bdnf by the MEF2 transcription factor family.”

Medical School, Hungary, Psychiatry residency Duke

Caitlin Finn – Duke University class of 2014. Thesis title: “NMDA Receptor-Dependent Regulation of BDNF by CaRF”.

        Weill Cornell Medical School, MD program

Jalen Carter – Duke University class of 2015. Thesis title: “Transcriptional regulation by BDNF in the developing cerebellum. 

        Kaiser Permanente, operations.

Marty Yang – Duke University class of 2015. Thesis title: “Single-cell analysis of neuronal activity-dependent transcription.”

        Harvard Medical School HST program, Harvard Neurobiology PhD program

Allen Zhou – Duke University class of 2017. Thesis title: “Epigenome modification at gene regulatory elements activates neuronal activity-dependent gene transcription.”

        Harvard Medical School, MD program

Nicole Wayne – Duke University class of 2017. Thesis title: “Regulation of histone methylation in the developing cerebellum.”

        NIH IRTA fellowship, University of Pennsylvania MD program

Kim (Jane-Valeriane) Boua – Duke University class of 2019. Thesis title: “Identifying a unique regulatory cell population within the Lateral Habenula.”

Lab Research Analyst, Duke Dept of Neurosurgery

Ernesto Morfin Montes de Oca – Duke University class of 2019. Thesis title: “Targeted epigenetic editing at the Arc enhancer: a strategy for modulating transcription of Arc.”

Post-bac research program, University of Washington

Wendy Tan - Duke University Class of 2021. Thesis title:

Diwas Gautam - Duke University Class of 2021. Thesis title:

Krishna Sinha – Duke University class of 2022. Thesis title:

PhD Rotation Students


Nicole Parragio (Cell and Molecular Biology) – fall 2006

Halima Chuktan (Cell and Molecular Biology) –fall 2006

Andreas Pfenning (Computational Biology and Bioinformatics) –spring 2007

Jung Min Lee (Neurobiology) –fall 2007

Felicia Hawthorne (University Program in Genetics and Genomics) –spring 2008

Dominic Luciano (Neurobiology) –fall 2008

Dominic Ippolito (Neurobiology) –spring 2009

Beth Thompson (Cell and Molecular Biology) –spring 2009

Christina Tognoni (Psychology and Neuroscience) –spring 2010

Nathan Hedrik (Neurobiology) –summer 2010

Cynthia Hsu (Neurobiology) - spring 2011

Lisa Sears (Cell and Molecular Biology) –fall 2011

Chris Vockney (Development and Stem Cell Biology) –spring 2012

Paige Dexter (Cell and Molecular Biology) –fall 2012

Scott Barish (Cell and Molecular Biology) –fall 2012

Justin O’Hare (Neurobiology) –spring 2013

Brett Condon (Cell and Molecular Biology) –fall 2013

Matt Biegler (Neurobiology) –spring 2014

Lindsey Cantin (Development and Stem Cell Biology) –spring 2015

Elizabeth Pax (Cell and Molecular Biology) –spring 2015

Bryson Deanhardt (Neurobiology) –fall 2015

Martine Trembley (University Program in Genetics and Genomics) –spring 2016

Elizabeth Fleming (Toxicology) –spring 2016

Sarah Cunningham (University Program in Genetics and Genomics) –winter 2016

Caitlin Paisley (Neurobiology) –spring 2017

Mary Rose Branch (Neurobiology) –fall 2017

Maya Evanitsky (Developmental and Stem Cell Biology) –spring 2018

Luke Bartelt (University Program in Genetics and Genomics) – spring 2019

Arthy Narayanan (Neurobiology) – spring 2019

Aryana Yousefzadeh (Psychology) – research practicum summer 2019

Maddie Clark (Neurobiology) – fall 2019

Minel Arinel (Cell and Molecular Biology) – fall 2019

Federica Mosti (Cell and Molecular Biology) - fall 2020

Hannah Reed (Neurobiology) - fall 2021

Kavya Raghunathan (Developmental and Stem Cell Biology) - fall 2021

Emiliano Sotelo (UPGG) - spring 2022

Mariana Holguin Lopez (Neurobiology) - spring 2022


Undergraduate Research Programs, Independent Study, and Work Study Students


Rachel Wang (Duke University) – undergraduate research 2005-2007

Lauren Burch (Haverford University) - summer undergraduate research 2006

Andrea Pretorian (Duke University) – summer undergraduate research 2006

Kelli McDowell (Duke University) – PREP post-bac program student 2006-2008

Monica Hamilton (Duke University) – HHMI summer research 2007

Chase Palisch (Centre College) – NSF REU summer research 2007

Bochong Li (Duke University) – undergraduate research 2007-2009

Rishi Mistra (University of Tennessee) – NSF REU summer research 2008

Fangda Jiang (Duke University) – HHMI summer research 2010

Spencer Lewis (Duke University) – ARRA summer research 2010

Heetae Hong (Duke University) – work study 2010-2011

Peter Cruz-Gordillo (Duke University) – undergraduate research 2010-2011

Nika Larian (Transylvania University) – NSF REU summer research 2011

Kyle Davidson (Duke University) – Summer Neuroscience research fellowship 2012, independent study 2012-13.

Kurt Isaac-Elder (Howard University) – NSF REU summer research 2012

Rebecca Brenner (Duke University) - HHMI summer research 2013, independent study 2014.

Johnny Kim (Duke University) – summer research 2013, independent study 2013-14.

Hannah Ahrendt (Duke University) – bSuRF summer research program 2016

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