lab location:

Shapiro Science Center 1-08
Interactive Map

shipping address:

Paradis Lab
Department of Biology
Lab Supplies & Receiving--Kalman
Brandeis University
415 South St.
Waltham, MA 02454

Paradis Lab Alumni

Daniel Acker

Name: Daniel Acker

Position: PhD Candidate

Education: B.S. Cornell University, 2013; M.S. Brandeis University, 2014


Hometown: Stony Brook, NY

Personal Interests: My hobbies include sailing, reading, playing music, and throwing the frisbee with my dog Leo. I also like to stand on my hands.

Research Interests: I am interested in the therapeutic potential of molecular control of synapse formation. Pathological shifts in the balance between inhibition and excitation (EI) in the brain contribute to a variety of neurological diseases including epilepsy and autism spectrum disorders. My goal is rewire the synaptic connections in the disordered brain to restore a normal EI balance. Specifically, my project is focused on using the inhibitory synaptogenic protein Semaphorin 4D to treat seizures in epilepsy by shift promoting inhibitory connections between neurons.

If I weren't a scientist I'd be... a circus act.

Ilona Chudotvorova

Position: : postdoctoral fellow

Education: B.S. - Odessa National Mechnikov University (Ukraine) 1999
Ph.D. - Mediterranean University (Marseille, France) 2006


Hometown: Odessa, Ukraine

Personal Interests: As person who has spent almost all of life near the sea I love swimming (sea or ocean), I also enjoy horse-riding, dancing, reading and traveling all around the globe.

If I weren't a scientist I'd be... a psychotherapist and I'd help people to make themselves happy

Jackie McDermott

Research Interests: I am interested in understanding the interplay between the different molecular events responsible for synaptic development and plasticity. I carried out my graduate research in the Institute of Neurobiology (Marseille, France), under the guidance of Dr. Igor Medina. His conceptual and experimental approaches inspired me and prompted me to pursue a research project focused on the elucidation of the molecular mechanisms involved in neuronal plasticity. I examined the role of potassium chloride co-transporter, KCC2 in neuronal plasticity, using imaging and molecular approaches. For my postdoctoral training, I decided to join the laboratory of Dr. Robakis in Mount Sinai School of Medicine, NY to become more familiar with different mechanisms involved in neurodegenerative diseases, including neuronal survival and plasticity. Now, I am working in the laboratory of Suzanne Paradis where I am studying GABAA receptor trafficking during development in primary hippocampal culture. Using live cell imaging and RNAi technology, my goals are to identify and characterize the molecules and mechanisms responsible for the modulation of GABAA receptor trafficking in neurons.


Pellegrino C, Gubkina O, Schaefer M, Becq H, Ludwig A, Mukhtarov M, Chudotvorova I, Corby S, Salyha Y, Salozhin S, Bregestovski P, Medina I. (2011) Knocking down of the KCC2 in rat hippocampal neurons increases intracellular chloride concentration and compromises neuronal survival. J Physiol. 15;589(Pt 10):2475-96.

Buerli T, Pellegrino C, Baer K, Lardi-Studler B, Chudotvorova I, Fritschy JM, Medina I, Fuhrer C. (2007) Efficient transfection of DNA or shRNA vectors into neurons using magnetofection. Nat Protoc. 2007;2(12):3090-101.

Medina I, Chudotvorova I. (2006) GABA neurotransmission and neural cation-chloride co-transporters: actions beyond ion transport. Crit Rev Neurobiol. 18(1-2):105-12. Review

Chudotvorova I, Ivanov A, Rama S, Hübner CA, Pellegrino C, Ben-Ari Y, Medina I. (2005) Early expression of KCC2 in rat hippocampal cultures augments expression of functional GABA synapses. J Physiol. 566(Pt 3):671-9. Epub 2005 Jun 16.

Katelyn (Kenny) Daman

Katelyn Kenny Daman

Name: Katelyn (Kenny) Daman
Position: MCB PhD Student

Education: B.S. Biology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2010   


Hometown: Putnam Valley, NY

Personal Interests: I love water, whether it’s in the ocean or a pool, I want to be near it. I also enjoy being outside in all the fantastic seasons we have in New England.

If I weren’t a scientist I’d be… a real estate agent and/or a swim coach.

Research Interests: I am interested in determining the molecular mechanism behind synapse formation and the formation of dendritic arborization. Specifically, I study the activity-regulated GTPase, Rem2 and its role it plays in these developmental processes. I have found that Rem2 is a substrate for CaMKII phosphorylation


Henty-Ridilla JL, Rankova A, Eskin JA, Kenny K, Goode BL. (2016) “Accelerated actin filament polymerization from microtubule plus ends.” Science 352(6288): 1004-9.

Ghiretti AE, Kenny K, Marr MT 2nd, Paradis S. (2013) “CaMKII-dependent phosphorylation of the GTPase Rem2 is required to restrict dendritic complexity.” J Neurosci 33(15): 6504-15.

Simeonov DR, Kenny K, Seo L, Moyer A, Allen J & Paluh JL. (2009) “Distinct Kinesin-14 mitotic mechanisms in spindle bipolarity.” Cell Cycle 8(21): 3571-83.

Favorite Quotations:

“Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming!” Dory, Finding Nemo

Mugdha Deshpande

Mughda Deshpande

Name: Mugdha Deshpande

Position: Postdoctoral Researcher (joint with the Rodal lab)

Education: M. Sc. Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, India
       Ph.D. Texas A&M University, College Station TX


Hometown: Mumbai, India

Personal Interests: I enjoy reading and I’m a big fan of Terry Pratchett, Harry Potter and other fantasy fiction. I also love experimenting with new recipes, Bollywood movies and board games.

If I weren’t a scientist I’d be… an architect

Research Interests: I’m interested in understanding how defects in cellular signaling pathways contribute to neurodegenerative diseases. My current work as the Blazeman Postdoctoral Fellow for ALS Research focuses on synaptic growth receptor signaling and transport in mammalian as well as Drosophila models of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

Favorite Quote: “It’s still magic, even if you know how it is done” - Terry Pratchett

Amy Ghiretti

Amy Ghiretti

Position: Ph.D. Student

Education: B.S., Biology, College of William and Mary, 2008


Hometown: New Providence, NJ

Personal Interests: I'm a big fan of television, movies, and entertainment news in general. If you have a random question about a TV show or movie, I'm probably the person to ask. I'm also one of many in the lab who is Harry Potter obsessed! In my spare time, I also enjoy horseback riding.

If I weren't a scientist I'd be... a writer for Entertainment Weekly.

Research Interests: My project involves the activity-regulated GTPase Rem2 and its role in neurodevelopmental processes. Using an RNAi-based approach, I have identified roles for Rem2 in synapse development, dendritic spine development, and the formation of the dendritic arborization. I am currently working to characterize the molecular signaling pathways through which Rem2 might be mediating its effects in neurons, and exploring the idea that Rem2 may be a key component of the mechanism by which neurons are able to respond to extracellular stimuli with the appropriate structural and functional changes.


Ghiretti AE & Paradis S. (2011) The GTPase Rem2 regulates synapse development and dendritic morphology. Dev Neurobiol 71(5): 374-89.

Ghiretti AE & Paradis S. (2011) "The GTPase Rem2 regulates synapse development and dendritic morphology." Dev Neurobiol 71(5): 374-389.

Ghiretti AE, Kenny K, Marr MT 2nd, & Paradis S. (2013) "CaMKII-dependent phosphorylation of the GTPase Rem2 is required to restrict dendritic complexity." J Neurosci 33(15): 6504-15.

Moore AR, Ghiretti AE, & Paradis S. (2013) "A loss-of-function analysis reveals that endogenous Rem2 promotes functional glutamatergic synapse formation and restricts dendritic complexity." PLoS One 8(8).

Ghiretti AE, Moore AR, Brenner RG, Chen LF, West AE, Lau NC, Van Hooser SD, & Paradis S. (2014) "Rem2 is an activity-dependent negative regulator of dendritic complexity in vivo." J Neurosci 34(2): 392-407.

Lamia Harper

Position: Undergraduate Research Assistant

Education: B.S., Biology, Brandeis University, 2012


Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

Personal Interests: I enjoy reading and writing, and trying my luck at cooking.

If I weren't a scientist I'd be... either a dentist or a high school chemistry professor.

Research Interests: As I have only just been introduced to research, I am still exploring research interests. I am currently working on the role of protein kinases in synapse formation in the mouse hippocampus.

Josiah Herzog

Josiah Herzog

Name: Josiah Herzog

Position: PhD Student

Education: B.A. University of California, Santa Cruz


Hometown: Fremont, CA.

Personal Interests: I enjoy both watching and playing a variety of different sports. I am a sucker for the sunshine, so when I have the chance to get outside I like spending time at the beach or in the mountains. I also love the idea of watching a movie or television show I haven’t seen before.

If I weren’t a scientist I’d be… a film critic

Research Interests: I am interested in understanding the genetic and molecular mechanisms of neurodegeneration. A common theme among neurodegenerative diseases is the presence of pathological protein aggregates, but very little is known about the defective biological processes that lead to neuronal death. My project specifically focuses on how one of these aggregated proteins, TDP-43, might contribute to neurodegeneration by affecting neuronal morphology and thus nervous system connectivity.

Favorite Quote: “Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind” –Dr. Seuss

Cristina Hilario-Gomez

Where are they now: Currently a postdoc in the lab of Frances Jensen at Children's Hospital, Boston

Paradis Lab Position: Ms student in Neuroscience.

Education: B.S. University of Deusto, Bilbao (Basque Country) 2000.
Ph.D. Carlos III University, Madrid (Spain), Sept. 2008 (expected).


Hometown: Bilbao, Bizcay

Personal Interests: I am fan of the Athletic Club of Bilbao (almost a must) and the Spanish soccer team (especially when I am far from home). Besides I love the sea and am learning to sail. Whenever I have time I like running.

If I weren't a scientist I'd be... first violin at the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (I am just dreaming).

Research Interests: I am a computer engineer fascinated by the mysteries of the human brain. Before coming to Brandeis I wanted to understand how the brain can give rise to thought. After arriving to the university, I realized how far we are from that ideal and how hard is doing science. Probably I should focus my career toward computational neuroscience, but biology seems to me too exciting to ignore it. In the future, I'd like to link neurobiology to neural computation. But right now, I want to focus in understanding the biological and chemical mechanisms in the mammalian CNS that give rise to learning and memory. Fortunately, in the laboratory of Suzanne Paradis, I have the opportunity to look at the synapse. Precisely, I want to understand what molecules affect inhibitory synapses formation. On that purpose, I am using genetics and RNAi techniques in rat hippocampal cultured neurons.

Marissa Kuzirian

Position: PhD Student

Education: B.A. Neuroscience from Kenyon College


Hometown: Bexley, Ohio

Personal Interests: I grew up in the pool as a competitive swimmer and I like to get back in the pool when I have time. I keep a close eye on my swimming Ladies at Kenyon College. Like many people in the lab I love all things Harry Potter! Good food is also a passion of mine and I love cooking for special occasions.

If I weren't a scientist I'd be... an art historian or a swim coach

Research Interests: I am interested in understanding the synapse, particularly the molecular mechanisms of synapse development. Before coming to Brandeis, I studied molecular mechanisms involved in synapse morphology and plasticity with Dr. Yasunori Hayashi at MIT. I am currently working to elucidate molecular mechanisms of synaptogenesis. I am interested in understanding the role of molecules, such as Semaphorin 4D, in synapse development.


Kuzirian, MS*, Moore, AR*, Staudenmaier, EK, Friedel, RH, Paradis, S (2013) The class 4 semaphorin Sema4D promotes the rapid assembly of GABAergic synapses in rodent hippocampus. J Neurosci 33(21): 8961-73.

Zeng, M, Kuzirian, MS, Harper, L, Paradis, S, Nakayama, T, Lau, NC (2013) Organic small hairpin RNAs (OshR): a do-it-yourself platform for transgene-based gene silencing. Methods. 63(2): 101-109.

Kuzirian, MS, Paradis, S (2011) Emerging themes in GABAergic synapse development. Prog Neurobiol 95(1): 68-87.

Hayashi, MK, Tang C, Verpelli C, Narayanan, R, Stearns, MH, Xu, RM, Li, H, Sala, C, Hayashi, Y (2009) The postsynaptic density proteins Homer and Shank form a polymeric network structure. Cell 137(1): 159-171.

Ryan Martin

Where are they now: Currently pursuing a PhD at Boston University

Paradis Lab Position: Undergrad Research Assistant

Education: B.S. Biology, Brandeis University, 2010


Hometown: Holliston, MA

Personal Interests: Tinkering with computers, reading, writing, and having a sharp wit.

Research Interests: Due in part to having recently started research, my interests are still fairly broad, but lie heavily within the field of neurobiology.

Jackie McDermott

Jackie McDermott

Name: Jackie McDermott

Position: PhD Candidate

Education: B.S. Hofstra University, 2012


Hometown: Taunton, MA

Personal Interests: I personally enjoy spending time with friends and family, as well as singing, teaching, baton twirling, traveling, and trying new things. Chocolate and WINE are my favorites! I also very much like meeting people, so add me on LinkedIn!

Research Interests: My project focuses on the role Class 4 Semaphorins and PlexinB Receptors in synapse formation. Specifically, I am interested in understanding the mechanism by which Sema4D and PlexinB1 signal to promote GABAergic (inhibitory) synapse development. Since a balance of excitation and inhibition is important to avoid neurological disorders, it is therefore important to understand what molecules are required and how these molecules signal for proper synapse formation. Additionally, I am interested in learning how these inhibitory synapses assemble as a whole.

If I weren't a scientist I'd be... Traveling the world!

Docherty JEB, Manno JE, McDermott JE, and DiAngelo JR. (2015) “Mio acts in the Drosophila brain to control nutrient storage and feeding.” Gene 568(2):190-5.
Sassu ED, McDermott JE, Keys BJ, Esmaeili ME, Keene AC, Birnbaum MJ, and DiAngelo JR. (2012) Mio/dChREBP Coordinately Increases Fat Mass by Regulating Lipid Synthesis and Feeding Behavior in Drosophila. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 426(1):43-8.

Favorite Quotations:
You’re never fully dressed without a smile!

Anna R. Moore

Anna Moore

Name: Anna R. Moore

Position: Post-doc

Education: B.S. James Madison University
Ph.D. University of Connecticut


Hometown: Wytheville, VA

Personal Interests: I enjoy experiencing new things, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.

If I weren't a scientist I'd be... a baker.

Research Interests: I am most interested in the way the brain develops and forms functional neuronal networks. More specifically, I am interested in the emergence of electrical properties in young, immature neurons and the role electrical activity plays in neuronal maturation and synapse development.


Ghiretti AE, Moore AR, Brenner RG, Chen LF, West AE, Lau NC, Van Hooser SD, & Paradis S. (2014) "Rem2 is an activity-dependent negative regulator of dendritic complexity in vivo." J Neurosci 34(2): 392-407.

Moore AR, Ghiretti AE, Paradis S (2013) A loss-of-function analysis reveals that endogenous Rem2 promotes functional glutamatergic synapse formation and restricts dendritic branching. Plos One. Aug 26;8(8):e74751.

Kuzirian MS*, Moore AR*, Staudenmaier EK, Friedel RH, Paradis S (2013) The class 4 Semaphorin Sema4D promotes the rapid assembly of GABAergic synapses in rodent hippocampus. J. Neurosci. 33(21):8961-73.

Belinsky GS, Sirois CL, Rich MT, Short SM, Moore AR, Gilbert SE, Antic SD (2013) Dopamine receptors in human embryonic stem cell neurodifferentiation. Stem Cells Dev. May 15;22(10):1522-40.

Belinsky GS, Moore AR, Short SM, Rich MT, and Antic SD (2011) Physiological properties of neurons derived from human embryonic stem cells using a dbcAMP-based protocol. Stem Cells Dev Oct;20(10):1733-46.

Moore AR, Zhou WL, Potapenko ES, Kim EJ, and Antic SD (2011) Brief dopaminergic stimulations produce transient physiological changes in prefrontal pyramidal neurons. Brain Res. Jan 25; 1370:1-15. Epub 2010 Nov. 6.

Moore AR, Zhou WL, Jakovcevski I, Zecevic N, Antic SD (2011) Spontaneous electrical activity in the human fetal cortex in vitro. J Neurosci Feb 16;31(7):2391-8.

Antic SD, Zhou WL, Moore AR, Short SM, and Ikonomu KD (2010) The decade of the dendritic NMDA spike. J Neurosci Res. Nov 1;88(14):2991-3001.

Moore AR, Filipovic R, Mo Z, Rasband MN, Zecevic N, and Antic SD (2009) Electrical excitability in young human cortical neurons. Cereb Cortex. Aug;19(8):1795-805. Epub 2008 Nov 17.

Antic SD, Acker CD, Zhou WL, and Moore AR (2008) Dopaminergic modulation of dendritic excitability in neocortical pyramidal neurons. Cell Science Reviews Vol 5 No 2.

Howard B, Mo Z, Filipovic R, Moore AR, Antic SD, Zecevic N (2008) Radial glia cells in the developing human brain. Neuroscientist. Oct;14(5):459-73. Epub May 8. Review.

Mo Z, Moore AR, Filipovic R, Antic SD, and Zecevic N (2007) Human cortical neurons originate from radial glia and neuron-restricted progenitors. J. Neurosci. Apr 11;27(15):4132-45.

Antic SD, Acker CD, Zhou WL, Moore AR, and Milojkovic BA (2007) The role of dendrites in the maintenance of the UP state. In: Mechanisms of Spontaneous Active States in the Neocortex, Igor Timofeev, ed. Reasearch Signpost, Fort Post Office, Trivandrum - 695023, Kerala India. 45-72.

Abigail Newby-Kew

Where are they now: currently pursuing an MPH at Boston University

Sarah Pease

Where are they now: currently pursuing a PhD in Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School

Paradis Lab Position: Undergraduate research assistant

Education: Brandeis University, 2010


Hometown: Cedarburg, WI

Personal Interests: I love to read and to write, and I have recently begun studying karate.

If I weren't a scientist I'd be... an author or an editor. Research Interests: As an undergraduate, I am still exploring my research interests. I am especially interested in molecular developmental neuroscience-the study of which I am just beginning-and neuropharmacology.

Aram Raissi

Position: PhD Student

Education: B.A.- Boston University, 2007
M.S.- Brandeis University, 2009


Hometown: Pacific Palisades, CA

Personal Interests: I enjoy spending time outside especially surfing at the beach, playing tennis, or just riding my bike through town. When I'm too tired to do those things (or when there is 5ft of snow outside), I like just kicking back and watching movies or reading. I've been a 49ers fan ever since I can remember and hope to see them win a superbowl within the next few years.

Research Interests: I am interested in the molecular mechanisms underlying synaptic development and plasticity. I spent my time at BU under Dr. Hengye Man studying AMPA receptor trafficking/signaling in both mature and developing rat hippocampal neurons. Now at Brandeis I am studying the effects of Semaphorin signaling on the initiation and modulation of synaptic formation. My project specifically focuses on the molecular mechanisms by which the transmembrane Semaphorin, Sema4D, regulates inhibitory synapse development in the mammalian hippocampus both in vitro and in vivo.

If I weren't a scientist I'd be... a brewer. Good brewing requires just as much patience as good science except with brewing you get to drink your experiments. (You could drink your experiments as a scientist too but I wouldn't recommend it). .


Raissi A*, Scangarello F *, Pontrello J, Paradis S. (2014) Enhanced efficacy of the metalloprotease inhibitor TAPI-2 by multivalent display. (in revision)

Raissi A, Staudenmaier EK, David S, Hu L, Paradis S. (2013) Sema4D localizes to synapses and regulates GABAergic synapse development as a membrane-bound molecule in the mammalian hippocampus. Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience 57: 23-32.

Zhang D, Hou Q, Wang M, Lin A, Navis A, Raissi A, Liu F, Man HY. (2009). Na, K-ATPase activity regulates AMPA receptor turnover through proteasome-mediated proteolysis. J Neurosci., 29 (14): 4498-4511

Favorite Quotations:

"All truth passes through three stages. First it is ridiculed, then it is violently opposed, then it is accepted as self-evident."
- Arthur Schopenhauer

"Anyone who has not made a mistake, has not tried anything new."
- Albert Einstein

"Brain cells create ideas. Stress kills brain cells. Stress is not a good idea."
- Benjamin Franklin

Gerda Ricken

Position: Graduate Student, MS in Molecular and Cell Biology

Education: Academy for the Medical-Technical Laboratory Service of the Vienna General Hospital, Vienna (Austria), 2003


Hometown: Neuhofen an der Ybbs (Austria)

Personal Interests: Performing wonderful music like Bach or Mozart. I also love sports, especially in the mountains (hiking, cycling, snowboarding). Travelling

If I weren't a scientist I'd be... a singer in the choir of the Vienna State Opera

Research Interests: Working in the field of Neuropathology in Vienna caught my deep interest in neurobiology. I am interested in the molecular mechanisms of neuronal development and synapse formation.


Kovács, G.G., Gelpi, E., Ströbel, T., Ricken, G., Nyengaard, J.R., Bernheimer, H., Budka, H. (2007) Involvement of the endosomal-lysosomal system correlates with regional pathology in Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol 66(7): 628-36

Deborah Rothbard

Position: Research Assistant


Hometown: Livingston, NJ

Personal Interests: Among the finer things in life, I really value a good cardio workout, engaging book, or even a cappuccino. Also, I've also been practicing yoga as of late; it's an inspiring way to begin or end the day. I've played the violin since grade school and when I'm not running, reading, coffee"ing," or pursing other escapades, I can be found intensely practicing. Recently, I've picked up the acoustic guitar and hopefully won't be making anyone's ears bleed in the near future. :)

If I weren't a scientist I'd be... hmmm ideally a concert violinist, but realistically, I'd probably look into doing humanitarian aid in global conflict/disaster zones.

Research Interests: I've always been fascinated with laboratory research and, at the age of 17, completed a solo research project in Dr. Ilya Raskin's lab at Rutgers University. I performed in vitro evaluations of plants used to treat malaria during the Civil War in hopes of finding a viable treatment against Plasmodium falciparum. However, after being accepted as an undergraduate student worker in Paradis lab, I can say that my research interests have altered and I plan to pursue a neuroscience/biology track. Currently, through the harvesting of hippocampus neurons, I'm doing my best to understand the nature of synapse development.

Leandro Royer

Leandro Royer

Name: Leandro Royer

Position: Postdoc

Education: B. Sc. University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo
Ph.D. Rush University Medical Center, Chicago


Hometown: Sao Paulo, Brazil

Personal Interests: I am interested in technical analysis of stock and future markets. In my spare time I like to complain about overrated soccer players.

If I weren’t a scientist I’d be…financial analyst

Research Interests: I am interested in how molecular properties and pathways integrate in order to accomplish cell functions. My current project investigates what are the cellular functions of Rem2 in neural development and plasticity.

Jessie St. Martin

Jessie and her husband Rob

Position: Graduate Student

Education: B.S. University of Massachusetts - Boston


Hometown: Columbia, CT

Personal Interests: I am a big music fan, and I really like seeing live music. I also like getting out into the great outdoors - and doing stuff like hiking and camping. Nothing beats the view at the top of a mountain! Oh and I love food - and generally whatever involves food (eating it, cooking it, buying it, watching someone cook it on the Food Network, etc).

If I weren't a scientist I'd be... this is a tough one. I'd probably be a high school biology teacher or a pediatrician.

Research Interests: I've always been motivated by knowing that science can have a positive impact on people's lives, and I've always been interested in neuroscience. That's why early on I looked to work in labs that were using basic research to investigate the molecular biology of neuronal disease. As an undergraduate, I worked in Dr. Alexia Pollack's neuropharmacology lab on a project aimed at trying to understand how dopamine agonists affect glutamate receptor expression in the striato-nigral pathway in an animal model of Parkinson's disease. After I graduated, I got the opportunity to continue working on Parkinson's disease research, helping to characterize a new viral-based mouse model of Parkinson's disease while working for Drs. David Standaert and Bradley Hyman at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School. Afterwards, I was hired to use a similar disease model to begin testing candidate molecules for therapeutic efficacy at FoldRx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. While screening compounds for this disease is undoubtedly important, my interests began to turn back to the basic questions of molecular neuroscience, and led me to graduate school here at Brandeis. I've started thinking about broad questions like: how does the brain perceive sensory information? How does this sensory information get 'used' by different parts of the brain? And how do different brain regions form the necessary connections which allow them to share this information? Through the course of my thesis research, I hope to learn more about the molecular mechanisms that govern cortical circuitry, and moreover how the brain functions to process sensory information from the development of neuronal connections to the transmittance of information along a neural pathway.

Lily Silayeva

Where are they now: Currently pursuing a PhD at Tufts University

Paradis Lab Position: Undergrad

Education: BS from Brandeis in 2009, currently a PhD candidate a Tufts University Medical School


Hometown: Boston, MA

Personal Interests: Good live music, books that come in trilogies, biology.

If I weren't a scientist I'd be... the person in the salon who walks around saying "OH MY GOSH I wish i had your hair/complexion/skin!!! Darling, you look fabulous!!"

Research Interests: I'm really interested in protein function cause/effect relationships. I'm definitely a molecular biologist at heart and since working in the Paradis lab, I have become increasingly interested in neuroscience as well.

Emily Staudenmaier

Position: Lab Manager

Education:: BA in Molecular Biology, Kenyon College '10


Hometown: Dayton, OH

Personal Interests: I'm new to the East Coast and since moving here I've been having a great time exploring Boston and checking out all of the awesome museums, festivals and restaurants that this area has to offer. When I'm feeling a bit less adventurous I love reading, seeing movies, going to concerts, knitting, and designing and making clothing. I also volunteer at Massachusetts General Hospital and participate in a few local book clubs and sports leagues.

If I weren't a scientist I'd be... I hope to someday be a doctor but if I had to choose something completely unrelated to science I'd want to travel the world as a translator.

Research Interests: The way that molecules are able to interact with one another in concerted, intricate pathways that allow living things to develop and function is a concept that I find quite interesting and beautiful. I'm therefore very drawn to Molecular Biology and while Neuroscience is a new field to me, I'm enjoying learning as much as I can about Neurobiology. The project that I'm currently working on investigates the role of Class 4 Semaphorin molecules, specifically Sema4A and Sema4G, in synapse formation.

Karen Tran

Where are they now: PhD student at Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Position: MS student

Education: M.S, Brandeis University
B.S., University of California, Davis


Hometown: San Francisco, CA

Personal Interests: I enjoy cooking, watching foreign films, and training my dog agility courses and fun tricks.

If I weren't a scientist I'd be... a food and wine connoisseur who travels around the world sampling different ethnic cuisines and gathering recipes for FOOD Network viewers.

Research Interests: My research interests reside in ubiquitin-mediated protein turnover in vertebrate neurons, and how disruption of deubiquitinating enzymes (DUBs) in the Ubiquitin Proteasome System (UPS) affects synapse development, morphology, and activity. In essence, DUBs regulate the UPS by cleaving ubiquitin chains from targeted membrane proteins that were destined for lysosomal degradation. Therefore, I hope to elucidate the biological role of DUBs and their associated proteins in neuronal development.

Julie Wertz

Position: Undergraduate research assistant

Education: B.S., biochemistry, Brandeis University, 2012


Hometown: Iowa City, IA

Research Interests: Biochemistry, neuroscience

Dylan Wolman

Where are they now: Medical Student at Tufts University

Paradis Lab Undergraduate research assistant

Education: B.S. in Neuroscience & B.A. in Biology, Brandeis University, 2010


Hometown: Los Angeles, California

Personal Interests: Interests: Running in snowstorms, swimming, building computers, reading technology news and exploring new fashion

If I weren't a scientist I'd be... a clothing designer or a personal trainer.

Research Interests: Neurobiology and endocrinology, with particular emphasis on type I diabetes research. I was initially drawn to neuroscience due to the clear parallels between the brain and a computer, and would like to eventually explore computational models of neural function.

Irene Wong

Name: Irene Wong

Position: Brandeis Undergraduate Student


Hometown: Malden, MA

Personal Interests: I enjoy weightlifting, volunteer tutoring, and SCUBA diving.

Research Interests: I am currently working on my senior honors thesis at the Paradis lab. My project focuses on the elucidating the potential of Sema4D as a novel antiepileptic drug.

If I weren't a scientist I'd be... a National Park Service ranger.

Danna Zeiger

Where are they now: Currently a PhD student in the lab of Piali Sengupta at Brandeis University

Paradis Lab Position: 1st year Molecular and Cellular Biology PhD Rotation student

Education: B.A. Barnard College 2006


Hometown: Wynnewood, PA

Personal Interests: Partly because I was raised by European immigrant parents, I have a great appreciation for and love of Europe. I enjoy travelling in general and seeing new historical sites as well as experiencing all the opportunities for culture. I also partly grew up on the Mediterranean and I love the sea there.

If I weren't a scientist I'd be... a math highschool teacher, a translator, own a children's bookstore, or a ceramicist.

Research Interests: Both my phenomenal Barnard neuroscience classes and my undergraduate mentor, Dr. John Martin, instilled in me an appreciation for our dynamic and still mysterious nervous system. As an undergraduate I worked in the Martin Lab at Columbia, which studies corticospinal injury and development. I completed my senior thesis there, which examined synaptic development and plasticity using confocal microscopy. Upon graduation, I worked for ten months as a technician for Dr. Greg Bashaw at the University of Pennsylvania, where I learned about using fly genetics, molecular biology, and axon guidance cues in the drosophila system. I am now in the Molecular and Cellular Biology Program and enjoying learning about neuroscience from this perspective. At the Paradis lab where I am currently rotating, I am examining the role of Sema4D as a synaptic molecule necessary for inhibitory synapse development in the mammalian brain. Currently, I am using RNAi to investigate a few potential Sema4D receptors.