Principal Investigator
Piali Sengupta A.B.- Bryn Mawr College; Ph.D.- MIT; Postdoc- UCSF Email

I've always been fascinated by the complex interactions between animals and their environment. As a grad student, I studied pheromone signaling in S. cerevisiae but then found the wonderful C. elegans system first as a postdoc in Cori Bargmann's lab, and then in my own lab at Brandeis. A PI's ‘job’ is constantly unpredictable and always interesting, and it is great fun to be able to interact with so many smart, interesting, and interested colleagues. I love to travel, am a bookaholic and a movie buff, and hope to be able to someday run 13.1 miles.

Cilia Squad
Ashish Maurya Postdoctoral Fellow, Ph.D.- National University of Singapore Email

I am interested in how primary cilia are organized and maintained to fulfill the diverse roles they play in sensory signal transduction. I am focusing on the mechanisms involved in forming and maintaining the many specialized and diverse forms of sensory cilia observed on C. elegans chemosensory neurons. Presently I am trying to determine how one of these sensory primary cilia achieves a highly branched morphology.

Inna Nechipurenko Postdoctoral Fellow, Ph.D.- Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio Email

I am interested in studying the molecular mechanisms that link extracellular signaling to cytoskeletal dynamics in the context of primary cilia biogenesis and function. My current project aims to characterize the role of a highly conserved actin-binding protein Girdin in cilia development using C. elegans and mammalian cell culture as model systems.

Alison Philbrook Ph.D.-University of Massachusetts Medical School Email

I am interested in understanding the correlation between cilia morphology and sensory neuron function. My current project aims to characterize how the diversity of cilia morphologies in the worm contributes to the function of specific cell types. In my free time I enjoy watching movies and exploring national parks.

Anna Kazatskaya MCB Graduate Student, B.S.- City College of New York Email

I am interested in the molecular mechanism of cilia formation. I am currently studying a MAP kinase, loss of which causes ciliary defects in a variety of cell types. My goal is to learn how this MAPK is involved in cilia development and/or maintenance. In my free time I like to cook and bake. I'm always excited to try new recipes.

Danielle DiTirro MCB Graduate Student, M.S.- San Diego State University, B.S.- San Diego State University Email

I am interested in the signaling mechanisms within primary cilia. Currently, I am characterizing the role of TUB-1 Tubby in C. elegans sensory neurons. Recent studies have implicated TUB-1 in fat storage and GPCR localization within neuronal primary cilia and these mechanisms are reported to be conserved in vertebrates. When I am not in lab I enjoy watching movies, reading and travelling to far away places.

Lauren Tereshko Neuroscience Graduate Student, M.S.- Brandeis University, B.A.- Boston University Email

I am passionate about molecular neuroscience, and intrigued by the mechanisms regulating the dynamic changes of synapses. The majority of mammalian cortical neurons actively maintain a single primary cilium throughout the life of an animal, however their function is largely unknown. My current work explores a potential role for cilia-mediated signaling in developed mammalian neurons. Outside of the lab, I like to explore the New England coast line, snap photos, and cruise on my bike.

Kendrick Rubino Undergraduate Student Email

I am an undergraduate here at Brandeis, and I am pursuing a major in biology along with a minor in chemistry. I am currently working with Tub-1 Tubby within C. elegans. In my free time, I enjoy being by the ocean and going surfing whenever possible. Also, I am passionate about cooking and traveling to new surf destinations.

Lisa Yuan Undergraduate Student Email

I am an undergraduate student majoring in biology and minoring in HSSP. I am currently helping Anna K. with her research/experiments and I hope to learn more about cilia function in c.elegans in the future. In my free time, I enjoy running, playing tennis and playing with my cats!

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Axis of (Chemo)Taxis
Mike O'Donnell Mike O'Donnell Postdoctoral Fellow, Ph.D.- University of Pennsylvania Email

I am interested in understanding the role of the sensory nervous system in adaptation to changing environmental conditions, and the implications of this process on the evolution of developmental and behavioral traits. I am particularly focused on the role of interspecific and intraspecific chemical signals and how these regulate neuronal development and function. C. elegans feeds on diverse bacteria, some of which can colonize its intestine. These different food sources can have profoundly different effects on development and physiology. My work is currently focused on understanding how nutritive cues and secondary metabolites from bacteria are sensed and transduced by the worm to alter nervous system function. For more detailed information about my work, please visit my website.

Travis Rogers MCB Graduate Student, B.S. University of Maryland College Park Email

I'm fascinated in organisms with alternative developmental programs & life cycles and how these metabolic and molecular "remodeling" events change animal behavior, pathogenesis, and reproduction. I'm currently investigating how the C.elegans dauer larvae modulates is chemosensory responses and chemotaxis strategies in response to attractive and aversive cues.

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Axis of (Thermo)Taxis
Nathan Harris Nathan Harris Postdoctoral Fellow, Ph.D.- University of California San Francisco Email

I am interested in the mechanisms by which an animal's experience influences neuronal gene expression, and how alteration of gene expression drives neuronal plasticity. I am using C. elegans thermotaxis behavior and temperature preference as a model in which to connect stimulus-dependent changes in gene expression to neuronal function and behavior. In my free time I enjoy rock climbing and listening to music.

Asuka Takeishi Postdoctoral Fellow, Ph.D.- University of Tokyo Email

I am interested in the neuronal and molecular mechanisms by which experience alters behavior. In particular, I am focusing on plasticity in thermotaxis behaviors in C. elegans after starvation, and am attempting to reveal the underlying molecular and neuronal mechanisms by behavior and imaging experiments. I enjoy playing the flute and teasing my kid in my spare time.

Munzareen Khan Neuroscience Graduate Student, B.S.- University of Connecticut Email

I am interested in learning how neural circuits integrate sensory stimuli and process information to generate relevant behavior and how the processing mechanisms change under different conditions. Currently, I am studying mechanisms that involve different molecules and genes expressed in certain thermosensory neurons and their roles in maintaining a functioning thermosensory circuit in C elegans. In my spare time I like to travel and learn about different cultures, read, write, play sports, and volunteer!

Tyler Hill Neuroscience Graduate Student, M.S.- Kennesaw State University, B.S.- Morehouse College Email

I am interested in understanding how organisms sense their surroundings and translate those sensory signals into relevant behaviors. In particular, I am interested in the mechanisms by which C. elegans adapts its behavioral response to differences in cultivation temperature. In my spare time I love reading speculative fiction, singing, going to concerts, and dancing!

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Research Associates
Hillary Katz Lab Technician, B.A.- Smith College Email

I have worked in the lab for over 25 years. I have held various positions from Research Associate to Lab Manager to Applications Scientist in academia as well as industry. In the Sengupta Lab I am responsible for ongoing daily lab support and preparation of consumables. In my spare time I enjoy reading, baking, and spending time with my family.

Alexander Eden Lab Manager/Lab Technician, B.S.- UMass Lowell Email

I am the current Lab Technician/Lab Manager for the Sengupta lab. I recently graduated with my B.S. in Biology. My biggest passion lies in education and how to best improve how students learn biology. I currently want to expand my experience with research in a lab setting so that I am better prepared for my graduate studies and so I can apply practical experience to my future work in education. Aside from science, I love watching movies, traveling, playing video games, and overall enjoying life as much as I can!

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Sengupta Lab Alumni

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Sengupta Lab | Department of Biology | Brandeis University
415 South Street | Waltham, Massachusetts 02454