Principal Investigator

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Piali Sengupta

A.B. Bryn Mawr College
Ph.D. MIT (Advisor: Brent Cochran)
Postdoc UCSF (Advisor: Cori Bargmann)
Email
CV

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 and then discovered the wonderful C. elegans system as a postdoc in Cori Bargmann's lab then at UCSF. My lab continues to use C. elegans as the primary experimental organism, although we have also started some work in the vertebrate nervous system. A PI's ‘job’ is constantly unpredictable and always interesting, and it is great fun to be able to interact with and learn from so many smart, interesting, and interested lab members and peers.  I love to travel (the more remote the better), am a bookaholic and a movie buff, and am trying to teach myself to play the drums.

 

Research Associates

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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.

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Charmi Porwal

Lab Manager

B.A. 

Email

I am currently pursuing a master’s in Neuroscience. In the Sengupta lab, in addition to performing my managerial duties, I love doing science and the challenges which come along with it. Outside of lab life, I enjoy painting human abstracts and binging on crime series.

Postdoctoral Fellows

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Nathan Harris

Ph.D. University of California San Francisco

(Advisor: Grae Davis)

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.

Funded by F32 NS112453 and T32 NS007292

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Ashish Maurya

Ph.D. National University of Singapore

(Advisor: Phil Ingham)

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.

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Alison Philbrook

Ph.D. University of Massachusetts Medical School 

(Advisor: Mike Francis)

Email

I am interested in understanding how cilia morphology regulates sensory neuron function. Chemosensory neurons in C. elegans exhibit a range of morphologically distinct cilia. My current project aims to characterize how specialized cilia morphologies contribute to the unique responses of individual chemosensory neurons, and how in turn sensory activity shapes cilia structure. In my free time, I enjoy watching movies and exploring national parks.

Funded by T32 NS007292 and F32 DC018453

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Jamie Jihye Yeon

Ph.D. Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology

(Advisor: Kyuhyung Kim)

Email

I’m interested in the mechanisms  by which genetic factors contribute to  experience-dependent plasticity in thermosensory neuron function. Currently, I am investigating how food deprivation alters thermosensitivity in C. elegans. In my free time, I enjoy taking pictures and watching good movies.

 
 

Graduate Students

 
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Tyler Hill

Neuroscience Ph.D. Candidate

M.S. Kennesaw State University 

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!

Funded by T90 DA032435

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Anjali Pandey

MCB Ph.D. Candidate 

B.S. UMASS Boston

Email

I am interested in learning how context can modulate behavior on the cellular level. Specifically, I'm looking at how olfactory behavior in the worm can change depending on the context of other odorants. I am currently working to identify what proteins are playing a role in context-dependent changes.

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Travis Rogers

MCB Ph.D. Candidate 

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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Sam Bates

MCB PhD Student

B.S. UMASS Lowell

Email

I am interested in studying the transcriptional regulatory programs that govern experience dependent plasticity. Using C.elegans thermosensory neurons as a model, we hope to uncover how sensory information is communicated to the genome to modulate the temperature activation threshold based on recent temperature experience. In my free time I enjoy watching 80s action movies.

 

Undergraduate Students

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Matthew Bernstein

 

Email

I am a junior at Brandeis, majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in HSSP and Anthropology, investigating with Nathan transcriptional mechanisms that affect AFD and thermotaxis behavior. Outside of the lab, I like to watch Netflix, travel and hang out with friends.

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Laura Grunenkovaite

Email

I am currently a junior at Brandeis working with Alison to investigate how chronic and acute disruption of intraflagellar transport affects the localization of sensory signaling proteins in C. elegans. Outside of the lab, I like to read, make scrapbooks, and spend time outside with my friends.