Leon Levy Fellows In Neuroscience

The Foundation established the Leon Levy Fellowship in Neuroscience to expand on Leon Levy’s interest in neuroscience and the functioning of the brain to better understand its impact on human behavior. The Foundation hopes to advance the careers of outstanding young neuroscientists as they pursue innovative, risk-taking research at select New York institutions.

Guadalupe Astorga, PhD, The Rockefeller University


Dr. Astorga received her PhD in neuroscience from the University of Chile, where she studied a novel role of TRP channels in synaptic transmission in the fly visual system. Her research interest was later focused on the function of neuronal circuits in behaving animals. During her first postdoc in Paris Descartes, she developed an in vivo preparation to perform two-photon calcium imaging of cerebellar cortex interneurons in behaving mice. She found a GABA loop that ensures interneuron activation and also a novel role for these neurons during orofacial motor behaviors. Currently, in the laboratory of Dr. Charles Gilbert at Rockefeller University, she is studying a new model of visual processing, where top-down cortical signaling can shape the activity of lower order visual areas with the cognitive influences of attention, expectation, and perceptual discrimination.

Jayeeta Basu, PhD, NYU Langone Medical Center


Dr. Basu is an Assistant Professor in the Neuroscience Institute at the New York University Langone Medical Center. Dr. Basu earned her bachelors degree in Physiology (B.Sc. Hon.’s) from Presidency College in Calcutta, India. In 2002, Jayeeta received a Masters degree in Neuroscience at the International Max Planck Research School, Georg August University in Göttingen, Germany for her research with Dr. Christian Rosenmund and Dr. Erwin Neher on the kinetics of neurotransmitter release. She then completed her Ph.D. at Baylor College of Medicine, where her thesis focused on molecular mechanisms of synaptic vesicle release and short-term plasticity in hippocampal cultured neurons. In 2007, Dr. Basu joined Dr. Steven Siegelbaum’s laboratory at Columbia University for her post-doctoral training. She examined how excitatory and inhibitory circuits interact to shape dendritic integration, timing-dependent plasticity, and learning behavior in the hippocampus. In her own lab, Dr. Basu aims to identify synaptic and behavioral correlates of learning-related activity in genetically defined circuits of the mammalian hippocampus and entorhinal cortex. Her research combines mouse genetics with electrophysiology, two-photon imaging, and behavior to parse out the synaptic, cellular, and circuit mechanisms of learning.

Wei-li Chang, MD, PhD, Columbia University Medical Center


Dr. Chang is originally from Houston, Texas, a few miles down the road from NASA’s Mission Control. She attended Stanford University, where she earned a degree in Human Biology, with a Concentration in Neurobiology and Psychobiology, and was also a member of the NCAA Division I Women’s Crew Team. Upon graduation, she was awarded an NIH Post-Baccalaureate Intramural Research Training Award, and under the mentorship of Dr. Karen Berman, studied schizophrenia and related disorders in the National Institute of Mental Health Section on Integrative Neuroimaging. After two years at the NIH, she matriculated into the MD/PhD program at the University of California San Diego (UCSD). Within the Neurosciences Graduate Program there, she worked with Dr. Neal Swerdlow for her dissertation research on Dopamine D3 Regulation of Sensorimotor Gating in rodents, a preclinical model relevant to several neuropsychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia. She also managed the Psychiatry Clinic within the UCSD Student Run Free Clinic throughout graduate school. During her residency training at Columbia, she has continued to use rodent models to study behavior and neural circuitry relevant to psychiatric illness, initially with Dr. Joshua Gordon, and now with Dr. Rene Hen. Her post-doctoral research with Dr. Hen will focus on the function of interneuron subtypes in the ventral hippocampus during anxiety-like behaviors using calcium imaging in awake and freely moving mice. After completion of the residency, she also plans to remain clinically active in Emergency Room and Mobile Crisis settings.

Alexander Charney, MD, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai


Dr. Charney earned his MD at Icahn School of Medicine, and is currently earning his PhD in conjunction with a residency in psychiatry. Since 2011, he has been training under Pamela Sklar and Eric Schadt, two of the foremost experts on large-scale genomics and multiscale biology. His expertise lies in the genetic architecture of neuropsychiatric illness, having been the lead bioinformatician on the largest genome-wide association study of bipolar disorder to date, and played a lead role in developing a novel method that uses genetics to characterize the overlap between schizophrenia pathogenesis and antipsychotic mechanism of action. Alexander is also a primary investigator for the Living Brain Project, a multiscale, data-driven investigation of the human brain wherein a single living population is being studied using all of the tools available for human-subject neuroscience, including the powerful tools of molecular and cellular biology that to date have been applied primarily in the post-mortem setting.

Dilek Colak, PhD, Weill Cornell Medical College

Levy 2016 Felow Dilek Colak

Dr. Colak is an assistant professor of neuroscience in the Brain and Mind Research Institute at Weill Cornell Medicine, where she studies the role of RNA regulation in neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric diseases.  She earned her bachelors degree in biology from Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey. She then enrolled in the PhD program at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, Germany. During her doctoral thesis, Dr. Colak focused on the extracellular signaling molecules that regulate cellular fate in the adult neural stem cells. Her PhD studies showed that neurogenesis can be initiated upon inhibition of the apparent default pathway in the adult-brain progenitors that is oligodendrogenesis. During her postdoctoral studies in Dr. Samie Jaffrey’s laboratory at Weill Cornell, she explored the physiological role of local RNA translation and the mechanisms that regulate it. During her postdoc, she also became interested in the mechanism of FMR1 gene silencing in Fragile X Syndrome (FXS), which is a trinucleotide repeat expansion disease and the most common monogenic cause of autism. Using FXS human embryonic stem cells, she discovered that the expanded repeats of the FMR1 mRNA interacts with the genomic DNA that then triggers FMR1 promoter repression. Her studies showed for the first time that a coding RNA could bind DNA to induce epigenetic silencing.

Natalia De Marco Garcia, PhD, Weill Cornell Medical College

Levy 2016 Fellow Natalia DeMarco

Dr. De Marco is an assistant professor of neuroscience in the Brain and Mind Research Institute at Weill Cornell Medical College. She earned her B.S. in molecular genetics and biotechnology from the University of Buenos Aires and her Ph.D. in neurobiology and behavior at Columbia University. Her thesis, which she completed under the guidance of Dr. Jessell, focused on transcriptional programs controlling motor neuron development and muscle-nerve connectivity. During her postdoctoral studies in the Fishell lab at NYU Langone School of Medicine, she examined activity-dependent programs of brain development. As principal investigator of her own lab, she continues to focus on interneuron development in the mammalian brain. She has published articles in Cell, Nature, Neuron, and Nature Neuroscience. She is the recipient of NIH Pathway to Independence, NARSAD Young Investigator and CURE Epilepsy Awards. In addition, she has received a Patterson Trust fellowship.

Daniel Eskenazi, MD, PhD, Columbia University Medical Center


Dr. Eskenazi obtained his BS in Animal Physiology and Neuroscience from the University of California, San Diego, before matriculating at the University of Washington Medical Scientist Training Program (MD/PhD). His dissertation research, conducted under the direction of Dr. John Neumaier, addressed the role of serotonin 5-HT6 receptors and striatal circuitry in habitual behaviors, with relevance for substance abuse, obsessive compulsive disorder and Tourette syndrome. Daniel is also dedicated to education, having acted as instructor and teaching assistant for numerous courses (including biochemistry, cell physiology, general biology and neuroscience) and contributed work to the AAMC’s MedEd portal. He has written several papers and presented at both national and international conferences (including Society for Neuroscience, International Behavioral Neuroscience Society and Cold Spring Harbor Asia). He continues to pursue basic neuroscience research relevant to translational psychiatry.

Lisa Fenk, PhD, The Rockefeller University

Lisa Fenk Levy Fellow 2015.02

Dr. Fenk earned her master’s degree in physics and French with honors from the University of Vienna, Austria, where she also completed a doctorate. For her master’s thesis in physics, she measured the aerodynamic properties of urticating caterpillar hairs. Having switched to sensory physiology for her Ph.D., her doctoral thesis dealt with the performance of spider eyes and was financed by a fellowship of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. She then continued as a postdoc at the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP), where she worked on neural circuits underlying visually guided behavior in flies. In early 2015, Dr. Fenk joined the Laboratory of Integrative Brain Function at The Rockefeller University as a postdoctoral associate. Her project aims to unravel circuit motifs by which motor systems and sensory systems interact.

Peter Forgács, MD, Weill Cornell Medicine


Dr. Forgács is an Assistant Professor of Neuroscience in the Laboratory of Cognitive Neuromodulation led by Dr. Nicholas Shiff, part of Feil Family Brain and Mind Institute, and an Assistant Professor of Neurology in the Division of Clinical Neurophysiology, Department of Neurology at Weill Cornell Medical College. He is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Clinical Investigation in the Laboratory of Neurobiology and Behavior, directed by Dr. Donald Pfaff at The Rockefeller University. Dr. Forgács received his MD from the University of Szeged, Hungary (Summa cum Laude). He completed his Medicine Internship and Neurology Residency at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical Center and his Clinical Neurophysiology/Epilepsy Fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School. Following his clinical training, Dr. Forgacs completed a 3-year research fellowship at The Rockefeller University, where he also earned a Master’s Degree in Clinical and Translational Medicine before joining Cornell faculty. As an academic physician-scientist specialized in neurology and clinical neurophysiology, Dr. Forgács’s research goal is to advance our understanding of neurological recovery after severe brain injuries focusing on identifying the role of unique circuit-level mechanisms crucial to recovery of consciousness. His current research projects involve patients with alterations of level of arousal from a wide range of etiologies in intensive care units (ICUs) with special initial emphasis on patients who had cardiac arrest and underwent therapeutic hypothermia. This research addresses an important and unmet clinical need in this patient population and will provide a basis to develop methods of early selection of patients with better chances for recovery and stratification of new or additional therapies aimed to enhance recovery (pharmacological, instrumental or changes in management).

Silvia Fossati, PhD, NYU Langone Medical Center

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Dr. Fossati is an Assistant Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry at the New York University Langone Medical Center. She earned a B.S. Magna cum Laude in Molecular Biology at the University of Florence, Italy, where she later obtained a PhD in Pharmacology. She joined NYU Langone in 2007 as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Pathology. Her research focuses on identifying common pathways of cell stress in brain endothelial, neuronal and glial cells in Alzheimer’s disease, unveiling new targets for drug discovery and compounds able to rescue neurovascular cells from mitochondrial-mediated cell death. She is the recipient of numerous awards including the Alzheimer’s Association New Investigator Research Award, the Blas Frangione Foundation New Investigator Award, and the American Heart Association Scientist Development Award, and was nominated Director of the Blood Biomarker core of the NYU Cohen Veteran Center. Profiting from her background in molecular neuroscience and her experience in ultra-sensitive biomarker studies, she aims to investigate transcriptional and miRNA changes in neurovascular cells as therapeutic targets and biomarkers for the development of much needed strategies in Alzheimer’s disease, Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress.

Rachel T. Fremont, MD, PhD, Columbia University Medical Center

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Dr. Fremont received her undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Biology with specialization in Neuroscience while working in the lab of Dr. Melina Hale studying the development of hindbrain startle circuits in the zebrafish. She then completed her MD/PhD at Albert Einstein College of Medicine where she developed novel rodent models of genetic dystonias and examined how interactions between the cerebellum and basal ganglia may contribute to this devastating disorder in the laboratory of Dr. Kamran Khodakhah. During her work, she became interested in the overlap of movement disorders and psychiatric disorders and hopes to pursue research on whether similar neural mechanisms may contribute to both. She currently lives on the Upper East Side of Manhattan where she enjoys visiting nearby museums and auction houses.

Alison Hanson, MD, PhD, Columbia University Medical Center

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Dr. Hanson received her undergraduate degree from Colgate University where she played Division I varsity women’s basketball and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Molecular Biology.  She then completed her MD/PhD training at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine where she studied the mechanism of Wnt signal transduction in the laboratory of Dr. Ethan Lee.  During medical school, she also spent two years studying classical oil painting and drawing in the studio of Anthony Ryder in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Now a resident in psychiatry, Dr. Hanson is most interested in basic neuroscience research, psychosis, and integrative psychiatry.  She lives in Washington Heights and enjoys the outdoors, working out, painting, drawing, cooking, and attending the myriad museums and shows New York City has to offer.

Biyu He, PhD, NYU Langone Medical Center


Dr. He is an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Neurology, Neuroscience and Physiology, and Radiology at NYU Langone Medical Center. She obtained her B.S. in Biology from Tsinghua University and her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Washington University in St. Louis. Prior to joining NYU Langone, she led her own independent research group in the intramural research program of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, with an intramural equivalent of the NIH Director’s Early Independence Award. Her research uses a combination of invasive and non-invasive multimodal human brain imaging, brain stimulation, and computational and theoretical approaches to investigate the neural bases of conscious vs. unconscious processing in the human brain. Other research interests include spontaneous brain activity, arrhythmic brain activity, and nonlinear brain dynamics. She has delivered keynote lectures at multiple international conferences and is currently a deputy editor of Neuroscience of Consciousness. Her work has received coverage by media such as Discover Magazine and Yahoo!News.

Sam Horng, MD, PhD, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

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Dr. Horng received his BA in Biology, summa cum laude, from Columbia University. He pursued pre-doctoral training in clinical bioethics at the National Institutes of Health then completed his MD-PhD degrees at Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences. His graduate work with Mriganka Sur focused on mechanisms of visual map formation in the developing mouse.  Currently, he is a resident in the Neurology residency at Mount Sinai Medical Center. He has joined the laboratory of Gareth John, where he studies mechanisms of blood brain barrier breakdown in inflammatory brain disease. As a Leon Levy fellow, he will focus on the role of reactive astrocytes in modulating soluble factor and leukocyte entry into the brain.

Rebecca Jones, PhD, Weill Cornell Medical College

Levy 2016 Fellow Rebecca Jones2

Dr. Jones is fascinated by how the human brain is different in individuals with autism. She graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University with a B.A. in psychology and neuroscience and was awarded the neuroscience thesis prize for her undergraduate dissertation on abnormal face processing in adults with autism. She was a Gates Scholar at the University of Cambridge in the UK where she completed an M.Phil. under the supervision of Dr. Simon Baron-Cohen, studying hormone influences in autism. Dr. Jones received her Ph.D. in neuroscience from Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences where she published multiple papers in journals such as Science, Journal of Neuroscience, and Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. She worked with Dr. BJ Casey studying neural trajectories of social behavior across typical development. Dr. Jones completed a postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Catherine Lord at Weill Cornell, studying clinical and diagnostic assessments of autism, supported by an Autism Speaks Fellowship. In 2014, Dr. Jones was a Mirzayan Fellow at the National Academies of Science, studying the intersection of public policy and scientific research on neurodevelopmental disorders. Dr. Jones’s current focus is studying how underlying neural circuitry changes across age and its effect on behavior in autism compared to typical development in order to better understand mechanisms to improve treatment outcomes in autism.

Daniel Kimmel, MD, PhD, Columbia University Medical Center

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Dr. Kimmel is a fourth-year resident in psychiatry and Leon Levy Neuroscience Fellow at Columbia University. He completed his undergraduate training at Oberlin College, where he double-majored in biology and neurobiology, while studying jazz guitar and flute. After two years as a computer developer in San Francisco, Dr. Kimmel continued his training in the M.D./Ph.D. program at Stanford University under the direction of Dr. Bill Newsome, where he recorded from single neurons in awake-behaving monkeys to understand how prefrontal cortex represents economic value for guiding decisions. At Columbia with Dr. John Cunningham, he extended this work by developing new statistical tools for examining high-dimensional neural data, work which was awarded recently by the Society for Neuroeconomics. Dr. Kimmel is currently working with Dr. Daphna Shohamy at Columbia to study in humans the relationship between affect and value in decision-making.

Drew Kiraly, MD, PhD, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai


Dr. Kiraly received his bachelor’s degree in Neurobiology and Biochemistry from Drew University where he graduated magna cum laude and was selected to Phi Beta Kappa. After two years working in the lab of Dr. Jane Taylor at Yale University, he went on to enroll in the MD-PhD program at the University of Connecticut. His PhD thesis in the lab of Dr. Betty Eipper examined the role of postsynaptic protein Kalirin-7 in behavioral response to cocaine and NMDA receptor localization at the synapse. His thesis work was published in the Journal of Neuroscience and Biological Psychiatry among others, and he was awarded the Bloomberg Prize as the top clinical student in psychiatry. Dr. Kiraly is currently the Chief Resident for Research in Psychiatry and an Instructor in Neuroscience at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. While working in the laboratory of Dr. Eric Nestler he has developed lines of research examining the role of neuroimmune interactions and the gut microbiome in the development of psychostimulant addiction.

Arjun Masurkar, MD, PhD, NYU Langone Medical Center


Dr. Masurkar is an Assistant Professor of Neurology at NYU Langone Medical Center. He earned his BS in Electrical Engineering at MIT, focusing on the mathematical description of signal flow in circuits. Interested in the biomedical applications of this theory, during his MD/PhD at Yale University he conducted thesis research in olfactory bulb circuit physiology under Dr. Wei Chen. This was followed by neurology residency and clinical fellowship in behavioral neurology and neuropsychiatry at Columbia University, where he developed a clinical interest in Alzheimer disease (AD). Inspired by links between olfactory deficits and early stages of AD, which affects the entorhinal cortex and hippocampus, Dr. Masurkar also conducted postdoctoral research in entorhinal-hippocampal physiology under Dr. Steven Siegelbaum at Columbia. There, he elucidated how spatial and non-spatial inputs from entorhinal cortex preferentially engage different subpopulations of hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons. Now at NYU, in his own lab he is exploring how this functional connectivity evolves in normal aging, degenerates in early AD, and leads to symptoms. With support from the Levy fellowship, he hopes this work will inspire a better understanding of memory and new therapeutic approaches for patients with Alzheimer disease.

Santosh Murthy, MD, Weill Cornell Medicine


Dr. Murthy is an Assistant Professor of Neurology at Weill Cornell Medicine and a neurointensivist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. Following the completion of residency training in Neurology at Baylor College of Medicine, he went on to do a fellowship in Neurocritical Care at Johns Hopkins University. He also has a Master’s in Public Heath degree from the University of Texas. Dr. Murthy’s clinical responsibilities involve caring for patients admitted to the neurologic intensive care unit. His research focuses on understanding the secondary injury following intracerebral hemorrhage. He is particularly interested in studying the risk and mechanisms of arterial thromboembolic events such as stroke and myocardial infarction after brain hemorrhage, and their impact on cognitive and functional disability. His research has been published in leading peer-reviewed journals including Neurology, Stroke and Critical Care Medicine.

Tobias Nöbauer, PhD, The Rockefeller University

Portrait of Tobias Noebauer

After earning a master’s thesis in particle physics at the European particle physics laboratory CERN, Dr. Nöbauer obtained a PhD in quantum optics from the Complex Quantum Systems doctoral program at TU Vienna and the University of Vienna, Austria, where he designed and built novel quantum information processors for quantum computing and high-precision sensing. In particular, he demonstrated the coupling of ensembles of point-defects in diamond to superconducting microwave circuits, as well as a versatile approach to robust quantum control. During these studies of the fundamental physics of quantum information, Dr. Nöbauer became increasingly fascinated by the complexity of information processing in neural systems. Inspired by recent advances in optical neural recording that enable the observation of large populations of neurons in vivo, he decided to venture into this emerging field. Currently, in the laboratory of Dr. Alipasha Vaziri at The Rockefeller University, he is developing techniques for high-speed volumetric recording of neuronal dynamics (calcium imaging) from hundreds of thousands of neurons simultaneously, and deep in scattering tissue. By combining advanced multi-photon laser excitation with computational imaging and machine learning, he aims to capture neuronal dynamics from across multiple cortical areas and layers, in order to help unravel population-level information processing in the brain.

Achilles Ntranos, MD, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai


Dr. Ntranos is currently starting his neuroimmunology fellowship at Mount Sinai Hospital. He obtained his medical degree from the University of Athens in Greece, after which he joined Dr. Peter Calabresi’s lab at Johns Hopkins for a postdoctoral research fellowship in neuroimmunology. At Johns Hopkins, Dr. Ntranos was studying the immunomodulatory effects of fingolimod in cytotoxic T cells. His work on fingolimod was awarded the Whitaker prize for the best platform presentation at ACTRIMS in 2013. He then continued his training in neurology at Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was nominated Chief Resident during his last year of residency. Supported by an NINDS R25 grant, Dr Ntranos joined Dr. Patrizia Casaccia’s lab at Mount Sinai, where he has been studying novel strategies for myelin repair in multiple sclerosis. As a Leon Levy fellow, his research is going to focus on modifying the way oligodendrocytes read the epigenetic code to shift their phenotype towards myelin repair.

Pedro Olivetti, MD, PhD, Columbia University Medical Center


Dr. Olivetti is originally from São Paulo, Brazil and earned his BS in Applied Biology from the Georgia Institute of Technology prior to matriculating as an MD/PhD student at Baylor College of Medicine. He completed his doctoral thesis on Infantile Spasms Syndrome under the direction of Dr. Jeffrey L. Noebels. He has published extensively, presented at international conferences, and earned numerous awards for his work in translational neuroscience. Currently, he is a research track Psychiatry intern at Columbia University. He is the father of a beautiful little girl and plays blues harmonica on his free time.

Alejandro Ramirez, MD, PhD, Columbia University Medical Center

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Dr. Ramirez obtained a Bachelors Degree in Biochemistry, summa cum laude, from the University of Colorado and an M.Phil in Biological Sciences from the University of Cambridge prior to enrolling in the MD/PhD program at Columbia University. His PhD thesis with Dr. Randy Bruno investigated mechanisms of neural plasticity and sensory coding in the rodent somatosensory system. His dissertation work was published in the journals Neuron and Nature Neuroscience and awarded the Andrew Mark Lippard Memorial Research Award in Neuroscience.

Ilaria Sani, PhD, The Rockefeller University


Dr. Sani received her undergraduate degree from the University of Florence, where she earned a bachelor of science degree in biology and a master’s in biomedical sciences. She then completed her PhD training in neuroscience at the University of Verona, studying the interplay between attention and stimulus salience at the single neuron level. Dr. Sani was partially funded by the National Institute of Neuroscience, and she received the Valentino Braitenberg Award for her PhD thesis. Now, as a postdoctoral fellow in the Laboratory of Systems Neuroscience at The Rockefeller University, Dr. Sani is studying the neural mechanism of attentional reorienting, using a multimodal approach. She is applying functional and structural whole brain imaging, in combination with electrophysiological recordings of single neuron activity, with the goal of bridging the gap between the different spatial and temporal scales of the brain.

Louisa Steinberg, MD, PhD, Columbia University Medical Center


Dr. Steinberg graduated with honors from Vassar College with a BA in Neuroscience and Behavior. She went on to pursue her MD/PhD at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine where she worked in the laboratory of Dr. Jose Luis Pena in the Department of Neuroscience. During her PhD, Dr. Steinberg studied neural coding and signal processing in the brain stem. She has presented many posters and has published several papers, including two first author of papers published in the Journal of Neuroscience. Going forward, Dr. Steinberg plans to study biomarkers and novel treatment protocols for major depressive disorder.

Hagen Tilgner, PhD, Weill Cornell Medicine


Dr. Tilgner is an Assistant Professor of Neuroscience at the Brain and Mind Research Institute (BMRI) of Weill Cornell Medicine as of 2016. He obtained his M.Sc. degrees from Germany (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology) and from France (Ecole Nationale d’Informatique et des Mathematiques Appliquees de Grenoble – ENSIMAG and Universite Joseph Fourier) in Computer Science and Bioinformatics. He carried out his PhD research under the supervision of Professor Roderic Guigo at the Center for Genomic Research (CRG) in Barcelona, Spain, focusing on the mechanism and dynamics of RNA splicing.  In 2011, he moved to the Genetics Department of Stanford University to the laboratory of Professor Michael Snyder, where he was instrumental in developing various techniques for full-length RNA isoform profiling. His main interest is understanding how different isoforms (“what genes are saying”) expand on simple gene expression measurements (“how much genes are talking”) in specifying cellular function in the nervous system and disease. He will use the Leon Levy fellowship to study heterogeneity in RNA isoform usage across brain regions.

Nicolas Tritsch, PhD, NYU Langone Medical Center


Dr. Tritsch is an Assistant Professor in the Neuroscience Institute at the NYU Langone Medical Center, where he studies the functional organization of neural circuits that orchestrate voluntary motor actions. He obtained his B.S. in immunology and M.S. in neuroscience from McGill University before earning his Ph.D. in neuroscience from Johns Hopkins University under the mentorship of Dr. Dwight Bergles. He recently completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Dr. Bernardo Sabatini at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Tritsch is the recipient of several awards, including the National Institutes of Health Pathway to Independence Award, the Society for Neuroscience Peter and Patricia Gruber International Research Award and the Alfred P. Sloan Research fellowship in Neuroscience. As a Leon Levy Fellow, he aims to identify the synaptic mechanisms that enable the nervous system to promote the execution of movements expected to bring about desired outcomes.

James Young, MD, PhD, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai


Dr. Young received his BS and MS in Biology from Stanford University.  He pursued a combined MD-PhD degree at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.  His doctoral thesis in the lab of Dr. Matthew Shapiro focused on in behavioral flexibility in rats.  He performed single unit recordings in the orbitofrontal cortex to study neural encoding during reversal learning.  Currently, he is one of the Clinical Neurophysiology Fellows at Mount Sinai Hospital.  His current research performs behavioral testing on human subjects while they undergo electrocorticography (ECOG) for surgical management of epilepsy.  As a Leon Levy fellow, his research focuses on the role of intrinsic oscillatory activity in supporting decision-making and memory.