Dr. Martha Bagnall

After undergraduate studies at Yale, Dr. Martha Bagnall joined Tom Carew’s lab in UC Irvine as a technician for two years, studying sensorimotor learning. During graduate school in neuroscience at UC San Diego, she worked with Sascha du Lac at the Salk Institute. There she studied intrinsic, synaptic, and circuit function in the mouse vestibular brainstem and cerebellum. During a postdoctoral position with Massimo Scanziani, she mapped the thalamic projection to inhibitory neurons in barrel cortex. Next, with David McLean at Northwestern University, she found that the spinal circuit in zebrafish contains parallel but distinct premotor pathways for independent control of dorsal and ventral musculature.

Dr. Rebecca Callahan

Rebecca comes to us via the wonderful world of photovoltaics. She kicked all sorts of “you know what” at Hendrix College and again at University of Colorado – Boulder, where she was an NSF Graduate Student Fellow under the supervision of Prof. David Walba and Dr. Garry Rumbles.

Zhikai Liu

Zhikai Liu is from Jinggang Shan in the Jiangxi province of China. He went to Tsinghua University in Beijing for undergrad where he studied the structural biology of viruses in Xiang Ye’s lab. After a short summer internship in Stephen Liberles’ lab at Harvard, his research interests shifted to the neuroscience underlying the question “which way is up?”.

Dr. Mohina Sengupta

Mohini received her Masters in Biotechnology from St. Xaviers College, Kolkata and her PhD from the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS, Bangalore). where she worked . For her graduate work she studied the intrinsic and network properties of zebrafish cerebellar Purkinje neurons with Dr. Vatsala Thirumalai. In Martha’s lab she is using lasers and very small things as she works towards illuminating how spinal circuits are assembled; both in terms of specific connectivity as well as function.

Saul Bello Rojas

Saul received his BA in neuroscience from Lake Forest College. Like Martha, he worked at Northwestern University under David McLean, mapping motor neuron innervation in zebrafish. His interest in motor control and zebrafish brought him to Martha’s lab, where he’s investigating how input to descending projections affects locomotor output. He’s truly a “chip off the old block.”

Alumni Lab Members

Rich Roberts

Rich Roberts received his BA from Oberlin College and PhD from Duke University. While at Duke he worked towards understanding the genetic basis of behavior. He studied olfaction under the mentorship of Hiro Matsunami and continued this line of interest with post doctoral work in Tim Holy’s lab at WashU. Wowed by the opportunities present in the righting reflex regulated by a small number of neurons in the larval zebrafish brain he moved all of two labs down the hall.

Katherine Heisey

Katherine Heisey, was an undergraduate at UIC and came to us from Argonne National Labs. She carried out early graduate work on cerebellar inputs to vestibular neurons.

Jeff Elsner

Jeff Elsner is a San Diego native and WashU undergraduate – the type that every faculty member wishes would come into their office during recruitment interviews. He is now off to med school to make America well again.