Humans of HBI

Alexander Bates
Postdoctoral Fellow,
Lab of Rachel Wilson
Harvard Medical School
I study the fly brain. I am interested in how this tiny brain, itself smaller than some single brain cells in your cortex, can enable the insect to navigate through space. To answer this question, I record from brain cells in the animal while it behaves in a virtual reality environment that I can control.
Laura Olmedo Martinez
Graduate Student
Lab of Clotilde-Lagier Tourenne (Mass. General Hospital)
Mass. General Hospital
Our lab focuses on characterizing the molecular mechanisms causing Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a neurodegenerative disease characterized by the loss of motor neurons. Specifically, I’m involved in an effort to understand the role of STMN2, a protein decreased in the neurons of patients suffering from the disease. By defining the function of the protein, we hope to find new ways to treat ALS.
Josephine McGowan
Postdoctoral Fellow
Bill Carlezon Behavioral Genetics Laboratory
McLean Hospital
I’m fascinated by what makes individuals prone to mental illness. My current research explores the lifelong effects of early life adversity on susceptibility to psychopathology such as anxiety and depression. My goal is to find translational biological endpoints that can predict disease onset, inform early interventions, and ultimately prevent these disorders from occurring in the first place.
Mahmoud El-Rifai
Research Assistant, Neurobiology Imaging Facility;
Master's Degree Candidate in Psychology
Harvard Medical School;
Harvard Extension School
Not many PhD students, postdocs or other researchers have the time to learn and master every single technique required for a complex imaging experiment, so I do that. I am the expert in specific techniques and take care of parts of their experiments for them. Then I give them the results and they analyze it and get the data that they need.
Taralyn Tan
Assistant Dean for Educational Innovation and Scholarship;
Lecturer on Neurobiology
Department of Neurobiology,
Office of Graduate Education,
Harvard Medical School
I work to make STEM education more inclusive and equitable to support the success of all trainees. In my role I lead educational programs to promote diversity in STEM, I teach and mentor students ranging from high school through graduate and medical school, and I work with colleagues to establish policies and implement practices that promote equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging (EDIB) in the Harvard neuroscience and graduate education communities.

Image Credit:
MERFISH image of the human brain, showing RNA molecules expressed from 4,000 genes by various colors in individual cells. Image courtesy of Rongxin Fang (Lab of Xiaowei Zhuang, Harvard).