Trapani Lab group photo -- Summer 2019

Lab Photos


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Esther Min '23

'23' Neuroscience Thesis Student
Current Lab Research Student
Former Summer SURF Student

Esther (she/her) is a senior Neuroscience major from Chino Hills, California and is pursuing the pre-med track. In a past summer, she conducted remote SURF research with Professor Trapani to understand the mechanisms of faster startle responses in larval zebrafish, assisted E-patients as a Stanford Clinical Intern, and worked as an Orientation Leader. Esther is currently a peer mentor for first generation and/or low-income students and involved with ACPHC and KDSAP. In her free time, she enjoys running, playing tennis, drawing, and eating yummy food!

Diego Carias '23

'23 Biology Thesis Student
Current Lab Research Student

Diego Carias (he/him) is a Biology senior from Kenner, Louisiana on the pre-med track. In a past summer he participated in a newly established research program at Amherst College called the STEM Incubator as part of the inaugural cohort. He is a certified EMT-B as part of ACEMS, Amherst College‘s student-led emergency services. He is also involved in the Association of Amherst Students (AAS) as a class of 2023 senator. He also enjoys running!

Jasmine Grossman '24

Current '22 SURF Student
Jasmine Grossman (she/her) is a junior from Baltimore, Maryland; majoring in neuroscience and is on the pre-med track. On campus, Jasmine serves as a Student Health Educator (SHE) and is an active member of the acapella group, The Sabrinas, Amherst college's first female acapella group. In her free time, she enjoys watching bad movies, reading, playing video games, and rollerblading!

Sofia Taberski '25

Current '22 SURF Student
Sofia (she/her) is a rising sophomore and a prospective biology major from outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. On campus, she is a member of the ultimate frisbee team and is looking forward to serving as a teaching assistant for the Biology-181 lab. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, running, spending time outdoors, and playing with her dog, Charlie.

Alyssa Xu '25

Current '22 SURF Student
Alyssa Xu (she/her) is a sophomore from New Brunswick, Canada. She plans on majoring in neuroscience and computer science on the pre-med track. She began research in the Trapani lab as a SURF student in summer 2022. On campus, she is the president of Amnesty International and is a member of the women’s ice hockey team. In her free time, she loves to run, rollerblade, drink coffee, and watch Gilmore Girls!

Xinlan ‘Annie’ Chen '24

Current Lab Research Student
Annie Chen is a junior from Hangzhou, China, majoring in Neuroscience and pursuing the pre-med track. She joined the Trapani Lab at the end of 2021 after a year of remote learning. On-campus, she works as the secretary for the Charles Drew Health Professionals Society, and she enjoys playing her flute as part of the Amherst Symphony Orchestra. In her free time, she likes running, learning languages, photography and crafting.

Maxim Melnichuk '24

Current Lab Research Student
Maxim (he/him) is s junior from Demarest, New Jersey, majoring in Neuroscience and English on the pre-med/physical therapy track. Sophomore summer, he worked in the Trapani Lab on constructing an imaging rig to measure changes in calcium levels within larval zebrafish hair cells to examine larval sensory encoding along the lateral line. In addition to conducting research on campus, Maxim is a tour guide, museum docent, lab assistant, orientation leader, English/Russian/Korean tutor, and one of the leaders of the Amherst Commonwealth of Independent States, Amherst Christian Fellowship, Hillel, and Liberty in North Korea organizations. He also loves to swim, play tennis, rock climb, cycle, (try to) play the guitar, and drink coffee.

Stacey Beganny

Research technician
Stacey's primary focus in the lab is creating and maintaining our transgenic zebrafish lines. She also mentors students and keeps the lab running smoothly. Before joining the Trapani lab in 2014, she spent 9 years engineering zinc finger proteins for targeted genome editing in Dr. Keith Joung’s lab at Massachusetts General Hospital. Prior to that, Stacey worked with Dr. Jim Versalovic, also at MGH, investigating intestinal Lactobacillus sp. using molecular genotyping techniques. When she is not in the lab, Stacey is busy keeping her 11 year old twins out of trouble. She also enjoys cooking, hiking, playing tennis and fly-fishing with her husband.

Andrea Mirow '22

'22 Neuroscience Thesis Student
Former 2019 Summer Research Student

Andrea (she/her) was a senior from Miami, Florida studying Biology and Art History. She would like to pursue neuroscience research as a career and was a member of the Trapani Lab since her sophomore year. In the summer of 2019, she worked at the Kaczorowski Lab at the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine studying neuronal activation in the hippocampus during memory formation. In the summer and fall of 2020, she worked in the Fishell Lab at Harvard Medical School looking at cortical interneuron development and connectivity. Outside of school and work, Andrea enjoyed doing events as a SHE (student health educator), going on mini road trips around Western Mass with friends (especially in the fall), and sharing her Colombian heritage with others through food (arepas!), dance, and music!

Phyllis Oduor '23

Former Lab Research Student
Former Summer SURF Student

Phyllis Oduor is a junior from Kenya intending to major in Neuroscience. She performed remote research in the Trapani lab and focused on understanding the role of the lateral line in startle responses and in the lab she worked on a project using NeuroBytes. On campus, she is part of the Health for Humanity Club E-board and a member of the ACStem Network and Remnant Bi-semester committee. Phyllis is also a Community Advisor, and a Peer Mentor to first-year first-gen and/or low-income students. In her free time, she enjoys dancing, listening to Afrobeats, and hanging out with friends.

Jackson Lee '24

Former Lab Research Student
Jackson Lee is a sophomore year from Portland, Oregon, currently undecided in major and planning on pursuing a pre-med track. In previous summers, he has worked with machine learning in computer labs at Portland State University. On campus, he is currently involved with the Amherst Ultimate Frisbee Team and Health for Humanity. During his free time, he enjoys listening to music, sleeping and reading.

Yeshwin Sankuratri '24

Former Lab Research Student
Yeshwin is a sophomore from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania intending to major in Neuroscience and possibly Computer Science. He would like to pursue the pre-medical track and is interested in a career in Neurosurgery and Business. During the past couple of summers, he has shadowed Neurosurgeon Dr. Lowe in the O.R., helped assist with work in the office/practice, and gained experience interacting with patients. Yeshwin is also a member of the Varsity Squash Team at Amherst and has been singing in A Capella since Middle School. In his free time, he enjoys listening to music, watching movies, and being outdoors with friends.

Dagim Belete '22

Former Lab Research Student
Dagim (he/him) is a senior from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia majoring in Neuroscience and Computer Science. He is interested in pursuing Computational Neuroscience specifically neural interface research as a career. He started doing scientific research as a summer undergraduate research fellow in the summer of 2020 in the Edwards lab at Amherst College and fell in love with it. In the summer of 2021, he worked in the JazLab at MIT and the Center for Brains, Minds and Machines on modeling the human brain using Machine Learning. Outside of school work, Dagim is involved in dance groups (ACSU and DASAC) on campus, photography for the yearbook (OLIO) and works as student assistant for AI in the liberal arts. He also enjoys football (soccer as Americans would call it), gaming, and being very bad at chess

Yaa Obeng '22

Former Lab Research Student
Former Summer SURF Student

Yaa is a senior from Newark, New Jersey. She is a Neuroscience major and is also on the pre-med track. Her interest in research began in summer 2018 in the Que Lab at Columbia University where she conducted research on lung regeneration. The next summer, Yaa later went on to work on an international Neuroblastoma project in a biostatistics lab affiliated with Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. Outside of research, Yaa is a Pad Thai connoisseur, enjoys watching movies and learning new language, and misses throwing hammer on the Amherst Track & Field team.

Hannah Neiditz '21

'21 Neuroscience Thesis Student
Former 2019 Summer Research Student

Hannah was a Neuroscience major on the pre-medical track. In the past, she worked remotely for a non-profit providing bereavement support to families who have experienced miscarriages or early pregnancy loss and also got a head start on thesis research.

Matthew Perkins '21

Former 2019-21 Lab Researcher
Former 2018 Summer Research Student

Matt is currently a graduate student in the NYU Neuroscience Program. In the past, he worked with Dr. Hrabetova to investigate decreases in mouse brain extracellular volume in response to adrenergic agonists using fluorescence microscopy.

Lauren McNeil '21

Former 2019 Summer Research Student
Lauren was a psychology major on the pre-medical track. At Amherst, she tutored for the ABC house in town and works as a Telementor, helping high school seniors through the college application process.  She also loved getting off campus to horseback ride, and was a captain of the equestrian team. In her free time, she enjoyed hiking, golfing, reading, and making music playlists. She is now a Clinical Research Assistant position at the Brown-Lifespan Center for Digital Health.

Christianna Mariano '21

Former 2019 Summer Research Student
Christianna is a senior from Atlanta, GA currently majoring in Neuroscience and Theatre and Dance. On campus she is president of Habitat for Humanity and director of Amherst College Sabrinas (Acapella Group). She enjoys making sound art with the materials and data from the lab and recently presented a piece in the Diffrazioni art festival in Florence, Italy. In her free time she enjoys spending time outside and, dancing, eating, and being with loved ones.

Anya Ivenitsky '20

Former 2020 Neuroscience Thesis Student
Former 2018 Summer Research Student
Anya is a senior from South Salem, New York. She is majoring in Neuroscience and is on the pre-med track. On campus, she is part of the Women's Tennis team. Last summer, she interned with two doctors, a nephrologist and a facial plastic surgeon. Anya spends her free time playing tennis, painting, watching Netflix shows, and hanging out with friends.

Ana Verma ‘20

Former 2020 Neuroscience Thesis Student
Ana is a rising senior from Chatham, NY, majoring in Neuroscience and following the pre-med track. On campus she is involved in the Association of Women in Science (AWIS), Project Salud, and Chorus. When not working in lab or doing homework, she can be found reading, singing, napping, or bingeing on YouTube videos.

Rana Barghout ‘20

Former 2020 Neuroscience Thesis Student
Former 2018 Summer Research Student
Rana is originally from Kafr El Dawwar, Egypt and moved to Jersey City, NJ. She is a neuroscience major and on the pre-medical track. She works as a marketing representative for Boomerang Storage and an Arabic conversation partner at the Five College Language Center. She was a residential counselor and will be an orientation leader in the fall. On campus, she is an E-board member of the First Generation Student Association and Women's Club Soccer. In her free time, she loves to listen to music, play soccer, and spend time with friends.

Julie Kim '20E

Former 2020 Neuroscience Thesis Student

2017 summer research fellow (SURF)
Former lab research fellow
Julie is a senior from Seoul, South Korea. She is a major in neuroscience. At Amherst, she is the treasurer of Korean Students Association, translator in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, and the member of Seligman Chinese & Japanese language theme house. In her free time she enjoys playing the cello, reading, figure skating, and traveling.

Kayla Ntoh ’20

Former 2018 Summer Research Student
Kayla is a Psychology major from Macungie, PA. She ison the pre-med track with hopes of one day becoming a surgeon. One summer, she volunteered at a Short Term Rehab Center and last school year she was a Resident Counselor. She is currently the Treasurer of the African and Caribbean Student Union. In her free time, Kayla enjoys reading, music, and traveling.

Elinton Park ’20

Former 2018 Summer Research Student
Elinton is from Springfield, Missouri and is doing a Neuroscience and Sexuality, Women & Gender Studies double major and following the pre-med track. He works as a Diversity Intern in the Office of Admission and a desk attendant in the Morgan Music Library. He is also a QuestBridge Scholar and the Director of Correspondence for the Charles Drew Memorial Culture House. In his (very little) free time, he enjoys choreographing for DASAC, binging Netflix shows, and taking piano lessons.

Idil Ozdemir ‘19

Former 2019 Lab Student

Hanqi Yao ‘19

Former 2019 Neuroscience Thesis Student
Former lab research fellow
Former summer research fellow (SURF)
Hanqi was a major in Neuroscience. On campus, she worked in the Frost Library Circulation Department. She was also a member of Amherst Mixed Martial Arts Organisation (AMMO) and served as the co-president of the Asian Culture House (ACH). She also enjoys badminton, swimming, and travelling.

Elorm Yevudza ‘19

Former 2019 Neuroscience Thesis Student
Elorm is now working as a remote medical scribe at AQuity solutions and as a clinical analyst at PWN Health. At Amherst College, Elorm was the Treasurer for the Charles Drew Health Professions Society and was a thrower on the varsity Track and Field team. One summer, he interned as a research associate at the Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine on hospital readmissions due to post-stroke depression. Elorm spends his free time listening to music, binge watching Netflix shows, reading, playing the keyboard, playing video games, and hanging out with friends.

Scott Rochard '18

Former 2019 Postbac Research Assistant
Scott is from the Caribbean, specifically Trinidad and Tobago, and graduated this year with a Bachelor of Arts in Neuroscience while also pursuing the pre-medicine track. He volunteered last summer in Matthew Nock’s Psychology Lab at Harvard University where he acted as a research assistant on several suicide prevention studies. At Amherst College, Scott worked as a teaching assistant for both the neuroscience and biology departments. He also served as an e-board member and choreographer for Dance and Step at Amherst College (DASAC). In his free time he enjoys reading, cooking, playing tennis and most of all dancing.

Dani Frolov

UMass Graduate Student
Dani was a Masters candidate in the Neuroscience and Behavior Graduate Program at University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Their home city is Saint Petersburg, Russia, and they hold a Master of Science degree from Saint Petersburg State University (SPbSU, Russia) with specialization in Endocrinology. Dani's research interests are developmental and behavioral neuroscience, and their current research is aimed at Zebrafish fast escape reflex circuitry and adaptation in hair-cell afferent systems. Dani uses electrophysiological methods extensively in their research, along with confocal, two-photon and scanning electron microscopy. They enjoy world history and traditional media drawing as hobbies.

Mohamed Ramy '18

2018 Research Postbac
2018 Neuroscience Thesis Student
2017 lab research fellow
Ramy from Cairo, Egypt, graduated as a neuroscience major and was pursuing the pre-medicine track. As a volunteer in Bellevue Hospital, he acted as a research associate collecting information about drug usage amongst patients and provided service as a patient advocate. At Amherst College, Ramy is the co-chair of Charles Drew Health Professionals Society and the resident counselor of a first-year dorm. When not doing school-related work, he enjoys the sun, plays soccer, reads books, or cooks for friends his favorite local dish, Koshari.

Emily Isko '18

2018 Neuroscience Thesis Student
2017 lab research fellow
Emily is a senior neuroscience major from West Hartford, CT. Last summer, she worked with fly larva in the Graf lab to determine the role of Rab3, a protein, in the developing synapse. On campus, she plays clarinet in the Amherst Symphony Orchestra and a member of Amherst Emergency Medical Services. In her free time, she enjoys reading, dancing, and listening to music.

Cristian Ramirez '18

2018 Neuroscience Thesis Student
2017 lab research fellow
2016 summer research fellow (SURF)
Cristian is a senior from Bradenton, Florida. He is a Neuroscience major and is also on the pre-med track. He works as a Telementor on campus and is the public events coordinator for the Charles Drew Health Professions Society. In his free time he enjoys playing the viola, cooking, reading, and playing basketball.

Oumou Toure '18

2018 Neuroscience Thesis Student
2016 summer Sarles research fellow (SURF)
Oumou is a senior from New York City. She is a Neuroscience major and on the pre-med track. She works with Campus Police as a Lead student security monitor. Off campus, she works at the Woodside Children’s Center as an America Reads tutor. She is also a member of African & Caribbean Student Union Dance group and will serve as its Manager in the fall. She enjoys reading, eating and playing soccer.

Jiwoo Park '19

2017 summer research fellow (SURF)
Jiwoo is a senior from Denver, Colorado, and is a major in Neuroscience and on the pre-med track. On Amherst's campus, she runs as a volunteer EMT-B with ACEMS, works as a co-director of GlobeMed's Campaigns team and as secretary for the Amherst Public Health Collaborative. She’ll also be an Orientation Leader in the fall. In her free time, she loves to travel, hike, spend time at Share Coffee, and hang out with her puppy, Leo.

Kira Becker '19

2017-18 lab research fellow
Kira is a senior from McLean, Virginia. She is an independent neuroethics major and is on the pre-med track. Last summer, she worked at the Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics at Georgetown University School of Medicine on neuroethics research regarding Alzheimer's Disease, fMRI, and the neuroscience of morality. On campus, she is a member of Amherst College Emergency Medical Services, the chorus, and Editor-in-Chief of The Amherst Element. In her free time, Kira enjoys spending time with her friends, reading, blogilates, and singing.

Sangmin Paulina Song '19

2016-17 4-College Biomathematics research fellow (4CBC)
Paulina is from Irvine, California. She has previously worked on epigenetics research and gene construct engineering. As a 4-College Biomathematics summer fellow, she worked under both Professor Trapani and Professor Nessy Tania (Math and Stats Dept. at Smith College). At Amherst, she studies statistics and is involved with various mental health and public health initiatives. She enjoys art and music in her free time.

Ursula Des Bordes '19

2017 summer research fellow (SURF)
Ursula is a senior from Houston, Texas. She is a psychology major on the pre-med track. On campus, she is the treasurer for Project Salud, a healthcare organization on campus. She also volunteers with Reader to Reader as a reading mentor. She is also a research assistant in Professor McCarthy's Psychology Lab working on diversity issues in group environments. In her free time she enjoys working out, writing, and listening to music.

Christina Hansen '17

2017 Neuroscience honors thesis student
Christina was a neuroscience and music double major and is now working at Massachusetts General Hospital as a clinical research coordinator in the Neuro-ICU. She contributes to the investigation of the underlying causes of secondary brain injury following stroke.

Sam Short '17

2017 Neuroscience honors thesis student
Sam was a neuroscience and music double major and is currently working at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital as a Renal Clinical Research Coordinator. He works on multiple projects investigating novel biomarkers to help diagnose kidney disease and injury.

Hannah Peterson '17

2016-17 research assistant
Hannah was a biology and Spanish double major and is now in Spain working as a...

Kathleen Tiffany Lee '16

2016 Biology research fellow
Tiffany is currently working as a Data Manager at the Biostatistics Center at Massachusetts General Hospital handling data from clinical research on acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

Thomas Sommers '16

2016 Neuroscience honors thesis student
Tom is currently on a research Fulbright fellowship in Emre Yaksi's lab at the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience in Trondheim Norway.

Ilya Kiselev '16

2016 Neuroscience research fellow
Ilya is currently in ...

Eileen Troconis Gonzalez '15

2015 Postbac fellow
2014 Biology honors thesis student

Eileen is currently enrolled at Cornell in their DVM/PhD program. She was formerly in the MPhil program at Cambridge Veterinary School. Eileen is from Merida, Venezuela and is a future veterinarian. She spent her early years at Amherst studying protein unfolding using denaturants compatible with mass spectrometry in Professor Sheila Jaswal's lab.

Joyce Wamala '18E

2015 Summer SURF student
Joyce is a Ugandan senior at Amherst College. She spent her first summer shadowing a neurosurgeon at a private practice in Zimbabwe and is interested in biochemistry, neurodegenerative disorders and medicine.

Alex Ordoobadi '15

2015 Neuroscience honors thesis student
Alex is currently a medical student at Harvard Medical School. Between Amherst and medical school, he spent a year as a clinical research assistant in the Department of Emergency Medicine at George Washington University Hospital and served as a Sergeant with the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad.

Steven Ryu '16

2013 HHMI Summer research student

Razina Aziz-Bose '14

2014 Neuroscience honors thesis student
2012 SOMAS summer research student

Razina is currently at Stanford University School of Medicine. She was formerly a clinical coordinator in Florian Eichler’s lab at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Varun Iyengar '14

2014 Neuroscience honors thesis student
2012 HHMI Summer research student

Varun is at Brown Medical school. He was formerly an associate at Close Concerns in San Francisco, California.

Kelsey Ayers '15

2013 lab fishroom technician
Kelsey is a Thoracic Surgery lab assistant at Stanford School of Medicine. While at Amherst, she was Biology major and a captain on the varsity softball team.

Jenna Browning-Kamins '13

2013 Neuroscience honors thesis student
2013 Summer postbac fellow

Jenna is currently in the Audiology (AuD) program at Northwestern University. Jenna was also a research technician in Richard Axel's lab at Columbia University.

Niklas Smedemark-Margulies '13

2013 Honorary lab member & author of our Optogenetics Review article
Nik is currently enrolled in Harvard's Immunology Masters Program. He was formerly a research fellow in Adam Cohen's lab at Harvard University.

Fabiana Kreines '12

2012 Neuroscience honors thesis student
Fabiana Kreines ‘12 is a medical student at Weill Cornell Medical College. She was formerly a research technician in Marcel van den Brink's lab at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center on New York’s Upper East Side.

Grace Li '12

2012 Neuroscience honors thesis student
Grace is currently in medical school at University of Kansas Medical Center. She was formerly a postbac research fellow in Harold Burgess’s lab at the NICHD at the National Institutes of Health.

Bryan Monesson-Olson, Ph.D.

2013-14 Postdoctoral research fellow
Bryan went on to a tenure-track position at Alfred State College in Alfred, New York and is now a Lecturer at UMass-Amherst.

Josef G. Trapani

Joe Trapani (he/him/his) is an Associate Professor of Biology at Amherst College and is a faculty member in the Neuroscience Program. He is also an Associate faculty member of the Neuroscience and Behavior Program at UMass.

Redside trout caught fly fishing during the salmon fly hatch on the Deschutes river, Oregon
Striper caught fly fishing the flats; Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Joe received a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut and spent grad school studying the biophysical properties of potassium channels in the lab of Stephen J. Korn. From Connecticut, Joe traveled to Portland, Oregon for his postdoctoral research in the lab of Teresa Nicolson at the Vollum Institute and the Oregon Hearing Research Center at Oregon Health & Science University.

During his postdoc, Joe examined the electrical activity of hair cells and afferent neurons of the lateral line of intact larval zebrafish. His work focused on important questions related to sensory transduction in hair cells.

Current research in the Trapani lab continues to try to understand how external sensory stimuli are transformed into meaningful neuronal information. Joe is also committed to addressing issues of access, equity, and inclusion in STEM.

email Joe
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