Female scientists at CSHL

 Ally Nowlan  Graduate Student, Stephen Shea lab            

Ally Nowlan

Graduate Student, Stephen Shea lab





As a graduate student in the Shea Lab, I am interested in the neural circuits that underlie social communication. I use the mouse as a model organism to investigate the mechanism that triggers a stereotyped maternal behavior in which mother mice respond to the distress calls of isolated pups by retrieving them back to the safety of the nest. Interestingly, naïve virgin females can learn to perform this retrieval behavior through sensory experience with pups. We have evidence to suggest that olfactory cues are actually modulating the auditory representation of these distress calls to elicit this behavior. I use a combination of imaging, behavioral, and electrophysiological assays to investigate this exciting example of multisensory dependent plasticity in the auditory cortex.  I received my Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, spent a summer working for the neural systems & behavior course at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA, and then spent four years studying a novel chemosensory gene family at Harvard Medical School. Outside of the lab I enjoy hiking, live music, and playing with my cat.

I am the president of WiSE

Christine Scaduto

Postdoc, Jason Sheltzer Lab

I completed my PhD at Brown University in the Spring of 2017. Here, in the lab of Richard Bennett, I studied molecular mechanisms of sexual reproduction in human fungal pathogens. I joined the Sheltzer Lab at Cold Spring Harbor as a postdoctoral fellow in July 2017. Currently, I investigate the role of aneuploidy (an imbalance in chromosome number) in various types of cancer using human cell lines. Outside of the lab, I enjoy writing, running, and lifting weights.

I am the Vice President of WiSE.



 Shaina Lu  Graduate Student, Anthony Zador Lab            

Shaina Lu

Graduate Student, Anthony Zador Lab





Currently, I am a graduate student in Tony Zador’s Lab. I'm interested in applying systems and computational biology approaches to understanding the wiring of the brain, or connectome. I graduated from Swarthmore College where I received a Bachelor of Arts with a major in biology and a minor in computer science. During my time as an undergraduate, I was fortunate to participate in a variety of research projects ranging from bird phylogenetics to pathogen genomics. I believe that through the privilege of being a scientist, I can inspire younger students, contribute to building a research world where half the tenure-track scientists identify as women, and ultimately increase our understanding of the complex and beautiful world around us. In my free time I enjoy exploring the city, playing volleyball, and hanging out with my dog. I am the secretary/treasurer of WiSE.

For more information feel free to contact me or check out my linked-in profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/shaina-lu-09ab87a5).

 Lital Chartarifsky  Graduate student, Anne Churchland lab   

Lital Chartarifsky

Graduate student, Anne Churchland lab


As a graduate student in Dr. Anne Churchland’s lab, I am interested in how our brain combines visual and auditory information to guide us into making decisions that are more accurate than using a single sense. In the lab I train rats on an audio-visual decision-making task. While the animals perform the task I silence different areas of the brain and record neural signals in order to understand which areas are essential for multi-sensory integration. I received my Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel where I worked on the alternative splicing of the insulin receptor in pancreatic beta cells and its role in Type-2 Diabetes. In my free time I enjoy exercising, rock climbing, baking and reading.

I am the President Emeritus and Co-founder of WiSE.

 Alexandra Ambrico  Technician, Loyd Trotman lab

Alexandra Ambrico

Technician, Loyd Trotman lab

As a Research Technician II in Lloyd Trotman’s lab, I am working on metastatic prostate cancer. My most recent project focused on using the lab’s GEMM model, RapidCaP, to confirm the effect of LPS-induced lung inflammation on the re-awakening of cancer cells. Studies have shown that chronic inflammation can induce the reawakening of disseminated, dormant prostate cancer cells in lungs and I confirmed this using our model. I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from Indiana University and worked on HPV for one and a half years. I investigated the role of the Hippo signaling pathway through the activation of YAP and p53 in cervical cancer cell proliferation. I also studied the role of TopBP1 protein in HPV and BPV replication during my time at the Indiana University School of Medicine. My future plans include focusing on science communication and continuing to plan outreach events with students and the public. In my free time, I enjoy working on my blog, cooking, and traveling.

I am the Vice President Emeritus and Co-Founder of WiSE. 

 Jackie Giovanniello  Graduare student, Bo Li lab      

Jackie Giovanniello

Graduare student, Bo Li lab



As a graduate student in Bo Li’s lab, I am working to understand the neural circuits that control anxiety in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Anxiety and ASD are frequent comorbid disorders and studies suggest the two disorders may be linked by similar underlying mechanisms. I use a mouse model, harboring the most common genetic deletion found in patients with ASD, to study the circuits that control anxiety and fear learning. We use various behavioral, electrophysiological, and cellular techniques to elucidate the differences in these circuits between normal mice and those with ASD. I received my Bachelor’s Degree from Brown University and spent two years researching target therapy-resistant breast cancer as a Research Technician at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. In my free time, I enjoy playing with my dogs, reading, and playing sports.

I am the President emeritus and Co-Founder of WiSE.

Brianna Bibel

Graduate Student, Leemor Joshua-Tor Lab

I am a graduate student in the Joshua-Tor lab My interests include biochemistry and structural biology.  I received a Bachelor’s Degree from Saint Mary’s College of California, where I conducted research on the structure/functional relationship of the neuropeptide-processing enzyme neurolysin, which is believed to play a role in cellular communication. I am passionate about improving access to STEM careers for women and minorities, as well as increasing the general public’s engagement in science. In my free time, I enjoy reading, doing puzzles, and creating scientific comics.
I am the Social Media Chair of WiSE.

You can learn more about me on my website, where my alter ego, "The Bumbling Biochemist" helps introduce people to the wonders of biochemistry!

 Deborah Rupert  Graduate student, Shea Laboratory         

Deborah Rupert

Graduate student, Shea Laboratory




I am a M.D.-Ph.D. student at Stony Brook University completing my Ph.D. graduate work here at Cold Spring Harbor in the laboratory of Dr. Stephen Shea. I study animal models of neurodevelopmental disorders and am currently studying the role of the mecp2 gene, mutations of which cause the vast majority of Rett Syndrome cases.

            I obtained my bachelor’s degree from Carleton College in Northfield Minnesota where I studied Neuroscience and worked in the behavioral primate lab of Dr. Julie Neiworth. Following the completion of my undergraduate studies, I matriculated to Columbia University where I received my Master of Science degree from the Institute of Human Nutrition and completed my thesis in the laboratory of Dr. Harry Shair at New York State Psychiatric Institute. My interest in nutrition lead me to a position at Columbia University Medical Center’s cardiology unit where I conducted stage III and IV clinical trials. During this time, I completed Columbia’s Master of Arts Biotechnology program, working under the direction of Dr. Sander Markx. I continue to hold a strong interest in nutrition as well as basic science research aimed at the identification of druggable targets.

I am currently the co-chair of WiSE’s Education and Outreach committee.

 Tzvia Pinkhasov  Graduate student, Kepecs Laboratory

Tzvia Pinkhasov

Graduate student, Kepecs Laboratory

Why do we do what we do? To answer this question, I realized that we must first understand how we do what we do. I therefore decided to study the inner workings of the brain as an undergraduate at Stony Brook University, where I majored in Psychology with a focus in neuroscience. I have since continued there pursuing an MD and PhD with the hopes of demystifying the mechanisms behind and alleviating suffering from mental illness. My current project in the Kepecs lab aims to elucidate neural circuits important in impulsive behavior, a characteristic trait of many psychiatric disorders which significantly increases the risk of suicide, violence, and criminal behavior. As chair of WiSE’s Mental Health Committee, I'm excited to bring awareness to mental health issues within our scientific community through the support of WiSE. When I'm not using science to answer existential questions, I turn to music by performing and writing.

 Cassidy Danyko  Research Technician, Gingeras Laboratory      

Cassidy Danyko

Research Technician, Gingeras Laboratory



After graduating from St. Bonaventure University, I wanted to pursue my interests in transcriptional regulation, non-coding RNA, and functional genomics.  I accepted a Research Technician position in Thomas Gingeras’ lab.  I am currently working on MaizeCODE with 7 other labs.  We strive to generate a full picture of the maize genomes using data from RNA-seq, ChIP-seq, TF ChIP-seq, PacBio, 10X, and Hi-C.  I’ve been isolating RNA from 5 tissue types of 4 different strains and preparing Long RNA-seq, Short RNA-seq, and RAMPAGE libraries.  I’ve played a key role in the short RNA-seq protocol development and I’ve taken over the role of Metadata Coordinator between the labs.  At the lab, you’ll find me listening to music, playing volleyball, and planning barbeques and ice cream socials with coworkers.  In my free time I enjoy camping, hiking, and boating in upstate NY, especially Lake George.  I am involved in the education and outreach WiSE group.


 Jue X. Wang  Graduate Student, Furukawa Laboratory

Jue X. Wang

Graduate Student, Furukawa Laboratory

I am a graduate student in the Furukawa lab, and I am generally interested in the structure-function relationship of proteins. My PhD thesis research revolves around the structure of the NMDA receptor. This receptor is primarily located in the brain at synapses, the communication sites between neurons, and plays a key role in learning and memory. Acknowledging the somewhat fragile nature of the molecular players for memory, I like taking pictures of people and events - just in case! And for once, this habit turned out to be useful when I became the WiSE photographer ;). https://www.linkedin.com/in/juexiangwang/


 Leemor Joshua-Tor  Professor & HHMI Investigator

Leemor Joshua-Tor

Professor & HHMI Investigator

Structural biology; nucleic acid regulation; RNAi; molecular recognition; X-ray crystallography

Joshua-Tor lab website: http://joshua-torlab.labsites.cshl.edu




 Molly Gale Hammell  Assistant Professor

Molly Gale Hammell

Assistant Professor

Gene regulatory networks; integrated genomic analysis; bioinformatics; RNA biology; small RNAs

Hammell lab website: http://hammelllab.labsites.cshl.edu




 Farzaneh Najafi  Postdoc, Anne Churchland lab

Farzaneh Najafi

Postdoc, Anne Churchland lab

As a postdoc in the Churhchland lab, I am studying the neural mechanisms that underlie bias during decision-making. I train mice for a decision-making task and use calcium imaging to record the neural activity in the parietal cortex of mice while they are performing the decision task. I did my PhD at the University of Pennsylvania (Javier Medina lab) and collaborated at Princeton University (Sam Wang lab) to study how the cerebellum encodes information about stimuli during eyeblink conditioning. I did my master’s and bachelor’s at the University of Tehran on Biotechnology and differentiation of embryonic stem cells to neurons. In my free time I play music (Reed: the Persian Ney) and enjoy doing sports.


 Marcela Tello-Ruiz  Project Manager, Ware Laboratory

Marcela Tello-Ruiz

Project Manager, Ware Laboratory

Dr. Tello-Ruiz is a PhD-level geneticist from SUNY Stony Brook, with 2 years training in population genetics at the Broad Institute of Harvard University and MIT, and 10 years training in bioinformatics at CSHL. She served as the project manager for the Human HapMap Coordinating Center, and coordinated international collaborative efforts with the Type 2 Diabetes Chromosome 1q Consortium and Beta-Cell Therapy Group to sculpt, curate, and integrate diabetes pathways into the Reactome Pathways Database. She taught for 1.5 years at the undergraduate level at SUNY Stony Brook and the Polytechnical Institute of New York University. She currently serves as the Project Manager of the Gramene Comparative Plant Genomics & Pathways Database.  In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, hiking, and dancing.

Past Members:

Angela Licata - now PhD student at NYU Neuroscience

Olga Anczukow-Camrada, PhD - now Assistant Professor at Jackson Laboratories

Jaclyn Novatt, PhD - now Assistant Professor at Long Island University

Carolina Henriques - now PhD student at CUNY