Current Leadership

Scroll over pictures to learn more about our team.

Alexandra Nowlan

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

Alexandra (Ally) Nowlan
PhD student, Steven Shea Lab

Deborah (DeeDee) Rupert

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 the Vice President of WiSE.

Deborah Rupert
PhD student, Steven Shea Lab

Sarah Starosta

I joined Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in 2016 as a postdoc. My focus of interest is how neuronal circuitries in the brain give rise to complex phenomena, such as learning and decision making. I am a psychologists by training and received my PhD in experimental neuroscience from the International Graduate School of Neuroscience at Ruhr-University Bochum (Prof. Dr. Dr. Onur Güntürkün). Back in Germany, I investigated the neuronal basis of extinction learning and combined electrophysiological, pharmacological and behavioral experiments in pigeons, the classic model organism of experimental psychology. At CSHL I am now in search of the behavioral and neuronal algorithm that underlies decisions in a foraging setting. For this, I designed a new behavioral foraging task for mice and combine chemogenetic approaches, optical recordings, and pharmacological manipulations in order dissect the neuronal circuits underlying these decisions. Outside the lab, I love to cook, enjoy being close to the water on Long Island or hike in the beautiful National Parks in the US.

Sarah Starosta
Postdoc, Adam Kepecs Lab

Cassidy Danyko

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 I position in Thomas Gingeras’ lab where I worked on ENCODE and MaizeCODE projects. The goal of these was to generate RNA-seq data for different tissue types in human and various maize strains. After 2 and a half years, I accepted a Research Technican II position in the Wigler Lab here at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. My new focus is developing single cell RNA-seq methods to study cancers and autism. At the lab, you’ll find me listening to music, playing volleyball, planning barbeques and ice cream socials with coworkers, and tracking down volunteers for WiSE Outreach events.. In my free time I enjoy listening to live music, camping, hiking, and boating in upstate NY, especially Lake George. I am chair of the Outreach committee.

Cassidy Danyko
Research technician II, Michael Wigler Lab

Lyndsey Aguirre
PhD student, Zach Lippman Lab

Grinu Mathew
Postdoc, Lloyd Trotman Lab

WiSE Wednesday writer & website manager
Brianna Bibel
PhD student, Leemor Joshua-Tor Lab

Faculty Advisory Board

The WiSE Faculty Advisory board consists of active CSHL research faculty, who have demonstrated their commitment to the WISE mission. The primary responsibility of the Faculty Board is to provide mentorship and guidance to WiSE members. More specifically, the obligations of the Faculty Advisory Board are summarized as follows:

  1. The WiSE Executive Student Board meets with the Faculty Advisory board once a year to to discuss the past year’s events and the tentative plan for the upcoming year; faculty advisors offer feedback and recommendations at this time.
  2. Faculty advisors are asked to act as instructors in professional development and education & outreach events hosted by the Executive Student board.
  3. Finally, our advisory board serves as a liaison between WiSE and the CSHL administration.

With the help of the Faculty Advisor Board, WiSE aims to strengthen its pursuit of our mission (see mission statement).

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

Associate Professor

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

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

Camilla dos Santos

Assistant Professor

Breast cancer, mammary gland development, stem cells, enhancer biology, gene regulation

dos Santos lab website:http://dossantoslab.labsites.cshl.edu/

Jason Sheltzer

CSHL Fellow

Cancer genetics, aneuploidy, genome dosage imbalances, systems biology

Sheltzer lab website:http://sheltzerlab.labsites.cshl.edu/

Prior Leadership

Our founders:

Jackie Giovaniello: President

Lital Chartarifsky: Vice President, President

Alexandra Ambrico: Vice President

Other past leadership (in alphabetical order)

Shaina Lu: WiSE Speakers List Chair, Treasurer/Secretary, Vice President

Tzvia Pinkhasov: Mental Health Chair

Christine Scaduto: Vice President and WiSE Events Chair

Kaitlin Watrund: In-House Education Chair

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