Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute


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  • Nirao Shah

    Nirao Shah

    Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences (Major Laboratories and Clinical Translational Neurosciences Incubator), of Neurobiology and, by courtesy, of Obstetrics and Gynecology

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsWe study how our brains generate social interactions that differ between the sexes. Such gender differences in behavior are regulated by sex hormones, experience, and social cues. Accordingly, we are characterizing how these internal and external factors control gene expression and neuronal physiology in the two sexes to generate behavior. We are also interested in understanding how such sex differences in the healthy brain translate to sex differences in many neuro-psychiatric illnesses.

  • Mehrdad Shamloo

    Mehrdad Shamloo

    Professor (Research) of Neurosurgery and, by courtesy, of Neurology

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsThe ultimate goal of the Shamloo laboratory is to rapidly advance our understanding of brain function at the molecular, cellular, circuit and behavioral levels, and to elucidate the pathological process underlying malfunction of the nervous system following injury and neurologic disorders such as stroke, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson’s disease, and autism. We have been focusing on the noradrenergic system and approaches leading to restoration of brain adrenergic signaling in these disorders.

  • Carla Shatz

    Carla Shatz

    Sapp Family Provostial Professor, The Catherine Holman Johnson Director of Stanford Bio-X and Professor of Biology and of Neurobiology

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsThe goal of research in the Shatz Laboratory is to discover how brain circuits are tuned up by experience during critical periods of development both before and after birth by elucidating cellular and molecular mechanisms that transform early fetal and neonatal brain circuits into mature connections. To discover mechanistic underpinnings of circuit tuning, the lab has conducted functional screens for genes regulated by neural activity and studied their function for vision, learning and memory.

  • Kang Shen

    Kang Shen

    Professor of Biology and of Pathology

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsThe connectivity of a neuron (its unique constellation of synaptic inputs and outputs) is essential for its function. Neuronal connections are made with exquisite accuracy between specific types of neurons. How each neuron finds its synaptic partners has been a central question in developmental neurobiology. We utilize the relatively simple nervous system of nematode C. elegans, to search for molecules that can specify synaptic connections and understand the molecular mechanisms of synaptic as

  • Krishna Shenoy

    Krishna Shenoy

    Hong Seh and Vivian W. M. Lim Professor and Professor, by courtesy, of Neurobiology, of Bioengineering and of Neurosurgery

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsWe conduct neuroscience, neuroengineering and translational research to better understand how the brain controls movement, and to design medical systems to assist people with paralysis. These are referred to as brain-machine interfaces (BMIs), brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) and intra-cortical neural prostheses. We conduct this research as part of our Neural Prosthetic Systems Lab (NPSL) and our Neural Prosthetics Translational Lab (NPTL), which I co-direct with Prof. Jaimie Henderson, M.D.

  • Laura Simons

    Laura Simons

    Professor of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine (Pediatric)

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsThe primary goal of my research is to promote the health and well being of children and adolescents with chronic pain and their families. In line with this goal, research projects focus on biological, neurological, cognitive, affective, and social risk and resiliency factors of the pain experience. Projects include brain imaging, longitudinal clinical cohort, and treatment interventions studies.

    Some current research orojects include:

    Learning and Memory in Pediatric Chronic Pain
    Funding: NIH/NICHD R01
    Description: Investigating the mechanisms underlying fear learning, extinction and disruption of fear reconsolidation in adolescents with chronic pain and health controls using behavioral and neuroimaging measures. Multi-site study with Boston Children's Hospital (Collaborator: David Borsook, MD).

    Children Pain Behaviors in Context: A functional-cognitive perspective
    Leading Site: University of Ghent (Collaborator: Liesbet Goubert, PhD)
    Description: Identifying key antecedents and consequences that give rise to and maintain children's pain-related behaviors and investigate impact these antecedents on children's behavior and functioning through daily surveys and activity monitoring.

  • Manpreet K. Singh, MD MS

    Manpreet K. Singh, MD MS

    Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences (Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Child Development)

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsDr. Singh conducts research in the phenomenology, neurobiology, pharmacology, and genetic aspects of depression and bipolar disorder in children. These studies include brain imaging (MRI, MRS, fMRI), medication, and psychotherapy trials. She is particularly interested in risk factors for the development of major mood disorders and associated morbidities, and early intervention strategies to delay the onset and progression of symptoms.

  • Upinder Singh

    Upinder Singh

    Professor of Medicine (Infectious Diseases & Geographic Medicine) and of Microbiology and Immunology

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsOur lab elucidates the molecular basis of pathogenesis of the protozoan parasite Entamoeba histolytica. We use genetic and genomic approaches to identify novel virulence determinants and to characterize the global epidemiology of the parasite.

  • Georgios Skiniotis

    Georgios Skiniotis

    Professor of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, of Structural Biology and of Photon Science

    BioThe Skiniotis laboratory seeks to resolve structural and mechanistic questions underlying biological processes that are central to cellular physiology. Our investigations employ primarily cryo-electron microscopy (cryoEM) and 3D reconstruction techniques complemented by biochemistry, biophysics and simulation methods to obtain a dynamic view into the macromolecular complexes carrying out these processes. The main theme in the lab is the structural biology of cell surface receptors that mediate intracellular signaling and communication. Our current main focus is the exploration of the mechanisms responsible for transmembrane signal instigation in cytokine receptors and G protein coupled receptor (GPCR) complexes.

  • Stephen J Smith

    Stephen J Smith

    Professor of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, Emeritus

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsResearch in the Smith Laboratory addresses basic mechanisms and and disorders of brain function. Present efforts are focused on the development and application of new proteomic imaging methods to explore the circuit and molecular architectures of memory storage and retrieval in cerebral cortex.

  • Christina Smolke

    Christina Smolke

    Adjunct Professor

    BioProfessor Smolke's research program focuses on developing modular genetic platforms for programming information processing and control functions in living systems, resulting in transformative technologies for engineering, manipulating, and probing biological systems. She has pioneered the design and application of a broad class of RNA molecules, called RNA devices, that process and transmit user-specified input signals to targeted protein outputs, thereby linking molecular computation to gene expression. This technology has been extended to efficiently construct multi-input devices exhibiting various higher-order information processing functions, demonstrating combinatorial assembly of many information processing, transduction, and control devices from a smaller number of components. Her laboratory is applying these technologies to addressing key challenges in cellular therapeutics, targeted molecular therapies, and green biosynthesis strategies.

  • Matthew Smuck, MD

    Matthew Smuck, MD

    Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsI direct the Wearable Health Lab at Stanford, investigating medical applications of mobile technology to improve musculoskeletal and neurologic disease detection, treatment and prevention.

  • Michael Snyder, Ph.D.

    Michael Snyder, Ph.D.

    Stanford W. Ascherman Professor of Genetics

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsOur laboratory use different omics approaches to study a) regulatory networks, b) intra- and inter-species variation which differs primarily at the level of regulatory information c) human health and disease. For the later we have established integrated Personal Omics Profiling (iPOP), an analysis that combines longitudinal analyses of genomic, transcriptomic, proteomic, metabolomic, DNA methylation, microbiome and autoantibody profiles to monitor healthy and disease states

  • Raymond A. Sobel, M.D.

    Raymond A. Sobel, M.D.

    Professor of Pathology

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsWe study cellular and molecular mechanisms of immune-mediated injury in CNS tissues that are affected in multiple sclerosis (MS). We study: 1) tissues of mice with EAE using histology and immunohistochemistry, 2) cross-recognition of neurons by antibodies against myelin proteolipid protein epitopes, and a distinct oligodendrogliopathy induced in mice by the non-protein amino acid azetidine (Aze), (which is found in the human diet); Aze-induced abnormalities mimic those in MS patient CNS tissues

  • Hyongsok Tom  Soh

    Hyongsok Tom Soh

    Professor of Radiology (Early Detection), of Electrical Engineering and, by courtesy, of Chemical Engineering and of Bioengineering

    BioDr. Soh received his B.S. with a double major in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science with Distinction from Cornell University and his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University. From 1999 to 2003, Dr. Soh served as the technical manager of MEMS Device Research Group at Bell Laboratories and Agere Systems. He was a faculty member at UCSB before joining Stanford in 2015. His current research interests are in analytical biotechnology, especially in high-throughput screening, directed evolution, and integrated biosensors.

  • Olav Solgaard

    Olav Solgaard

    Director, Edward L. Ginzton Laboratory and Professor of Electrical Engineering

    BioThe Solgaard group focus on design and fabrication of nano-photonics and micro-optical systems. We combine photonic crystals, optical meta-materials, silicon photonics, and MEMS, to create efficient and reliable systems for communication, sensing, imaging, and optical manipulation.

  • Ivan Soltesz

    Ivan Soltesz

    James R. Doty Professor of Neurosurgery and Neurosciences

    BioIvan Soltesz received his doctorate in Budapest and conducted postdoctoral research at universities at Oxford, London, Stanford and Dallas. He established his laboratory at the University of California, Irvine, in 1995. He became full Professor in 2003, and served as department Chair from 2006 to July 2015. He returned to Stanford in 2015 as the James R. Doty Professor of Neurosurgery and Neurosciences at Stanford University School of Medicine. His major research interest is focused on neuronal microcircuits, network oscillations, cannabinoid signaling and the mechanistic bases of circuit dysfunction in epilepsy.
    His laboratory employs a combination of closely integrated experimental and theoretical techniques, including closed-loop in vivo optogenetics, paired patch clamp recordings, in vivo electrophysiological recordings from identified interneurons in awake mice, 2-photon imaging, machine learning-aided 3D video analysis of behavior, video-EEG recordings, behavioral approaches, and large-scale computational modeling methods using supercomputers. He is the author of a book on GABAergic microcircuits (Diversity in the Neuronal Machine, Oxford University Press), and editor of a book on Computational Neuroscience in Epilepsy (Academic Press/Elsevier). He co-founded the first Gordon Research Conference on the Mechanisms of neuronal synchronization and epilepsy, and taught for five years in the Ion Channels Course at Cold Springs Harbor. He has over 30 years of research experience, with over 20 years as a faculty involved in the training of graduate students (total of 16, 6 of them MD/PhDs) and postdoctoral fellows (20), many of whom received fellowship awards, K99 grants, joined prestigious residency programs and became independent faculty.

  • David Spiegel

    David Spiegel

    Jack, Lulu and Sam Willson Professor of Medicine

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsDr. Spiegel's research program involves mind/body interactions, including cancer progression, the response to traumatic stress, and the effect of hypnosis on the perception of pain and anxiety.

  • Daniel Spielman

    Daniel Spielman

    Professor of Radiology (Radiological Sciences Lab) and, by courtesy, of Electrical Engineering

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsMy research interests are in the field of medical imaging, particularly magnetic resonance imaging and in vivo spectroscopy. Current projects include MRI and MRS at high magnetic fields and metabolic imaging using hyperpolarized 13C-labeled MRS.

  • Konstantina M. Stankovic, MD, PhD, FACS

    Konstantina M. Stankovic, MD, PhD, FACS

    Bertarelli Foundation Professor and Professor of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery (OHNS) and, by courtesy, of Neurosurgery

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsOur investigative efforts are organized along 3 research thrusts:
    1. Vestibular schwannoma: uncovering mechanisms of sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) and identifying better therapies;
    2. High-resolution imaging of the inner ear;
    3. Novel sensing of and therapies for SNHL.
    Given the complex, multifaceted nature of these problems, our approach to them involves domain-specific customization and fusion of tools from molecular biology, systems neuroscience, biotechnology and otologic surgery.

  • Creed Stary

    Creed Stary

    Associate Professor of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine (Adult MSD) and, by courtesy, of Ophthalmology

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsMechanisms promoting neuronal survival following cerebral ischemia-reperfusion injury; utilizing microRNA's to target multiple pathways to promote mitochondrial homeostasis and cell survival; anesthetic neurotoxicity; astrocyte-neuronal interaction

  • Marcia L. Stefanick, Ph.D.

    Marcia L. Stefanick, Ph.D.

    Professor (Research) of Medicine (Stanford Prevention Research Center), of Obstetrics and Gynecology and, by courtesy, of Epidemiology and Population Health

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsMarcia L. Stefanick, Ph.D is a Professor of Medicine Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and by courtesy, Professor of Epidemiology and Population Health at Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr. Stefanick’s research focuses on chronic disease prevention (particularly, heart disease, breast cancer, osteoporosis, and dementia) in both women and men. She is currently the Principal Investigator the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) Extension Study, having been the PI of the Stanford Clinical Center of the landmark WHI Clinical Trials and Observational Study since 1994 and Chair of the WHI Steering and Executive Committees from 1998-2011, as well as PI of the WHI Strong and Healthy (WHISH) Trial which is testing the hypothesis that a DHHS-based physical activity intervention, being delivered to a multi-ethnic cohort of about 24,000 WHI participants across the U.S., aged 68-99 when the trial started in 2015, will reduce major cardiovascular events over 8 years, compared to an equal number of “usual activity” controls. Dr. Stefanick is also PI of the Osteoporotic Study of Men (MrOS) which is continuing to conduct clinical assessments of bone and body composition in survivors of an original cohort of nearly 6000 men aged 65 and over in 2001. As founding Director of the Stanford Women’s Health and Sex Differences in Medicine (WHSDM, “wisdom”) Center, she plays a major role in promoting research and teaching on Sex and Gender in Human Physiology and Disease, Women’s Health and Queer Health and Medicine. Dr. Stefanick also plays major leadership roles at the Stanford School of Medicine, including as co-leader of the Population Sciences Program of the Stanford Cancer Institute, Stanford’s NCI-funded comprehensive cancer center.

    Dr. Stefanick obtained her B.A. in biology from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA (1974), then pursued her interest in hormone and sex difference research at the Oregon Regional Primate Research Center, after which she obtained her PhD in Physiology at Stanford University, focusing on reproductive physiology and neuroendocrinology, with exercise physiology as a secondary focus. Her commitment to human research led to a post-doctoral fellowship in Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, which has been her academic home for nearly 40 years.

  • Gary K. Steinberg, MD, PhD

    Gary K. Steinberg, MD, PhD

    Bernard and Ronni Lacroute-William Randolph Hearst Professor of Neurosurgery and Neurosciences and Professor, by courtesy, of Neurology

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsOur laboratory investigates the pathophysiology and treatment of cerebral ischemia, and methods to restore neurologic function after stroke. Treatment strategies include brain hypothermia, stem cell transplantation and optogenetic stimulation. Our clinical research develops innovative surgical, endovascular and radiosurgical approaches for treating difficult intracranial aneurysms, complex vascular malformations and occlusive disease, including Moyamoya disease, as well as stem cell transplant.

  • Lawrence Steinman, MD

    Lawrence Steinman, MD

    George A. Zimmermann Professor and Professor of Pediatrics

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsOur laboratory is dedicated to understanding the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases, particularly multiple sclerosis. We have developed several new therapies for autoimmunity, including some in Phase 2 clinical trials, as well as one approved drug, natalizumab. We have developed microarray technology for detecting autoantibodies to myelin proteins and lipids. We employ a diverse range of molecular and celluar approaches to trying to understand multiple sclerosis.

  • Lars Steinmetz

    Lars Steinmetz

    Professor of Genetics

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsWe apply diverse genomic approaches to understand how genetic variation affects health and disease by: 1) functional and mechanistic analyses of gene regulation, 2) studies of meiotic recombination and inheritance, 3) analyses of genetic and environmental interactions, and 4) characterization of diseases in human cells and model organisms. We integrate wet lab and computational genomic, transcriptomic, proteomic and metabolic approaches, and develop technologies to enable personalized medicine.

  • Aaron F. Straight

    Aaron F. Straight

    Professor of Biochemistry and, by courtesy, of Chemical and Systems Biology

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsWe study the biology of chromosomes. Our research is focused on understanding how chromosomal domains are specialized for unique functions in chromosome segregation, cell division and cell differentiation. We are particularly interested in the genetic and epigenetic processes that govern vertebrate centromere function, in the organization of the genome in the eukaryotic nucleus and in the roles of RNAs in the regulation of chromosome structure.

  • Thomas Sudhof

    Thomas Sudhof

    Avram Goldstein Professor in the School of Medicine and Professor, by courtesy, of Neurology and of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsInformation transfer at synapses mediates information processing in brain, and is impaired in many brain diseases. Thomas Südhof is interested in how synapses are formed, how presynaptic terminals release neurotransmitters at synapses, and how synapses become dysfunctional in diseases such as autism or Alzheimer's disease. To address these questions, Südhof's laboratory employs approaches ranging from biophysical studies to the electrophysiological and behavioral analyses of mutant mice.

  • Brian Suffoletto

    Brian Suffoletto

    Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsDr. Suffoletto is an emergency physician and NIH-funded investigator with a focus on collecting novel forms of longitudinal and remote data to inform temporal risk prediction and inform just-in-time adaptive interventions

  • Edith Vioni Sullivan

    Edith Vioni Sullivan

    Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences (Major Laboratories and Clinical Translational Neurosciences Incubator)

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsApplication of neuroimaging modalities and component process analysis of cognitive, sensory, and motor functions to identify brain structural and functional mechanisms disrupted in diseases affecting the brain: alcohol use disorder, HIV infection, dementia, and normal aging from adolescence to senescence.

  • Yang Sun, MD, PhD

    Yang Sun, MD, PhD

    Associate Professor of Ophthalmology

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsWe are interested in the role of inositol phosphatases in eye development and disease, using both animal models and human disease tissue. We are a translational laboratory seeking to understand the basic function of proteins as well as developing therapeutic strategies for clinical trials.

  • Trisha Suppes, MD, PhD

    Trisha Suppes, MD, PhD

    Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences (Public Mental Health and Population Sciences)

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsLong-term treatment strategies for bipolar disorder, treatment for bipolar II disorder, use of treatment algorithms, and treatment of major depression.

  • Katrin J Svensson

    Katrin J Svensson

    Assistant Professor of Pathology

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsMolecular metabolism
    Protein biochemistry
    Cell biology and function
    Animal physiology

  • William Talbot

    William Talbot

    Professor of Developmental Biology

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsWe use genetic and cellular approaches to investigate the molecular basis of glial development and myelination in the zebrafish.

  • Hua Tang

    Hua Tang

    Professor of Genetics and, by courtesy, of Statistics

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsDevelop statistical and computational methods for population genomics analyses; modeling human evolutionary history; genetic association studies in admixed populations.

  • Vivianne Tawfik

    Vivianne Tawfik

    Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine (Adult Pain)

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsMy overall research interest is to understand how the immune system interacts with the nervous system after injury to promote the transition from acute to chronic pain. In my clinical practice I care for patients with persistent pain that often occurs after minor trauma such as fracture or surgery. Using basic science approaches including whole system immune phenotyping with mass cytometry and genetic manipulation of peripheral and central immune cells, we seek to dissect the temporal and tissue-specific contribution of these cells to either promotion or inhibition of healing.

  • Avnesh Thakor

    Avnesh Thakor

    Assistant Professor of Radiology (Pediatric Radiology)

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsOver the past decade there has been tremendous advances in the field of Interventional Oncology with the clinical utilization of multiple new innovative locoregional therapies (i.e. chemoembolization, percutaneous ablation).

    Looking forward, our ability to super-selectively deliver new therapies directly to target organs. These therapies include nanoparticles, stem cells and gene therapy and will open new pathways into the emerging field of Interventional Regenerative Medicine.

  • Suzanne Tharin

    Suzanne Tharin

    Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsThe long-term goal of my research is the repair of damaged corticospinal circuitry. Therapeutic regeneration strategies will be informed by an understanding both of corticospinal motor neuron (CSMN) development and of events occurring in CSMN in the setting of spinal cord injury. MicroRNAs are small, non-coding RNAs that regulate the expression of “suites” of genes. The work in my lab seeks to identify microRNA controls over CSMN development and over the CSMN response to spinal cord injury.

  • Stuart Thompson

    Stuart Thompson

    Professor of Biology (Hopkins Marine Station)

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsNeurobiology, signal transduction

  • Alice Ting

    Alice Ting

    Professor of Genetics, of Biology and, by courtesy, of Chemistry

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsWe develop chemogenetic and optogenetic technologies for probing and manipulating protein networks, cellular RNA, and the function of mitochondria and the mammalian brain. Our technologies draw from enzyme engineering, directed evolution, chemical biology, organic synthesis, high-resolution microscopy, genetics, and computational analysis.

  • Jeanne L. Tsai

    Jeanne L. Tsai

    Professor of Psychology

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsMy research examines how culture shapes affective processes (emotions, moods, feelings) and the implications cultural differences in these processes have for what decisions people make, how people think about health and illness, and how people perceive and respond to others in an increasingly multicultural world.

  • Richard Tsien

    Richard Tsien

    George D. Smith Professor, Emeritus

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsWe study synaptic communication between brain cells with the goal of understanding neuronal computations and memory mechanisms. Main areas of focus include: presynaptic calcium channels, mechanisms of vesicular fusion and recycling. Modulation of synaptic strength through changes in postsynaptic receptors and dendritic morphology. Signaling that links synaptic activity to nuclear transcription and local protein translation. Techniques include imaging, electrophysiology, molecular biology.

  • Alexander Eckehart Urban

    Alexander Eckehart Urban

    Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences (Major Laboratories and Clinical Translational Neurosciences Incubator) and of Genetics
    On Leave from 10/01/2021 To 08/31/2022

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsComplex behavioral and neuropsychiatric phenotypes often have a strong genetic component. This genetic component is often extremely complex and difficult to dissect. The current revolution in genome technology means that we can avail ourselves to tools that make it possible for the first time to begin understanding the complex genetic and epigenetic interactions at the basis of the human mind.

  • Capucine van Rechem

    Capucine van Rechem

    Assistant Professor of Pathology (Pathology Research)

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsMy long-term interest lies in understanding the impact chromatin modifiers have on disease development and progression so that more optimal therapeutic opportunities can be achieved. My laboratory explores the direct molecular impact of chromatin-modifying enzymes during cell cycle progression, and characterizes the unappreciated and unconventional roles that these chromatin factors have on cytoplasmic function such as protein synthesis.

  • Hannes Vogel MD

    Hannes Vogel MD

    Professor of Pathology and of Pediatrics (Pediatric Genetics) and, by courtesy, of Neurosurgery and of Comparative Medicine

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsMy research interests include nerve and muscle pathology, mitochondrial diseases, pediatric neurooncology, and transgenic mouse pathology.