Principal Investigator:

Dr. Juan Song is an assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacology at UNC-Chapel Hill. She earned her Ph.D in neuroscience from the University of California-Berkeley in 2007. Between the years 2007 and 2013, she performed postdoctoral research on adult neurogenesis at Johns Hopkins University. In 2013, she moved on to create her own lab here at the University of North Carolina. She has won numerous honors and written several peer-reviewed publications.

Assistant Research Faculty:

Brent Ariscan is an assistant research faculty member who joined the Song lab in 2016. Brent obtained his Ph.D in neuroscience from Brandeis University in 2007 studying long-term potentiation (LTP) in the CA1 region of the hippocampus, specializing in electrophysiology and advanced microscopy. He then worked as a postdoctoral associate in the lab of George Augustine testing optogenetic tools for circuit-based mapping of neuronal inputs. From 2008 to 2015, he worked with Chay Kuo at Duke university where he studied neuronal circuitry involved in postnatal neurogenesis at the subventricular zone. He has joined the Song lab here at the University of North Carolina to continue his work on the implications of circuit-driven neurogenesis.

Post-doctoral Fellows:

Hechen Bao is a postdoc associate in Song lab. He obtained his Ph.D from Shanghai Jiao Tong University in 2018. He has been a core member in Song Lab since 2014 and worked as research assistant till 2017. His study is focused on how neural circuits regulating adult hippocampal neurogenesis. He specializes in in-vivo electrophysiology and optogenetics. His favorite thing about the lab is applying novel strategies and advanced approaches on various interesting projects.

Yadong Li is a postdoc associate in Song lab. He obtained his Ph.D from Fudan University in 2018. His previous research is focus on the neuronal circuits of sleep-wake regulation. Now, he moves on to study how neural circuits regulating adult hippocampal neurogenesis. He specializes in functional circuits mapping. As a new member of the lab, he will bring his experience on sleep science in adult hippocampal neurogenesis to make some new insights.

Yan-Jia Luo is a post-doc who joined the Song Lab in 2018. Yan-Jia obtained her Ph.D in pharmacology from Fudan University in 2016 studying the mechanism of sleep-wake regulation in rodents. From 2016-2018 She worked as a research associate in Shanghai key laboratory of psychotic disorders, Shanghai mental health center studying the role of an oncogene in schizophrenia. She specializes in EEG/EMG recordings and in vitro patch-clamp, together with optogenetics to explore neuronal circuitry involved sleep and wakefulness. Now she is interested in using a combination of electrophysiology, genetics, imaging and behavioral methods to elucidate neural circuits modulating adult hippocampal neurogenesis.

Graduate Students:

Christina Catavero is a doctoral student in the Neuroscience curriculum. She graduated summa cum laude from Rochester Institute of Technology in 2014 with a double major in Biotechnology and Biomedical Sciences. Christina found winters in the northeast unbearable and decided to move south after graduation. From 2014-2016 she worked as a research technician in Dr. Scott Soderling’s lab at Duke University, studying the role of the actin cytoskeleton in neurodevelopmental disorders. Her love for fried chicken biscuits encouraged her to stay in the south for graduate school, and in 2017 Christina joined the Song Lab at UNC. She aims to elucidate how distinct local interneuron populations and their circuitry connections mediate adult hippocampal neurogenesis.

Andrew Crowther is a doctoral student in the School of Medicine – Neurobiology curriculum at UNC. He obtained his B.Sc in Biology from North Carolina State University in 2009. Andrew worked in Timothy Gershon’s Lab at UNC studying cerebellar development and medullo blastoma prior to applying to graduate school here. He has been an indispensable member of Song Lab since 2014. His favorite aspects of the lab are the innovative approaches used to conduct research, including neural circuit activity imaging and cell-type specific circuit modulation.

Luis Quintanilla is a graduate student in the Song lab. He received his B.S. in Neuroscience from the University of California Riverside and his M.S. in Cell Molecular Biology from San Francisco State University. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Neuroscience here at UNC. In the Song lab he studies how cholinergic neurons influence adult neurogenesis using both circuit and cellular approaches. Additionally, he is the treasurer of SACNAS, a UNC organization dedicated to promoting diversity in STEM fields. When not in the lab he enjoys video games, hiking, attending music shows and festivals, and traveling.

Connor Wander graduated from Virginia Tech with a B.S. in Biology and Bicohemistry in 2014, and joined the lab as a technician for two years. Now a second year graduate student in the Cohen Lab and Song Lab at UNC Chapel Hill, Connor studies GABAergic neural networks in Alzheimer’s Disease. Pursuing an education in neuropharmacology, he is interested in the interactions between the environment, genetics, and behavior in mood disorders and neurodegenerative diseases. He manages the lab website and a science communication and outreach blog, Synaptosure. Outside of the lab, he enjoys hiking, swimming, graphic design, gaming, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, paintball and caring for his Madagascar Giant Day geckos.

Josh Wooten is a doctoral student in the Department of Genetics and Molecular Biology at UNC. He obtained his B.Sc in Biology from UNC in 2011. He did some post-bacc work here for 2 years and then work at Angelique Whitehurst’s Lab at the University of Texas Southwestern for 1 year. He has been a central figure in the lab since 2014. His research is focused on RNA profiling of activity-dependent changes in neurogenesis. His favorite aspects of the lab are the innovative approaches to new problems in science.


Past Members:

Nicholas Boyer
Alex Chung
Mengting Dai
Erin Graham
Ashley Han
Isaac Haniff
Ting He
Jessica Hu
Sally Kim
Szu-Aun Lim
Sue Liu
Viren Makhijani
Jesse Niehaus
Reid Olsen
Joseph Ao Qiao
Sarah Rhie
María Luisa Torruella Suarez
Randall Ung
Hannah Verrilli
Chia-Yu Yeh
Bruce Zhang