Principal Investigator:

Dr. Juan Song earned her Ph.D in neuroscience from the University of California-Berkeley in 2007. Between the years 2007 and 2013, she was a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Hongjun Song’s lab at Johns Hopkins University where she studied circuit-based mechanisms underlying adult hippocampal neurogenesis. In the September of 2013, she started her own lab at UNC-Chapel Hill. In 2019, she was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure, and has been named as Jeffery Houpt Distinguished Investigator. 


Assistant Research Faculty:

Brent Ariscan is an assistant research professor 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. In the Song lab, he continues 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.



Taylor Landry is originally from New Hampshire and received his BS and MS degrees in Exercise Science at James Madison University. He then completed his PhD in Bioenergetics at East Carolina University, during which he identified novel interventions promoting homeostatic central nervous system control of metabolism. Currently, Taylor is interested in the poorly understood connections between metabolism, hippocampal neurogenesis, and cognitive function.



Zeka Chen joined Song lab as a post-doc in 2021. He obtained his Ph.D from Fudan University. He specializes in in-vivo multichannel recording, EEG/EMG recordings and optogenetics. His previous research was focused on the neuronal circuits of REM sleep regulation and REM sleep disorders. Now his study is focused on neural circuits of adult hippocampus neurogenesis and learning memory.

Graduate Students:

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.



Ryan Sheehy graduated from the University of Notre Dame (Go Irish!) in 2020 with a B.S. in Biological Sciences with a secondary major in Spanish and a minor in Bioengineering. He is a graduate student pursuing his PhD in the Department of Pharmacology at UNC Chapel Hill. In the Song Lab, he studies epigenetic and epitranscriptomic regulation in adult hippocampal neurogenesis and Alzheimer’s Disease and its impact on behavior. Outside of the lab, he enjoys learning languages, watching and playing sports, hiking, playing video games, and cooking.



Elise Edgar graduated from Case Western Reserve University in 2020 with a B.A. in Chemical Biology and a minor in Creative Writing. In the Song lab, she studies the role of adult hippocampal neurogenesis in connecting emotion and cognition regulation in psychiatric disorders and Alzheimer’s Disease. When not in lab, she enjoys hiking, sailing, painting, playing Dungeons and Dragons with friends, and singing.



Thomas Collins grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and graduated from Brown University in 2018 with a B.S. in Computational Biology. He joined the MD/PhD program at UNC in 2020 after studying the epigenetic regulation of neurodevelopmental disorders at Boston Children’s Hospital. In the Song Lab, he studies the genetic profile of hippocampal neurogenesis and how it may differ in diseases such as epilepsy. Outside of lab, Thomas enjoys backpacking, basketball, and cooking.

Research Technician:

Libo Zhang is a research technician in the Department of Genetics and Molecular Biology at UNC. He obtained his B.Sc in Biology from South China Agricultural University in 2013. From 2013-2019 He worked as a research technician in Shanghai Academy of Life Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences.



Seth Tart graduated from UNC Chapel Hill in December 2020 with a BS in Psychology and a BA in Biology. In the future, Seth hopes to attended graduate school and pursue a career in neuroscience research. Outside of the lab Seth enjoys hiking, designing tattoos, spending time with his friends, and discovering new coffee shops.


Past Members:

Nicholas Boyer
Christina Catavero
Alex Chung
Andrew Crowther
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
Josh Wooten
Chia-Yu Yeh
Bruce Zhang
Connor Wander
Benxia Hu