PhD, Neuroscience

Albert Einstein College of Medicine 2019

MS, Neuroscience

Albert Einstein College of Medicine 2019

MS, Applied Microbiology

University of Notre Dame 2012

BS, Biological Sciences

University of Notre Dame 2009

Nachiket Kamatkar

Postdoctoral Fellow

Nachi received his BS and MS from the University of Notre Dame. His master’s thesis was on swarming motility of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in the laboratory of Joshua Shrout. For his PhD, Nachi moved to Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where he studied FGF signaling in the central nervous system in the laboratory of Jean Hebert and developed RNA aptamers specific for FGFR3, in collaboration with Dr. Matthew Levy. In the Nectow lab, Nachi is interested in studying circuit dynamics of the dorsal raphe nucleus and its role in circadian rhythm and hunger. He is also interested in developing novel viral and chemogenetic strategies to identify and dissect neural circuits required for energy homeostasis. Nachi was recently awarded a position on an NIH T32 Postdoctoral Training Grant for metabolism research.

In his free time, Nachi enjoys exploring NYC, playing chess, and visiting breweries.

PhD, Neuroscience

Nagoya University 2018

MS, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

University of Chittagong 2011

BS, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

University of Chittagong 2010

Srikanth Chowdhury

Postdoctoral Fellow

Srikanth received his BS and MS from the University of Chittagong in Bangladesh. Shortly after graduation, he joined the University of Chittagong as a lecturer and started working with Abu Shadat M Noman to study the pattern of TLR expression in arsenic-exposed hPBMCs. For his PhD, Srikanth moved to Nagoya University in Japan where he worked with Akihiro Yamanaka, studying the interactions between neural circuits regulating sleep and wakefulness. Shortly after completing his PhD, Srikanth moved back to the University of Chittagong where he started working at the intersection of neuroscience and oncology. In the Nectow lab, Srikanth is interested in dissecting the physiological roles of subpopulations in the DRN.

In his free time, Srikanth enjoys reading fiction and watching a game of cricket.

AB, Molecular Biology

Princeton University 2020

Michael Hill-Oliva

Research Technician

Michael received his AB in molecular biology from Princeton University in 2020. He completed his senior thesis in the lab of Danelle Devenport, studying signaling pathways important for polarizing planar tissue during development. In the Nectow Lab, he is interested in characterizing the heterogeneity of brainstem neurons regulating energy homeostasis and further developing intersectional genetic strategies for molecular profiling.

In his spare time, Michael enjoys playing guitar and running.

MD Candidate

Harvard University, Expected: 2024

AB, Neuroscience

Princeton University 2019

Varun Bhave

Research Technician

Varun received his AB in Neuroscience from Princeton University in 2019. He worked with Dr. Nectow throughout his undergrad years and also completed a senior thesis in the lab of Dr. Michael Berry II, using two-photon calcium imaging to study temporal sequence learning in primary visual cortex. In the Nectow lab, he is interested in better characterizing the cell-type heterogeneity of excitatory and inhibitory neural subpopulations in the DRN. Varun is currently a medical student at Harvard Medical School.

Outside of the lab, Varun enjoys reading philosophy and is perennially trying to improve his ping pong game.

MS Candidate, Computer Science

Columbia University, Expected: 2021

BS, Computer Science

Columbia University 2020

BA, Physics and Computer Science

Frankling & Marshall College 2018

Chenchen (Erica) Wei

Master's Student

Erica is a master's student at Columbia University, working towards completing her MS in Computer Science. She is specializing in machine learning. She completed a BS in Computer Science at Columbia and a BA in Physics at Franklin & Marshall College. She previously worked as a Research Assistant in the Knowles group, working on predicting responders to cancer immunotherapy. She developed a novel SVM and Autoencoder model to classify the responder to cancer immunotherapy. In the Nectow Lab, Erica is interested in designing and implementing novel machine learning/deep learning models to explore the hidden features underlying single-cell data and other complicated datasets in neuroscience.

In her free time, Erica enjoys watching movies, traveling, and exploring food around the world.

BS Candidate, Electrical Engineering

Columbia University, Expected: 2021

BA, Physics

Notre Dame of Maryland University 2019

Lesly Mendoza

Undergraduate Student

Lesly is working towards completing her BS in Electrical Engineering with a focus in Solid State Devices from Columbia University. She previously attended Notre Dame of Maryland University, where she obtained a BA in Physics. She is currently working on her senior design project developing a hearing device that will adjust sound frequencies real-time in order to help high-frequency hearing loss and auditory dyslexia. In the Nectow Lab, Lesly is interested in implementing engineering and physics principles in order to help analyze data and learn more about
the neuroscience field.

Outside of the lab, Lesly enjoys watching movies, reading and trying different foods.

BS Candidate, Electrical Engineering

Columbia University, Expected: 2022

Morgan Bakker

Undergraduate Student

Morgan is currently at Columbia University pursuing his BS in Electrical Engineering with a minor in Computer Science. He has a specific interest in embedded systems design which he worked on this past summer at Steam Instruments. He specializes in server systems and will be pursuing this passion this coming summer as a HW intern at Facebook. In the Nectow Lab, Morgan is excited to integrate his hardware background with biology to build dynamic testing systems for mice.

Outside the lab Morgan enjoys soccer and sunny bike rides.

BS Candidate, Electrical Engineering

Columbia University, Expected: 2022

BS, Physics

Muhlenberg College 2020

Ji Ku

Undergraduate Student

Ji received her BS in physics from Muhlenberg College and AA from Montgomery County Community College. She is currently pursuing a BS in Electrical Engineering from Columbia University. Her past experience involved studying alternative energy sources and micro-biotechnology, during summers spent in the REU program and Temple University research internship. Ji is currently working on personal projects related to her field. In the Nectow Lab, she is currently working on animal pose estimation using deep neural networks.

Outside of the lab, Ji spends time with her family, playing video games, and working on side projects.

BS Candidate, Electrical Engineering

Columbia University, Expected: 2022

Mingyuan Zhang

Undergraduate Student

Mingyuan is pursuing his BS in Electrical Engineering from Columbia University. He is specializing in circuits and electronics. He is also experienced in mechanical design and computational neuroscience. He previously worked as an assistant engineer at Tuman Technology Co., Ltd (Beijing, CHN), where he worked on fabrication of alloyed material and mechanical design. Shortly after, he initiated multiple independent projects on logical and analog circuitry design. In the Nectow Lab, Mingyuan is interested in leveraging his electrical engineering background to model neural circuit function by integrating single-cell and polysynaptic tracing studies.

In his free time, Mingyuan enjoys reading about history and historical analysis. You can also find him traveling around the world to explore local foods.

BS Candidate, Computer Science

Columbia University, Expected: 2022

Elyas Obbad

Undergraduate Student

Elyas is working towards completing his BS in Computer Science from Columbia University. He previously worked in the Kenta Asahina's lab at the Salk Institute, where studied the role of a small group of ​FruM+ ​neurons on aggression-related behaviors. Shortly after, he worked with the Laurel Riek group at the UCSD Healthcare Robotics Lab to develop several software packages to support automatic group identification. In the Nectow Lab, Elyas is interested in leveraging his computational background to analyze single-cell RNA sequencing datasets and to classify novel cell types using machine learning methods.

Outside of lab, you can find Elyas playing tennis, hiking, or listening to hip hop.

PhD, Metabolism


MS, Biomedicine

University of Barcelona 2011

BS, Pharmacy

University of Barcelona 2010

Marc Schneeberger


Marc received his PhD from the University of Barcelona under the supervision of Dr. Marc Claret to understand how mitochondrial dynamics in POMC neurons regulate energy balance. For his postdoctoral studies, he moved to New York City and has worked under the supervision of Prof. Jeffrey Friedman, where he has been characterizing two subsets of neurons in the brainstem’s dorsal raphe regulating energy homeostasis. For this work, Marc has been collaborating with the Nectow Laboratory for a number of years. Marc is now interested in uncovering premotor cell types and circuits involved in the regulation of thermogenesis.

In his free time Marc enjoys traveling, reading books and practice sports. He is also an extreme foodie.


Tania Das Banerjee, Research Scientist, 2017 – 2019
Current position: Research Commercialization at Rutgers University

Bindiben Patel, Research Technician, 2016 – 2017
Current position: Analysis and Formulation Scientist at Thermo Fisher

Weimen Li, Undergraduate Student, 2016 – 2017
Current position: Instrumentation Engineer at ExxonMobil

Pratik Chheda, Undergraduate Student, 2016 – 2017
Current position: Data Scientist at CKM Analytics

Chitra Kumar, Undergraduate Student, 2016 – 2017
Current position: Clinical Research Coordinator at University of Chicago

Alicia Lai, Undergraduate Student, 2016 – 2017
Current position: J.D. Candidate at UPenn Law School