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.

Srikanth was recently awarded the Russell Berrie Foundation's Berrie Fellowship in Diabetes Research.

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

BS, Neuroscience

UCLA 2021

Tasneem Sadok

Research Technician

Tasneem received her BS in Neuroscience with a minor in Biomedical Research from UCLA in 2021. In previous research, Tasneem worked on characterizing the role of the extended amygdala in social interaction and anxiety in the Halladay lab, and studied the morphology of microglia in relation to different mitochondrial metabolism parameters in the De Biase Lab. In the Nectow Lab, she is excited to characterize the behavioral parameters regulated by different dorsal raphe nuclei subpopulations.

In her spare time, Tasneem enjoys writing poetry and spending time outdoors.

BS, Neuroscience

University of Michigan 2021

BS, Health and Fitness

University of Michigan 2021

Brianna Mariotti

Master's Student

Brianna is a Master's student studying Human Nutrition at Columbia University. She is originally from California and attended the University of Michigan as an undergraduate student, where she obtained a dual degree in Neuroscience and Health and Fitness. Brianna is interested in integrating her passions for nutrition and neuroscience in the Nectow Lab by further characterizing extended DRN circuits and their role in regulating energy homeostasis.

Outside of the lab, Brianna enjoys recreational lifting, reading, drawing, and testing new recipes.

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.

BS Candidate, Biology

Columbia University, Expected: 2022

Julian Aurelio Maldonado

Undergraduate Student

Julian is an undergraduate in the lab, pursuing a major in Biological Sciences at Columbia University. He previously did clinical research focused on HbA1c prediabetes blood screens in the emergency department setting. Julian is now coming off a leave of absence from Columbia where he performed humanitarian aid work on the Arizona-Mexico border, while working as an EMT in Tucson, Arizona. In the Nectow Lab, he is interested in understanding thermoregulation through the lens of brainstem neurons communicating with peripheral end-effector organs.

This past summer, Julian was awarded Columbia University's SPURS fellowship to pursue this line of research in the lab.

Outside of the lab, Julian competes on Columbia's fencing team and likes to go hiking.

BS Candidate, Neuroscience

Columbia University, Expected: 2025

Christa Akerele

Undergraduate Student

Christa is an undergraduate at Columbia University in the Science Research Fellows program, planning to major in Neuroscience and Behavior. In previous research, Christa worked with Dr. Dolores Malaspina investigating the impact of gut microbiota on symptoms in various mental illnesses; she also studied the impact of beta endorphins released during intense exercise on colon cancer cell proliferation. In the Nectow Lab, she is excited to explore the role of the dorsal raphe nucleus in energy balance, while also exploring other brainstem loci that may play important roles in driving diverse innate behaviors.

In her free time, Christa enjoys running and volunteer tutoring.

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.

PhD, Metabolism


MS, Biomedicine

University of Barcelona 2011

BS, Pharmacy

University of Barcelona 2010

Marc Schneeberger

Postdoctoral Fellow - Collaborator

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 in the lab of 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.


Michael Hill-Oliva, Research Technician, 2020 – 2021
Next position: Medical Student at Icahn School of of Medicine at Mount Sinai

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

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

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

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

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

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