MD, Medicine

Columbia University 2020

PhD, Neuroscience

The Rockefeller University 2015

MS, Biomedical Engineering

Tufts University 2011

BS, Engineering Science

Tufts University 2011

Alexander Nectow

Principal Investigator

Alexander R. Nectow is a Principal Investigator on the faculty of Columbia University’s Department of Medicine. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Engineering Science and Biomedical Engineering, respectively, from Tufts University in 2011. He earned his PhD from Rockefeller University in 2015, during which he developed novel molecular profiling technologies and identified the dorsal raphe nucleus as a key node regulating food intake. Shortly after completing his PhD, Alex started his laboratory as a CV Starr Fellow at Princeton University’s Princeton Neuroscience Institute in 2016. At Princeton, Alex's group identified a novel mechanism through which the brainstem regulates thermogenesis. During this time, Alex also began to pursue an MD at Columbia University. Alex joined the faculty of Columbia University’s Department of Medicine in 2019, shortly before completing his MD in 2020.

Alex has been recognized with a number of honors and awards, such as The Rockefeller University’s David Rockefeller Fellowship, Princeton University’s CV Starr Fellowship, Columbia University's Titus Munson Coan Prize, and the American Diabetes Association’s Innovative Basic Science Award and Pathway to Stop Diabetes Accelerator Award. He was also recently a NARSAD Young Investigator.

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, 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.

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

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.

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, 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