Vosshall Lab Members

Last updated: 8/20/2018

Leslie Vosshall Ph.D.

Leslie B. Vosshall PhD
Robin Chemers Neustein Professor
Phone: 212-327-7236
E-mail: leslie.vosshall-at-rockefeller.edu

Leslie B Vosshall is the Robin Chemers Neustein Professor, Head of the Laboratory of Neurogenetics and Behavior, and Director of the Kavli Neural Systems Institute at The Rockefeller University. She is a molecular neurobiologist known for her work on the genetic basis of chemosensory behavior in both insects and humans. Her notable contributions to science include the discovery of the insect odorant receptors, and the elucidation of general principles regarding their function, expression, and the connectivity of the sensory neurons that express them to primary processing centers in the brain. She founded the Rockefeller University Smell Study in 2004 with the goal of understanding the mechanisms by which odor stimuli are converted to olfactory percepts. Vosshall received an A.B. in Biochemistry from Columbia University in 1987 and a Ph.D. from Rockefeller University in 1993. Following postdoctoral work at Columbia University, she joined the Rockefeller faculty in 2000. She is the recipient of the 2008 Lawrence C. Katz Prize from Duke University, the 2010 DART/NYU Biotechnology Award, the 2011 Gill Young Investigator Award. Vosshall is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Photo: Trevor Sorrells (2018)

View: pdf NIH Biosketch 2018


Nipun Basrur
Graduate Fellow
E-mail: nbasrur-at-rockefeller.edu

Nipun is a 2015 graduate of Grinnell College, where he received a BA in Chemistry, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He was a summer undergraduate research fellow at the Mayo Clinic in 2014, where he worked with Jim Maher on a project that investigated protein-mediated DNA loops. At Grinnell, Nipun worked in Mark Levandoski's lab, where he studied allosteric modulation of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor. He rotated in the lab in Fall-Winter 2015, working with Ellen DeObaldia on microbiome-driven mosquito attraction, and with Laura Duvall on neuropeptide biology in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. Nipun joined the Vosshall Lab in Fall 2016, and is studying the genetic and anatomical basis of sexually dimorphic behaviors in the mosquito. Photo: Trevor Sorrells

Laura Dedmon

Laura Dedmon
Temporary Assistant
E-mail: ldedmon-at-rockefeller.edu

Laura received her BA in English at the University of Denver and is a post-bac pre-med student at Hunter College. She worked previously at Cornell University as a research aide at the Cornell Research Program on Self-injury and Recovery. Since 2017, Laura has been working with Ellen De Obaldia on a project that seeks to understand why some people are more attractive to mosquitoes than others. Photo: Trevor Sorrells


Maria Elena (Ellen) De Obaldia PhD
Helen Hay Whitney Postdoctoral Fellow
E-mail: mdeobaldia-at-rockefeller.edu

Ellen earned an A.B. with high honors in Biology from Harvard College in 2008. As an undergraduate, she studied in vivo vasculogenesis from human cord-blood derived progenitor cells in Joyce Bischoff's laboratory at Children's Hospital Boston. She went on to complete PhD training in Immunology, mentored by Avinash Bhandoola at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, graduating in 2014. Ellen was awarded the Tom Kadesch Prize in Genetic Research and the Saul Winegrad, MD Outstanding Dissertation Award for her thesis work on mechanisms of T cell lineage commitment. Ellen joined the Vosshall Lab in 2014, with a broad interest in studying the interactions between anthropophilic disease vector mosquitoes and their mammalian hosts, from which they must obtain a blood meal in order to reproduce. Specifically, Ellen is investigating why Aedes aegypti mosquitoes prefer skin odor from some humans over that of others. Further, she wants to understand the mechanistic basis for the preference of Aedes aegypti for biting humans over other non-human mammals, using novel in vivo and ex vivo animal models. Ellen envisions that the answers to these fundamental questions will suggest novel ways to deter mosquito biting behavior and disease spread. Ellen is the recipient of a 2014 Harvey L. Karp Discovery Award, is a 2016 Helen Hay Whitney Foundation Fellow, and is a recipient of a 2017 pilot award from the Rockefeller University Center for Clinical and Translational Science (RUCCTS), supported by the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NIH/NCATS). Photo: Trevor Sorrells


Laura B. Duvall PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow
E-mail: lduvall-at-rockefeller.edu

Laura earned a B.A. in Biochemistry and the Biological Basis of Behavior from the University of Pennsylvania in 2007. She went on to complete a PhD in Neuroscience mentored by Paul Taghert at Washington University in St. Louis, graduating in 2012. In the Vosshall Laboratory, Laura works on the regulation of mosquito feeding behavior by neuropeptides and their receptors. Laura is a recipient of a 2013 Women & Science Postdoctoral Fellowship, was named the first and sole recipient of the Postdoctoral Fellowship in Biological Science from the American Philosophical Society in 2013, and was a 2016 recipient of the Polak Young Investigator Award from the Association for Chemoreception Sciences. Photo: Trevor Sorrells

Leslie Vosshall Ph.D.

Barbara Ghelardi
Administrative Assistant II
E-mail: Barbara.Ghelardi-at-rockefeller.edu

Barbara previously was the administrator for laboratory of Markus Stoffel and joined our group in 2006. In the Vosshall Lab, Barbara expertly handles all aspects of laboratory administration. Photo: Trevor Sorrells


Zachary Gilbert
Research Assistant
E-mail: zgilbert-at-rockefeller.edu

Zach is a 2016 graduate of Boston University, from which he receved a BS in Biology with a Minor in Electrical Engineering. He was a SURF in the laboratory of Jan Breslow at The Rockefeller University in 2010 and 2011, where he worked on the genetics of Artherosclerosis. In the summers of 2012-2014, Zach worked in the lab of Charles Zuker, where he studied ant pheromone communication and mouse taste processing. From 2015-2016, Zach was an intern in the laboratory of Feng Zhang at the Broad Institute/MIT, in whose group he worked in improving the performance of CRISPR. He joined the Vosshall Lab in 2016 and supports the Aedes Toolkit Group, which is developing novel genetic reagents for the Aedes mosquito community. Photo: Trevor Sorrells

Zhongyan Gong
Research Assistant
E-mail: zgong-at-rockefeller.edu

Zhongyan is a 2018 graduate of the University of Michigan, where she was a neuroscience major. She transferred from the China Agricultural University, where she was an undergraduate in the Honors Program in Biological Sciences, College of Biological Sciences, with a double major in Law. At Michigan, she carried out a thesis entitled "Examining the role of a cortico-thalamic circuit in cue-motivated behaviors using chemogenetics" in the laboratory of Shelly Flagel. Prior to this, she worked in Xiangdong Li's group at the China Agricultural University on adipose metabolism. In 2014, she was recipient of the Excellent Student Scholarship, Dahuanong Scholarship, 1st Place in Plant Field Study Projects, and 2nd Place in Animal Field Study Projects from the College of Biological Sciences, China Agricultural University. She joined the Vosshall Lab in July 2018, and is working with the Aedes Toolkit Group, mentored by Margo Herre and Veronica Jove. Photo: Trevor Sorrells


Gloria Gordon
Laboratory Assistant II
E-mail: Gloria.Gordon-at-rockefeller.edu

Gloria joined the lab in June 2012 as a laboratory technician primarily responsible for managing all aspects of our insectary. Gloria was promoted to HHMI Laboratory Assistant II in 2013, and is the manager of our insectary. Gloria is a long-time member of the Rockefeller community and previously managed the HHMI glasswashing facility, as well as working in numerous laboratories on campus. Photo: Trevor Sorrells

Margo Herre

Margaret (Margo) Herre
Biomedical Fellow
E-mail: mherre-at-rockefeller.edu

Margo earned her BFA in Photography and Imaging with honors and a Minor in Chemistry from New York University in 2011. While still in college, she was a research technician at Eastern Virginia Medical School and at the Institute for Regenerative Medicine. Before entering the Tri-Institutional MD-PhD program in 2014, Margo was a veterinary assistant at the Tribeca Soho Animal Hospital and a health center intern at the Staten Island Zoo. She was a research assistant in Bob Darnell's lab from 2011-2014, where we worked on the biochemistry of Fragile X Mental Retardation Syndrome. Margo joined the Vosshall Lab in 2016 after a short rotation with Ben Matthews. She is studying mechanisms by which female mosquito behavior is reversibly modulated by blood-feeding. She participated in the 2016 CSHL Advanced Sequencing Technologies and Applications Course, and is a 2016 recipient of a Quadrivium Award for Innovative Research in Epigenetics. Photo: Trevor Sorrells


Veronica Jove
PhD Student
E-mail: vjove-at-rockefeller.edu

Veronica received her B.A. degree from Columbia University in 2014 in Biological Science and Hispanic Studies. At Columbia, she was named an Amgen Scholar and worked in the laboratory of James Manley on MecP2 gene expression and splicing as affected by ALS mutations. She rotated in the Vosshall lab in the Winter-Spring of 2014, working with Ellen De Obaldia on devising behavioral assays that probe the effects of the microbiome on attraction of mosquitoes to hosts, and with Meg Younger on glutamate receptor expression in the mosquito brain. She joined the lab in September 2015 after participating in the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory Neurobiology Course. Her project uses behavior, genomics, and calcium imaging to map the circuitry that detects blood and initiates blood-feeding behavior. Veronica is a recipient of an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, and is a Gilliam Fellow of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Photo: Trevor Sorrells


Molly Liu
Graduate Fellow
E-mail: mliu01-at-rockefeller.edu

Molly earned her B.A. in Biological Sciences at the University of Chicago in 2013, where she worked with Chip Ferguson on Drosophila stem cell signalling. She has also conducted research in the laboratories of Yuh Nung Jan at the University of California - San Francisco, Shawn Xu at the University of Michigan, and Yi Rao at the National Institute of Biological Sciences in Beijing. She rotated in the Vosshall Lab in the fall of 2013, working with Laura Duvall on determinants of female mosquito host seeking suppression after a blood meal and with Ben Matthews on mosquito gene-editing using the CRISPR-Cas9 system. She joined the lab in September 2014. Molly studies visual contributions to female mosquito host-seeking, with an emphasis on dissecting mosquito responses to sensory cues through fine spatiotemporal analysis of behavior. She has established and extended several paradigms for studying individual mosquito behavior, including magnetically tethering mosquitoes within a virtual reality visual arena and 3D tracking of mosquitoes responding to host cues in free flight.

Ben Matthews

Ben Matthews PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow
E-mail: Ben.Matthews-at-rockefeller.edu

Ben earned a BS in biology from the California Institute of Technology in 2004 and a PhD in Neurobiology and Behavior from Columbia University in 2010, where he worked in the laboratory of Wes Grueber on the mechanisms of dendrite self-avoidance mediated by the Dscam gene. He joined the Vosshall Lab in September 2010 and received a 2010 Henry and Marie Josee Kravis Postdoctoral fellowship and a 2011 Jane Coffin Childs Postdoctoral fellowship. Ben developed CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing in the mosquito and has produced comprehensive genomic and transcriptomic resources to better understand mosquito biology. He is investigating the genes and neural circuits that control mosquito egg-laying in response to water quality cues. Photo: Trevor Sorrells


Libby Mejia
Laboratory Assistant I
E-mail: lmejia-at-rockefeller.edu

Libby joined our group in 2012 as a half-time laboratory helper. She provides expert help with a wide variety of lab support functions for the Vosshall Laboratory. She has worked with a number of laboratories at The Rockefeller University over the past decade, including Dr. Tarun Kapoor's group. Photo: Trevor Sorrells


Takeshi Morita PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow
E-mail: tmorita-at-rockefeller.edu

Takeshi received his BS in Physiology and Neuroscience from the University of California, San Diego, where he was also a research assistant in the laboratory of Dan Feldman. He earned a PhD in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California, Berkeley in 2016. His graduate thesis work was carried out jointly with Diana Bautista and Rachel Brem, studying the molecular mechanisms of itch. In the Vosshall Lab, he is studying molecular mechanisms of thermotaxis in the mosquito. Takeshi is a Harvey L. Karp Discovery Fellow and a recipient of a JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowship. Photo: Trevor Sorrells

Anjali Pandey

Anjali Pandey
Research Assistant
E-mail: apandey-at-rockefeller.edu

Anjali received a BS in biochemistry with honors and a minor in mathematics from the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Anjali was the recipient of a Chancellor's Scholarship and was the founding president of the U Mass Boston chapter of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Prior to coming to Rockefeller in 2017, Anjali was a research assistant at Boston University and Sanofi Genzyme Pharmaceuticals. In the Vosshall Lab, Anjali is supporting the efforts of the Aedes Toolkit Group. Photo: Trevor Sorrells


Trevor Sorrells PhD
Jane Coffin Childs Postdoctoral Fellow
E-mail: tsorrells-at-rockefeller.edu

Trevor earned his BS in biology with research honors at Stanford University in 2009. As an undergraduate, he worked on the behavioral ecology of invasive and native ant species in the laboratory of Deborah Gordon, and ribosome-associated chaperones in the laboratory of Judith Frydman. He went on to obtain a PhD from UCSF in the Tetrad Graduate Program, working in the laboratory of Alexander D. "Sandy" Johnson in 2016. In the Johnson Lab, he studied the evolution of transcriptional networks. He was the recipient of an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, and a Jane Coffin Childs Postdoctoral Fellowship. He joined the Vosshall Lab in February 2016, and will study the genetic and neural basis of motivated behavior in the mosquito. Photo: Trevor Sorrells


Krithika Venkataraman
PhD Student
E-mail: kvenkatara-at-rockefeller.edu

Krithika earned her BA with honors in biochemistry, magna cum laude, from Smith College in 2015, and also completed a minor in neuroscience. She was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi. As an undergraduate, she worked in the laboratory of Steven A. Williams, studying gene regulation in filarial parasites, and received the McKinley Honors Fellowship from Smith College to support this work. She was a summer intern in Utpal Tatu’s laboratory at the Indian Institute of Science, where she studied protozoan parasites. She was a visiting student in the laboratory of Kevin O’Connor at Yale, where she worked on a project to develop monoclonal antibodies against muscle-specific tyrosine kinase (MuSK) for investigating myasthenia gravis pathology. She entered the Rockefeller PhD program in 2015, and rotated in the Vosshall laboratory in 2016, working with Ellen De Obaldia and Ben Matthews to study mosquito host-seeking and egg-laying behaviors, respectively. She also rotated in the laboratories of Sohail Tavazoie, Vanessa Ruta, and Shai Shaham before joining the Vosshall laboratory in 2016. For her thesis work, Krithika is studying the role of endocrine signaling in modulating the host-seeking behavior of female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes through their reproductive cycle. Photo: Trevor Sorrells


Meg Younger PhD
Jane Coffin Childs Postdoctoral Fellow
E-mail: Meg.Younger-at-rockefeller.edu

Meg earned a BS in neural science with honors in 2004 from New York University. As an undergraduate, she worked with Justin Blau at NYU on circadian rhythms in Drosophila and with David Spray at Albert Einstein College of Medicine on mammalian gap junction channels. She went on to earn a PhD in neuroscience from the University of California, San Francisco in 2013, working with Graeme Davis. Her graduate thesis concerned the role of ENaC sodium channels in synaptic homeostasis and plasticity in Drosophila. Meg earned a Genentech Fellowship in 2009 for her graduate work and was awarded the Sherrington, Charles Barbeiri, and Phi Beta Kappa Research prizes for her undergraduate research. She was a Grass Fellow at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts in summer 2014. After joining the Vosshall Lab, Meg earned a Leon Levy Neuroscience Fellowship in 2015 and a Jane Coffin Childs Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2016. Meg is using neurophysiology and calcium imaging to study neural circuits in the mosquito brain. Meg also developed the mosquito brain atlas mosquitobrains.org, with the support of a Kavli Neural Systems Institute Pilot grant. Photo: Trevor Sorrells

Last updated: 8/20/2018Leslie B. Vosshall PhDRobin Chemers Neustein ProfessorPhone: 212-327-7236E-mail: leslie.vosshall-at-rockefeller.edu Leslie B Vosshall is the Robin Chemers Neuste

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