Vosshall Lab Members


Leslie Vosshall Ph.D.

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

Leslie B. Vosshall is the Robin Chemers Neustein Professor and Head of the Laboratory of Neurogenetics and Behavior at The Rockefeller University, and an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. 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, and was elected a AAAS Fellow in 2014. She was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2015. (Photo: Evan Sung, 2011)

View: pdf NIH Biosketch 2016




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

Ellen earned her A.B. in Biology from Harvard College in 2008 and went on to earn a PhD in Immunology in 2014 from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Her graduate work on mechanisms of T cell lineage commitment was carried out in the laboratory of Avinash Bhandoola. Ellen was awarded the Tom Kadesch Prize in Genetic Research for this work in 2014. She joined the Vosshall Lab in 2014 to work on mosquito genetics and behavior. Ellen is the recipient of a 2014 Harvey L. Karp Discovery Award, a prestigious 2-year postdoctoral fellowship award. Ellen is using mice to model attraction of mosquitoes to humans.


Emily Dennis
Graduate Fellow
E-mail: emily.dennis-at-rockefeller.edu

Emily is a 2011 graduate of the University of Rochester. She received a combined BA/BS in Molecular Genetics and Studio Arts. While an undergraduate, she carried out research in the laboratories of Baek Kim and Jack Werren at the University of Rochester, Zhirong Bao's laboratory at Sloan Kettering, and Maik Huttemann's laboratory at Wayne State University. She rotated in the lab in Fall/Winter 2011-2012, working with Ben Matthews on oviposition behavior and participated in the MBL Neural Systems & Behavior course in the summer of 2012. She joined the lab in August 2012 to work on contact chemoreception and the mechanism of action of insect repellents. Emily is a 2014 recipient of an NIH/NIDCD F31 individual NRSA predoctoral fellowship. (Photo: Ronniedavidphotography.com, 2011)


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 at the University of Pennsylvania in 2007. She went on to a PhD 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 and the was named the first and sole recipient of the Postdoctoral Fellowship in Biological Science from the American Philosophical Society in 2013.


Alison Ehrlich
Research Assistant

Alison graduated from Vassar College where she majored in science, technology, and society studies with a minor in chemistry. She volunteered in the Vosshall Lab in the summers of 2013 and 2014, working with Laura Duvall on the regulation of mosquito host-seeking behavior by neuropeptides, and Ellen De Obaldia on the interaction between nutrition and egg production. She joined the Vosshall Lab as a research assistant in 2015, and is working with Meg Younger on preparing strains for calcium imaging and circuit tracing.

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: Ronniedavidphotography.com, 2011)


Caitlin Gilbert
Rotation PhD Student

Caitlin earned a B.S. cum laude in neurobiology, linguistics minor from Georgetown University in 2013. From 2013-2015, Caitlin was a research assistant in the laboratory of Michael Greenberg at Harvard Medical School, studying genetics of MeCP2 in Rett Syndrome across several mouse models. She entered the Rockefeller PhD program in 2015, and rotated in the Tessier-Lavigne lab before rotating in the Vosshall Lab. Here she is working with Andreas Keller to test the ability of human volunteers to discriminate mixtures of olfactory stimuli.


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.


Isabel Gutierrez
Laboratory Manager I
E-mail: Isabel.Gutierrez-at-rockefeller.edu

Isabel joined our lab as laboratory technician in the summer of 2009. While she was a senior at Hunter College, Class of 2009 Isabel helped our lab as a part-time lab technician and was later hired into a new full-time position made possible by an ARRA Stimulus Grant Supplement from NIDCD. She previously interned in the Rice Lab. In 2011, Isabel was promoted to manage Drosophila operations in the Vosshall Lab. In 2012, Isabel was promoted to Lab Manager. (Photo: Ronniedavidphotography.com, 2011)


Peggy Hempstead R.N.
Research Specialist I/Human Clinical Study Coordinator
E-mail: smell-at-rockefeller.edu

Peggy received a B.S. from Columbia University and an M.A. degree from New York University, both in English Literature. She received a B.S. in Nursing from Cornell University-New York School of Nursing. She has worked on various clinical research projects at Rockefeller University and at other institutions in New York City. Peggy expertly coordinates all of our human smell studies. (Photo: Ronniedavidphotography.com, 2011)


Julien Hsieh, M.D.
Clinical Scholar
E-mail: jhsieh01-at-rockefeller.edu

Julien received his M.D degree from the University Of Geneva in Switzerland where he worked on human olfaction following nasal surgery and the control of genome expression in yeast cells. He carried out an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) residency at Luxembourg Hospital Center in Luxembourg. In 2014, he won the "Junior Scientific Excellence Prize" for the development of a Smell and Taste clinic in Luxembourg to treat chemosensory disorders and promote research in this field. He joined the Vosshall Lab in January 2014 as a Clinical Scholar. He is working with Andreas Keller in designing novel smell tests that will be useful to diagnose olfactory dysfunction in clinical settings around the world.


Veronica Jove
PhD Student

Veronica received her B.A. degree from Columbia University in 2014. As an undergraduate, she worked on the role of multikinase inhibitors on tumor cell apoptosis in the laboratory of Dr. Hua Yu, City of Hope National Research Center. 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 and is working on taste mechanisms of bloodfeeding behavior.


Andreas Keller Ph.D.
Research Associate
E-mail: Andreas.Keller-at-rockefeller.edu

Andreas received his Diplom degree in Virology from the Friedrich-Alexander- University in Erlangen, Germany. He received his PhD degree in Genetics from the Julius-Maximilian-University in Wuerzburg, Germany, where he worked with Dr. Martin Heisenberg. Andreas is the 2003 recipient of the Marco S. Stoffel Postdoctoral Fellowship in Mind, Brain and Behavior. He was named postdoctoral finalist for a 2008 Blavatnik Award for Young Scientists from the New York Academy of Sciences. Andreas is the recipient of a 2008 Branco Weiss Science in Society Fellowship and a 2009 NARSAD Young investigator award. Andreas investigates the perceptual rules of smell in humans. (Photo: Ronniedavidphotography.com, 2011)


Molly Liu B.A.
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 the role of asymmetric BMP signaling in Drosophila female germline stem cells. She also carried out a summer project at UCSF in the laboratory of Yuh Nung Jan on Drosophila cardiac physiology. Her other research experiences were with Shawn Xu and Pan Zheng (University of Michigan) and Yi Rao (NIBS-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, and is investigating the neural correlates of mosquito host-seeking suppression after a blood meal.


Ben Matthews
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. For his PhD he worked in the laboratory of Wes Grueber and worked on the mechanisms of dendrite self-avoidance mediated by the Dscam gene. He joined the Vosshall Lab in September 2010 to work on genes and circuits controlling oviposition in the mosquito. He received a 2010 Henry and Marie Josee Kravis Postdoctoral fellowship and a 2011 Jane Coffin Childs Postdoctoral fellowship. Ben works on the genomics and neurogenetics of oviposition in the mosquito.(Photo: Ronniedavidphotography.com, 2011)


Libby Mejia
Laboratory Helper

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.


Trevor Sorrells, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow

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 is the recipient of an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. He joined the Vosshall Lab in February 2016, and will study the genetic and neural basis of motivated behavior in the mosquito.


Krithika Venkataraman
Rotation PhD Student

Krithika earned her BA from Smith College in 2015, and majored in biochemistry with a minor in neuroscience. As an undergraduate, she worked in the laboratory of Utpal Tatu at the Indian Institute of Science, where she studied protozoan parasites. She was a visiting student in the laboratory Kevin O’Connor at Yale, where she worked on a project to develop monoclonal antibodies again MuSK. At Yale, She was a McKinley Honors Fellow in the laboratory of Steven A. Williams. She entered the Rockefeller PhD program in 2015, and rotated in the laboratory of Sohail Tavazoie before rotating in the Vosshall Lab. She is working with Ellen De Obaldia and Ben Matthews, to study mosquito host-seeking and egg-laying behaviors, respectively.


Michele Wong

Michele graduated from Linfield college in 2012, with a BA degree with honors in English literature, cum laude. She is currently working toward a post-baccalaureate certificate program in pre-health careers at Hunter College. She is volunteering for the Rockefeller University Smell Study, working on smell-testing with Julien Hsieh.


Nilay Yapici Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow
E-mail: Nilay.Yapici-at-rockefeller.edu

Nilay earned her BA in molecular biology and genetics from Bogazici University in Turkey and went on to earn a PhD in 2008 at Vienna University where she worked with Barry Dickson at the Institute of Molecular Pathology. In Barry's lab she worked on the post-mating response of female flies and discovered the receptor for sex peptide. She is a 2009 recipient of a Human Frontier Science Program Postdoctoral Fellowship. In the Vosshall lab, she is working on feeding behavior in the fly, including the development of a new method to measure high resolution, real-time food intake in Drosophila. (Photo: Ronniedavidphotography.com, 2011)


Meg Younger Ph.D.
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 as an undergraduate, she worked with Justin Blau of 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 will work at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts as a Grass Fellow in summer 2014. In the Vosshall lab, she is using neurophysiology and imaging to study neural circuits in the mosquito brain.


Joshua Zeng B.A.
Graduate Fellow
E-mail: jzeng-at-rockefeller.edu

Josh earned his B.A. in Biological Sciences at Cornell University in 2013, where he worked on contextual memory processing with Professor David Smith and acetylcholine signaling in a mouse model of Down Syndrome in mice with Dr. Barbara Strupp. He was a SURF in Gaby Maimon's lab at Rockefeller in 2012, and rotated in the Vosshall Lab in the fall of 2014, working with Ben Matthews to develop novel instrumentation to score mosquito egg-laying behavior. He joined the lab in November 2014, and is studying hygrosensation in Aedes mosquitoes.


 Leslie Vosshall Ph.D. Robin Chemers Neustein Professor Phone: 212-327-7236 E-mail: leslie.vosshall-at-rockefeller.edu Leslie B. Vosshall is the Robin Chemers Neustein Professor a

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