Lab Members

PI: KAORU SAIJO MD PhD

Kaoru is currently an assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley for the MCB Department. She is interested in understanding the mechanisms of successful grant writing. When she does have free time, she likes to think about microglia and the molecular mechanisms underlying sex dimorphisms in neurological disorders.

POST-DOCS:

Greg Timblin PhD
gtimblin@berkeley.edu

Hsiu Chun Chuang PhD
hcchuang@berkeley.edu

GRADUATE STUDENTS:

Kurtresha Worden
(she/her/hers)
k.worden@berkeley.edu
Elizabeth Roboz Einstein Fellowship 2017
HHMI Gilliam Fellowship 2018

Laura Craciun
(she/her/hers)
lcraciun4@berkeley.edu
Elizabeth Roboz Einstein Fellowship 2017
University of California Dissertation-Year Fellowship 2020

Laura is a sixth year PhD candidate in the Molecular and Cell Biology program. She grew up in a small town outside of New York City, which she then moved to for college at New York University. In college, she studied both neuroscience and art. Her research career began in Dr. Adam Carter’s lab, where she was lucky enough to observe cutting-edge techniques that got her hooked on neuroscience. As a BP-ENDURE fellow, she continued to expand her neuroscience research by spending a summer in Dr. Barry Conner’s lab at Brown University, and another summer with Dr. Ronald Holz at the University of Michigan. Now at Berkeley, she studies how astrocytes can shape neural circuits during development and how perturbing this role can lead to diseases like autism. She has additionally started a project that explores the role of transition metals during neuroinflammation in collaboration with Chris Chang’s lab, in the hopes that at least one of these projects will work out before graduating. Outside of lab at Berkeley, Laura is involved with Getting into Graduate School, the McNair Scholars Program, and the MCB Inclusion Leaders. Her other non-lab related hobbies include but are not limited to: talking about her pets, reading fantasy novels, pretending to be outdoorsy, and tasting wines to prepare for the vineyard she fantasizes about owning one day.

Madeline Arnold
(she/her/hers)
madeline_arnold@berkeley.edu
ARCS Scholar 2017
NSF-GRFP Fellow 2018

Madeline is a fourth year PhD student in the Molecular and Cell Biology program. She grew up in rural Wisconsin, where she picked up a love of fresh black raspberries and quiet snowy days. She went to Carleton College in Minnesota, and became interested in research after taking a genetics lab class and later working with yeast in Dr. Stephan Zweifel’s lab. She then moved to the DC area to gain more research experience as a postbac at the NIH, working with mice and zebrafish to understand the pathophysiology of inborn errors of metabolism and develop gene therapies. Now in the Saijo lab, Madeline is interested in understanding how the immune system impacts brain development and behavior, and examining sex differences in this context. She’s also interested in the sociology of science and understanding which voices are heard or unheard in science, and how the way we study and talk about science impacts people. As a queer white woman, she aims to use her privilege to make STEM research and teaching more inclusive. Madeline serves on UC Berkeley’s CCRT committee working on prevention and response to sexual harassment and assault, the iMCB Conference Team, and recently started the MCB Distance Learning Task Force to address the challenges of remote learning. Outside of lab, Madeline enjoys cooking elaborate meals, gardening, cooperative board games, car camping, ceramics, Ultimate frisbee, and social dancing.

Matt Davis
(he/him/his)
mattd@berkeley.edu
NDSEG Fellow 2020

Matt is a PhD candidate in the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute. He grew up in a rural area near Columbus, Ohio before moving to Atlanta, Georgia to attend Emory University. In 2017, he completed his B.S. in neuroscience and behavioral biology while working in the labs of Donna Maney and Kim Wallen. There he studied the neuroendocrine bases of song learning in developing zebra finches, and the influences of estrogens on behaviors of songbirds and humans. Now, Matt is melding molecular, systems, and evolutionary neuroscience into his research. He is interested in how embryonic microglia shape specific circuits that encode social behaviors of mice, as well as how inter-species variation in social behavior has resulted from the evolution of developmental mechanisms that shape brain architecture. Matt himself is a highly social creature, and recently started giving lessons in basic brain science to local first graders. He’s often engaged in friendly contests of frisbee and soccer, shares guitar grooves with his fellow jam rock and metal enthusiasts, and enjoys adventuring in the mountains.

UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS:

Jerome Wang

Joseph Moreno

LAB MASCOTS: Eddie + Lotta

Eddie and Lotta at Berger Picards (Picardy Shepherds). They are both a little shy around strangers, but will warm up to you when given treats. They also enjoy playing at the dog beach with their friends and chewing on furniture at home. Occasionally, they will stop by the lab to watch their owner do amazing research and provide moral support for the rest of the lab.

LAB ALUMNI:

Rhea Misra
Rhea worked as a lab technician from 2017-2020. She is now a student in the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program at UCSF.

Eva Nichols
Eva was a graduate student in the Molecular and Cell Biology program who finished her Ph.D. in Spring 2020.

Shannon Louie
Shannon was an undergraduate student working with Greg.

Kristen Masada 
Kristen was a work-study student.

Sandra Muroy
Sandra was in the Molecular and Cell Biology Ph.D. program from 2015 to 2019.

Paulina Cedillo
Paulina was an undergraduate student who worked with Sandra.

Daniel Araujo
Daniel was a post-doc in the lab from 2017-2019.

Karensa Tjoa
Karensa was an undergraduate student in the lab who worked with Daniel.

Stella Zhu
Stella was an undergraduate student in the lab who worked with Greg.

Lillian Murphy
Lillian was an undergraduate student from Sacramento State University who worked with Laura in the lab as part of the 2019 Amgen Scholars Program. She is now a graduate student in the Molecular and Cell Biology Ph.D. program as well as a recipient of the NSF-GRFP 2020 fellowship!

Tracy Chen
Tracy was a Berkeley undergraduate student who worked with Laura as part of the SMART (Student Mentoring and Research Team) Program at Berkeley in the summer of 2018. She kept working in the lab throughout her senior year after the summer program was over, and after graduating was hired as a staff research associate in Mallar Bhattacharya’s lab at UCSF. She is now applying to medical school.

Andrew Sun
Andrew was an undergraduate student in the lab who worked with Hsiu Chun.

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