Graduate students and post-docs

Jess Breda

Jess Breda

Jess is a second-year PhD student in the Princeton Neuroscience Institute. Prior to Princeton, she graduated from Westminster College in Salt Lake City with a degree in neuroscience. Jess' research experience is in invertebrate neuroethology, and she also spent a summer working for the neuroscience outreach company, Backyard Brains, where she developed a passion for citizen science.

Paula Brooks

Paula is a doctoral candidate at the Princeton Neuroscience Institute, where she works with Dr. Kenneth Norman in the Princeton Computational Memory Lab. She is also a Visiting Scholar in the Memory Modulation Lab at Boston College, led by Dr. Maureen Ritchey. Paula is driven by a desire to understand how people regulate negative emotional memories and why some people are better at dealing with negative memories than others. For her dissertation, she is looking at how memory reactivation strength might predict one’s ability to deal with negative memories. She is also a core member of the group developing the Princeton Handbook for Reproducible Neuroimaging, an online reference for best practices in reproducible fMRI research. Outside of the lab, Paula enjoys exploring the outdoors with her husband, dabbling with art, and baking yummy desserts for other people to consume.

Olivia Duddy

Olivia is a fourth-year PhD student in the Bassler lab in the Department of Molecular Biology at Princeton. Her research interests lie at the intersection of chemistry and microbiology. She studies interkingdom signaling in the bacterial pathogen Vibrio cholerae and a V. cholerae-infecting virus. Outside of lab, she enjoys reading and writing, teaching Barre at Dillon gym, and playing cards.

Jessi Hennacy

Jessi is a Molecular Biology PhD student in the Jonikas Lab, where she studies the assembly of the pyrenoid, an organelle that helps algae fix CO2. Before coming to Princeton, Jessi graduated from Duke and worked as a summer camp counselor planning science activities for children age 6-13. Outside of the lab, Jessi enjoys hanging out with her two cats and playing board games.

Andy Jones

Andy is a second-year PhD student in the Computer Science department. He's broadly interested in statistics and machine learning, and especially their application to genomics. Outside of academics, he's a reader and a runner. Check out his website

Alexandra Libby

Alex studies the neural dynamics of learning and memory as a PhD student at the Princeton Neuroscience Institute, advised by Tim Buschman. Prior to graduate school, Alex attended Harvard University, where her thesis research explored infant development and autism spectrum disorder. After graduating, she spent two years as a research assistant in a lab examining how acupuncture treats chronic pain. While her graduate studies have a less obvious clinical application, she enjoys exploring how neural information changes on a millisecond timescale and hopefully finding a way to untangle the basic building blocks of neural computation. When she isn't thinking about how the brain jumps between ideas, she is writing fiction, singing in a choir, exploring local towns and parks, and catching up with friends.

Leon Mait

Leon is a PhD student in Psychology and Social Policy at Princeton University. He works with Stacey Sinclair studying the psychosocial outcomes of socioeconomic diversity and cross-class interaction. Before coming to Princeton, he received a BA in Sociology from the University of Maryland, College Park. He then went on to get his Master’s in Behavioral Science from Radboud University in the Netherlands, where he focused how adversity affects intertemporal choices. In his free time, Leon enjoys reading, baking, and hiking.

Rohini Majumdar

Rohini Majumdar

Rohini is a second-year PhD student in Psychology and Social Policy at Princeton. Her current research, advised by Elke Weber, applies the psychology of social norms to promote sustainable behaviors and curb environmentally damaging trends. Prior to joining Princeton, she graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where she double-majored in Cognitive Science and Economics. Her non-academic interests include jet-skiing, trying new restaurants, and music. Check out her website.

Sarah E. McFann

Sarah is a PhD student in Chemical and Biological Engineering working with Jared Toettcher and Stanislav Shvartsman. She uses math modeling, live-imaging, and optogenetic tools to shed light on how embryos use time-varying developmental signals to make cell fate decisions. Before coming to Princeton, Sarah attended the University of Alabama. As an undergraduate, she researched the synthesis of novel catalysts and materials for electro-optic devices, developed an inexpensive microscope to study breast cancer tissue samples, and optimized the metabolisms of bacteria for biofuel production. As a graduate student, she spent a summer interning at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where she investigated the role the gut microbiome plays in malnutrition. In her free time, Sarah enjoys reading, writing fiction, and taking classes in history and anthropology.

Shanka Subhra Mondal

Shanka Subhra

Shanka is a second-year PhD student in Electrical Engineering at Princeton. He is currently working on Connectomics in the Seung Lab, where he is using artificial intelligence based methods for efficient neuron reconstruction. Previously he has worked on various applications of Machine Learning like biomedical imaging, systems, computer vision during his undergrad at Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur and internship at Adobe Research. Apart from that he is a foodie, enjoys playing cricket and watching movies. Find him on LinkedIn.

Rebekah Rashford

Rebekah is a third-year PhD student at Princeton Neuroscience Institute, where she works with Catherine Peña investigating the effects of early life stress on chromatin accessibility in regions of the brain associated with the reward pathway. Before coming to Princeton, Rebekah graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County with a major in Biology and a minor Creative Writing. While at UMBC, Rebekah worked in a molecular biology lab studying the dynamics of ribosomal biogenesis. Other than science, Rebekah enjoys museums, writing stories and screenplays, and taking long walks.

Kimberly Sabsay

Kimberly is a first-year Quantitative and Computational Biology PhD student in the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics. She is completing research rotations and will decide on a thesis lab in May 2021. Prior to graduate school, Kimberly attended California Polytechnic State University SLO and received a BS in Biochemistry with a minor in mathematics. Kimberly’s research experience and interests include computational protein modeling, structural biology and virology. In her free time she enjoys yoga, sudoku, playing the piano, and finding ways to make people smile.

Jaydeep Singh

Jaydeep Singh

Jaydeep is a second-year graduate student in the Mathematics department at Princeton, broadly interested in problems coming from physics. He was previously studying Mathematics at Stanford University, where he conducted research on the dynamics of black holes and lattice gauge theories. Outside of Fine Hall, he enjoys reading (non-math things!) and walking around campus green spaces.

Abby Stanton

Abby is a first-year PhD student in the Department of Molecular Biology. Before coming to Princeton, she earned her BA in Molecular Biology at Colgate University and spent two years as a post-baccalaureate research fellow in the Hinshaw lab at the National Institutes of Health, where she used cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) to study proteins involved with membrane fission and fusion. Outside of the lab, she enjoys listening to podcasts, taking nature walks, and playing board games with a lot of complicated rules.

Thiago Varella

Thiago is a PhD student in Cognitive Psychology and Neuroscience at Princeton University, where he works with Asif Ghazanfar in vocal development. He graduated from the University of São Paulo, where he studied Mathematics applied to Neuroscience. Thiago previously worked at the Timing and Cognition Laboratory at Federal University of ABC (UFABC). Outside of work, he enjoys playing the piano, watching movies/series, and worrying about the big revolutions we are going through, like climate change or AI. Check out his website here.

Renee Waters

Renee Waters

Renee is a second-year graduate student in the Psychology department. Prior to coming to Princeton, she completed her undergraduate degree at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. At Princeton, Renee has worked on neurobehavioral research exploring social behaviors/disorders and their neural mechanisms. In her free time, she enjoys running, playing tennis, reading, and talking to friends.

Yinuo Zhang

Yinuo is a fifth-year economics PhD student at Princeton. Her interests lie between macro and labor economics. Currently, she studies how recent marketization on home production may affect labor market polarization. She did her undergraduate degree at the University of Rochester. When she's not in front of her laptop, she enjoys reading, studying Spanish and trying aerial stuff. You can find her on twitter.