People

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James R. Doty Professor of Neurosurgery and Neurosciences

Ivan Soltesz

Research Assistant

Anna Ortiz

Postdoctoral Researcher

Barna Dudok

Data Science Consultant

Ben Dichter

Graduate Student

Darian Hadjiabadi

Postdoctoral Researcher

Ernie Hwaun

Research Scientist

Gergely Szabo

Postdoctoral Researcher

Graham Jones

Research Engineer

Ivan Raikov

Research Assistant

Jesslyn Homidan

Postdoctoral Researcher

Jordan Farrell

Administrative Associate

Nichole Zito

Postdoctoral Researcher

Peter Klein

Postdoctoral Researcher

Prannath Moolchand

Postdoctoral Researcher

Quynh Anh Nguyen

Lab Manager

Sandra Linder

1st Year Medical Student

Shreya Malhotra

Postdoctoral Researcher

Tilo Gschwind

Medical Student

Mahad Ali Ahmed

Postdoctoral Researcher

Alexandra Chatzikalymiou

Resident

Ryan Jamiolkowski

James R. Doty Professor of Neurosurgery and Neurosciences

Ivan Soltesz

Ivan Soltesz received his doctorate in Budapest and conducted postdoctoral research at universities at Oxford, London, Stanford and Dallas. He established his laboratory at the University of California, Irvine, in 1995. He became full Professor in 2003, and served as department Chair from 2006 to July 2015. He returned to Stanford in 2015 as the James R. Doty Professor of Neurosurgery and Neurosciences at Stanford University School of Medicine.

His major research interest is focused on neuronal microcircuits, network oscillations, cannabinoid signaling and the mechanistic bases of circuit dysfunction in epilepsy.

His laboratory employs a combination of closely integrated experimental and theoretical techniques, including closed-loop in vivo optogenetics, paired patch clamp recordings, in vivo electrophysiological recordings from identified interneurons in awake mice, 2-photon imaging, machine learning-aided 3D video analysis of behavior, video-EEG recordings, behavioral approaches, and large-scale computational modeling methods using supercomputers.

He is the author of a book on GABAergic microcircuits (Diversity in the Neuronal Machine, Oxford University Press), and editor of a book on Computational Neuroscience in Epilepsy (Academic Press/Elsevier).

He co-founded the first Gordon Research Conference on the Mechanisms of neuronal synchronization and epilepsy, and taught for five years in the Ion Channels Course at Cold Springs Harbor.

He has over 30 years of research experience, with over 20 years as a faculty involved in the training of graduate students (total of 16, 6 of them MD/PhDs) and postdoctoral fellows (20), many of whom received fellowship awards, K99 grants, joined prestigious residency programs and became independent faculty.

Research Assistant

Anna Ortiz

Anna Ortiz is a first-generation college graduate from the University of California Santa Barbara. She graduated with a B.S in Psychological and Brain Sciences. Before joining the Soltesz lab, she worked as an undergraduate researcher in the Michael Goard Lab at UCSB.  There she helped to study the neuronal circuit mechanisms responsible for incorporating new memories in cortex. She is currently mentored by Jordan Farrell, Gergely Szabo, and Tilo Gschwind.  In the future, she hopes to give back by working with underserved communities and mentoring low-income students.

Postdoctoral Researcher

Barna Dudok

Interested in the role of interneuron diversity in healthy and epileptic circuits, especially the function of CCK-expressing interneurons in the hippocampus.

Data Science Consultant

Ben Dichter

Graduate Student

Darian Hadjiabadi

Darian Hadjiabadi is a third-year Bioengineering Ph.D. student with backgrounds in Computer Science (B.S.) and Biomedical Engineering (B.S., M.S.) from Johns Hopkins University. He is modeling neural dynamics from epileptic zebrafish (whole brain, single-cell resolution) to understand how unreliable inhibitory control affects network stability. Using these “fish-specific” models, he wants to predict which neurons significantly destabilize networks and validate them with in-vivo experiments.

Postdoctoral Researcher

Ernie Hwaun

Ernie completed his PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Texas at Austin. He is interested in how neurons connect with each other to support cognitive functions such as memory. To tackle this problem, Ernie has been using in vivo extracellular recording techniques to obtain neuronal activity while animals perform a memory task. Besides research, Ernie enjoys playing basketball with friends and reading manga.

Research Scientist

Gergely Szabo

Gergely is a Basic Life Research Scientist whose main focus is studying the structure and function of hippocampal inhibitory circuitry and its involvement in learning and memory, utilizing techniques such as electrophysiology, optogenetics, and imaging. Gergely received his MS in Biology from Eotvos Lorand University in Hungary and his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Semmelweis University in Hungary, after which he joined the Soltesz Lab as a postdoctoral fellow.

Postdoctoral Researcher

Graham Jones

Graham is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Zuchero and Soltesz labs. He is interested in studying the impact of myelination in regulating neuronal network activity dynamics in mouse models of epilepsy. Graham attended the University of Washington, where he majored in Biology: Physiology and Psychology. While in Seattle, he was an undergraduate research assistant and lab technician with Dr. Sheri Mizumori studying the role of ventral tegmental area activity on hippocampal physiology. He then worked as a research scientist/engineer helping Dr. Larry Zweifel establish his lab while investigating how dysfunctional dopaminergic signaling affects neural processing in the amygdala. He then moved to the University of Michigan and earned his Ph.D. in Neuroscience with Dr. Malcolm Low, where he studied the impact of proopiomelanocortin-deficiency, obesity, and weight loss in motivated behavior. Graham enjoys exploring new places with his fiancé Caitlin and dog Penny, homebrewing, golfing, trivia, and playing basketball and softball.

Research Engineer

Ivan Raikov

I hold undergraduate and master’s degree in Computer Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and a PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Antwerp. I am studying information processing in the hippocampus by means of highly detailed and realistic computational simulation of neuronal networks at 1:1 scale.  More broadly, I am interested in solving the enormous neuroinformatics challenges of computational neuroscience by developing sophisticated computational frameworks capable of expressing, organizing and managing the different types of data and algorithms associated with computational models of neural networks.

Research Assistant

Jesslyn Homidan

Jesslyn is a recent graduate of UC Berkeley, where she received her B.A. in Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology. At Berkeley, she worked as an undergraduate apprentice in Dr. Na Ji’s Lab conducting biophysics research on the thalamus and visual cortex. She executed behavioral training and analysis in head-fixed mice through classical and operant conditioning protocols to better understand the neuronal circuits underlying visual detection. In addition to neuroscience, she is interested in paleontology and in 2016 published and presented an abstract on the presence of two distinct species of Ischyromys of Pipestone Springs, Montana (a 50 million year old rodent). At the Soltesz lab, she is mentored by Barna Dudok, Peter Klein, and Quynh Anh Nguyen. 

Postdoctoral Researcher

Jordan Farrell

Jordan is studying the role of the hypothalamus in executing exploratory locomotion and how activity is relayed to brain regions involved in spatial navigation. He is also interested in the networks underlying seizures and how the endocannabinoid system controls local neural activity and vascular physiology.

Administrative Associate

Nichole Zito

She is the Administrative Assistant to Dr. Ivan Soltesz and the Soltesz Lab. Nichole has worked in the Neurosurgery Department for over 3 Years. She also works with 3 other Labs within the Neurosurgery Department.

Postdoctoral Researcher

Peter Klein

Peter completed his B.S. in Neuroscience at Bates College and his Ph.D. in Neuroscience with Dr. Mark Beenhakker at the University of Virginia. Since 2008, Peter has focused on investigating how neuronal network activity is perturbed in diseases such as epilepsy. After joining the Soltesz lab in 2018, Peter has been researching how the contributions of specific populations of hippocampal interneurons are altered in epilepsy using mostly in vitro electrophysiology approaches. He is also interested in how neuroimmune interactions contribute to modulating hippocampal excitability following seizures, irradiation, chemotherapy exposures, or other central nervous system insults.

Postdoctoral Researcher

Prannath Moolchand

Prannath Moolchand is a postdoctoral researcher, having joined after pursuing a doctorate in Neuroscience as a Fulbright scholar at Brown University, where he also earned a Master’s degree from its prestigious Applied Math department.

He combines computational modeling with High Performance Computing techniques to build biophysically realistic models of hippocampal cells to understand cellular and network level dynamics during memory processes. An advocate of Theoretical Neuroscience, he is also interested in applying rigorous mathematical theorems from dynamics and stochastics to understand how channelopathies disrupt cellular electrophysiology and how the consequent neural miscommunication leads to diseased conditions, particularly epilepsy.

Postdoctoral Researcher

Quynh Anh Nguyen

I utilize in-vivo and in-vitro electrophysiology, 2-photon calcium imaging, and EEG recording to study the role of inhibitory circuits and signaling molecules in epilepsy. Ultimately I want to help develop a comprehensive understanding of how neurons in the brain communicate with each other, the molecular and circuit mechanisms underlying their proper functioning, and how dysfunction in critical components of neuronal communication leads to neurological disease.

Lab Manager

Sandra Linder

Sandra has been with the Genetics Department at Stanford for almost 5 years and joined the Soltesz Lab in November 2019. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutritional Science and has a strong Business Administration background. In her new role, she oversees the financial resources and accountability. She functions as a support in grants’ management and plays a vital role in the overall safety of the laboratory to ensure compliance with applicable regulations. She is responsible for managing the daily operations of the lab, as well as supervises and educates research staff on established policies, processes and procedures.

1st Year Medical Student

Shreya Malhotra

Shreya is currently a first-year medical student at Stanford. She recently graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a B.S. in Neuroscience and a Master’s in Public Health. In the past, she has worked on elucidating the role of spillover transmission in the cerebellum, as well as studying the inhibitory microcircuit in the dorsal striatum to better understand Parkinson’s Disease. In the Soltesz lab, she is currently working with Dr. Dudok to study the role of hippocampal interneurons in epilepsy. 

Postdoctoral Researcher

Tilo Gschwind

Focusing on hippocampal network reorganization in temporal lobe epilepsy while tackling inherent problems of decade-old technology to advance epilepsy research, his project in the Soltesz lab provides an optimal opportunity to contribute to the interdisciplinary discourse between the fields of neuroscience and AI.

Medical Student

Mahad Ali Ahmed

Mahad is currently a first year medical student. He graduated from the University of Washington with a B.S. in Neuroscience. Mahad spent 3 years doing insect flight research in the Daniel Lab. During his time there, he worked to understand how hawkmoths integrate sensory information, and how sensory manipulations affect feeding behavior. He now plan to work with Dr. Farrell to investigate the role of the medial mamillary body in spatial cognition, as well as in the encoding and retrieval of memory.  

Postdoctoral Researcher

Alexandra Chatzikalymiou

Alexandra Chatzikalymniou holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Patras, Greece, and a PhD in Neuroscience and Physiology from the University of Toronto. In her PhD, Alexandra focused on the modelling of theta rhythms using both phenomenological and biophysical models of the rodent hippocampus. As part of her modelling work, she used and analysed state-of-the-art biologically detailed models of the rodent CA1 developed by the Soltesz lab, to understand elements of theta rhythm generation. Alexandra is interested in place cell formation during navigation, and ripple related mechanisms of memory recall and consolidation.

Resident

Ryan Jamiolkowski

Ryan Jamiolkowski earned an MD-PhD at the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied the biophysics of the ribosome and motor proteins, and nanofabricated devices for single molecule imaging.  He is currently a neurosurgery resident interested in neuromodulation for the treatment of epilepsy and other diseases.

AllAlumni
Instructor

Aaron Milstein

Research Assistant

Kyle Dinkins

Undergraduate Student

Sarah Tran

Research Scientist

Hannah Kim

Graduate Student

URee Chon

Instructor

Aaron Milstein

Aaron uses computational modeling to investigate the neural circuit mechanisms of rapid memory formation in the mammalian hippocampus. He is particularly interested in understanding how the nonlinear integrative properties of neuronal synapses and dendrites interact with diverse cell types in local neuronal microcircuits during synaptic plasticity and learning. Aaron is also developing an open-source software tool for scalable and efficient multi-objective optimization of large-scale biophysically-detailed neuronal network models on supercomputers.

Aaron was an Instructor and member of the computational modeling group within the Soltesz lab. Since August 2020, Aaron is an Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Neuroscience and Cell Biology and the Dept. of Neurosurgery at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and a resident faculty member at the Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine.

Research Assistant

Kyle Dinkins

Kyle Dinkins has two B.S. degrees in Chemistry and Biochemistry from the University of Washington in Seattle. For three years he worked in the Perlmutter lab in the Department of Physiology & Biophysics which is interested in facilitating neural regeneration after spinal cord injury. He received a fellowship stemming from the Perlmutter lab to measure the therapeutic effects of neuromodulators BDNF and Quipazine, a serotonin agonist, on neural regeneration in the spinal cord. Additionally, he has worked as a Research Technologies intern at Novo Nordisk where he mapped leptin distribution in the brain and developed his skills in immunohistochemistry and confocal imaging.

He was mentored by Drs. Barna Dudok, Peter Klein, and Quynh Anh Nguyen during this short time with the Soltesz Lab. Kyle has been accepted a Research Associate position at ImmunityBio in Seattle, closer to his home. He now conducts in-vivo studies to explore vaccine efficacy in various disease models, particularly COVID-19 and tumor models.

Undergraduate Student

Sarah Tran

Sarah was a part of the Soltesz lab’s computational team while pursuing a Bachelor degree in Symbolic Systems and a Master in Computer Science at Stanford.

Sarah graduated in April 2020, and has started her new career as a Software Engineer at Facebook in June.

Research Scientist

Hannah Kim

During her postdoctoral work in the Soltesz Lab, Hannah researched temporal lobe epilepsy and its comoborbidities, specifically spatial learning deficits, and potential therapeutic effects of optogenetic intervention in neural activity. She currently works in biotech industry and is focused on developing novel therapies for treating epilepsy. 

Graduate Student

URee Chon

URee graduated with a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Pennsylvania State University. She worked in a Neuroscience Research Laboratory, the Kim Lab at Penn State College of Medicine, for 3.5 years after graduation. There she studied neuroinformatics, circuit mapping, social behavioral assays/analysis, whole-brain neurovasculature mapping, and neurovascular interaction using serial 2-photon tomography. As a first year rotating Neuroscience graduate student at Stanford, she is mentored by Dr. Nguyen in the Soltesz lab.