Lab Members

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Jeff Gavornik

Principal Investigator

Jeff grew up on and around US Air Force bases and graduated with a History major from Rice University then worked for several years for Boeing on the International Space Station program at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. He completed a Master of Electrical Engineering degree at Rice before earning a Ph.D. in the ECE department at the University of Texas at Austin based on his work in computational neuroscience. He performed experimental postdoctoral research in the HHMI at MIT before starting his lab in the Biology Department at Boston University. Jeff is associated with the Center for Systems Neuroscience, the Center for Memory and Brain, the Department of Biomedical Engineering, CRESCENT, the Neurophotonics Center, the Graduate and Undergraduate programs in Neuroscience, and probably other things as well. As far as we can tell, he invented "Austin Chili".
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Rachel Schecter

Project Coordinator

Rachel attended Rutgers University before joining Mark Bear's Lab to study the role of microglia in synaptic plasticity. After completing her PhD in 2016, she joined the Gavornik Lab and uses in vivo electrophysiology and two-photon microscopy to investigate how the primary visual system encodes sequences at the circuit and cellular level. She is as adept at surgery as she is at running her mouth. When she's not in the lab, she is planting things, watching television, or walking around Cambridge with her friends.
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Xiuye (Sue) Chen

Postdoctoral Researcher

Sue mostly grew up in China and moved to Boston for her PhD in Florian Engert's lab at Harvard University. There she worked on larval zebrafish phototaxis behavior, some two-photon microscopy, and large-scale analysis of whole-brain light-sheet data at single-cell resolution. After graduating in 2016, she also spent a year working on data analysis with Talia Konkle at the Harvard Vision Sciences lab. Outside the lab, she enjoys some of the more civil moments with her toddler girl, as well as some biking, planting and reading here and there.
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Byron Price

Graduate Student

Byron graduated from Vanderbilt University in 2011 with degrees in both Physics and Spanish. He then moved to Spain for two years, where he taught English. Presently, Byron is a PhD student in BU's Graduate Program for Neuroscience, doing a specialization in Computational Neuroscience (focus in data analysis and statistics). His research interests include self-organization within the nervous system, and the plasticity mechanisms that govern development and learning.
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Scott Knudstrup

Graduate Student

Scott received a B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Michigan in 2015. As an undergraduate, his primary research revolved around the dynamical features of synchronous behavior in brain tissue as they relate to acetylcholine and short-term plasticity. Prior to becoming a student of the sciences, Scott earned a B.F.A. in Music from the California Institute of the Arts, and subsequently taught guitar to half the kids across L.A. He is particularly interested in the neural bases of perception and cognition and their implications/applications for synthetic intelligence. His extraneural interests include film, mathematical logic, and baseball.
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Susrita Sarkar

Graduate Student

Susrita graduated with a BS-MS dual degree from IISER Bhopal where she mainly worked on J proteins in yeast and then moved on to pursue a Master's at Brandeis during which she developed an interest in Neuroscience. Following that, she started working at McLean Hospital where she focused on deriving oligodendrocytes from iPSCs of Bipolar Disorder patients. She joined BU in 2016 as a graduate student in the Neurobiology program with the desire to be in a Systems Neuroscience lab. She loves working with awake mice and finds them adorable. In her free time, she spends time at art museums and is a huge fan of van Gogh, Monet and Degas! Other than that she enjoys molecular gastronomy and loves to swim.
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Cambria Jensen

Lab Manager

Cambria grew up in Escondido, California and moved to Massachusetts in 2013 to attend Boston University. Before graduating in December 2016, she majored in neurobiology, minored in Spanish, and played as the goalkeeper for BU's Division I field hockey team. Since completing school, no one knows what Cambria does all day, but she says she's "shadowing" a neurosurgeon. She hopes to continue doing research while she applies to medical school.
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Kim Young

Collaborating Graduate Student

Kim did her undergraduate work in Physiology at McGill University. She continued in the McGill physiology department for her Master’s project, where she investigated the mechanisms of synaptic strengthening in fruit flies using in-vivo 2-P microscopy and intracellular electrophysiology. She began her PhD at BU in 2015 and is now focusing on how acetylcholine modulates cortical computations and plasticity in rodents.
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Sarah Xin

Undergraduate Student

Shouhui (Sarah) Xin is an undergraduate student majoring in neurobiology. She grew up in China and attended high school in Atlanta. She was interested in drawing, but later discovered an interest in biology during high school. In college, she found the study of the brain fascinating and joined the Gavornik lab to learn more about the practical application of neuroscience. Sarah's favorite drink is bubble tea and she has been a loyal customer (possible addict) to Kung Fu Tea. Her favorite kind is either the Taro Milk Tea or the original milk tea.
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Neoreet Braha

Undergraduate Student

Neoreet Braha is a double major in Neuroscience and Psychology. She has been fascinated by human behavior and neuroscience since middle school. Currently, she is training with the Medical Career Exploration Volunteer Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Last summer, she interned at the Sackler School of Medicine in Tel Aviv, Israel researching memory and cognition as related to sleep. She has enjoyed years of volunteering with children and elderly in different contexts, and some of her favorite pastime activities are photography and jigsaw puzzle assembly.
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Audrey Kim

Undergraduate Student

Seoyoung (Audrey) Kim is an undergraduate at Boston University. She is majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and planning to minor in Psychology. She was born in South Korea, but moved to the US when she was five years old. She lived in Southern California ever since until she began to attend Boston University. Some of her passions include teaching, volunteering and petting cats (dogs are acceptable as well). In her free time, she likes to watch TV shows, practice long boarding, teach herself programming and look for good cheese plates in Boston.
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Brielle Albelli

Undergraduate Student

Brielle Albelli is an undergraduate at Boston University pursuing a major in Neuroscience and a minor in Computer Science. She came to BU as a pre-med Neuroscience major, but discovered a love for coding and hopes to develop her coding skills and seek a career in computational neuroscience. She’s from Old Tappan, New Jersey, and in her free time she enjoys drawing, painting, coding, and trying to find a decent bagel in Boston (its harder than it sounds, and so are the bagels).
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Patrick Snyder

Undergraduate Student

Patrick was born and raised in Boston. He spent the last year and a half at McGill University pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and is now taking time off to explore his interests and find a new direction in his life.
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Anthony Khoudary

Undergraduate Student

Anthony is an undergraduate student at Boston University studying Neurobiology. He grew up in Dallas, Pennsylvania and plans to attend medical school in the future. He loves traveling, sports, and exploring Boston. His latest endeavors are teaching himself to skateboard and dabbling in herpetology.
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Noelle Wojciechowski

Undergraduate Student

Noelle Wojciechowski is an undergraduate majoring in neuroscience at Boston University. Noelle became fascinated by the brain at an early age as she grew up with a father with multiple sclerosis. Currently, she is interested in how the brain can learn and change, and hopes to combine research and medicine to discover new treatments and therapies for neurological disorders. In her free time, Noelle enjoys painting and baking any recipe she comes across on the Great British Bake Off.

Lab Alumni

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Elizabeth de Laittre

Research Technician

Liz is the lab’s resident Nebraskan. She graduated from MIT with a degree in Brain and Cognitive Sciences in 2015. As an undergraduate in Mark Bear’s lab, Liz tested mGluR-inhibiting drugs in a mouse model of Rett syndrome. In the Gavornik Lab she has worn many hats and is currently using electrophysiology, both LFP and single unit recordings, to explore the underlying mechanisms of sequence learning. In the fall (2017), Liz will start a PhD program in computational neuroscience at the University of Chicago.
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Andrew Gelis

Undergraduate Student

Andrew is an undergraduate majoring in Neuroscience at Boston University. Originally from San Francisco, he started living abroad since he was 4 but ended up moving to Boston in 2015 to attend BU. He speaks 4 languages, is the president of the BU German Culture Club and is passionate about going to medical school in the future. In his free time, he loves to play basketball and prank his friends with his twin brother, who, despite not being identical, looks very similar.
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Dorian Rutherford

Undergraduate Student

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Sara Simpson

Undergraduate Student

Sara Kornfeld Simpson is a dual degree junior with a triple major in Neuroscience, Flute and Oboe Performance. She is the Harry Hung Sheng Chou Trustee Scholar and a Davidson Fellow Laureate. Sara served as vice president of Nu Rho Psi, BU's Neuroscience Honor Society, and as a mentor for freshmen Trustee Scholars and Music Performance majors. She has published in two BU journals, The Nerve and the WR: Journal of the CAS Writing Program. Her summer 2016 research in neuroscience in The Scripps Research Institute REU program won a poster presentation award. This spring, she presented this poster at the Association for Chemoreception Sciences 39th Annual Conference, and was named a finalist for the AChemS Undergraduate Research Award. Last fall, Sara received BU’s Provost’s Scholars Award for Academic Exploration in the First Two Years, and she is currently receiving the Mary Erskine Undergraduate Research Award from BU’s UROP program to fund her study of learning and memory in the Gavornik Lab. In her free time, Sara enjoys attending the BSO, exploring Boston on foot, and performing her music for retirement communities.
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Christina Mazzio

Undergraduate Student

Christina is an undergraduate student majoring in neurobiology. She is from Ossining, New York, and originally came to Boston University to study film and television. During her sophomore year, she changed her major after discovering her love for neurobiology. She hopes to someday pursue a Ph.D. in neuroscience, with a particular interest in research related to neurodegenerative diseases. For the summer of 2017, she will continue working in the Gavornik Lab as a member of the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program. Christina also enjoys reading, playing tennis, and taking walks on the esplanade in her spare time.
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Jess Kupczak

Undergraduate Student

Jess is an undergraduate student studying Psychology. Born and raised in Boston, she came to BU as a pre-dental student and has since become a certified dental assistant. She hopes to travel somewhere warmer for a graduate program in mental health counseling or social work. During her free time, she volunteers with Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed community service fraternity, which allows her to interact with a variety of at-risk populations. She likes to write short stories and watches a new movie every couple of weeks.
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Aly Reynolds

Undergraduate Student

Aly Reynolds is a junior at Boston University majoring in neuroscience and psychology. She's from Ann Arbor, MI, and she moved to Boston in 2015. In the future, she hopes to attend PA school. When she's not in class, Aly likes to play guitar, read nonfiction books and satire articles on the internet, and crochet.
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Dana O'Rourke

Visiting Undergraduate Student