Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Heller Lab
Laboratory of Neuroepigenetics

Team


CURRENT

Elizabeth A Heller, PhD

Elizabeth A Heller, PhD
Principal Investigator
 eheller@mail.med.upenn.edu

Curriculum Vitae

Liz received her PhD in molecular biology from The Rockefeller University under the mentorship of Dr. Nathaniel Heintz. She then studied the epigenetics of drug addiction and depression at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, in the laboratory of Dr. Eric Nestler. In 2016 she returned to her undergraduate alma mater, The University of Pennsylvania, as an Assistant Professor. Although Liz is a native New Yorker, she is thrilled to settle down in Philadelphia with her husband, Adriel, and son, Elias.


Ajinkya S Sase

Ajinkya S Sase
Postdoctoral Fellow
 ajinkyasase@gmail.com

Ajinkya received his Masters of Science degree, in microbiology from India in 2007. He then shifted his academic focus towards neuroscience and began his Ph.D. work in neuroproteomics at the Medical University of Vienna, Austria. Ajinkya has expertise in rodent behavioral paradigms and protein biochemistry. His thesis was focused on identifying the effect of novel Dopamine Transporter (DAT) inhibitors on cognitive performance and investigating related GPCR’s. Ajinkya was awarded his Ph.D. in 2015 and joined the Heller Lab in early-2016. His current research focuses on the epigenetic remodeling in the memory and addiction behavior. He enjoys hiking and swimming in his free time.


Qiwen Hu

Qiwen Hu
Postdoctoral Fellow
 huqiwen0313@gmail.com

Qiwen finished her PhD training in Bioinformatics at North Carolina State University where she worked on identifying translated regions in Arabidopsis genome using machine learning and statistical approaches. Before came to U.S., she received her M.S. in Biochemical and Molecular biology at Shanghai University. Her research interests are data mining, machine learning and computational biology. In her free time, Qiwen enjoys reading and hiking.


Songjun Xu

Songjun Xu
Postdoctoral Fellow
 songjunxu@gmail.com

Song received her Ph.D in Epigenetics from Drexel University under the mentorship of Dr. Felice Elefant. During her Ph.D, her work was focused on understanding nervous system development and function in the context of cognitive neuroscience. She is excited to continuing to pursue research on epigenetic-based mechanisms that contribute to the pathophysiology of neurophychiatric disease as a postdoctoral researcher. During her spare time, she enjoys strolling around the city, traveling and trying out new restaurants.


Marco Carpenter

Marco Carpenter
Graduate Student, Pharmacology
 marco.d.carpenter@gmail.com

Marco was raised in Littleton, CO and attended Clark University where he majored in Psychology/Biology. He has a particular interest in using engineered genetic tools to delineate the molecular underpinnings of neuropsychiatric disease. Outside of the lab he enjoys frolicking around the city, cooking and actively practices yoga.


Sonia Lombroso

Sonia Lombroso
Research Specialist
 lombroso@mail.med.upenn.edu

Sonia was born and raised in Connecticut where she attended high school and later obtained her undergraduate degree at Wesleyan University. She graduated with a double major in Biology and French studies. As an undergraduate she studied abroad in Paris, France where she learned a great deal about French culture, people, and cuisine (she even occasionally went to classes!) She hopes to advance in the field of neuroscience and is particularly interested in addiction research.


Brandon Santhumayor

Brandon Santhumayor
Undergraduate Research Assistant
 bsant@sas.upenn.edu

Brandon is an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania studying biochemistry and bioethics, and has been with the Heller Lab since 2016. He is interested in both scientific and clinical research in molecular genetics and cell biology, as well as, research ethics. In his free time, he enjoys traveling, teaching swimming lessons, and kayaking.


Emmie D Gocke

Emmie D Gocke
Undergraduate Husbandry Tech
 egocke@sas.upenn.edu

Emmie was born and raised in Jackson, Wyoming where she graduated high school and worked with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department on wildlife management research. She is currently an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania working toward a degree in Biology, with minors in chemistry and Native American studies. She is particularly interested in studying addiction and depression. In her free time, she enjoys spending time outdoors: trail running, mountain biking, climbing and fishing.


Carissa J Lim

Carissa J Lim
Graphic Designer
 carissaj.lim@gmail.com

Carissa studied Architecture and Integrated Product Design, a multidisciplinary graduate program in Engineering, Design, and Business, at the University of Pennsylvania. Carissa was born in Torrance, California and is pursuing a career in healthcare design and innovation. In her spare time, she loves studying historic buildings, spending time outdoors, and trying foods around the world.


ALUMNI

Tayla S Kramer
Undergraduate Student
June 2017 — August 2017

Jason Y Li
Undergraduate Student
June 2017 — October 2017

Natalia A Quijano Carde
Graduate Rotation Student
March 2016 — May 2016
Current: University of Pennsylvania Graduate Student, Mentor: Mariella de Biasi

Jessica E Schwarz
Graduate Rotation Student
September 2017 — December 2017