Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Ming Lab

Organoid

Current Personnel

Lab Picture



Faculty

Guo-li Ming, MD, PhD

Guo-li Ming, MD, PhD
Professor of Neuroscience
 gming@pennmedicine.upenn.edu


Hongjun Song, PhD

Hongjun Song, PhD
Professor of Neuroscience
 shongjun@pennmedicine.upenn.edu


Kimberly Christian, PhD

Kimberly Christian, PhD
Research Assistant Professor of Neuroscience
 kchristi@pennmedicine.upenn.edu



Staff

Jordan Schnoll, BS

Jordan Schnoll, BS
Lab Coordinator
 jschnoll@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

I graduated from the University of Delaware in May of 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience, and minors in Medical Diagnostics and Biological Sciences. Currently, I am pursuing coursework in the Pre-Health Specialized Studies program at Penn, and later plan to apply to medical school. In the lab, I am responsible for organizing and handling all administrative tasks, as well as managing various projects.


Darin Johnson, BS

Darin Johnson, BS
Lab Technician
 darinj@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

I graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 2017 with a BS in Neuroscience and additional majors in Medicine, Science & The Humanities, and Spanish. I enjoy trying new foods, meeting new people, and am passionate about Diversity and Inclusion related work.


Brian Temsamrit, BS

Brian Temsamrit, BS
Lab Technician
 Brian.Temsamrit@pennmedicine.upenn.edu



Research Associates

Allison Bond, PhD

Allison Bond, PhD
 ambond1@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

I am interested in understanding how adult stem cells retain the capacity to generate new mature cell types throughout the life of an organism. My research in the lab focuses on adult neural stem cells in the hippocampus, and investigates the role of quiescence in maintaining the adult stem cell pool.


Daniel Berg, PhD

Daniel Berg, PhD
 daberg@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

I am passionate about vertebrate regenerative neuroscience and am currently working on different subtypes of neural stem cells in the mouse dentate gyrus. In my spare time, I enjoy listening to music of the late renaissance/early baroque period while drinking cheap gin. I also like exploring the mountains in my home country, Sweden, usually on pair of cross-country skis, and climbing in the Highlands of Scotland. 


Ki-Jun Yoon, PhD

Ki-Jun Yoon, PhD
 kjyoon@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

Proper development of the nervous system is critical for its function, and deficits in neural development have been implicated in many brain disorders, such as microcephaly, autistm spectrum disorders, and schizophrenia. Neural stem cells are the origins of all types of cells in the nervous system and their behaviors are tightly controlled by intrinsic developmental programs in specific species. My lifelong question is how neural stem cells are regulated to achieve the precise cell division, cell migration, and cell fate specification during the embryonic brain development. Especially, an important area of my ongoing research is investigating the role of RNA modifications in the neural stem cells, which provide rapid and fine-tuned gene expression post-transcriptionally. In addition, I am also studying the risk factors of neurodevelopmental disorders, such as genetic mutations responsible for schizophrenia risk and Zika virus infection, using both mouse and human iPSC models. On weekends, I spend some time practicing ice-skating with my daughters, to share a common lesson both in science and sports; everyday we struggle and feel frustrated, but slowly step forward in the long run.


Tong Ma, PhD

Tong Ma, PhD
 tongma@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

I joined the lab after finishing my PhD in neuroscience at Fudan University in China. My doctoral work focused on the origin and development of cortical interneurons in mice and primates. My primary research interest is investigating molecular and cellular mechanisms of hypothalamic development.


Yijing Su, PhD

Yijing Su, PhD
 yijingsu@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

My research focuses on understanding epigenetic changes during neuronal activation and its role in neuronal function in both population and single cell levels.



Postdoctoral Fellows

Eunchai Kang, PhD

Eunchai Kang, PhD
 keunchai@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

My research investigates the molecular and circuitry mechanisms behind the etiology and pathogenesis of neuropsychiatric disorders using adult hippocampal neurogenesis and human brain organoids.


Feng Zhang, PhD

Feng Zhang, PhD
 feng.zhang@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

I am a new postdoc here, and I am trying to discover something new and interesting in neuroscience.


Nam-Shik Kim, PhD

Nam-Shik Kim, PhD
 nskim@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

I am interested in elucidating the etiology of neuropsychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and depression. My research focuses on generating genetically altered animal models and human iPSCs to identify the role of genetic risk factors for mental disorders. For identifying the functional role of one mental disorder susceptibility gene, I am currently working on analyzing genetically altered mouse models with human patient relevant mutations, and iPSC-derived neurons. In conclusion, I envision that by synthesizing data from both genetic animal models and patient iPSC-derived neural cells, we will be able to make significant advances in understanding the complex etiology underlying neuropsychiatric disorders and how better to diagnose and treat human mental disorders in the future. I also have an interest in gene therapy using the CRISPR-Cas9 system for the correction of certain genetic mutations in patients. I love watching movies. Doing yoga, meditation, and crochet make me happy and peaceful.


Sang Hoon Kim, PhD

Sang Hoon Kim, PhD
 skim1@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

My current research focus is to investigate the functional role of adult neurogenesis in hippocampus. By combining optogenetics with in vivo extracelluar recording, I have been characterizing spatial selectivity and remapping properties of newborn neurons. I am also interested in understanding how the continuous birth and integration of new cohorts of neurons affect the dynamic properties of local circuitry.


Stephanie Jimenez Temme, PhD

Stephanie Jimenez Temme, PhD
 stemme@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

I joined the lab in the fall of 2015. My current projects investigate the behavioral and network level contribution of adult born cells in the dentate gyrus. My project utilizes in vivo and slice electrophysiology, as well as a background in behavioral neuroscience.


Ting Zhao, PhD

Ting Zhao, PhD
 tzhao5@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

I am not only interested in using iPSCs to model neurological disorders, but also interested in employing new techniques for the proteomics study. When I am free, I like watching movies and hiking with my wife. I enjoy life in Philadelphia, where a lot of fancy Chinese restaurants are located.


Xinyuan Wang, MD, PhD

Xinyuan Wang, MD, PhD
 wxinyuan@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

Currently my research focuses on investigating the molecular and cellular mechanisms of neurological diseases and mental disorders, such as schizophrenia and major depression, using patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). I am also interested in developing integrated skill sets in new technologies, such as CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing and single cell RNA sequencing.


Yan Hong, PhD

Yan Hong, PhD
 yhong31@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

I am interested in modeling human neurological disorders using iPSC models to unveil the molecular pathways and mechanisms underlying these disorders. In my spare time, I love watching movies with my husband. I also enjoy cooking, which helps me relax and provides a good way to gather around a table with family and friends.



Ziyuan Guo, PhD

Ziyuan Guo, PhD
 ziyuan32@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

I joined the lab as a postdoctoral fellow in 2015 after I received my PhD from Pennsylvania State University. The long-term goal of my research is to apply cutting-edge stem cell technologies (e.g. induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs)) to study the etiology of neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders in humans. New insights from these studies may eventually help to identify novel targets for therapeutic development. After my training, I will seek a tenure-track faculty position and build up my own lab at one of the research universities with the hopes of inspiring more students to study neuroscience.



Graduate Students

Caroline Vissers, BS

Caroline Vissers, BS
PhD Student - Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology Graduate Program at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
 cvisser1@jhmi.edu

I am fascinated by how RNA modifications like N6-methyladenosine (m6A) regulate stem cell behavior. Neural stem cells both in development and in adults require precise regulation for proper differentiation and function, and RNA modifications play a critical role in this biology. I am excited to continue to investigate the role of epitranscriptomics in basic neural processes and disease. ​ In my "spare" time I enjoy oil painting and playing with my dog and cat, Watson and Cricket. 


Daniel Zhang, BS

Daniel Zhang, BS
MD/PhD Student - Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics Graduate Group
 Daniel.Zhang@uphs.upenn.edu

I grew up in Newton, MA, and went to college at MIT, where I majored in chemistry and biology. Currently, I am interested in using brain organoids to model normal and pathological neural development, and applying transplantation models and single-cell techniques to study these systems. My goal is to make discoveries that advance our understanding of human biology and disease towards improving the care of patients. In my free time, I play in the Penn Med Symphony Orchestra along with students, faculty, and staff from all over the Penn, UPHS, and CHOP communities.


Dennisse Jimenez-Cyrus, BS

Dennisse Jimenez-Cyrus, BS
PhD Student - Cellular and Molecular Medicine Program at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
 jimenden@pennmedicine.upenn.edu


Douglas Goodsmith, BS

Douglas Goodsmith, BS
PhD Student - Neuroscience Program at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
 dgoodsm1@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

All hippocampal subfields contain "place cells," cells that fire only when an animal is in a specific location within an environment, but the firing of cells in the dentate gyrus is relatively understudied compared to CA1 and CA3 cells. In addition, the dentate contains multiple excitatory cell types, and new cells are added throughout life. Using electrophysiological and optogenetic techniques, I study the firing properties of these distinct cell populations in awake behaving animals.


Fadi Jacob, BS

Fadi Jacob, BS
MD/PhD Student - Neuroscience Program at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
 fjacob2@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

I am an MD/PhD student from the Johns Hopkins MSTP program. My research interests include generating neurons and brain organoids from human stem cells to study human-specific features of brain development and the mechanisms underlying neurological and psychiatric disorders.


Phuong Nguyen, MS

Phuong Nguyen, MS
PhD Student - Neuroscience Graduate Group
 phnguyen@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

I graduated from a 5-year B.S./M.S. Biology program at Drexel University in 2017. In my PhD training, my research focus is on the use of brain organoids to better understand human brain development and neurological disorders. When not in the lab, I enjoy attending Zumba classes, visiting my family in Virginia, and hanging out with friends.


Wei-Kai Huang, BS

Wei-Kai Huang, BS
PhD Student - Pathology Graduate Program at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
 whuang31@pennmedicine.upenn.edu


Xuyu Qian, BS

Xuyu Qian, BS
PhD Student - Biomedical Engineering Program at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
 qianxuyu@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

I am a PhD student in the Biomedical Engineering program at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. My thesis project focuses on developing brain organoids from human stem cells as a model for studying human brain development and diseases. I grew up in Nanjing, China, and came to the U.S. for my undergraduate study at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and then came to JHU for my PhD. I am a big anime fan and am proud to acknowledge that my determination of doing research in biology and bioengineering was inspired by a sci-fi anime called “Evangelion”.


Yi (Joey) Zhou, BS

Yi (Joey) Zhou, BS
PhD Student - Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology Graduate Program at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
 yzhou1@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

I am a productive neuroscientist from Johns Hopkins Medical School. I have performed innovative research and obtained breakthroughs in understanding the brain and brain repair. I have made significant contributions in understanding the mechanisms underlying adult neural stem cells and neurogenesis, neurodevelopment, and neural protection. I would like to share two things on my bucket list: traveling around the globe looking for exotic cuisine, and learning guitar to become a pub singer.


Zheng Hao Samuel Wong, BS

Zheng Hao Samuel Wong, BS
PhD Student - Cellular and Molecular Medicine Program at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
 zhwong@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

The structure of neural systems in the mammalian brain is dictated by tightly regulated cell generation and migration patterns during early development. These include layered structures such as the neocortex and cerebellum, and nuclear structures like the hypothalamus and thalamus. Although the organization of layered structures has been well-studied, it remains unclear as to how nuclear structures in the brain are formed. I am interested in decoding the heterogeneity of stem cells in nuclear brain structures at single-cell resolution using methods such as lineage tracing by clonal analysis and single-cell RNA seq of neural stem cells.



Visiting Scientists

David Morizet, BS

David Morizet, BS
MD/PhD Student - Université Paris Descartes, Paris Diderot, & Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris

I grew up close to Paris and Versailles in France. I am currently an MD/PhD student over there, and I am very excited by the idea of working on regenerative therapies for the nervous system and applying them later on as a neurosurgeon. Thus, adult neurogenesis has been a long-standing interest of mine which is why I wanted to join the lab.


Mariko Bennett, MD/PhD

Mariko Bennett, MD/PhD
Clinical Fellow


Ryan Salinas, MD

Ryan Salinas, MD
Clinical Fellow
 Ryan.Salinas@uphs.upenn.edu

I am currently a 5th year Neurosurgery Resident at Penn working in the lab to utilize cerebral organoid systems as it applies to neurosurgical disease. In particular, I am interested in using organoid systems to develop a personalized approach to neurosurgical care that would ultimately improve patient outcomes. 


Shiying Li, PhD

Shiying Li, PhD
Visiting Professor - Associate Professor at Nantong University
 shiying.li@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

My research focuses on studying the molecular and cellular mechanisms of nerve regeneration at Nantong University. I am also interested in exploring the common diseases of the nervous system and investigating the physiological basis of Chinese traditional medicine by some new research technologies.