Principal Investigator

Mark Wu

Email: marknwu (AT)

Mark grew up in Texas, and then traveled around the country for his education. After going to college at Cornell University, he returned to Texas for the MD/PhD Program at Baylor College of Medicine. During his PhD, he studied the mechanisms underlying neurotransmitter release in Drosophila with Hugo Bellen. He then set off for sunny Los Angeles to do his residency in Neurology. His next move was to Philadelphia, where he completed a sleep medicine fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania. While at Penn, he performed his postdoctoral research with Amita Sehgal, studying genetic mechanisms underlying sleep in Drosophila. He finally headed down to Baltimore to Johns Hopkins to set up his own lab there. Mark is also a board-certified neurologist and sleep medicine specialist, and he sees patients in both sleep medicine clinic and on the neurology wards.

Fun fact: Mark was a DJ in college, and was rumored to have some skills with the "steel wheels."

Postdoctoral Fellows

Sha Liu

sliu63 (AT)

Sha joined the laboratory from Wuhan, China, where he claims that the weather is way hotter and more humid than in Texas. Sha did his undergraduate work at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan. He conducted his PhD research at the Institute of Hydrobiology, where he studied developmental genetics in zebrafish. Sha enjoys math in his spare time.

Fun fact: Sha hitchhiked his way through Tibet. Also, he believes that pandas are lazy and once threw small rocks at one!


Qili Liu

qliu15 (AT)

Interestingly, the first two postdocs to join the lab share the same last name, which is entirely coincidental. Qili did her undergraduate studies at Beijing Normal University. Qili performed her graduate studies at Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology in Shanghai. Her PhD work involved studying microRNA and ARGONAUTE regulation of development in Arabidopsis. Qili likes reading and traveling.

Fun fact: Qili loves plants, and sometimes talks to and sings for them. As far as we know, she hasn't talked to her flies yet?

Masashi Tabuchi

mtabuch1 (AT)

Masashi is originally from Hamada, which is a small coastal city in western Japan.  He did his undergraduate work and masters degree at the University of Tsukuba, outside of Tokyo.  He also spent 1 year during his undergraduate training at the University of Manchester in the UK.  He then did his PhD thesis at the University of Tokyo, studying olfactory system processing in moths, using patch-clamp electrophysiological techniques.  In his free time, Masashi enjoys fly fishing.

Fun fact:  Masashi enjoys riding motorcycles and once rode the dangerous Isle of Man TT circuit (he did crash, but he came out in better shape than his motorcycle!)

Margaret Ho

margaret.ho (AT)

Margaret is from Hong Kong, but grew up in Manila, Philippines. She studied Chemistry and Biology at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, CA.  As an undergraduate, she characterized the evolution of Hox gene regulation in Drosophila. She then applied functional regulatory genomics methods in C. elegans for her PhD in Biology at Caltech in Pasadena, CA. Margaret is now using high-throughput sequencing techniques and genetics to study circuits that regulate sleep behavior in the fruit fly.  She enjoys trail running and rock climbing in her spare time.

Fun fact:  Margaret enjoys trying and eating unusual foods from durian to balut (a Filipino delicacy).

Ian Blum

iblum2 (AT)

Ian hails from the national capital of Canada in Ottawa, Ontario where he performed both his undergraduate and master's work in behavioral neuroendocrinology at Carleton University.  He then completed his Doctorate at McGill University in Montreal, where he studied biological clocks in mice.  Ian enjoys photography, cooking, snowboarding and riding his bicycle.

Fun fact:  Ian is a scuba diver with hundreds of hours logged under water (and ice).  He once saw a dog-sized mudpuppy living inside of The Conestoga, a 253' wreck in the St. Lawrence river.


Graduate Students

Benjamin Bell

bbell23 (AT)

Ben comes to us from the Human Genetics PhD program at JHMI.  He grew up near Scranton, PA (home of "The Office") and received his undergraduate degree from Northeastern University in Boston. There, he studied microbiology via the human oral microbiome project, as well as took some time to pursue forestry research in Juneau, Alaska. Now back on track with neurogenetics, he plans to research circadian rhythm circuits in both Drosophila and mice. In his free time, Ben likes to hike and camp (always in a hammock!), and also read whenever possible.

Fun fact:  Ben plays a different sport nearly every night and is perfectly mediocre at all of them.

                  Ting Xie
Ting Xie

txie3 (AT)

Ting is originally from Hebei, which is in northern China.  For her undergraduate training, she studied animal sciences at Jilin University in Changchun.  After 
that, she spent 2 years as a graduate student in Yi Rao's lab at Peking University, where she worked on circadian rhythms in cultured cells.  Ting joins our lab on the CSC Scholarship Program.  Here, she will be studying the dopaminergic circuitry underlying behavior in flies.  In her free time, she enjoys traveling and swimming

Fun fact:

Research Technologists




Email:                 whoriuc1 (AT)

Wakako, like Julia, is from Honolulu, Hawaii.  After working with us for 3 years as an undergrad researcher, she is now spending a year with us as a research technologist. When Wakako is in Hawaii, she likes to go stand-up paddle board surfing.  In Baltimore, she enjoys photography in her spare time.  

Fun fact:  Because she is from Hawaii, Wakako loves Spam.  She enjoys finding new uses for it in her recipes, as well as defending its worthiness as a food.  

Research Assistants


Lucinda Chiu

Email:                        lchiu6 (AT)

Lucinda is currently a senior at Johns Hopkins University, who is double majoring in Neuroscience and Anthropology.  She was born in southern California, but currently resides just outside of Boston, MA.  In her free time, Lucinda enjoys giving tours to prospective Hopkins students, teaching violin at local elementary schools, and most of all, exploring the Baltimore food scene!

Fun fact:  Lucinda spent a summer teaching English in Lishan, a small mountain village in Taiwan.  While there, she escaped the wrath of Typhoon Soulik by trekking through a cabbage patch!

Daniel Esquivel

Email:                     desquiv1 (AT)

Daniel is a senior at Johns Hopkins University, majoring in Neuroscience.  He was born in Texas, but grew up in Shelby Township, a small town near Detroit, Michigan.  In his spare time, he enjoys writing pop songs and playing them on his electric guitar. 

Fun fact:  Daniel's love of pop songs was sparked by his participation in a cheesy 80's-themed musical during high school.  

Grace Duan

Email:                      gduan1 (AT)

Grace is a sophomore at Johns Hopkins University, double majoring in Public Health Studies, and Medicine, Science and the Humanities.  She was born in China and grew up in America, currently residing in Chicago.  She fell in love with neuroscience and sleep research while attending the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy.  In her free time, she enjoys music-- whether it involves dancing, singing, or playing various instruments.

Fun fact:  Grace has two pet turtles name Silly and Tilly (she was a lot younger when she named them).  They are adorable red-eared sliders, about 5 inches long that enjoy basking on their rock and racing each other in their aquarium.


Skylar Luu

Email:                      sluu2 (AT)

Skylar is currently a sophomore at Johns Hopkins University, who is majoring in Neuroscience.  She was born and raised in upstate New York, and is surprised at how similar it is to Baltimore.  One of her favorite pastimes is making and eating sushi.  Also in her free time, she enjoys playing tennis and playing with her dog Fushi, who is a Chihuahua-Corgi mix.  

Fun fact:  Skylar does not play soccer, but is able to juggle a soccer ball a hundred times with her foot!


Heather Groshans

Heather spent a year with us, helping us set up the lab, and now is back at school, working on a Masters in Education.


James Ying

James spent 2 years with us, working on clinical research on Familial Sleep Paralysis and also doing some bench research as well.  He is now doing a residency in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation.  

Maria Driscoll

Maria spent 2 years with us as a technician and lab manager.  She worked with Qili on dopamine and arousal and also helped Sha with his work on Wide Awake.  Maria is now doing a residency in Pediatrics.  


Shahnaz Lone

Shahnaz studied the role of sleep and amyloid in flies with us.  He is now a postdoctoral fellow in Switzerland.  

Lay Kodama 


Lay spent 4 years with us as an undergrad and technician.  She then went to Cambridge University for a year on a Churchill Scholarship studying axon guidance and currently attends the MD/PhD program at UCSF.  

Julia Zhang

                                        Julia spent 4 years with us as an undergrad and technician.  She contributed to many projects, and also helped keep the lab organized. She is now in medical school in beautiful Hawaii. 

Jay Daniels

                                      Jay spent almost 4 years with us as an undergrad, studying the dopaminergic circuitry regulating behavior and helping make tools for that project.  He is currently a medical student at Northwestern University.


Pictures taken by Morgan Yang (except the blurry ones, which were taken by Mark Wu)

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