Principal Investigator

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.

Mark Wu

Postdoctoral Fellows

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

Margaret Ho

Graduate Students

Emily Han

Email: ehan13 (AT)

Emily spent most of her childhood in Beijing and then moved to Australia during high school, where she developed a love for Vegemite sandwiches.  She did her undergraduate training at Australian National University, where her research interests spanned cognitive psychology to ethological research in birds.  When Emily is not doing experiments, she enjoys cooking Chinese food and playing her keyboard.

Matt Brown

Email: matt.brown (AT)

Matt was born and raised in Maryland. He went to the University of Michigan for college, where he studied ion channel physiology. He then worked as a research technician for 2 years, studying the molecular mechanisms of retinal development.  In his spare time, he is the assistant coach of the Neuroscience softball team, who he hopes to guide to a record season of >2 wins (out of 20 contests). 

Email: margaret.ho (AT)

Margaret is from Hong Kong, but grew up in Manila, Philippines. As an undergraduate, she characterized the evolution of Hox gene regulation. She then applied functional regulatory genomics methods in C. elegans for her PhD in Biology at Caltech. She enjoys trail running and rock climbing in her spare time.  She also organizes the Women in Academic Research Pathways group. 

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

Ian Blum

Email: 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.

Sangsoo Lee

Email: slee496 (AT)

Sangsoo grew up in Busan, which is a popular beach destination in Korea.  He performed his undergraduate and masters work at Sogang University in Seoul.  He then moved to the US to do his PhD at UC Riverside, where he studied hormonal regulation of learning and memory in Drosophila.  In his leisure time, Sangsoo enjoys cooking, wine tasting, and traveling.

Fun fact: Following his service time in the Korean military, Sangsoo spent a month hitchhiking his way through eastern Turkey.  Because there were usually no hotels in these small towns, he often slept at bus stops, where he would befriend Turkish Korean War veterans.  

Qiang Liu

Email: qliu35 (AT)

Qiang is from a small town near Huainan in China.  He spent 9 years at Shanghai University doing his undergraduate work and his PhD work in neuroscience.  During his PhD, Qiang studied hippocampal dendritic spine development and learning and memory in mice.  In his spare time, Qiang enjoys swimming, watching action movies, and fly fishing.

Fun fact: In college, Qiang was among 2 out of 20 students to complete an elective class in Spanish.  Because of these skills, he was able to serve as a volunteer at the Spanish Pavilion at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai.

Email: mkeles1 (AT)

Mehmet is originally from Istanbul. For his undergraduate studies, he went to Bilkent University in Ankara, the capital of Turkey, where he studied molecular biology and genetics. He then moved to UCLA and did his PhD work on visual feature detection using in vivo calcium imaging techniques in fruit flies. Mehmet is a cinephile who enjoys hunting for old cameras on Ebay and doing film photography.

Fun fact: Mehmet ran the LA marathon, which nearly killed him, so naturally, he did it again.   

Mehmet Keles

Fun fact:  While hiking in the South Island of New Zealand, Emily encountered a playful kea (an endangered bird species that are the world's only alpine parrots).  To Emily's delight, rather than fly away, the bird happily posed for pictures. 

Fun fact: Matt was a competitive power-lifter in college, which he blames for his 70 pound weight gain during that time.

Jiali Xiong

Email: jxiong4 (AT)

Info to come!

Research Technologists

Research Assistants


Sha Liu

Sha was the first postdoctoral fellow in the lab and made major contributions, spearheading the initial work on WIDE AWAKE and the R2 sleep circuit.  He is now a PI at the VIB, where his lab studies the role of sleep in neural plasticity in Drosophila

Kristen Park

Email: kpark38 (AT)

Kristen is a senior at Johns Hopkins, majoring in Neuroscience with a minor in Computer Science.  She was born and raised in Silicon Valley, so the snow and rain in Baltimore has taken some getting used to.  An avid lover of the performing arts, she can be seen dancing on the hip hop team and playing in the orchestra.

Fun fact: Kristen is obsessed with pasta and hopes to one day travel to Italy in search of the best carbonara.

Email: swang207 (AT)

Serena is a junior at Johns Hopkins, majoring in Public Health.  She is originally from sunny Los Angeles, and so the winters in Baltimore have been a new experience for her.  She enjoys public speaking and is a speaker liaison for TEDxJHU.  She also enjoys the outdoors and is a flyfishing instructor for Outdoor Pursuits.

Fun fact: Serena loves traveling and has visited over 30 countries. Some of her favorite trips include climbing the pyramids of Egypt, snorkeling with penguins in the Galapagos, and witnessing the glory of Machu Picchu in Peru.

James spent 2 years with us, studying Familial Sleep Paralysis. He is now a resident in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation.

James Ying

Maria spent 2 years with us as a technician. She worked with Qili on dopamine and arousal and with Sha on WIDE AWAKE.  Maria is now doing a residency in Pediatrics.

Maria Driscoll

Shahnaz studied the relationship betweensleep and amyloid. He is now a Principal Investigator at the Central University of Punjab, studying circadian rhythms and sleep in flies.

Shahnaz Lone

Lay spent 4 years with us as an undergrad and technician.  After spending a year at Cambridge University, she now attends the MD/PhD program at UCSF.

Lay Kodama

Julia spent 4 years with us as an undergrad and technician.  She contributed to many projects and helped keep the lab organized. She is now an internal medicine resident in San Francisco.

Julia Zhang

Jay spent 3 years with us as an undergrad, studying dopamine circuits regulating behavior.  He is currently an MD/PhD student at Northwestern University.

Jay Daniels

Fun fact:  

Alice Han

Email: ahan15 (AT)

Info to come!

Fun fact: 

Lucinda Chiu

Lucinda spent 3 years with us as an undergrad researcher, working on DA circuits regulating feeding.  She is now in medical school at the University of Massachusetts.

Daniel Esquivel

Daniel spent 3 years with us as an undergrad researcher. He is now applying for graduate school.

Wakako Horiuchi

Wakako spent 4 years with us as an undergrad researcher and technician, contributing to multiple projects in the lab.  Wakako is now a medical student in Hawaii.

Postdoctoral Fellows & 

Graduate Students

Research Technologists

Undergraduate research assistants

Grace Duan

Email: gduan1 (AT)

Grace spent 3 years in the lab as an undergrad at Johns Hopkins and is now a research technologist.  She was born in China and grew up in America, currently residing in Chicago.   In her free time, she enjoys music-- whether it involves dancing, singing, or playing various instruments.  She is currently applying to medical school.

Fun fact: Grace has two pet turtles named 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.

Serena Wang

Ting did her PhD work as a joint student between our lab and Yi Rao's lab at Beijing University.  She developed new genetic tools for studying DA in flies and is now a postdoctoral fellow in Hong Kong.

Ting Xie

Annette performed her masters thesis with us, characterizing the expression pattern of the mouse WAKE homolog.  She is now a medical student at Harvard.

Annette Wang

Email: sverma22 (AT)

Info to come!

Shubha Verma

Fun fact: 

Qili was the second postdoc in the lab and conducted pioneering studies on dopamine circuits underlying arousal and protein hunger.  She is now a PI at UCSF, where her lab studies protein hunger and feeding.  

Qili Liu

Masashi was the third postdoc in the lab and did groundbreaking electrophysiological studies in sleep, clock, and feeding circuits.  He is now a PI at Case Western, where his lab studies neural coding and behavior.

Masashi Tabuchi

Ben was the first grad student in the lab and did a tremendous job establishing all the mouse projects in the lab.  He is now a postdoc fellow with the Johns Hopkins Drug Discovery Program.

Ben Bell

Habon spent 2 years in the lab, working on multiple fly and mouse projects, as well as an independent project.  She is now a grad student at NYU Neuroscience.  

Habon Issa

Skylar worked with us for 3 years as an undergrad researcher, working on circuits regulating sleep. She is now applying to medical school.

Skylar Luu