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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."

Qiang Liu

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: 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.

Mehmet Keles

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.  

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)

Jiali grew up in Shenzhen, a large coastal city in southern China.  She received her undergraduate degree from Zhejiang University, then took a gap year as a technician at Hopkins studying axon regeneration of direction-selective retinal ganglion cells.  She enjoys watching cooking shows on the internet and trying new recipes.

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.  Here's a link to his website.

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

Elijah Blank

Email: eblank4 (AT)

Elijah is a native of Baltimore, Maryland.  He attended Baltimore City Community College and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.  He went on to spend a year as a post-bac at UC Davis, studying protein-protein interactions of K channels.  When he is not in lab, Elijah spends his time drawing, playing bass guitar, and collecting local plants to populate terrariums.

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

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

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 a pediatrician in Virginia.

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 a GI fellow at UTMB.

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:  Jiali has a poor sense of direction, but uses this to her advantage by wandering around in cities without a map to discover new and interesting places.

Christin Le

Email: cle13 (AT)

Christin was born and raised in Southern California. She is currently a sophomore studying Public Health and Neuroscience.  When she's not busy with her schoolwork. Christin loves watching foreign movies and shows.

Fun fact:  As baking is one of her hobbies, Christin recently started a bakery that donates a portion of the proceeds to Doctors Without Borders.

Lucinda Chiu

Wakako Horiuchi

Wakako spent 4 years with us as an undergrad researcher and technician, contributing to multiple projects in the lab.  Wakako is now an Ob-Gyn resident in DC.

Postdoctoral Fellows & 

Graduate Students

Research Technologists

Undergraduate research assistants

Isabelle Palmer

Email: ipalmer7 (AT)

Isabelle is from Murfreesboro, Tennessee.  She attended college at Washington University in St. Louis, where she studied Biology with a major in Chinese.  She also did research on DNA methylation in Tetrahymena.  In her free time, Isabelle likes to dance, read, and play with her dogs.

Fun fact:  Isabelle loves bees and hopes to have her own beehives one day.

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 Wang

Habon Issa

Fun fact:  In Costa Rica, Elijah rode the longest zip line in Latin America, stretching across 1.6 km.  He flew across mountains, through clouds, and over a picturesque rainforest (but he's never going zip-lining again).

Alice Han

Email: ahan15 (AT)

Alice is from Orange County in Southern California and is currently a senior, majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in Psychology.  In her free time, she enjoys reading and going on "foodventures."

Fun fact: Her parents own a renown kimchi restaurant.  As a result, Alice is passionate about kimchi and eats it with almost anything, including pizza and pastas.

Email: sverma22 (AT)

Shubha is from Central Illinois and is a junior studying Neuroscience with minors in Psychology and Women, Gender, and Sexuality.  In her free time, you can find her dancing with her bhangra team or baking.

Shubha Verma

Fun fact: Shubha went to a STEM boarding school, where she discovered her distaste for math.

Lucinda spent 3 years with us as an undergrad researcher, working on DA circuits regulating feeding.  She is now a neurosurgery resident in Chicago.

Daniel Esquivel

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

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

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 and revealing exciting insights into mWAKE.  He is now a biotech associate at T. Rowe Price.

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.  

Skylar worked with us for 3 years as an undergrad researcher, working on circuits regulating sleep. She is now a medical student at Albany Medical College.

Skylar Luu

During his postdoc, Ian provided his considerable 

expertise in mouse circadian rhythms and did elegant work on the role of astrocytes in sleep need in Drosophila.  He is now a business development analyst at CIHR.

Ian Blum

Grace Duan

Grace spent 5 years with us as an undergrad and technician.  She collaborated extensively with Masashi and also studied tau and sleep in flies.  She is now a medical student at the University of Chicago.  

Serena spent 3 years with us, where she studied sleep in fly models of Alzheimer's disease. She is now a medical student at Harvard. 

Serena Wang

Kristen Park

Kristen worked with us for 5 years, as an undergrad and technician.  She worked on the astrocyte sleep project, as well as the SCN project.  She is now an MD/PhD student at

U Penn. 

During his brief time with us, Nate collaborated with Mehmet on our fly sleep imaging work.  He is now a medical writer with Nucleus Global.

Nate Snell

As a postdoc, Margaret made major contributions on the DA circuit tools project and the circuit mechanisms underlying sleep homeostasis.  She is now a data scientist at Guidehouse.

Margaret Ho

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