Neuroscience Institute Leadership | NYU Langone Health

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About the Neuroscience Institute Neuroscience Institute Leadership

Neuroscience Institute Leadership

The leadership team at the Neuroscience Institute supports collaborative research programs within NYU Langone and in the larger NYU academic community.

Neuroscience Institute Administration

Our directors and administrators endeavor to meet the needs of our research teams. Their strategic decisions ensure that the Neuroscience Institute remains a leader in the field.

Richard Tsien, DPhil, Director

Dr. Tsien is the founding director of the Neuroscience Institute, the Druckenmiller Professor of Neuroscience, and chair of the Department of Neuroscience and Physiology. A member of the National Academy of Sciences, Dr. Tsien is an authority in the fields of ion channels, neurotransmission, and neuroplasticity. Learn more about Dr. Tsien.

Heather McKellar, PhD, Executive Director

Dr. McKellar is the executive director of the Neuroscience Institute and the Department of Neuroscience and Physiology. She works with our director, faculty, and administrative team to execute the Neuroscience Institute’s mission, with an emphasis on promoting world-class research, education, and synergistic interactions among NYU neuroscientists. 

Carlos Morales, Director of Finance

Mr. Morales is the director of finance for the Neuroscience Institute and the Department of Neuroscience and Physiology. Mr. Morales came to us from NYU Langone’s Department of Medicine, where he served as a senior financial analyst for several divisions.

Nia Boyd, MPH, MBA, Project Associate

Ms. Boyd provides administrative and program support for the Neuroscience Institute, focusing on the graduate and postdoctoral programs. Not only does she come to the team as an NYU College of Arts and Sciences alumna, but she also has her master’s degrees in public health and business administration from Stony Brook University.

Rihan Hassad, MPH, Senior Project Coordinator

Ms. Hassad works with Dr. McKellar to coordinate scientific events, educational and outreach programs, the aim of which is to generate collaboration and foster innovation within the NYU neuroscience community. She has a master’s degree in public health from the School of Public Health at the City University of New York (CUNY).

Ryan Hiers, Grants Specialist

Mr. Hiers facilitates the submission and award processes for the research faculty. He previously worked in NYU Langone’s Sponsored Programs Administration and is a graduate of Florida State University.

Andrea Hines, MA, Manager of Administration and Operations

Ms. Hines oversees administrative procedures, manages space and facilities, and supports faculty recruitment. She earned her master’s degree from NYU’s Center for Experimental Humanities (formerly the Draper Program).

Luna Lioue, MBA, Business Manager

Ms. Lioue provides support in multiple areas, including human resources, purchasing, accounts payable, and core services billing.

Michael Lu, Senior Financial Analyst

Mr. Lu provides financial management for faculty in the Department of Neuroscience and Physiology and the Neuroscience Institute. He is a graduate of NYU Stern School of Business.

Christine Persinger, Project Coordinator

Ms. Persinger provides administrative support for Neuroscience Institute laboratories and facilities and operations.

Gabriela Serrano, Administrative Assistant

Ms. Serrano provides administrative support for Neuroscience Institute laboratories and educational initiatives.

Rachel Weintraub-Brevda, PhD, Senior Program Coordinator

Dr. Weintraub-Brevda coordinates programs in education and outreach, including the postdoctoral program and the Leon Levy Fellowship Program in Neuroscience, and she works with Dr. McKellar to oversee graduate training. She received her PhD in cognition, brain, and behavior from The Graduate Center at CUNY.

Airena Yates-Merilus, MS, MBA, Executive Assistant and Senior Program Coordinator

Ms. Yates-Merilus is executive assistant to Dr. Richard Tsien. As senior program coordinator, she manages the immigration and volunteer processes, serving as a liaison between the immigration services and volunteer services teams and the Neuroscience Institute administration. She is also on the Administrative Core for the U19 grant led by Dr. Tsien. In this role, she works closely with Dr. Tsien and the department administrator to coordinate all aspects of faculty affairs.

Graduate Training Program Leadership

Our dynamic graduate training program is led by faculty and staff who are passionate about mentoring a new generation of neuroscientists.

Niels Ringstad, PhD, Graduate Program Director

Dr. Ringstad, associate professor in the Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine, is the director of the graduate studies for the neuroscience and physiology graduate program. He is also the co-director of Skirball Institute’s molecular neurobiology program, part of the core neuroscience curriculum. His research investigates neuropeptide signaling, biogenic amine-gated channels, and behavior in Caenorhabditis elegans. Learn more about Dr. Ringstad.

David Schoppik, PhD, Graduate Program Advisor

Dr. Schoppik, assistant professor in the Neuroscience Institute, is the program advisor for the graduate program in neuroscience and physiology. He studies how we develop a sense of balance, using innovative tools and techniques in the zebrafish model. Learn more about Dr. Schoppik