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.

Sara Cohen, MPA, Project Associate

Ms. Cohen provides administrative and program support for the Neuroscience Institute, focusing on the graduate and postdoctoral programs. Ms. Cohen comes to us with nearly ten years of nonprofit experience and a master’s degree in public administration from NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

Rihan Hassad, MPH, Senior Project Coordinator

Ms. Hassad works with Dr. McKellar to execute and enhance the Neuroscience Institute’s community engagement priorities through the coordination of scientific events and educational and outreach programs with the aim of generating collaboration and fostering innovation within the NYU neuroscience community. She has a master’s in public health (MPH) with a concentration in policy and community health education from the School of Public Health at the City University of New York (CUNY).

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).

Aaliyah Johnson, Project Coordinator

Ms. Johnson provides administrative and operational support for Neuroscience Institute laboratories. She came to us with nearly a decade of experience in healthcare administration with expertise in scheduling and operations. She earned her master’s degree in health administration from Long Island University Post.

Casey Lardner, PhD, Program Coordinator

Dr. Lardner facilitates development, outreach, and communications for the Neuroscience Institute, including coordination of community engagement through the Neuroscience Outreach Group at NYU (NOGN).

Luna Lioue, MBA, Business Manager

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

Iveta Margova, Grants Specialist

Ms. Margova facilitates the submission and award processes for research faculty. Previously, she worked in the Department of Microbiology as a grants assistant, and moved to Neuroscience Institute in June 2019.

Jim Mathew, MBA, Finance Manager

Mr. Mathew is the finance manager for the Neuroscience Institute and the Department of Neuroscience and Physiology. He came to us from a major academic medical center, where he served as a senior financial analyst for several years. He earned his master’s degree in business administration from Hofstra University.

EmyLou Rodriguez, Senior Grants Specialist

Ms. Rodriguez facilitates grant submissions and award processes for the Neuroscience Institute and the Department of Neuroscience and Physiology. She came to us from NYU Langone's Sponsored Programs Administration where she worked as a senior grants specialist for several years. Prior to that, she managed sponsored projects for a major national nonprofit.

Gabriela Serrano, Project Coordinator

Ms. Serrano provides administrative support for the Neuroscience Institute and its laboratories including maintaining day-to-day Genotyping Core operations and managing the Research Associates Program. Ms. Serrano came to us as an internal hire from the Rinberg Lab, where she served as a research associate and lab manager for several years.

Holly Wasserman, EdD, OTR/L, Program Manager

Dr. Wasserman manages education and outreach programs including graduate training, the postdoctoral program, and the Leon Levy Fellowship Program in Neuroscience. She came to us with many years of administrative and higher-ed experience as the program director for a well-established Graduate Occupational Therapy program. She received her EdD in educational leadership from the University of New England and her master’s degree in occupational therapy from Boston University.

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 Department of Cell Biology, is the director of the graduate studies for the neuroscience and physiology graduate program. He is also the co-director of 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.

Dayu Lin, PhD, Graduate Program Advisor

Dr. Lin, associate professor in the Neuroscience Institute, is the program advisor for the graduate program in neuroscience and physiology. She studies neural mechanisms of social behaviors. Learn more about Dr. Lin.