Leon Levy Fellowship in Neuroscience | NYU Langone Health

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Neuroscience Institute Postdoctoral Program Leon Levy Fellowship in Neuroscience

Leon Levy Fellowship in Neuroscience

Supported by the Leon Levy Foundation, the Leon Levy Fellowship in Neuroscience recognizes outstanding early-career neuroscientists at NYU Langone whose high-risk, high-impact research may not be supported by traditional grants. Led by principal investigator Richard Tsien, DPhil, director of the Neuroscience Institute, the fellowship program funds NYU Langone neuroscientists working in a broad range of disciplines.

These awards fill an important gap in funding during a critical time, supporting a vital pipeline of junior investigators as they launch independent careers. As a fellow, you are given career development opportunities and advanced mentoring. You also learn how to mentor and manage the next generation of neuroscientists, extending your influence in the field for years to come.

How to Apply

Applications are now open until April 1, 2022. For more information about the application, email leonlevyfellows@nyulangone.org.

Current Fellows

Our fellows lead exciting and important research projects that advance the field of neuroscience.

Melissa Cooper, PhD

Dr. Cooper earned her bachelor of science with honors from Florida State University, double majoring in biology and psychology while competing as a Division 1 athlete in swimming. Dr. Cooper qualified for Olympic trials, medaled at Atlantic Coast Conferences, and was a member of the All-ACC Swimming Team and the All-ACC Academic Team. Concurrently, Dr. Cooper worked in the neuroscience laboratory of Debra Fadool, PhD, where she studied the impact of obesity on neuronal structure and function. In her PhD work with David Calkins, PhD, at Vanderbilt University, Dr. Cooper uncovered the remarkable plasticity of astrocyte networks and their protective functions in early neurodegenerative disease. For her postdoctoral work with Moses V. Chao, PhD, at NYU Langone, Dr. Cooper is determining how protective neurotrophic astrocyte networks are activated. As a Leon Levy Fellow, she is using techniques that range from systems to molecular neuroscience to expand our knowledge on the neurotrophic capacity of astrocyte networks as well as on novel signaling molecules shared through astrocyte gap junctions.

Mélanie Druart, PhD

Dr. Mélanie Druart is a postdoctoral fellow with Tanya C. Sippy, MD, PhD, at the Neuroscience Institute and Department of Psychiatry. Her work investigates how dopaminergic modulation of neural activity may influence behavior. Currently, she focuses on how natural and artificial dopamine fluctuations can act on intrinsic and synaptic properties of striatal neurons in awake and behaving animals. To address this question, she uses various techniques, including in vivo whole cell recordings in awake and behaving animals, fiber photometry, and optogenetics. Prior to her postdoctoral fellowship, Dr. Druart received her MS in neuroscience from Sorbonne University in France and pursued a PhD under the supervision of Dr. Corentin Le Magueresse at Fer a Moulin Institut (Paris, France). There, she investigated how genetic and environmental factors impact cortical brain development and lead to psychiatric disease.

Harrison Tudor Evans, PhD

Dr. Harrison Tudor Evans is a molecular neuroscientist and postdoctoral fellow with Eric Klann, PhD, at NYU Center for Neural Science. His research explores how the crucial cellular process of protein synthesis is impaired in neurodegenerative diseases such as frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Dr. Evans received his PhD in neuroscience at The University of Queensland in the laboratory of Dr. Jürgen Götz, where his work demonstrated that protein synthesis was impaired by the microtubule associated protein tau, one of the key pathogenic proteins in frontotemporal dementia. His current work examines how ribosomes, the cellular machines responsible for protein synthesis, are altered in FTD and whether tau-induced impairments in protein synthesis can block the formation of new long-term memories.

Alessandro La Chioma, PhD

Dr. La Chioma is a postdoctoral fellow with David Schneider, PhD, at the NYU’s Center for Neural Science. His current work explores the sensory-motor circuits important for predicting the acoustic consequences of our actions and how these predictions change as a function of context. To this goal, he combines electrical and optical recordings as mice engage in multisensory virtual reality systems. Previously, Dr. La Chioma received his bachelor of science and master of science in neurobiology from Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa, Italy, after a research internship in the lab of Daniel Choquet, PhD, in Bordeaux, France. Then he moved to Germany to obtain a PhD in neurobiology working with Mark Hübener, PhD, and Tobias Bonhoeffer, PhD, at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology, Martinsried. There he studied visual processing in mice using two-photon calcium imaging and discovered that signals from both eyes are integrated to form visual depth representations of the world that are distinct across areas of the visual cortex. Before moving to New York, he did a sabbatical postdoc in the computational group of Kenji Doya, PhD, at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology in Okinawa, Japan.

Christina May, PhD

Dr. May earned her bachelor of science in neuroscience from the University of Texas at Dallas, then joined the lab of Howard Becker, PhD, and Tripp Griffin, PhD, at the Medical University of South Carolina studying neural mechanisms of alcohol tolerance in mice. She received her PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Michigan, where she worked in the lab of Monica Dus, PhD, to study the consequences of a high-sugar diet on taste acuity and feeding behavior in fruit flies. She earned a Distinguished Dissertation Award for this work. Due to a long-held interest in space-related research, for her postdoctoral work Dr. May decided to enter the field of navigational neuroscience to understand the computations underlying neural representations of external forces such as gravity. She is now a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Katherine Nagel, PhD, at NYU Langone, where she uses calcium imaging and computational and genetic techniques to probe the representation of the wind vector in the brains of flying fruit flies.

Long Mei, PhD

Dr. Mei is a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Dayu Lin, PhD, at NYU Langone. With a strong interest in how humans socially interact with each other, Dr. Mei would like to understand the neural mechanisms of social behaviors, mainly focusing on aggression and sexual behaviors. In his ongoing project, Dr. Mei aims to understand the neural mechanisms underlying negative infant-directed behaviors. Prior to coming to New York, Dr. Mei received his PhD in biochemistry and molecular biology from Peking University and the National Institute of Biological Sciences, Beijing. In his graduate work, Dr. Mei studies how mammalian circadian rhythm affects how our brain responds to jet lag. He developed a long-term in vivo recording setup to monitor the circadian gene expression in mice and found a small molecular compound that can quickly adjust jet lag.

Chloe J. Peach, PhD

Dr. Chloe J. Peach is a postdoctoral fellow with Nigel W. Bunnett, PhD, in the Department of Molecular Pathobiology at NYU College of Dentistry. Dr. Peach completed her undergraduate studies in neuroscience at the University of Nottingham (U.K.). Funded by the British Pharmacological Society’s prestigious A.J. Clark Scholarship, she obtained her PhD in molecular pharmacology as part of the Centre of Membrane Proteins and Receptors with Dr. Stephen Hill and Dr. Jeanette Woolard. Her graduate studies identified novel distinctions in how growth factors interact with receptor tyrosine kinases and other cell surface proteins involved in tumor angiogenesis. This was recognized by the University’s Ian Tomlin Prize and the national Vogt Prize in Pharmacology. Moving to NYU, she then shifted focus to the field of pain, studying non-opioid receptors involved in chronic pain as alternative strategies for analgesia without the devastating side effects. Dr. Peach’s current work will investigate growth factors involved in nociception, particularly mechanisms that regulate the spatial and temporal dynamics of signaling in pain-sensing neurons and their neighboring cells. Dr. Peach is a basic research scientist interested in how a receptor’s microenvironment, such as acidic endosomes traveling along a neuronal axon, can be exploited to improve drug development.

Priya Prakash, PhD

Dr. Priya Prakash is a postdoctoral fellow working with Shane A. Liddelow, PhD, at the Neuroscience Institute. Her work focuses on understanding how glial cells in the brain contribute to neurodegeneration. As a Leon Levy Neuroscience Fellow, she is investigating the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which reactive astrocytes induce neuronal toxicity and how such pathways can be manipulated to change disease outcomes. Dr. Prakash pursued her PhD at Purdue University while working with Dr. Gaurav Chopra as an interdisciplinary life science graduate student in the Chemistry Department. Her doctoral work focused on determining how microglia become dysfunctional in chronic inflammation. She received numerous awards in graduate school, including the competitive Eli Lilly-Stark Neurosciences predoctoral research fellowship, the PULSe outstanding graduate student in research award, the Guy Mellon award in analytical chemistry, and the SURF outstanding graduate student mentor award. Dr. Prakash obtained her bachelor’s in biotechnology engineering in her beautiful hometown of Bengaluru in India.

Leon Levy Fellowship Alumni

Jayeeta Basu, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Neuroscience and Physiology, 2015–17

Tanvi Butola, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Neuroscience and Physiology, Basu Lab, 2019–21

Silvia Fossati, PhD, Assistant Professor, Departments of Neurology and Psychiatry, 2015–17

Biyu J. He, PhD, Assistant Professor, Departments of Neurology, Neuroscience and Physiology, and Radiology, 2015–17

Ramanjit Kaur, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Microbiology, Landau Lab, 2019–21

Justin Lieber, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, NYU Center for Neural Science, Movshon Lab, 2020–22

Julieta Lischinsky, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Psychiatry, Lin Lab, 2019–21

Rebecca Martin, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Psychology, Hartley Lab, 2018–20

Arjun V. Masurkar, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Departments of Neurology and Neuroscience and Physiology, 2016–17

Rodrigo Triana-Del Rio, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, NYU Center for Neural Science, LeDoux Lab, 2020–22

Nicolas Tritsch, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Neuroscience and Physiology, 2015–17

Argelinda Baroni, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 2013–15

Anne Marie C. Kelly, PhD, Assistant Professor, Departments of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Neurology, 2012–14

Anli A. Liu, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology, 2013–15

Neset Ozel, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Biology, Deplan Lab, 2019–21

Muge Ozker Sertel, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Neurology, Flinker Lab, 2018–20

Lucas L. Sjulson, MD, PhD, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, 2013–15

Nicholas Stavropoulos, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Neuroscience and Physiology, 2013–15

Marie Suver, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Neuroscience and Physiology, Nagel Lab, 2018–20

Silvana Valtcheva, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Departments of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery and Neuroscience and Physiology, Froemke Lab, 2018–20

Yihong Zhao, PhD, Research Assistant Professor, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 2014–16

Yunlu Zhu, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Neuroscience and Physiology, Schoppik Lab, 2020–22

Arianna Zuanazzi, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Psychology, Poeppel Lab, 2020–22

Ipshita Zutshi, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Neuroscience and Physiology, Buzsáki Lab, 2019–21

Awards and News

Leon Levy alumni Dr. Martin and Dr. Sertel were awarded F32s from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Leon Levy alum Dr. Suver was awarded an NIH K99/R00 through the Brain Initiative.

Leon Levy alum Dr. Valtcheva was awarded a NARSAD Young Investigator grant.

Leon Levy alumni Dr. Basu and Dr. Tritsch won fellowships from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Leon Levy alum Dr. Basu spoke about neuroscience at the 2017 TEDxNYU conference.

Leon Levy alum Dr. Sjulson was awarded an NIH K08.