Leon Levy Fellowship in Neuroscience | NYU Langone Health

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Postdoctoral Training in Neuroscience 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 closed and will open in 2021. For more information about the application, email leonlevyfellows@nyulangone.org.

Current Fellows

Tanvi Butola, PhD

In her early work, Dr. Butola studied cerebral stroke–induced changes in rat striatum at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad, India. Initiated into the field of neuroscience, Dr. Butola moved to Germany to earn her master’s degree and subsequently her PhD in neuroscience at the University of Göttingen. During her PhD studies, she worked in the laboratory of Tobias Moser, PhD, at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry. There, she focused on deciphering the molecular physiology of synaptic transmission at high-speed central auditory synapses employing a combination of whole-cell patch-clamp, in vivo extracellular recordings from single neurons, immunohistochemistry, and electron microscopy. Dr. Butola then joined the laboratory of Jayeeta Basu, PhD, to build on her knowledge of a single synapse and extend it to study the functioning of circuit principles governing learning and memory. As a Leon Levy Neuroscience Fellow, Dr. Butola aims to expand our understanding of how memories influence perception of our current surroundings, by elucidating a novel stream of memory feedback to sensory processing.

Ramanjit Kaur, PhD

Dr. Kaur received her bachelor of science degree and a master’s degree in biotechnology from Punjab University in Chandigarh, India. She did her PhD thesis research in the laboratory of Shailly Tomar, PhD, at the Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, working on the biology of alphaviruses. In her thesis studies, she elucidated the structure and function of alphavirus antiviral molecules. Dr. Kaur is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Nathaniel R. Landau, PhD, where she is using the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus mouse model to investigate viral mechanisms of neuroinflammation and the neuroimmune response to viral infection. She is studying the mechanisms by which viruses cause neuroinflammation, focusing on the role of antiviral cytolytic T lymphocytes, infiltrating myeloid cells and brain glial cells. She is also working toward developing cell-based vaccines against neuro-tropic virus infection.

Justin Lieber, PhD

Dr. Lieber is a postdoctoral associate with J. Anthony Movshon, PhD, at NYU. Prior to coming to New York, Dr. Lieber received his PhD in computational neuroscience from the University of Chicago, working with Sliman Bensmaia, PhD. In his graduate work, Dr. Lieber studied the neural basis of tactile texture perception, using single-unit recordings in monkey somatosensory cortex to show how disparate peripheral inputs are transformed into a unified neural code. At NYU Langone, Dr. Lieber is using neurophysiological and psychophysical techniques to study how the neural substrates of visual form perception change as they move from primary visual cortex to secondary visual cortex.

Julieta Lischinsky, PhD

Dr. Lischinsky received her undergraduate degree from the University of Toronto, where she earned an honours bachelor of science with a specialization in psychology and a major in neuroscience. She worked in the laboratory of Joanne Rovet, PhD, studying cortical development in children with maternal hypothyroidism. Afterward, she completed a PhD in molecular medicine from The George Washington University, conducting her doctoral work in the laboratory of Joshua Corbin, PhD. There she studied the developmental mechanisms predictive of innate behavior production in the limbic system of male and female mice. Dr. Lischinsky is currently continuing her research on social behaviors as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dayu Lin, PhD, where she is using in vivo behavioral tools and circuit mapping to unravel the circuitry for aggression and mating in the medial amygdala.

Neset Ozel, PhD

Dr. Ozel completed his undergraduate studies in molecular biology and genetics at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey. He then started his doctoral studies at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Upon joining the laboratory of Robin Hiesinger, PhD, he studied the role of stochastic filopodial dynamics in axon target layer stabilization using a novel technique he developed for long-term live imaging of developing fly brains. In 2015, the laboratory relocated to Freie Universität Berlin. Dr. Ozel continued his research in Germany and went on to show that photoreceptor axons follow a serial mode of synapse formation based on competitive stabilization of synaptogenic filopodia, which ensures the formation of appropriate number of synapses. He received his PhD in neuroscience from UT Southwestern and recently started his postdoctoral research at NYU with Claude Desplan, PhD. Dr. Ozel’s current research combines single-cell transcriptomics, machine learning, and network inference approaches to decipher gene regulatory mechanisms that establish the neuronal diversity and synapse-specific connectivity in the Drosophila optic lobe.

Rodrigo Triana-Del Rio, PhD

Dr. Triana-Del Rio obtained a bachelor's degree in biology and a master’s degree in neuroethology at the University of Veracruz in Mexico. He then moved to Switzerland to complete a PhD in neuroscience with Ron Stoop, PhD, at the University of Lausanne. There, Dr. Triana-Del Rio was funded by grants from the Mexican and Swiss governments to study the neuromodulation of emotional responses by the oxytocin signaling within circuits of the central amygdala and the prefrontal cortex. He found in ex vivo and in vivo studies that oxytocin enables the recruitment of interneuron populations during the suppression of freezing behavior, and this mechanism strengthens the glutamatergic synapses in cells expressing the oxytocin receptor, only when animals learn to suppress freezing and engage in proactive threat-coping or active avoidance behavior. After completing his PhD, Dr. Triana-Del Rio pursued postdoctoral training in the labs of Joseph E. LeDoux, PhD, at NYU, and Christopher K. Cain, PhD, at the Nathan S. Klein Institute for Psychiatric Research, working under a National Institute on Drug Abuse grant.

Currently, Dr. Triana-Del Rio is studying the circuits underlying proactive threat-coping by the recruitment of reinforcing projections from the basal amygdala to the nucleus accumbens, as well as the neuromodulation exerted by the endocannabinoid signaling in the nucleus accumbens to boost instrumental responses that decrease freezing behavior. This research brings new information about possible molecular targets to treat fear and anxiety disorders.

Arianna Zuanazzi, PhD

Dr. Zuanazzi received her BA and MA in linguistics at the University of Pavia and the School for Advanced Studies (Italy), where she studied syntax processing in second-language learners. She then received a MSc in cognitive neuroscience at the Center for Mind/Brain Sciences (Italy), where she investigated the involvement of the parietal cortex in syntax processing and allocation of visuospatial attention, using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and tDCS. Dr. Zuanazzi received her PhD in computational neuroscience at the University of Birmingham (UK), where she used psychophysics, fMRI, and TMS to study the interplay of spatial attention and expectation and their influence on multisensory processes.

Currently, Dr. Zuanazzi is a postdoc with David Poeppel, PhD, at NYU. Her research lies at the interface between theoretical linguistics, cognitive neuroscience, and neurobiology. She is investigating how the brain processes incoming speech signals and generates representations at different levels of complexity, such as words, phrases, and sentences. Her research capitalizes on the use of multiple neuroimaging methods including fMRI, MEG, and non-invasive brain stimulation (TMS/tDCS).

Yunlu Zhu, PhD

Dr. Zhu is a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of David Schoppik, PhD, at NYU Langone. Dr. Zhu earned his BS at the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) with specialization in cell biology. He then pursued his PhD at the University of Virginia under the mentorship of Sarah Kucenas, PhD, where he studied glial development in neurogenesis and discovered novel roles for neural crest cells in phagocytosis. In the Schoppik lab, Dr. Zhu has developed a new zebrafish model for neurodegenerative diseases. As a Leon Levy Neuroscience Fellow, Dr. Zhu aims to understand how molecular and cellular dysfunction disrupts balance control in neurodegenerative diseases.

Ipshita Zutshi, PhD

Dr. Zutshi received her bachelor of engineering and master of science degrees in biology and computer science from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, in India, and completed her master’s thesis with Carmen Sandi, PhD, at École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland, working on the epigenetic transmission of behavioral phenotypes. She went on to receive her PhD from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), where she worked in the laboratory of Stefan Leutgeb, PhD. Her thesis work focused on understanding how networks within the medial entorhinal cortex and hippocampus support spatial navigation and memory. During her PhD studies she was the recipient of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute International Student Research Fellowship, and her thesis work was awarded the UCSD Biology Founding Faculty Award for Graduate Excellence. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of György Buzsáki, MD, PhD, where she is combining in vivo electrophysiology and optogenetics to pursue her interest in understanding how connections between neurons within the hippocampus give rise to sharp-wave ripples and theta oscillations, both complex physiological phenomenon that support memory.

Leon Levy Fellowship Alumni

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

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

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

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

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

Awards and News

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

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

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

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

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

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