Yehuda Ben-Shahar, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Biology and Medicine

Yehuda is originally from Herzeliya, Israel. He attended Tel-Aviv University for his undergraduate degree in The Life Sciences. His PhD research focused on the molecular genetics of social behaviors in the European honey bee. Yehuda received his postdoctoral training in neuroscience in the HHMI laboratory of Dr. Michael Welsh at the University of Iowa College of Medicine, where he worked on the neuronal functions of ligand-gated ion channels.

Alexis Hill, Ph.D.

Alexis is a W.M. Keck Postdoctoral Fellow in the Ben-Shahar lab. Alexis attended the University of Pennsylvania for her undergraduate and masters degrees, where she worked in the Department of Neurology with Dr. Edward Cooper. Alexis then went on to receive her PhD in Neurobiology and Behavior from Columbia University in 2014, mentored by Dr. René Hen. In the Ben-Shahar lab, Alexis studies mechanisms through which ion channels mediate the neuronal stress response.

Erik Nolan

Erik is a research assistant in the Ben-Shahar lab. He got his bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 2017. As an undergraduate student, he did research in the Sharma lab on the molecular evolution of appendages in arthropods. In addition to managing the Ben-Shahar lab, Erik is working on developing new transgenic tools for studying neuroethological questions in non-genetically tractable insect species such as the locust and the hoeny bee.

Cassie Vernier

Cassie is a PhD student in the Evolution, Ecology and Population Biology Program. She received her B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Michigan in 2012. As an undergraduate, she worked in the lab of Dr. Elizabeth Tibbetts. In the Ben-Shahar lab, Cassie studies the evolutionary, genetic, and physiological mechanisms that drive nestmate recognition in social insects.

Zhen Peng

Zhen is a a PhD student in the Evolution, Ecology and Population Biology Program. He got his bachelor's degree from Fudan University, Shanghai, China, in 2012. As an undergraduate student, he worked in Dr. Feng Zhang's lab where he investigated the correlation betweeen human copy number variations and segmental duplications. In the Ben-Shahar lab, Zhen studies the functional and evolutionary roles of codon usage bias in regulating functions of sexually dimorphic genes.

Ross McKinney

Ross is a PhD student in the Neuroscience program. He attended Miami University for his undergraduate degree, and worked as a research assistant in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT before coming to Washington University. His main interest is in how genes and neural circuits lead to behavioral outcomes. He is currently focused on determining how bilateral sensory input is utilized to generate innate behaviors in the fruit fly, D. melanogaster.

Yuqing Zhu

Yuqing is a PhD student in the Developmental Biology program.

Doris Ling

Doris is a Biomedical Engineering PhD student co-mentored by Yehuda and Dr. Barani Raman (BME).

Baylee Lewandowski

Baylee is a work-study undergraduate student.

Poorva Jain

Poorva is a Biol 500 undergraduate researcher working with postdoctoral fellow Alexis Hill.

Iris Chin

Iris is a work-study undergraduate student working with graduate student Cassie Vernier on Williams Syndrome genes in Drosophila.

Bijou Basu

Bijou is a Biol 500 undergraduate researcher working with graduate student Ross Mckinney on a fly model of nicotin addiction.

Katie Marcus

Katie is a Biol 500 undergraduate researcher working with graduate student Cassie Vernier on mechanisms for nestmate recognition in honey bees.

Saransh Gothi

Saransh is a Biol 200 undergraduate researcher working with postdoctoral fellow Alexis Hill.