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Our team

A lab is only as good as its members. Introducing our team of dedicated individuals and their interests.

The Team


Shirley Zhang

Assistant Professor

Shirley received her BA in Biochemistry at NYU and PhD in Immunology at University of Pennsylvania. She then was a postdoc with Amita Sehgal and discovered that circadian rhythms at the blood-brain barrier affected a key function. Her goal now is to study rhythms, sleep-wake behavior, and the blood-brain barrier.

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Ashley Avila

Research Specialist

Ashley received her BS in Biology from Georgia Southern University. As an undergrad, she worked with the model organism Drosophila melanogaster as part of her Honors Thesis. During this time, she developed an interest in genetics and signaling pathways in relation to human disease. Ashley thinks fruit flies are cute.


Mari Kim

Postdoctoral Fellow

Mari Kim received her M.S. and Ph.D. in Biology at Korea University, where she researched circadian rhythm and amino acid metabolism in Drosophila. And she worked at the University of Cincinnati in Ohio as a Postdoc performing circadian rhythm research with an intestinal organoid model in mice and humans. Now she is focusing on the circadian rhythm and BBB function. She loves mice and Drosophila!

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Ava Lewandowski

Undergraduate Student

Ava is a chemistry and philosophy major on the pre-med track. She is interested in studying Drosophila behavior and thinks flies are cute.

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Kaeun (Annie) Lee

Undergraduate Student

Annie is majoring in Biology and is interested in studying how cells work in the body and the brain. She enjoys binge-watching good Netflix shows and thinks cells are cute.


William Yang

Undergraduate Student

William is currently a senior majoring in Biology. He always thrives on learning more about molecular biology and working with cells/animals. He spends his free time watching youtube videos and gaming. Like everyone else in the lab, he also thinks fruit flies are cute!


Frank Wang

Undergraduate Student

Frank is majoring in Biology and Psychology. He is really excited to explore how BBB clock controls the passage of peripheral molecules to affect behaviors through genetic manipulation of the circadian clock. He enjoys kpop concerts. Fruit flies are cuter than he thought.

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Jesse Gui

Undergraduate Student

Jesse is majoring in human health and chemistry and is excited to be exploring how circadian rhythms are influenced by the blood-brain barrier in Drosophila. Jesse enjoys classic rock and musical theatre and thinks that fruit flies are cute.



Prospective Student/Postdoc/Tech

Eager emerging scientist who has a background in biology and is interested in circadian rhythms, sleep-wake behavior, cellular neurobiology, and/or brain vasculature.

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