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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 B.A. in Biochemistry at NYU and Ph.D. 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.


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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Ma. Fernanda Medina Flores

Postdoctoral Fellow

Fernanda received her BS in Biology at BUAP and her PhD at UAM-I Mexico, where her research was on how sleep loss modulates the BBB function in rodent models. Now she developed interest in how sleep can modulate metabolic processes in fruit flies and mice and BBB function. In her free time, Fer likes to enjoy a delicious hot coffee with bread. 


Yessica Lopez

Graduate Student

Originally from Mexico, Yessica holds a BS in Chemistry from Berea College in Kentucky and am now part of the BCDB graduate program. Her Ph.D. research primarily focuses on the blood-brain barrier and utilizes mice models to advance our understanding of neurological conditions. Beyond the lab, she has a deep affection for dogs and a keen interest in true crime podcasts and documentaries.


William Yang

Research Specialist

William graduated from Emory University with a B.A. 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. 

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Rachel Wang

Undergraduate Student

Rachel is majoring in Human Health, with a concentration in Health Innovation. She is interested in studying sleep behavior in Drosophila. Rachel enjoys crocheting, reading, and going on runs. Rachel thinks that fruit flies are cute!

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Kai Man

Undergraduate Student

Kai is majoring in Biology and on the pre-med track. He spends free time watching YouTube and playing video games and wants a pet rat.

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Meera Montgomery

Undergraduate Student



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.


Prospective Student/Postdoc/Tech

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