Dr. Melanie Samuel aims to decode the structural and molecular regulators of synaptic rewiring. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Neuroscience and CPRIT Scholar in the Huffington Center on Aging at Baylor College of Medicine. As a Barry M. Goldwater Scholar she earned three bachelor’s degrees from the University of Idaho ( summa cum laude ) and then completed her Ph.D. at Washington University studying neurotropic viral pathogenesis with Michael Diamond. As a postdoctoral fellow with Joshua Sanes at Harvard University she developed the retina as a model for synaptic aging. Her past awards include those from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, the Brain Research Foundation and a Pathway to Independence Award from the NIH, and the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award. Dr. Samuel’s interdisciplinary research group leverages nanoscopic imaging technologies and high throughput in vivo molecular studies of single cells and their circuits in order to identify ways to repair neural networks.

Dr. Melanie Samuel aims to decode the structural and molecular regulators of synaptic rewiring. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Neuroscience and CPRIT Scholar in the Huffington Center on Aging at Baylor College of Medicine. As a Barry M. Goldwater Scholar she earned three bachelor’s degrees from the University of Idaho (summa cum laude) and then completed her Ph.D. at Washington University studying neurotropic viral pathogenesis with Michael Diamond. As a postdoctoral fellow with Joshua Sanes at Harvard University she developed the retina as a model for synaptic aging. Her past awards include those from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, the Brain Research Foundation and a Pathway to Independence Award from the NIH, and the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award. Dr. Samuel’s interdisciplinary research group leverages nanoscopic imaging technologies and high throughput in vivo molecular studies of single cells and their circuits in order to identify ways to repair neural networks.

 
Our neural cells form the road map that defines who we are and what we experience. What makes these cells choose a particular synaptic partner and how are these choices maintained? Addressing these questions requires a well-defined and accessible neural circuit. Toward that end, we focus our studies on retina and visual areas of the brain.

Dr. Melanie Samuel - Principal Investigator


Jonathan Alevy is the lab manager and manages the mouse colony for the Samuel Lab. He joined the Samuel Lab in early 2017 where he has since focused his efforts on improving lab processes, maintaining and developing the mouse colony; in addition to collaborative research goals such as the KOMP Project. Jonathan earned his B.S. in Cell Biology & Human Physiology from Université Paul Sabatier (France) in addition to a B.S. in Biochemistry from University of Houston. Jonathan is currently working towards his ultimate goal of attending medical school.

Outside of the lab Jonathan enjoys coaching tennis, reading books, and nautical sports.

Fenge Li is a postdoctoral associate in the Samuel Lab. She joined the Samuel Lab in early 2017 where she has been focused on researching how microglia mediate synapse pruning in developing retinas. Fenge has a MD in Clinical Medicine from Jining Medical University. In addition she also has a Ph.D. in Cancer Immunology from Tianjin Medical University & MD Anderson Cancer Center (joint degree). Fenge has published in several journals (see below) and has also served as a journal editor.  When Fenge is not working she enjoys exploring the United States, traveling to visit family in China and spending time with her daughter Anni.     Peer-Reviewed Research Articles   [1]  Li F , Guo Z, Wang H. Influencing elements and treatment strategies associated with the relapse of hepatocellular carcinoma after surgery. Hepatogastroenterology. 2013 Jul-Aug;60(125):1148-55.  [2]  Li F , Guo Z, Lizée G, Yu H, Wang H, Si T. Clinical prognostic value of CD4+CD25+FOXP3+regulatory T cells in peripheral blood of Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC) stage B hepatocellular carcinoma patients. Clin Chem Lab Med. 2014 59(9);1357-1365.  [3]  Li F , Guo Z, Yu H, Zhang X, Si T, Liu C, Yang X, Qi L. Anti-tumor immunological response induced by cryoablation and anti-CTLA-4 antibody in an in vivo RM-1 cell prostate cancer murine model. Neoplasma, 2014,61(6): 659-71.  [4]  Li F , Guo Z, Zhang Y, Wang H, Zhang X, Si T, Yu H, Qi L. Postoperative adjuvant arterial chemoembolization improves survival of hepatitis B virus-related hepatocellular carcinoma: a retrospective control study. Ir J Med Sci. 2015 Dec;184(4):753-9.  [5] Bradley SD, Chen Z, Melendez B, Talukder A, Khalili JS, Rodriguez-Cruz TG, Liu S, Whittington M, Deng W,  Li F , Bernatchez C, Radvanyi LG, Davies MA, Hwu P, Lizee G. BRAF (V600E) co-opts a conserved MHC class I internalization pathway to diminish antigen presentation and CD8+T-cell recognition of melanoma. Cancer Immunol Res. 2015 Jun;3(6):602-9.  [6] Qi L, Sun X,  Li FE , Zhu BS, Braun FK, Liu ZQ, Tang JL, Wu C, Xu F, Wang HH, Velasquez LA, Zhao K, Lei FR, Zhang JG, Shen YT, Zou JX, Meng HM, An GL, Yang L, Zhang XD. HMGB1 Promotes Mitochondrial Dysfunction riggered Striatal Neurodegeneration via Autophagy and Apoptosis Activation. PLoS One. 2015 Nov 13;10(11):e0142901.  [7] DeLyria ES, Zhou D, Lee JS, Singh S, Song W,  Li F , Sun Q, Lu H, Wu J, Qiao Q, Hu Y , Zhang G, Li C, Sastry KJ, Shen H. Sublingual injection of microparticles containing glycolipid ligands for NKT cells and subunit vaccines induces antibody responses in oral cavity. Carbohydr Res. 2015 Mar 20;405:87-92.  [8] Qu J, Yu H,  Li F(Co-first author) , Zhang C, Trad A, Brooks C, Zhang B, Gong T, Guo Z, Li Y, Ragupathi G, Lou Y, Hwu P, Huang W, Zhou D. Molecular basis of antibody binding to mucin glycopeptides in lung cancer. Int J Oncol. 2016 Feb;48(2):587-94.  [9]  Li F , Chen C, Ju T, Gao J, Yan J, Wang P, Xu Q, Hwu P, Du X, Lizée G. Rapid tumor regression in an Asian lung cancer patient following personalized neo-epitope peptide vaccination. Oncoimmunology. 2016 Oct 7;5(12):e1238539.  [10]  Li F , Du X, Zhang H, Ju T, Chen C, Qu Q, Zhang X, Qi L, Lizée G. Next Generation Sequencing of Chinese Stage IV Lung Cancer Patients Reveals an Association between EGFR Mutation Status and Survival Outcome. Clin Genet. 2017 Mar;91(3):488-493.  [11] Guo Y, Wang P, Wang P, Gao W,  Li F,  Yang X, Ni H, Shen W, Guo Z. Myometrial invasion and overall staging of endometrial carcinoma: assessment using fusion of T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging and diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging. Onco Targets Ther. 2017 Dec 15; 10: 5937-5943.   Other Articles   [13]  Li F , Guo Z. Treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma with portal vein tumor thrombus. Int J Oncol. 2012; 39(3):225-27.  [14]  Li F , Guo Z, Yu H, Wang H. Case report: Liver and bilateral renal hamartoma with left renal carcinoma [J]. Chinese Medical Journal.2013, 93(19):1519.    EDITORIAL EXPERIENCE   Guest editor, Gene Regulation and Systems Biology GRSB   AD HOC REVIEWER   1. Journal of Hematology and Oncology Research  2. Journal of Biological Methods  3. Clinical Genetics  4. Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry  5. Molecular Medicine Reports  6. Oncology Reports  7. Archives of Medical Science

Fenge Li is a postdoctoral associate in the Samuel Lab. She joined the Samuel Lab in early 2017 where she has been focused on researching how microglia mediate synapse pruning in developing retinas. Fenge has a MD in Clinical Medicine from Jining Medical University. In addition she also has a Ph.D. in Cancer Immunology from Tianjin Medical University & MD Anderson Cancer Center (joint degree). Fenge has published in several journals (see below) and has also served as a journal editor.

When Fenge is not working she enjoys exploring the United States, traveling to visit family in China and spending time with her daughter Anni.

Peer-Reviewed Research Articles

[1] Li F, Guo Z, Wang H. Influencing elements and treatment strategies associated with the relapse of hepatocellular carcinoma after surgery. Hepatogastroenterology. 2013 Jul-Aug;60(125):1148-55.

[2] Li F, Guo Z, Lizée G, Yu H, Wang H, Si T. Clinical prognostic value of CD4+CD25+FOXP3+regulatory T cells in peripheral blood of Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC) stage B hepatocellular carcinoma patients. Clin Chem Lab Med. 2014 59(9);1357-1365.

[3] Li F, Guo Z, Yu H, Zhang X, Si T, Liu C, Yang X, Qi L. Anti-tumor immunological response induced by cryoablation and anti-CTLA-4 antibody in an in vivo RM-1 cell prostate cancer murine model. Neoplasma, 2014,61(6): 659-71.

[4] Li F, Guo Z, Zhang Y, Wang H, Zhang X, Si T, Yu H, Qi L. Postoperative adjuvant arterial chemoembolization improves survival of hepatitis B virus-related hepatocellular carcinoma: a retrospective control study. Ir J Med Sci. 2015 Dec;184(4):753-9.

[5] Bradley SD, Chen Z, Melendez B, Talukder A, Khalili JS, Rodriguez-Cruz TG, Liu S, Whittington M, Deng W, Li F, Bernatchez C, Radvanyi LG, Davies MA, Hwu P, Lizee G. BRAF (V600E) co-opts a conserved MHC class I internalization pathway to diminish antigen presentation and CD8+T-cell recognition of melanoma. Cancer Immunol Res. 2015 Jun;3(6):602-9.

[6] Qi L, Sun X, Li FE, Zhu BS, Braun FK, Liu ZQ, Tang JL, Wu C, Xu F, Wang HH, Velasquez LA, Zhao K, Lei FR, Zhang JG, Shen YT, Zou JX, Meng HM, An GL, Yang L, Zhang XD. HMGB1 Promotes Mitochondrial Dysfunction riggered Striatal Neurodegeneration via Autophagy and Apoptosis Activation. PLoS One. 2015 Nov 13;10(11):e0142901.

[7] DeLyria ES, Zhou D, Lee JS, Singh S, Song W, Li F, Sun Q, Lu H, Wu J, Qiao Q, Hu Y , Zhang G, Li C, Sastry KJ, Shen H. Sublingual injection of microparticles containing glycolipid ligands for NKT cells and subunit vaccines induces antibody responses in oral cavity. Carbohydr Res. 2015 Mar 20;405:87-92.

[8] Qu J, Yu H, Li F(Co-first author), Zhang C, Trad A, Brooks C, Zhang B, Gong T, Guo Z, Li Y, Ragupathi G, Lou Y, Hwu P, Huang W, Zhou D. Molecular basis of antibody binding to mucin glycopeptides in lung cancer. Int J Oncol. 2016 Feb;48(2):587-94.

[9] Li F, Chen C, Ju T, Gao J, Yan J, Wang P, Xu Q, Hwu P, Du X, Lizée G. Rapid tumor regression in an Asian lung cancer patient following personalized neo-epitope peptide vaccination. Oncoimmunology. 2016 Oct 7;5(12):e1238539.

[10] Li F, Du X, Zhang H, Ju T, Chen C, Qu Q, Zhang X, Qi L, Lizée G. Next Generation Sequencing of Chinese Stage IV Lung Cancer Patients Reveals an Association between EGFR Mutation Status and Survival Outcome. Clin Genet. 2017 Mar;91(3):488-493.

[11] Guo Y, Wang P, Wang P, Gao W, Li F, Yang X, Ni H, Shen W, Guo Z. Myometrial invasion and overall staging of endometrial carcinoma: assessment using fusion of T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging and diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging. Onco Targets Ther. 2017 Dec 15; 10: 5937-5943.

Other Articles

[13] Li F, Guo Z. Treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma with portal vein tumor thrombus. Int J Oncol. 2012; 39(3):225-27.

[14] Li F, Guo Z, Yu H, Wang H. Case report: Liver and bilateral renal hamartoma with left renal carcinoma [J]. Chinese Medical Journal.2013, 93(19):1519.


EDITORIAL EXPERIENCE

Guest editor, Gene Regulation and Systems Biology GRSB

AD HOC REVIEWER

1. Journal of Hematology and Oncology Research

2. Journal of Biological Methods

3. Clinical Genetics

4. Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry

5. Molecular Medicine Reports

6. Oncology Reports

7. Archives of Medical Science

Anna Casasent is a postdoctoral associate in the Samuel Lab. She joined the Samuel Lab in middle 2018 where she has been focused on researching single cell sequencing in the retina and expanding the bioinformatics powers of the Samuel Lab.  Anna has a Bachelor’s degree in Bioinformatics from St. Edward’s University, Austin TX, and a Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences - Genes and Development from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS), Houston, TX. Anna has published in several journals (see below).  Outside of the lab the Anna enjoys writing, reading, and training her Newfoundland dog and cats with her husband.   Peer-Reviewed Research Articles   1.  Casasent AK , Schalck A, Gao R, Sei E, Long A, Pangburn E, Casasent T, Meric-Bernstam F, Edgerton ME, Navin NE. (2018). Multiclonal Invasion in Breast Tumors Identified by Topographic Single Cell Sequencing.  Cell.   2. Leung ML, Davis A, Gao R,  Casasent A , Wang Y, Sei E, Vilar E, Maru D, Kopetz S, Navin NE. (2017). Single-cell DNA sequencing reveals a late-dissemination model in metastatic colorectal cancer.  Genome Research.   3.  Casasent A , Edgerton M, Navin NE. (2017) Genome evolution in ductal carcinoma in situ: invasion of the clones.  The Journal of Pathology.   4. Gao R, Davis A, McDonald TO, Sei E, Shi X, Wang T, Tsai PC,  Casasent A , Waters J, Zhang H, Meric-Bernstam F, Michor F, Navin NE. (2016) Punctutated Copy Number Evolution and Clonal Stasis in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer.  Nature Genetics.   5. Leung W, … [ Unruh AK,  … Hauser CR] … Elgin SCR. (2015) The Drosophila Muller F elements maintain a distinct set of genomic properties over 40 million years of evolution. (2015),  G3 GENES, GENOMES, GENETICS . [Total 940 student co-authors, 74 faculty co-authors.]  6. Zhang S, Lu Z,  Unruh AK,  Ivan C, Baggerly KA, Calin GA, Li Z, Bast RC Jr, Le XF. (2015) Clinically Relevant microRNAs in Ovarian Cancer.  Molecular Cancer Research.   7. Misganaw B, Ahsen E, Singh N, Baggerly KA,  Unruh AK,  White MA, Vidyasagar M. (2015) Optimized Prediction of Extreme Treatment Outcomes in Ovarian Cancer.  Cancer Informatics.   8. Wang Y, Leung M, Waters J,  Unruh AK,  Roh W, Shi X, Chen K, Scheet P, Vattathil S, Liang H, Multani A, Zhang H, Zhao R, Michor F, Meric-Bernstam F, Navin NE. (2014) Clonal Evolution in Breast Cancer Revealed by Single Nucleus Genome Sequencing.  Nature.  14;512(7513):155-60  9. Tucker SL, Gharpure K, Herbrich SM,  Unruh AK , Nick AM, Crane EK, Coleman RL, Guenthoer J, Dalton HJ, Wu SY, Rupaomoole R, Lopez-Berestien G, Ozpolat B, Ivan C, Hu W, Baggerly KA, Sood AK. (2014) Molecular Biomarkers of Residual Disease After Surgical Debulking of High-Grade Serous Ovarian Cancer.  Clinical Cancer Research.  12:3280-8.  10. Bachinski LL, Baggerly KA, Neubauer VL, Nixon TJ, Raheem O, Sirito M,  Unruh AK , Zhang J, Nagarajan L, Timchenko LT, Bassez G, Eymard B, Gamez J, Ashizawa T, Mendell JR, Udd B, Krahe R. (2014) Most expression and splicing changes in myotonicdystrophy type 1 and type 2 skeletal muscle are shared with other muscular dystrophies.  Neuromuscular Disorders . 3:227-40.  11. Cancer Genome Atlas Research Network. (2013) Comprehensive molecular characterization of clear cell renal cell carcinoma.  Nature . 499:43-9.  12. Cancer Genome Atlas Research Network. (2013) Integrated genomic characterization of endometrial carcinoma.  Nature . 497:67-73.  13. Pecot CV, Rupaimoole R, Yang D, Akbani R, Ivan C, Lu C, Wu S, Han HD, Shah MY, Rodriguez-Aguayo C, Bottsford-Miller J, Liu Y, Kim SB,  Unruh A , Gonzalez-Villasana V, Huang L, Zand B, Moreno-Smith M, Mangala LS, Taylor M, Dalton HJ, Sehgal V, Wen Y, Kang Y, Baggerly KA, Lee JS, Ram PT, Ravoori MK, Kundra V, Zhang X, Ali-Fehmi R, Gonzalez-Angulo AM, Massion PP, Calin GA, Lopez-Berestein G, Zhang W, Sood AK. (2013) Tumour angiogenesis regulation by the miR-200 family.  Nature Communications.  4:2427.  14. Cancer Genome Atlas Network. (2012) Comprehensive molecular portraits of human breast tumours.  Nature . 490:61-70.  15. Cancer Genome Atlas Research Network. (2012) Comprehensive genomic characterization of squamous cell lung cancers.  Nature . 489:519-25.  16. Cancer Genome Atlas Network. (2012) Comprehensive molecular characterization of human colon and rectal cancer.  Nature . 487:330-7.

Anna Casasent is a postdoctoral associate in the Samuel Lab. She joined the Samuel Lab in middle 2018 where she has been focused on researching single cell sequencing in the retina and expanding the bioinformatics powers of the Samuel Lab.

Anna has a Bachelor’s degree in Bioinformatics from St. Edward’s University, Austin TX, and a Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences - Genes and Development from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS), Houston, TX. Anna has published in several journals (see below).

Outside of the lab the Anna enjoys writing, reading, and training her Newfoundland dog and cats with her husband.

Peer-Reviewed Research Articles

1. Casasent AK, Schalck A, Gao R, Sei E, Long A, Pangburn E, Casasent T, Meric-Bernstam F, Edgerton ME, Navin NE. (2018). Multiclonal Invasion in Breast Tumors Identified by Topographic Single Cell Sequencing. Cell.

2. Leung ML, Davis A, Gao R, Casasent A, Wang Y, Sei E, Vilar E, Maru D, Kopetz S, Navin NE. (2017). Single-cell DNA sequencing reveals a late-dissemination model in metastatic colorectal cancer. Genome Research.

3. Casasent A, Edgerton M, Navin NE. (2017) Genome evolution in ductal carcinoma in situ: invasion of the clones. The Journal of Pathology.

4. Gao R, Davis A, McDonald TO, Sei E, Shi X, Wang T, Tsai PC, Casasent A, Waters J, Zhang H, Meric-Bernstam F, Michor F, Navin NE. (2016) Punctutated Copy Number Evolution and Clonal Stasis in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer. Nature Genetics.

5. Leung W, … [Unruh AK, … Hauser CR] … Elgin SCR. (2015) The Drosophila Muller F elements maintain a distinct set of genomic properties over 40 million years of evolution. (2015), G3 GENES, GENOMES, GENETICS. [Total 940 student co-authors, 74 faculty co-authors.]

6. Zhang S, Lu Z, Unruh AK, Ivan C, Baggerly KA, Calin GA, Li Z, Bast RC Jr, Le XF. (2015) Clinically Relevant microRNAs in Ovarian Cancer. Molecular Cancer Research.

7. Misganaw B, Ahsen E, Singh N, Baggerly KA, Unruh AK, White MA, Vidyasagar M. (2015) Optimized Prediction of Extreme Treatment Outcomes in Ovarian Cancer. Cancer Informatics.

8. Wang Y, Leung M, Waters J, Unruh AK, Roh W, Shi X, Chen K, Scheet P, Vattathil S, Liang H, Multani A, Zhang H, Zhao R, Michor F, Meric-Bernstam F, Navin NE. (2014) Clonal Evolution in Breast Cancer Revealed by Single Nucleus Genome Sequencing. Nature. 14;512(7513):155-60

9. Tucker SL, Gharpure K, Herbrich SM, Unruh AK, Nick AM, Crane EK, Coleman RL, Guenthoer J, Dalton HJ, Wu SY, Rupaomoole R, Lopez-Berestien G, Ozpolat B, Ivan C, Hu W, Baggerly KA, Sood AK. (2014) Molecular Biomarkers of Residual Disease After Surgical Debulking of High-Grade Serous Ovarian Cancer. Clinical Cancer Research. 12:3280-8.

10. Bachinski LL, Baggerly KA, Neubauer VL, Nixon TJ, Raheem O, Sirito M, Unruh AK, Zhang J, Nagarajan L, Timchenko LT, Bassez G, Eymard B, Gamez J, Ashizawa T, Mendell JR, Udd B, Krahe R. (2014) Most expression and splicing changes in myotonicdystrophy type 1 and type 2 skeletal muscle are shared with other muscular dystrophies. Neuromuscular Disorders. 3:227-40.

11. Cancer Genome Atlas Research Network. (2013) Comprehensive molecular characterization of clear cell renal cell carcinoma. Nature. 499:43-9.

12. Cancer Genome Atlas Research Network. (2013) Integrated genomic characterization of endometrial carcinoma. Nature. 497:67-73.

13. Pecot CV, Rupaimoole R, Yang D, Akbani R, Ivan C, Lu C, Wu S, Han HD, Shah MY, Rodriguez-Aguayo C, Bottsford-Miller J, Liu Y, Kim SB, Unruh A, Gonzalez-Villasana V, Huang L, Zand B, Moreno-Smith M, Mangala LS, Taylor M, Dalton HJ, Sehgal V, Wen Y, Kang Y, Baggerly KA, Lee JS, Ram PT, Ravoori MK, Kundra V, Zhang X, Ali-Fehmi R, Gonzalez-Angulo AM, Massion PP, Calin GA, Lopez-Berestein G, Zhang W, Sood AK. (2013) Tumour angiogenesis regulation by the miR-200 family. Nature Communications. 4:2427.

14. Cancer Genome Atlas Network. (2012) Comprehensive molecular portraits of human breast tumours. Nature. 490:61-70.

15. Cancer Genome Atlas Research Network. (2012) Comprehensive genomic characterization of squamous cell lung cancers. Nature. 489:519-25.

16. Cancer Genome Atlas Network. (2012) Comprehensive molecular characterization of human colon and rectal cancer. Nature. 487:330-7.

Jonathan Alevy - Lab Manager

Fenge Li - Post-Doc Associate

Anna Casasent - Post-Doc Associate


Courtney Burger is a graduate student in Integrative Molecular & Biomedical Sciences (IMBS) at Baylor College of Medicine. She joined the Samuel Lab in early 2016 where she has since focused her research on the role of metabolism in retinal development and how synaptic structure is changed due to disease and age. Courtney earned her B.S in Biology from the University of Arizona and her M.S. in Physiology from the University of Arizona.  Outside of the laboratory Courtney enjoys playing board games, rock climbing, and spending time with her dog Belle.

Courtney Burger is a graduate student in Integrative Molecular & Biomedical Sciences (IMBS) at Baylor College of Medicine. She joined the Samuel Lab in early 2016 where she has since focused her research on the role of metabolism in retinal development and how synaptic structure is changed due to disease and age. Courtney earned her B.S in Biology from the University of Arizona and her M.S. in Physiology from the University of Arizona.

Outside of the laboratory Courtney enjoys playing board games, rock climbing, and spending time with her dog Belle.

Nicholas Albrecht is a graduate student and STORM imaging specialist in the school of Translation Biology & Molecular Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. He joined the Samuel Lab in early 2017 where he has since focused his research on the roles of neurological disease in relation to the gene Ap4e1 and developing new super resolution techniques. Nicholas earned his B.S. in Bioengineering from UC-Merced and his M.S. in Biomedical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon.  Outside of the laboratory Nicholas enjoys tinkering in his workshop where his projects encompass book binding, metal working and amateur blacksmithing.

Nicholas Albrecht is a graduate student and STORM imaging specialist in the school of Translation Biology & Molecular Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. He joined the Samuel Lab in early 2017 where he has since focused his research on the roles of neurological disease in relation to the gene Ap4e1 and developing new super resolution techniques. Nicholas earned his B.S. in Bioengineering from UC-Merced and his M.S. in Biomedical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon.

Outside of the laboratory Nicholas enjoys tinkering in his workshop where his projects encompass book binding, metal working and amateur blacksmithing.

Danye Jiang is a graduate student in the Department of Neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine. Prior to starting graduate study at Baylor, Danye earned her Bachelor of Science in Molecular and Cellular Biology at the Johns Hopkins University. During her undergraduate degree training, she conducted research investigating isoflurane and its effects on neuronal structure and development  in vivo  via the mTOR pathway under the supervision of Dr. David Mintz and Dr. Guo-li Ming. She is currently working on discovering novel cell-specific genetic markers for the identification of murine retinal cells.   When Danye is not in the laboratory she can be found rock climbing or hiking. In addition she enjoys antiquing and attending classical music concerts.

Danye Jiang is a graduate student in the Department of Neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine. Prior to starting graduate study at Baylor, Danye earned her Bachelor of Science in Molecular and Cellular Biology at the Johns Hopkins University. During her undergraduate degree training, she conducted research investigating isoflurane and its effects on neuronal structure and development in vivo via the mTOR pathway under the supervision of Dr. David Mintz and Dr. Guo-li Ming. She is currently working on discovering novel cell-specific genetic markers for the identification of murine retinal cells.

When Danye is not in the laboratory she can be found rock climbing or hiking. In addition she enjoys antiquing and attending classical music concerts.

Courtney Burger - Graduate Student

Nicholas Albrecht - Graduate Student

Danye Jiang - Graduate Student


Justine is a graduate student in the Integrative Molecular & Biomedical Sciences (IMBS) department at Baylor College of Medicine. She joined the Samuel Lab in 2018 where she will focus her research on the pathways leading to aberrant synapsing in the neural circuit. She earned her B.S. in Pharmacological Chemistry and her M.S. in Physical Chemistry at University of California, San Diego. Prior to pursuing a PhD in biomedical research, Justine focused her chemistry research on protein-mediated electron transfer, in which she implemented Raman and fluorescence spectroscopy to quantify stable radical formation.    Outside of lab, Justine enjoys playing first-person shooting video games, binging Netflix shows, exploring local coffee shops, and being an avid dog spotter.

Justine is a graduate student in the Integrative Molecular & Biomedical Sciences (IMBS) department at Baylor College of Medicine. She joined the Samuel Lab in 2018 where she will focus her research on the pathways leading to aberrant synapsing in the neural circuit. She earned her B.S. in Pharmacological Chemistry and her M.S. in Physical Chemistry at University of California, San Diego. Prior to pursuing a PhD in biomedical research, Justine focused her chemistry research on protein-mediated electron transfer, in which she implemented Raman and fluorescence spectroscopy to quantify stable radical formation.

Outside of lab, Justine enjoys playing first-person shooting video games, binging Netflix shows, exploring local coffee shops, and being an avid dog spotter.

Saiesh Kalva is a Project Intern for the Samuel Lab. Saiesh works as an undergraduate researcher and focuses on developing his passion for and understanding of neuroscience through research in this lab.  Saiesh joined the Samuel Lab in June of 2016. Saiesh initially focused on a collaborative research project known as KOMP, which aims to analyze the phenotypes of knockout genes in mice. Currently, Saiesh is working with Astitva to develop a project that focuses on the Tau protein and its relation to Alzheimer's disease. Saiesh is currently a junior at Rice University pursuing a B.S. in Biochemistry & Cell Biology and a minor in Business.  Outside of the lab, Saiesh is very involved in the Rice community. He is captain of Rice's Bollywood Dance Team, Rice Riyaaz, president of South Asian Society and Global Business Brigades, and serves as Student Director of the Peer Academic Advising Program at Rice. He also has an interest in photography and filmography.

Saiesh Kalva is a Project Intern for the Samuel Lab. Saiesh works as an undergraduate researcher and focuses on developing his passion for and understanding of neuroscience through research in this lab.

Saiesh joined the Samuel Lab in June of 2016. Saiesh initially focused on a collaborative research project known as KOMP, which aims to analyze the phenotypes of knockout genes in mice. Currently, Saiesh is working with Astitva to develop a project that focuses on the Tau protein and its relation to Alzheimer's disease. Saiesh is currently a junior at Rice University pursuing a B.S. in Biochemistry & Cell Biology and a minor in Business.

Outside of the lab, Saiesh is very involved in the Rice community. He is captain of Rice's Bollywood Dance Team, Rice Riyaaz, president of South Asian Society and Global Business Brigades, and serves as Student Director of the Peer Academic Advising Program at Rice. He also has an interest in photography and filmography.

Maricruz Espinoza is the research technician and is a post-baccalaureate student in the Human Genome Sequencing Center-Pre-Graduate Training Program (HGSC-PGET) at Baylor College of Medicine. Maricruz joined the lab in mid-2018 where she facilitates the needs of the lab and promotes an environment necessary for such a driven and effective team. In addition, she be utilizing the INSiGHT pipeline to study neural wiring in the retina as part of the KOMP Project. Maricruz earned her B.S. in Biology from St. Mary’s University and is currently working toward her goal of attending graduate school to earn a Ph.D. in the biological sciences.  When Maricruz is not working she enjoys hiking, painting, and playing ultimate frisbee.

Maricruz Espinoza is the research technician and is a post-baccalaureate student in the Human Genome Sequencing Center-Pre-Graduate Training Program (HGSC-PGET) at Baylor College of Medicine. Maricruz joined the lab in mid-2018 where she facilitates the needs of the lab and promotes an environment necessary for such a driven and effective team. In addition, she be utilizing the INSiGHT pipeline to study neural wiring in the retina as part of the KOMP Project. Maricruz earned her B.S. in Biology from St. Mary’s University and is currently working toward her goal of attending graduate school to earn a Ph.D. in the biological sciences.

When Maricruz is not working she enjoys hiking, painting, and playing ultimate frisbee.

Justine Liang - Graduate Student

Saiesh Kalva

Maricruz Espinoza - Research Technician


Lab Alumni

  • Brian Liu

  • Vandana Nandivada

  • Christopher Hampton

  • Kaitlyn May

  • Lauren Lin