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Interdisciplinary Scholar Award Recipients

Click on the scholar's name or photo to view his/her bio and research abstract


2016 SNI Interdisciplinary Scholars

Alan Ceasar, Stanford Neurosciences Institute

Alan Ceaser

Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Sponsor: Jong Yoon (Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences)

The goal of Dr. Ceaser's research is to better understand the neural mechanisms of complex cognition like working memory and executive control, particularly in the context of psychiatric diseases like psychosis, and to translate this work to improve treatment outcomes and functioning of individuals with psychotic spectrum disorders.

Georges Goetz, Stanford Neurosciences Institute

Georges Goetz


Sponsor: E.J. Chichilnisky (Neurosurgery and Ophthalmology)
Dr. Goetz is developing new recording systems and computational frameworks for understanding how the primate visual system processes visual information. This will provide the first complete characterization of how a behaviorally significant neural computation is performed by large ensembles of sensory neurons.

Peter Maurer, Stanford Neurosciences Institute

Peter Maurer


Sponsor: Steven Chu (Physics; Molecular and Cellular Physiology)

Dr. Maurer's work in Prof. Chu's research group focuses on the development of novel nanoscale imaging techniques that aim at overcoming some of the problems commonly associated with imaging neural systems. 

Andrew Whittle, Stanford Neurosciences Institute

Andrew Whittle

Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Sponsors: Luis De Lecea (Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences), Bianxiao Cui (Chemistry)

Dr. Whittle's project will utilize nano-scale electrode arrays to measure the sympathetic nervous system activity in Brown Adipose Tissue in real-time, following modulation of the activity of specific neurons.

Lei Cai

Materials Science & Engineering

Sponsors: Sarah Heilshorn (Materials Science & Engineering), Giles Plant (Neurosurgery), and James Weimann (Neurosurgery)

Dr. Cai's research focuses on developing  hydrogel materials to provide mechanoprotection for injected stem cells for treating spinal cord injuries. 

Audrey Fan, Stanford Neurosciences Institute

Audrey Fan


Sponsors: Greg Zaharchuk (Radiology), Frederick Chin (Radiology), Dawn Banghart (EH&S), Gary Steinberg (Neurosurgery) and Michael Marks (Radiology)

The proposed research exploits a simultaneous MR-PET scanner to establish methods for noninvasive imaging of cerebral blood flow. Such a technique would enable better diagnosis and treatment of patients at high risk for stroke.

Whitney Heavner, Stanford Neurosciences Institute

Whitney Heavner


Sponsors: Susan McConnell (Biology), and Gill Bejerano (Computer Science and Developmental Biology)

The goal of Dr. Heavner's research project is to discover gene regulatory elements specific to neuronal subtypes in developing neocortex. The work also seeks to determine how disease-associated human genetic variants affect such regulatory loci.

Rupa Lalchandni, Stanford Neuroscience Institute

Rupa Lalchandani 


Sponsors: Jun Ding (Neurosurgery) and Lu Chen (Psychiatry)

The work of Dr. Lalchandani investigates the relationship between dopamine and GABA synthesis, vesicular packaging, and co-release in basal ganglia neurons in mice. The work involves a novel biosynthetic pathway for GABA in these cells and involves genetic dissection, electrophysiology, and optogenetics.

Christoph Leuze, Stanford Neurosciences Institute

Christoph Leuze 


Sponsors:  Jennifer McNab (Radiology) and Karl Deisseroth (Psychiatry and Bioengineering)

Dr.  Leuze's proposed research will apply the CLARITY technique to human brain tissue that is analyzed in parallel by 3D dMRI with the goal of deciphering the structural resolution achievable with dMRI.

Kevin Mann, Stanford Neurosciences Institute

Kevin Mann


Sponsors: Thomas Clandinin (Neurobiology) and Dan Fisher (Applied Physics)

Dr. Mann's proposed work focuses on deciphering the cellular and physical basis of magnetosensation in animals, using fruitflies as a model system and focusing on the light-dependent cryptochrome protein as a molecular magnetomer.

2015 Honorable Mention

 Honorable Mention status was accorded to one applicant because of his impressive proposal and qualifications.

Gregory Corder

Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine

Faculty Advisors: Greg Scherrer (Anesthesia) and Mark Schnitzer (Applied Physics, Biology)

The research project leverages the applicant’s training in materials science and electrical engineering to enable functional (calcium) imaging with high spatial resolution in deep brain areas of freely-moving animals.