Research Associates

 
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Qi Zhang, M.D./Ph.D., Senior Research Associate

Inherited retinal degeneration is a group of heterogeneous eye diseases that cause blindness in human patients and animal models. I have been working in this field since my postdoctoral research, which involved genetic mapping of disease loci, searching for mutations responsible for eye disease phenotypes, genetics/genomics genotype analyses and diagnosis, study of gene function with natural or engineered mutations in animal models (knockout, knockin and knockdown), and gene therapy. As a scientist, I have a broad and in-depth knowledge of molecular/cellular/developmental biology, genetics/genomics, human disease modeling in animals, neuroscience and neurodegenerative diseases along with technical expertise in genetic linkage mapping, analyses of DNA/RNA and sequence data, vector design and construction, protein assays, cell culture, pathology, and microscopy.

 
 
 
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Kyle Fisk, B.S., Research Technician

I received my bachelors degree in Biology with a concentration in Molecular and BioMedical Sciences from Bridgewater State University in 2014. I went on to work at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA with Dr. Roger Hanlon. My work at the MBL gave me the opportunity to explore my fascination with microscopy (both light and electron), which I applied to imaging the intricate neural systems in cephalopods that allow these animals to produce complex behavioral displays in milliseconds. Currently, I am developing new applications of volumetric super-resolution microscopy for studying synaptic structure and refinement in the mammalian retina and dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus of the thalamus.

 

ROTATING GRADUATE STUDENTS

 
 
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Chenghang Zhang, B.S., Biophysics Graduate Student

I'm a student in the biophysics Ph.D. program in UMD. When I was an undergraduate I used optical imaging and modeling to study calcium dynamics and downstream calcium signaling pathways in non-excitable cells. Investigating periodic activities in cell signaling is one of my research interests. Now I'm working on imaging techniques and image processing in the lab. I'm learning more about neurobiology and my current job is to process STORM images of neuronal cells and develop new approaches for automated image analysis. 

 
 

Undergraduate Student Researchers

 
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Sim Bastakoti, Undergraduate student in Behavioral and Social Sciences College

I am currently a Junior at University of Maryland, majoring in Psychology and General Biology with minors in Neuroscience and Spanish. My interests include researching the impacts of genetic or pharmacological manipulations on plasticity of visual circuits and the various biochemical processes at play in brain-related disorders and aging. I aspire to pursue a MD/PhD in Neuroscience in the near future.  

 
 
 
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Elissa Klein, Undergraduate student in Physiology and Neurobiology

I am primarily interested in neurobiology and looking to finish my undergraduate with a major in physiology and neurobiology. I then hope to go to either medical school or graduate school to do clinical research on neurological disease.

 
 
 
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Abeerah Qadir, Undergraduate student in Biological Sciences

I am currently a Junior Undergraduate student at the University of Maryland, majoring in General Biology. I am interested in researching and learning more about the human nervous system and how specific parts of the brain work. I want to continue my studies onto Graduate school and be part of the neuroscience research field. Through my research in the future, my ultimate goal is to have my discoveries and findings take part in developing treatments for various diseases and disorders. 

 
 
 
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Nan Zhang, Undergraduate student in Physiology and Neurobiology

I am a junior biological sciences major at the University of Maryland with a specialization in physiology & neurobiology. I am interested in the nervous system, especially the central nervous system, and sensory integration and information processing. I am also interested in how aging changes neuronal networks and what role neuroplasticity has to play in the central nervous system. I hope to either pursue an MD-PhD or go to medical school in the future, and benefit the medical field through discoveries with my lab!

 

Principal Investigator

 

Colenso M. Speer, Assistant Professor, Department of Biology

Faculty member:

Program in Neuroscience and Cognitive Science (NACS)

Biological Sciences Graduate Program

Biophysics Graduate Program

I am privileged to pursue my passions for neuroscience research and teaching. I look forward to working with the next generation neuroscientists to help them achieve success in their independent careers and together make exciting new discoveries that will contribute to our understanding of visual circuit development, plasticity, and dysfunction in blinding diseases. 

 
 

PREVIOUS Members

 

1.) Yalun Yu, B.S., Biophysics Graduate Student, Fall 2017 (Rotation)