People

AllPrincipal InvestigatorStaffSenior ScientistsPostdocsStudentsResidents
James R. Doty Professor of Neurosurgery and Neurosciences

Ivan Soltesz

Postdoctoral Researcher

Ernie Hwaun

Research Scientist

Gergely Szabo

Research Engineer

Ivan Raikov

Administrative Associate

Nichole Schick

Instructor

Peter Klein

Lab Manager

Sandra Linder

MD-PhD Student

Shreya Malhotra

Instructor

Tilo Gschwind

MD-PhD Student

Mahad Ali Ahmed

Postdoctoral Researcher

Alexandra Chatzikalymiou

Medical Resident

Ryan Jamiolkowski

Life Science Research Professional I

Charlotte L. Porter

Life Science Research Professional I

Balazs Varga

Medical Resident

David Hartmann

Postdoctoral Researcher

Florian Donneger

Graduate Student

Sarah Goesch

Graduate Student

Hannah Goesch

Undergraduate Student

Sky Shi

Undergraduate Student

Eliza Schnitzer

Graduate Student

Robert Lupoiu

James R. Doty Professor of Neurosurgery and Neurosciences

Ivan Soltesz

Ivan Soltesz received his doctorate in Budapest and conducted postdoctoral research at universities at Oxford, London, Stanford and Dallas. He established his laboratory at the University of California, Irvine, in 1995. He became full Professor in 2003, and served as department Chair from 2006 to July 2015. He returned to Stanford in 2015 as the James R. Doty Professor of Neurosurgery and Neurosciences at Stanford University School of Medicine.

His major research interest is focused on neuronal microcircuits, network oscillations, cannabinoid signaling and the mechanistic bases of circuit dysfunction in epilepsy.

His laboratory employs a combination of closely integrated experimental and theoretical techniques, including closed-loop in vivo optogenetics, paired patch clamp recordings, in vivo electrophysiological recordings from identified interneurons in awake mice, 2-photon imaging, machine learning-aided 3D video analysis of behavior, video-EEG recordings, behavioral approaches, and large-scale computational modeling methods using supercomputers.

He is the author of a book on GABAergic microcircuits (Diversity in the Neuronal Machine, Oxford University Press), and editor of a book on Computational Neuroscience in Epilepsy (Academic Press/Elsevier).

He co-founded the first Gordon Research Conference on the Mechanisms of neuronal synchronization and epilepsy, and taught for five years in the Ion Channels Course at Cold Springs Harbor.

He has over 34 years of research experience, with 27 years as a faculty involved in the training of graduate students (total of 15, 6 of them MD/PhDs) and postdoctoral fellows (24), several of whom received fellowship awards, K99 grants, joined prestigious residency programs and became independent faculty. He is the co-director (with E.J. Chichilnisky) of the Stanford NeuroTech graduate program that aims to engage and mentor engineering and computer science graduate students in the neurosciences.

Postdoctoral Researcher

Ernie Hwaun

Ernie completed his PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Texas at Austin. He is interested in how neurons connect with each other to support cognitive functions such as memory. To tackle this problem, Ernie has been using in vivo extracellular recording techniques to obtain neuronal activity while animals perform a memory task. Besides research, Ernie enjoys playing basketball with friends and reading manga.

Research Scientist

Gergely Szabo

Gergely is a Basic Life Research Scientist whose main focus is studying the structure and function of hippocampal inhibitory circuitry and its involvement in learning and memory, utilizing techniques such as electrophysiology, optogenetics, and imaging. Gergely received his MS in Biology from Eotvos Lorand University in Hungary and his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Semmelweis University in Hungary, after which he joined the Soltesz Lab as a postdoctoral fellow.

Research Engineer

Ivan Raikov

I hold undergraduate and master’s degree in Computer Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and a PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Antwerp. I am studying information processing in the hippocampus by means of highly detailed and realistic computational simulation of neuronal networks at 1:1 scale.  More broadly, I am interested in solving the enormous neuroinformatics challenges of computational neuroscience by developing sophisticated computational frameworks capable of expressing, organizing and managing the different types of data and algorithms associated with computational models of neural networks.

Administrative Associate

Nichole Schick

She is the Administrative Assistant to Dr. Ivan Soltesz and the Soltesz Lab. Nichole has worked in the Neurosurgery Department for over 6 years. She also works with 3 other Labs within the Neurosurgery Department.

Instructor

Peter Klein

Peter completed his B.S. in Neuroscience at Bates College and his Ph.D. in Neuroscience with Dr. Mark Beenhakker at the University of Virginia. Since 2008, Peter has focused on investigating how neuronal network activity is perturbed in diseases such as epilepsy. After joining the Soltesz lab in 2018, Peter has been researching how the contributions of specific populations of hippocampal interneurons are altered in epilepsy using mostly in vitro electrophysiology approaches. He is also interested in how neuroimmune interactions contribute to modulating hippocampal excitability following seizures, irradiation, chemotherapy exposures, or other central nervous system insults.

Lab Manager

Sandra Linder

Sandra has been with Stanford for about 7 years now and joined the Soltesz Lab in November 2019. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutritional Science and has a strong Business Administration background. In her new role, she oversees the financial resources and accountability. She functions as a support in grants’ management and plays a vital role in the overall safety of the laboratory to ensure compliance with applicable regulations. She is responsible for managing the daily operations of the lab, as well as supervises and educates research staff on established policies, processes and procedures.

MD-PhD Student

Shreya Malhotra

Shreya is a MD-PhD student at Stanford. She graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a B.S. in Neuroscience and a Master’s in Public Health. In the past, she has worked on elucidating the role of spillover transmission in the cerebellum, as well as studying the inhibitory microcircuit in the dorsal striatum to better understand Parkinson’s Disease. In the Soltesz lab, she is currently studying the role of hippocampal interneurons in epilepsy. 

Instructor

Tilo Gschwind

Focusing on hippocampal network reorganization in temporal lobe epilepsy while tackling inherent problems of decade-old technology to advance epilepsy research, his project in the Soltesz lab provides an optimal opportunity to contribute to the interdisciplinary discourse between the fields of neuroscience and AI.

MD-PhD Student

Mahad Ali Ahmed

Mahad is an MD-PhD student in the lab investigating the role of hypothalamic circuits in spatial memory and temporal lobe epilepsy. Before joining he graduated from the University of Washington with a B.S. in Neuroscience; working under Dr. Tom Daniel to study sensory-motor integration in insect feeding behavior.  

Postdoctoral Researcher

Alexandra Chatzikalymiou

Alexandra Chatzikalymniou holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Patras, Greece, and a PhD in Neuroscience and Physiology from the University of Toronto. In her PhD, Alexandra focused on the modelling of theta rhythms using both phenomenological and biophysical models of the rodent hippocampus. As part of her modelling work, she used and analysed state-of-the-art biologically detailed models of the rodent CA1 developed by the Soltesz lab, to understand elements of theta rhythm generation. Alexandra is interested in place cell formation during navigation, and ripple related mechanisms of memory recall and consolidation.

Medical Resident

Ryan Jamiolkowski

Ryan Jamiolkowski earned an MD-PhD at the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied the biophysics of the ribosome and motor proteins, and nanofabricated devices for single molecule imaging.  He is currently a neurosurgery resident interested in neuromodulation for the treatment of epilepsy and other diseases.

Life Science Research Professional I

Charlotte L. Porter

Charlotte gained her initial scientific training studying neuroscience and physiology at UC San Diego. After college, Charlotte came to Stanford, where she became experienced in using cultured cortical and subpallial organoids from human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) to study bioenergetics within the contexts of neurodevelopment and 22q11.2 deletion syndrome in the NeoPasca Lab. Charlotte was excited to join the Soltesz lab in 2022, where she hopes to further expand her understanding of the complex interactions occurring within neuronal networks across a range of functional scales. Charlotte provides important support to many postdocs in the Soltesz lab with their research projects, including developing improved therapeutic strategies for treating epilepsy and better understanding the diverse connectivity of interneurons in hippocampal circuits.

Life Science Research Professional I

Balazs Varga

With two decades of experience in neuroscience, pharmacological research, and development, Balazs is a highly skilled behavioral pharmacologist. After relocating to the United States, he aspired to engage more actively in academia and thus joined the Soltesz Lab. Working closely with Drs Ernie Hwaun, Tilo Gschwind and Gergo Szabo, he is currently contributing his expertise to a number of exciting research projects.

Medical Resident

David Hartmann

David did his MD/PhD at the Medical Univ of South Carolina (mentor Andy Shih), now in his 4th year of Neurology residency at Stanford. Currently in the lab, he is working with Dr. Nguyen to compare the transcripts of cells that are seizing versus cells that are not seizing in mouse epilepsy models. David likes playing basketball, music, and camping with his family.

Postdoctoral Researcher

Florian Donneger

Florian completed his PhD in Neuroscience with Dr. Jean Christophe Poncer at Sorbonne University (Paris). During his PhD, he explored the mechanisms regulating the expression and function of the K+/Cl- transporter type 2 (KCC2) in the brain and investigated the therapeutic potential of targeting this transporter in temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE). He recently joined the Soltesz Lab where he will focus more specifically on the mechanisms underlying pathological ensemble activities in the epileptic brain. He will specifically use functional interrogation of neuronal circuits in vivo, for instance with closed loop optogenetic control of neuronal activity or calcium imaging.

Graduate Student

Sarah Goesch

Sarah is a first-year Biology PhD student at Stanford University. She earned her BSc in Biochemistry from King’s College London, where she focused on identifying the underlying pathology of neurodegenerative diseases, particularly the effects of oxidative stress. Currently, in the Soltesz lab, Sarah is exploring the potential role of the hippocampus in facilitating subjective consciousness and its implications for neurodegenerative and neuropsychological diseases.

Graduate Student

Hannah Goesch

Hannah is a first-year Biology PhD student in the Soltesz Lab at Stanford University. Before her studies at Stanford, she graduated from King’s College London with a BSc degree in Biochemistry. During her undergraduate studies, she investigated the underlying causes of neurodegenerative diseases, focusing particularly on the role of free radicals and protein misfolding. Currently, Hannah is interested in understanding the role of the hippocampus in subjective consciousness and perception under physiological and pathological conditions, such as seizures, neuropsychiatric disorders, and neurodegenerative diseases.

Undergraduate Student

Sky Shi

Sky graduated with a B.S. in Biology from the University of Science and Technology of China. She did her undergraduate thesis in Engert’s lab at Harvard, which was about heart-brain communication in larval zebrafish. As a first-year rotating Biology PhD student at Stanford, she wants to explore different organisms and techniques related to neuroscience. After handling the mice in her first and second rotations, she wanted to explore Octopus, so she will be mentored by Dr. Hwaun (Octopus project) in the Soltesz lab.

Undergraduate Student

Eliza Schnitzer

Eliza is an undergraduate student majoring in Biology with a concentration in Neuroscience. During her lab rotation in Soltesz lab, she is interested in studying hippocampal physiology and dynamics.

Graduate Student

Robert Lupoiu

Robert is an electrical engineering PhD candidate. He previously worked on leveraging machine learning for the optimization of applied physics problems, ranging from nanophotonic devices, optical systems, and atomic silicon quantum dot circuits. His work in the Soltesz Lab is focused at the intersection of neuroscience, applied physics, and AI to uncover novel techniques for probing neural circuitry.

AllAlumni
Instructor

Aaron Milstein

Research Assistant

Kyle Dinkins

Undergraduate Student

Sarah Tran

Research Scientist

Hannah Kim

Graduate Student

URee Chon

Research Assistant

Jesslyn Homidan

Research Assistant

Anna Ortiz

Postdoctoral Researcher

Prannath Moolchand

Graduate Student

Darian Hadjiabadi

Postdoctoral Researcher

Barna Dudok

Data Science Consultant

Ben Dichter

Undergrad Student

Lexi Kristin Linker

Instructor

Jordan Farrell

Instructor

Quynh Anh Nguyen

Instructor

Aaron Milstein

Aaron uses computational modeling to investigate the neural circuit mechanisms of rapid memory formation in the mammalian hippocampus. He is particularly interested in understanding how the nonlinear integrative properties of neuronal synapses and dendrites interact with diverse cell types in local neuronal microcircuits during synaptic plasticity and learning. Aaron is also developing an open-source software tool for scalable and efficient multi-objective optimization of large-scale biophysically-detailed neuronal network models on supercomputers.

Aaron was an Instructor and member of the computational modeling group within the Soltesz lab. Since August 2020, Aaron is an Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Neuroscience and Cell Biology and the Dept. of Neurosurgery at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and a resident faculty member at the Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine.

Research Assistant

Kyle Dinkins

Kyle Dinkins has two B.S. degrees in Chemistry and Biochemistry from the University of Washington in Seattle. For three years he worked in the Perlmutter lab in the Department of Physiology & Biophysics which is interested in facilitating neural regeneration after spinal cord injury. He received a fellowship stemming from the Perlmutter lab to measure the therapeutic effects of neuromodulators BDNF and Quipazine, a serotonin agonist, on neural regeneration in the spinal cord. Additionally, he has worked as a Research Technologies intern at Novo Nordisk where he mapped leptin distribution in the brain and developed his skills in immunohistochemistry and confocal imaging.

He was mentored by Drs. Barna Dudok, Peter Klein, and Quynh Anh Nguyen during this short time with the Soltesz Lab. Kyle has been accepted a Research Associate position at ImmunityBio in Seattle, closer to his home. He now conducts in-vivo studies to explore vaccine efficacy in various disease models, particularly COVID-19 and tumor models.

Undergraduate Student

Sarah Tran

Sarah was a part of the Soltesz lab’s computational team while pursuing a Bachelor degree in Symbolic Systems and a Master in Computer Science at Stanford.

Sarah graduated in April 2020, and has started her new career as a Software Engineer at Facebook in June.

Research Scientist

Hannah Kim

During her postdoctoral work in the Soltesz Lab, Hannah researched temporal lobe epilepsy and its comoborbidities, specifically spatial learning deficits, and potential therapeutic effects of optogenetic intervention in neural activity. She currently works in biotech industry and is focused on developing novel therapies for treating epilepsy. 

Graduate Student

URee Chon

URee graduated with a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Pennsylvania State University. She worked in a Neuroscience Research Laboratory, the Kim Lab at Penn State College of Medicine, for 3.5 years after graduation. There she studied neuroinformatics, circuit mapping, social behavioral assays/analysis, whole-brain neurovasculature mapping, and neurovascular interaction using serial 2-photon tomography. As a first year rotating Neuroscience graduate student at Stanford, she was mentored by Dr. Nguyen in the Soltesz lab. 

Research Assistant

Jesslyn Homidan

Jesslyn received her B.A. in Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology from UC Berkeley. At Berkeley, she worked as an undergraduate apprentice in Dr. Na Ji’s Lab conducting biophysics research on the thalamus and visual cortex. She executed behavioral training and analysis in head-fixed mice through classical and operant conditioning protocols to better understand the neuronal circuits underlying visual detection. In addition to neuroscience, she is interested in paleontology and in 2016 published and presented an abstract on the presence of two distinct species of Ischyromys of Pipestone Springs, Montana (a 50 million year old rodent). At the Soltesz lab, she was mentored by Barna Dudok, Peter Klein, and Quynh Anh Nguyen. 

Research Assistant

Anna Ortiz

Anna now works as an in vivo associate scientist at Janssen pharmaceutical companies of Johnson and Johnson. There she is part of the drug discovery team with a mission of bringing developing therapies and of addressing neuroimmune dysregulation in CNS diseases. 

Postdoctoral Researcher

Prannath Moolchand

Prannath Moolchand is a postdoctoral researcher, having joined after pursuing a doctorate in Neuroscience as a Fulbright scholar at Brown University, where he also earned a Master’s degree from its prestigious Applied Math department.

He combines computational modeling with High Performance Computing techniques to build biophysically realistic models of hippocampal cells to understand cellular and network level dynamics during memory processes. An advocate of Theoretical Neuroscience, he is also interested in applying rigorous mathematical theorems from dynamics and stochastics to understand how channelopathies disrupt cellular electrophysiology and how the consequent neural miscommunication leads to diseased conditions, particularly epilepsy.

Graduate Student

Darian Hadjiabadi

Darian Hadjiabadi is a third-year Bioengineering Ph.D. student with backgrounds in Computer Science (B.S.) and Biomedical Engineering (B.S., M.S.) from Johns Hopkins University. He is modeling neural dynamics from epileptic zebrafish (whole brain, single-cell resolution) to understand how unreliable inhibitory control affects network stability. Using these “fish-specific” models, he wants to predict which neurons significantly destabilize networks and validate them with in-vivo experiments.

Postdoctoral Researcher

Barna Dudok

Barna studies GABAergic interneurons to better understand how inhibitory cell types shape circuit dynamics during behavior. During his postdoc with the Soltesz lab, he used transgenic mouse lines for specifically studying the function of cannabinoid receptor-expressing basket cells and axo-axonic cells, two elusive types of GABAergic interneuron. He used in vivo multiphoton imaging of calcium indicators to show that distinct classes of interneurons are recruited in different brain states. He used genetically encoded sensors to show that neuronal activity is coupled to endocannabinoid release both in the healthy brain and during epileptic seizures. 

In 2023, Barna moved to Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, where he is McNair Scholar and Assistant Professor at the Department of Neurology. His research focuses on developing precision neuromodulatory interventions for treating neural hyperexcitability and seizures in epilepsy and related disorders.

Data Science Consultant

Ben Dichter

Undergrad Student

Lexi Kristin Linker

Lexi is a third-year undergraduate majoring in Biology with a concentration of Neurobiology. In the Soltesz lab, she is mentored by Barna Dudok and investigates the mechanisms of inhibitory interneuron communication in the hippocampus and its role in epilepsy.

Instructor

Jordan Farrell

Jordan is studying the role of the hypothalamus in executing exploratory locomotion and how activity is relayed to brain regions involved in spatial navigation. He is also interested in the networks underlying seizures and how the endocannabinoid system controls local neural activity and vascular physiology.

In 2023, Jordan became a faculty member and started his own lab in Neurology at Harvard Medical School and the Rosamund Stone Zander Translational Neuroscience Center and F.M. Kirby Neurobiology Center at Boston Children’s Hospital. His lab aims to understand how basic mechanisms that support healthy brain functions become hijacked in epilepsy to drive pathophysiology.  His lab’s most recent focus is unravelling how local circuit and large-scale network mechanisms, which normally control memory processes, become substrates for hypersynchronous, pathological activity in epilepsy. To translate their findings, his group develops non-invasive ultrasound approaches to re-tune neural circuits with high spatial and cell type-specific precision.

Instructor

Quynh Anh Nguyen

I utilize in-vivo and in-vitro electrophysiology, 2-photon calcium imaging, and EEG recording to study the role of inhibitory circuits and signaling molecules in epilepsy. Ultimately I want to help develop a comprehensive understanding of how neurons in the brain communicate with each other, the molecular and circuit mechanisms underlying their proper functioning, and how dysfunction in critical components of neuronal communication leads to neurological disease.