Current Lab Members

  Jessica Bolton, Ph.D. | Postdoctoral Researcher |

I am originally from Dallas, Texas, and obtained my B.S. in Animal Behavior from Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX in 2010. I am a psychoneuroimmunologist by training, having earned my Ph.D. from the Psychology & Neuroscience Ph.D. program at Duke University while working in Dr. Staci Bilbo's Lab. Psychoneuroimmunology is the study of how the nervous and immune systems interact, often in the context of mental health. I am particularly interested in how early-life experiences can "program” children for risk or resilience to mental disorders later in life. In July of 2015, I began my postdoctoral fellowship in Dr. Baram’s lab. I am currently studying the role of microglia, the resident immune cells of the brain, in sculpting stress-sensitive neural circuitry following early-life adversity during sensitive periods of development. To do so, I employ cutting-edge technologies, such as live 2-photon imaging of microglia-neuron interactions in the hypothalamus from dual-reporter transgenic mice. Recently, my work in the Baram lab has been awarded with funding by a NARSAD Young Investigator Grant and an NIMH K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Grant.

  Yuncai Chen, Ph.D. | Associate Professor, Project Scientist |

The major focus is on understanding how stress neuropeptide CRH impacts cognition and the underlying synaptic and molecular mechanisms. I have found that combined physical and psychological stresses lasting hours result in the collapse of dendritic spines, and that neuropeptide CRH accelerates spine retraction and selectively destroys thin spines (the ‘learning spines’) via RhoA-cofilin signaling (e.g., Chen et al., 2008 J Neurosci; 2013 Mol Psychiatry). I have also demonstrated a novel synergistic action of corticosterone and CRH on hippocampal synaptic plasticity and spine structure that mediates the memory-disrupting effects of stress by using live imaging and sophisticated analyses of dendritic branches and spines/synapses (e.g., Chen et al., 2016 J Neurosci).

  Noriko Kamei, Ph.D. | Assistant Project Scientist |

I obtained my Ph.D. in Molecular Developmental Biology in Life science and Engineering at the Tokyo Institute of Technology in Japan.  My Thesis was worked on allorecognition mechanisms to understand the origin of the immune system. When I moved to the U.S. as a postdoctoral fellow, I initially worked on Species-specific sperm and egg recognition and identified the first species-specific receptor for sperm on the egg using Sea Urchin as a model animal. Currently, I am focusing on Epigenetics and its mechanism how environment such as stress and inflammation affect the early-life Brain development using Rodent model as well as involving in the human baby study under the Conte center.

  Annabel Short, Ph.D. | Postdoctoral Researcher |

My work focusses on environmental manipulations of animal models, to find molecular and epigenetic correlates of behavior. Prior to commencing my Ph.D., I was a research technician in the cancer genetics group at the Menzies Research Institute, Hobart, Australia. Following this, I commenced a Ph.D. at the Florey Institute for Neuroscience and Mental Health at the University of Melbourne, Australia where I investigated the transgenerational impact of stress on offspring. These scientific discoveries led to me having an interest in how epigenetic changes are encoded early in development in response to the environment, and how the encoding mechanism changes throughout development. In my current position as a postdoctoral researcher, I am investigating how different levels of maternal care early in life shape behavioral phenotypes via circuit development and epigenetic mechanisms.

  Matthew Birnie, Ph.D. | Postdoctoral Researcher |

I received my Ph.D. in Neuroscience (Neuroendocrinology) in 2018 from the University of Bristol, UK in the lab of Prof. Stafford Lightman investigating the molecular and physiological effects of synthetic glucocorticoid treatment. In late 2018, I joined the Baram lab where I am the recipient of a George E. Hewitt Research Fellowship, investigating the role of CRH and the development of neural circuitry following early-life stress relating to adolescent and adult affective disorders. In my spare time, I like to compete in endurance sports events.

  Cassandra Kooiker, B.S. | MD/Ph.D. Student |

I completed my B.S. in Neuroscience at the University of Michigan in 2015 before studying cellular and molecular mechanisms of major depressive disorder with Dr. Paul Greengard at Rockefeller University until 2017. I am currently a graduate-phase MD-PhD student at UC Irvine. My present work involves elucidation of the role of early life experience in shaping the brain circuitry important in stress response and anhedonia later in life.

  Sophia C. Levis, B.A. | MD/Ph.D. Student |

I am a current MD/Ph.D. student in the labs of Dr. Tallie Z. Baram and Dr. Stephen V. Mahler. I obtained my Bachelor's degree in Psychology & Neuroscience from the University of Colorado Boulder, where I trained in the lab of Dr. Ryan Bachtell studying adenosine receptor modulation of reward circuitry. My graduate research focuses on understanding the neurobiological mechanisms that underlie the effects of early life adversity on increased risk for opioid addiction.
  Rachael E. Hokenson, B.S. | Graduate Student |

I received my bachelors in neurobiology from UC Irvine in 2016 and worked in the laboratory of Dr. Bruce McNaughton during my undergraduate and post-bachelor years.  I re-entered UC Irvine through the Interdepartmental Neuroscience Gateway Program in pursuit of my Ph.D.  I have broad interests in research pertaining to learning and memory, drug addiction, and psychiatric disorders, as well as sex differences in any and every domain. In the Baram lab, I will explore the effects of multi-modal stress on memory, with careful attention paid to sex and estrous cycle influences.

  Jennifer Daglian, B.S. | Lab Manager |

I obtained my Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from University of California, Irvine, in 2005. As a Staff Research Associate II, I am currently the Lab Manager for Dr. Baram's Lab.

  Stephanie Min Law, B.S. | Lab Assistant II |

I graduated from University of California, Irvine in 2020 and received my B.S. in Human Biology. I worked as an undergraduate researcher in the Baram Lab in my 3rd and 4th years focusing on exploring the effect of early-life stress on microglial function and potential use of DREADDs to reactivate microglia. As a laboratory assistant, I am continuing to study microglial function and its rescue after early-life adversity, along with its effects on the body's stress response. 

  Aidan Pham, B.S. | Lab Assistant II |

I received my B.S. in Biological Sciences at the University of California, Irvine in 2019. During my 3rd and 4th years of school, I began working as an undergraduate researcher at the Baram Lab. My time as an undergraduate culminated with my project investigating how estrus affects learning and memory following stress which earned the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research. After graduation, I was hired as a laboratory assistant and am currently gaining a deeper understanding of the effects of stress on various brain regions and its following effect on behavior.

  Kevin Chen, B.A. | Lab Assistant II |

I graduated from Cornell University with a B.A. in Biological Sciences and Psychology. As an undergraduate researcher in David Deitcher’s lab, I studied julius seizure, a bang-sensitive gene, as a model for better understanding epileptogenesis. I recently joined the Baram lab as a laboratory assistant and use rodent models to study temporal lobe epilepsy by looking at the effects of FSE insults and excessive activation of mTOR in dentate gyrus granule cells.


Undergraduate Students

Johnathan Jiaming Ho
Alexander Hong
Erin Jackson
Ashima Kundu
Stephanie Min Law
Teresa Pham
Pouria Vadipour



Name Training Period Current Position
Alicia Hall, Ph.D 2015-2019
Neggy Rismanchi, MD, PhD 2016-2017 Assistant Prof. UC San Diego
Anton Schulmann, MD 2015-2016 2nd postdoc at Janelia Research Campus
Benn Gunn, PhD 2014-2018 2nd postdoc at UCI
Akanksha Singh-Taylor, PhD 2013-2016 Senior scientist, R&D, active Motif, San-Diego
Gary Brennan, PhD 2012-2015 Asst. Prof., tenure track, Royal College, Dublin
Deblina Dey, PhD 2013-2015 2nd postdoc, UCI
Eli Kinney-Lang, PhD 2013-2015 Graduate School, Scotland
Adrienne Andres, PhD 2013-2014 Sr.  Scientist, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Irvine, CA
Jenny Molet, PhD 2012-2015 Asst. Prof., tenure track, U. Grenoble
Gary Brennan, PhD 2012-2015 Asst. Prof., tenure track, Royal College, Dublin
Limor Regev, PhD 2011-2014 Lab Manager, Hebrew University, Israel
Yoav Noam, PhD 2012-2013 Senior Associate researcher, Yale
Shawn McClelland, PhD 2011-2012 Bioinformatics Group leader, Dharmacon - GE
Mankin Choy, PhD 2010-2013 Assoc. Researcher, Neurological Sciences, Stanford
Pamela Maras, PhD 2010-2012 2nd postdoc with Huda Akil; U. Michigan
Amy Brewster, PhD 2006-2008 Assistant Prof., tenure track (got her RO1!), Purdue Univ.
Kristen L. Brunson, PhD 2001-2004 Sr. Competitive Intelligence Planning scientist, Genentech
Celine Dubé, PhD 2001-2005 Senior Research Scientist, Xenon
Xiao-Xing Yan, PhD 1999-2000 Associate Prof., Anatomy, Southern Illinois U
Roland Bender, PhD 2000-2006 Prof. and vice-chair, Anatomy, Hamburg Univ.
Aniko Korosi, PhD 2007-2010  Associate Prof. with tenure, Univ. Amsterdam
QinQin Zha, PhD 2005-2009 Research Scientist, ResearchDX, Irvine, CA
Tim Simeone, PhD 2002-2005 Assoc. Prof. with tenure, Creighton University, Neb
Cristina Richichi, PhD 2003-2007 Assistant Professor, Mario Negri University, Milan
Roland Bender, PhD 1999-2004 Professor and Vice chair, Anatomy, Univ. Hamburg, Germany
Carolyn Hatalski, PhD 1996-1999
Zsolt Toth, PhD 1996-1998 Associate Prof., University of Pécs, Hungary
Elizabeth e. Gilles, MD 1994-1996 Medical Director of Pediatric Neurology, Univ. of Minnesota
Sarit Avishai-Eliner, MD 1993-1996 Professor, Hebrew University, Israel


Graduate Students:

Megan Curran, MD, PhD 2014-2018 Completing MD portion of her MD/PhD training
Katelin Patterson,  PhD, MBA 2012-2016 MBA; science start-up expert
Adrienne Andres, PhD 2009-2013 Senior scientist, Vertex
Sicco de Knecht, BS 2011-2012
Jessica Cope, BS 2010-2012 Contract Editor with College Paper Partner, WA
Yoav Noam, PhD 2007-2011 PhD 2011
Willemieke Kouwenhoven, PhD 2009-2010 PhD student at the University of Amsterdam
Shawn McClelland, MS 2007-2010 Bioinformatics Group Learder Dharmacon, GE
Courtney Burgdorff-Rice, MD 2006-2010 MD 2016. Resident of Anesthesiology, Univ of Miami, Miller SoM.
Autumn Ivy, MD, PhD 2006-2010 Assistant Professor, tenure track; UC-Irvine.
Kristina Fenoglio/Simeone, PhD 2002-2006 Tenured Associate Prof., Creighton Univ., Neb
Amy Brewster, PhD 2000-2006 11 papers; PI, NINDS, NRSA, 2004-2006. Asst Prof Tenure Track, Purdue University
Mariam Eghbal-Ahmadi, MS 1998-2000 CAO, Voxx Analytics, CA
Celine Dubé, PhD 1998-2000 Currently Senior Research Scientist, Xenon Pharmacuiticals. Canada
Kristen Brunson, MS, MBA 1997-2000 MBA 2006. Sr.competitive Intelligence Planning Scientist, Genentech, San Francisco, CA


Rotation Graduate Students: 

Emily Adams, Winter 2018 – Spring 2018

Thai Nguyen, Fall 2017- Winter 2017

Jacyln Beck, Fall 2017 – Winter 2017

Nihal Ahmed Eltom, Summer 2017 – Fall 2017

XiaoTing Zheng, INP program, Fall 2014

Naomi Lomeli, Winter 2014

Irina Nesterendo, Fall 2013

Maryann Platt, Fall 2013

Carley Karsten, INP program, rotation Summer 2012-Summer 2103

Sunggoan Ji, MSTP program, Summer 2012

Elise Kleeman, Winter 2010

Jessica Cope, Fall 2009-2010

Yasaman Alaghband, Winter 2009

Julia Mattson, MSTP student, Summer 2008

Shawn McClelland, Summer-Fall 2007

Celina Mojica, MBGB graduate program, rotation, Fall 2007

Stephanie McHughen, INP graduate program, rotation Winter 2006

Jessica Linford, BSc, MBGB graduate program, rotation Winter 2005

Jasmin Dao, INP graduate program, rotation Fall 2005







Honor Undergraduate Students: 

Stephanie Law, Summer 2019, SURP Fellow awardee

Aidan Pham, Fall 2018; UROP Fellow Excellence in Research awardee, Dean's Award of Excellence

Ryan T. Villarino; Fall 2018; UROP Fellow awardee

Ashima Kundu; Fall 2018; UROP Fellow awardee

Sanjana P; Fall 2018, UROP Fellow awardee

Guangying (Kathleen) Zhou; Fall 2018, UROP Fellow awardee

Aidan Pham, Summer 2018, SURP Fellow awardee

Yongzi Yu, Winter 2018, UROP Fellow awardee

Renhao Luo, Winter 2018, UROP Fellow Excellence in Research awardee

Isabelle Tam-Nha Tran, Winter 2018, UROP Fellow Excellence in Research awardee

Laura Lucero, Winter 2018, UROP Fellow awardee

Manlin Shao, Winter 2017, UROP Fellow Excellence in Research grant awardee, Robert Ernst Prize of Excellence

Emily D. Majorkiewicz, Winter 2017 UROP Fellow Excellence in Research grant awardee

Mary Sargious, Fall 2015, Excellence in Research

Mina Hashemian, Winter 2012-Spring 2013, Biological Sciences Excellence in Research 2013

Lucas Phi, Spring 2011-Summer 2012, UROP awardee 2012, UROP oral presentation

Maria C. Pakhdikian, Summer 2008-2011, UROP oral presentation, UROP grant awardee 2011

Romela Petrosyan, Fall 2009, UROP Fellow Awardee, Dean’s award of excellence

Kimberly F. Fok, Spring 2010, Spring 2009, Fall 2008, Summer 2008, UROP awardee

Amy Yeh, Spring 2005, Spring 2004, UROP Grant awardee and honor program, 2004-2005

Kim Tran, Winter 2002, Fall 2000, Fall 1999, Winter 2002, UROP 2001 Grant awardee

Guitar Hanna, Summer 1999-2002, Fall 1999, UROP Grant awardee 2000, 2001

Irene Mina, Fall 1998-2001, UROP awardee, 2000, 2001

Najeeb Khan, Fall 2000, UROP honors, UROP grant awardee


Undergraduate Students: 

Ryan Villarino, Spring 2018 - Spring 2019

Guangying (Kathleen) Zhou, Summer 2018 – Spring 2019

Tram Vuong-Bao Nguyen, Summer 2018 - Spring 2019

Ashima Kundu, Summer 2018 - Spring 2019

Catherine Chiou, Summer 2018 – Fall 2019

Yanan Wu, Spring 2018- Spring 2019

Xinglong Bai, Spring 2017 - Spring 2018

Renhao Luo, Fall 2016 - Spring 2019

Sanjana P, Spring 2018 - Spring 2019

Quan Minh Dong, Winter 2017 – Spring 2018

Isabelle Tam-Nha Tran, Summer 2017 – spring 2018

Yongzi Yu, Summer 2018 - Spring 2019

Aidan Pham, Fall 2017 – Spring 2019

Keshav Suresh, Fall 2017 – Spring 2019

Yoo-Min (Sarah) Yoon, Fall 2017 – Summer 2018

Sharanya Kumar, Fall 2017 – Spring 2018

Laura Lucero, Fall 2017 – Spring 2019

Xinwen Li, Spring 2018 - Spring 2019

Don Ha, Summer II 2016-Winter 2017

Emily Majorkiewicz, Spring 2016 – Winter 2018

Christine Mun, Winter 2016 - Fall 2016

Manlin Shao, Fall 2015-Spring 2018

Zhiye (Jack) Yang, Winter 2016 – Spring 2017

Tiffany My-Tien Nguyen, Fall 2015-Spring 2016

Cindy Ly, Winter 2015-Spring 2015

Kimberly Gonzalez, Winter 2015-Spring 2015

Ma Koreena Yu, Winter 2014-Winter 2015

Catherine Ly, Fall 2012-Spring 2015

Zane Baqai, Winter 2012-Spring 2012

Sharon Ng, Fall 2011-Spring 2012

Lina Acopians, Winter 2011-Spring 2012

Sarah Quddusi, 2010-Summer 2012

Kristen Ng, Spring 2010-2011

Seeta Rajpara, 2010-2011

Sharib Gaffar, 2009-2010

Bryant Lee, Spring 2010- Spring 2011

Indra Wibowo Tjong, 2009-2010

Andrew J. Keebaugh, Winter 2007-2009

Jacqueline C. So, Summer 2008-2010

Maryjane J. Vennat, Summer 2008-2009

Jennifer L. Mundy, Fall 2008-Spring 2010

Helen Truong, Summer 2007-2009

Alex Ring, Summer 2006-2008

Mary Williams, Summer 2006-2007

Nita Patel, 2006-2007

Mike (Ming) Lee, 2005-2006

Mary Guirguis, Summer 2006

Elizabeth Custodio, 2006

Amy Tran 2004-2005

Grace Chung, 2004-2006

Karen LeBlanc, 2003- 2004

Guitty Fahrmand, 2002-2004

Ricky Luu, 2002-2003

Edouardo Ramirez, July-August 2001