Principle Investigator

Hisashi Umemori, M.D., Ph.D.

HisashiHisashi Umemori’s initial training was as M.D. (University of Tokyo), but early in his clinical career, he decided to devote himself to understanding the basis of the neuropsychiatric diseases that he was unable to treat properly. At the University of Tokyo, he analyzed the molecular mechanisms underlying myelination (Ph.D. work) and synaptic plasticity. These studies kindled his interest in how synapses form in the brain – As a postdoctoral fellow in Joshua Sanes’ lab at Washington University and Harvard University, Dr. Umemori started studying synapse development. He joined the faculty of the University of Michigan in 2006 and returned to Harvard University and joined the F.M. Kirby Neurobiology Center at Children’s Hospital in 2013, deciphering the mechanisms underlying the establishment and function of specific and functional synaptic circuits in the mammalian brain.


Postdoctoral Fellows

Akiko Terauchi, Ph.D.   

AkikoThrough my career in the immunology (Ph.D.) and neurobiology (postdoc) fields, the research theme that attracts me is how cells wisely recognize their binding partners in a crowded environment in order to function appropriately. In the immune system, I have studied the mechanisms of self-recognition and pathogen recognition by lymphocytes. In the brain, I am revealing the role of synaptic organizing molecules in proper synaptic recognition and development.


Erin Johnson-Venkatesh, Ph.D. 

DSC00764Erin has had a long standing interest in understanding how the brain develops. To her, building the brain is like putting together a giant puzzle and she has devoted both her graduate and postdoctoral career to understand this important question. She has learned and employs a variety of molecular, biochemical, genetic, and imaging techniques, with a special emphasis on electrophysiological techniques. Her goal is to continue to conduct research within the field of neurodevelopment.


Masahiro Yasuda, Ph.D.


Naosuke Hoshina, Ph.D.

Naosuke Hoshina

Mariel Seiglie, Ph.D.



Graduate Students

Sivapratha Nagappan, M.S.

197879_10150126585413207_4481483_nSiva Nagappan is a graduate student in the Program in Neuroscience at Harvard University. Originally from Malaysia, she completed a major in Molecular and Cell Biology with a minor in Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. It was during this time that she developed an interest in understanding the brain. In the Umemori Lab, she is working on understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying activity-dependent synaptic refinement.



Research Assistants

Emily Durlacher

Veronica Rally

Julia Pitino

Jaanvi Sant

Miyuki Hoshina


Master’s Students

Yolanda Rao


Undergraduate Students

Kelly Hoover


Medical Students

Yağız Menekşedağ


High School Students

Julie Wilson and Rebecca Lin

Julie Rebecca

Emily Leventhal


Lab Alumni

Postdoctoral Fellows:

2006-2009       Ayako Murayama, MD, PhD/ Assistant Professor, Keio University School of Medicine

2011-2015       Aislinn Williams, MD, PhD/ Assistant Professor, University of Iowa

2012-2013       Tina Chen, PhD/ Western Michigan University School of Medicine

2014-2015       Hsin-Lan Wen, PhD


Graduate Students:

2010-2015       Ania Dabrowski, MD, PhD/ Johns Hopkins Hospital

2011-2013       Mudassar Khan, MS/ European Neuroscience Institute, Gottingen

2012-2013       David Larsen, MS/ Bayer CropScience

Rotation: Lynn Kee, Adrienne Wang, Elizabeth Gibbs, Chris Hart, Aaron Reifler, Travis Dickendesher, Mark Taylor, Joe Knoedler, Jesse Winters, Emma Jecrois, Brooke Horton, Ritesh KC


Research Assistants

2006-2010       Mei Zhang, BS/ University of Washington

2007-2008       Chisaka Kanki, MD/ Instructor, University of Occupational & Environmental Health

2010-2015       Patricia Lee, BS/ MD-PhD student at Penn State College of Medicine

2010-2014       Andrew McNamara, BS/ Graduate Student at Indiana University


Undergraduate Students:

2006-2010       Danish Javed, BS, MD/ University of Cincinnati College of Medicine

2007-2011       Anna Toth, BS/ MD-PhD student at Northwestern University

2008-2015       Clara Lee, BS/ Medical Student at Michigan State University

2009-2013       Lily Zhang, BS, MD/ Washington University at St. Louis

2010-2012       Koto Kikuma, BS/ Graduate student at USC

2010-2014       Kendall Timmons, BS/ Graduate student at Northwestern University

2010-2014       Cameron Strong, BS, MD/ University of Michigan Medical School

2010-2014       Brenna Bullock, BS/ University of Michigan

2015-2016       Anastasiya Vasilyeva/ Barnard College of Columbia University

2017                Elizabeth Gavin/ Georgetown University

UROP students: Ryan DeAngelis, Anjali Sarver, Holly Harris, Xiaoran Zhang, Cory Hafer, Jean Xu, Julie Rowe, Christine Park, Sandhya Rangarajan, Mariana De Freitas, Sophia Park, Ross Carson, Erin Piell, Christina Capriccioso, Julian Hills, Alex Garrigo, Jacob Rainey

Independent Study Students: Kailene Schabes, Jae Shim, Michelle Okada, Seerat Aujla, Alex Munoz

Others: Jacqueline Liu, Jerry Chen, Justinder Mahal, Michael Cole, Charles Lu, Bindi Parikh, Manish Karamchandani, Niyi Akinleye, Gert Wallis


Medical Students:

2015-2016       Yurie Rai/ Medical Scientist Training Program at University of Tokyo

2017                Hideaki Kume/ Medical Scientist Training Program at University of Tokyo


High School Students:

2015                Brian Askew, Brinda Lamarre

2017                Julie Wilson