David Brann worked under the guidance of Dr. Leroy as a Columbia undergraduate for a year and then as a lab technician for another year. During his stay, he mastered many techniques such as immunohistochemistry and viral injection, and also worked to develop new methods to assay and quantify social behavior. He participated closely in the discovery of a new form of plasticity in CA2 and also helped to characterize CA2 output projections. He is currently a PhD student in Neurobiology in Dr. Bob Datta’s lab at Harvard Medical School.
Broadly, I’m interested in identifying neural circuits that underlie complex behaviors. When I began rotating in Dr. Steven Siegelbaum’s lab at Columbia University, I wanted to investigate if CA2 contributes to other types of social behaviors in addition to social memory as was recently shown in the lab. Hence, I found Dr. Leroy’s project looking at how CA2 regulates social aggression via an extra-hippocampal pathway extremely attractive. Under the mentorship of Dr. Leroy, we developed a social aggression assay for the lab. I also learned slice physiology and various surgical techniques that I continue to utilize throughout my PhD. Currently, I am a PhD candidate in Dr. Randy Bruno’s lab at Columbia University.
As an MD/PhD student in the lab of Dr. Steven Siegelbaum, I am interested in the fundamental relationship between memories and behavior. I use in vivo imaging and population-level circuit tracing and manipulation to query how the small hippocampal subregion, CA2, influences social recognition memories and subsequent social behavior. My career goal is to become a physician-scientist at a leading research university, with clinical specialization in psychiatry and research focus on the biological basis of psychiatric disorders. I worked under the guidance or Dr. Leroy during my rotation and beginning of my Ph.D. in the Siegelbaum lab.
Shivani Bigler graduated from Tufts University before joining the Columbia doctoral program in neurobiology and behavior. She performed her second rotation under the guidance of Dr. Leroy during which she conducted behavioral experiments looking into the involvement of CA2 in mating.
Olivia majored in Neuroscience and Behavior at Wesleyan University, where she conducted an Honors Thesis examining the role of the central amygdala in reward preference. After graduating in 2017, she went on to the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the NIH to study neurobiological mechanisms involved in relapse to addictive substances such as methamphetamine and fentanyl. Currently, she is a first-year student in Columbia’s Doctoral Program in Neurobiology and Behavior. She is primarily interested in studying cellular and circuit mechanisms of behavior and how these mechanisms may be altered in psychiatric disease.