Past Lab Members

Alyssa Bobe
Intended Biology/Biochemistry Major, 2015

Alyssa is an Ada Comstock scholar and spent the last 7 years in a variety of different positions within the medical field. After specializing in oncology imaging she decided to return to school in pursuit of her B.A. and is hoping to attend a Masters program to become a Physicians Assistant after graduating. The Developmental Biology course intrigued Alyssa and she is now working in the zebrafish lab with Dr. Barresi and plan to continue working in the lab at least through the summer. She is a neuroscience major and loves Smith College.


Lidiya Denu
Biology Major, 2013

Lidiya is a junior, majoring in Biology. She has been in the lab for a year and a half. She is working on cellular and molecular characterization of POC associated astroglial cells in the zebrafish forebrain. She would like to study medicine.


Brittany Edens
Neuroscience major, Art History minor, 2013

Brittany joined the Barresi Lab her first year at Smith and she currently heads the Slit-Robo project. Her work aims to elucidate the distinct signaling capabilities of the secreted Slit1a ligand in formation of the POC (post optic commissure), as well as identify the Robo receptor(s) responsible for mediating response in growth cones. An underlying goal of her project is to further inform the broad study of axon/glial interactions through manipulation of Slit and Robo expression and analysis of response in both axons and glia. Brittany studies Neuroscience and Art History at Smith and hopes to pursue doctoral studies in neurodevelopment. Her research interests include cell signaling and axon guidance, axon/glial interactions, cell commitment and morphogenesis, cell proliferation and migration, and neocortical development.


Maria Caterina Lagdameo
Neuroscience major, Studio Art minor, 2012

Pre-med student and research assistant aiming to determine the role of Deepwater Horizon crude oil and dispersants on embryonic development and estrogenic responses. Having an interest in Global Health, she hope to earn an MD,MPH and later on be able to address healthcare in developing countries.

Paula Zaman
Neuroscience major, 2013

Paula has been working in lab as a work-study student for two years. She is currently working on the ZRF project. The focus of the research project is to determine, quantify, and further look into what the unknown proteins that the zrf (2-4)antibodies bind to and how they play a role in post-optic commissural formation.

Rebecca Bernardos, Post Doctoral Associate
Ph.D. Neuroscience, University of Michigan

Rebecca was an American Cancer Society Post doctoral fellow in the Barresi lab from 2010 to 2011. Her research interests focused on glial cell specification and regulation in the developing zebrafish CNS. Rebecca is currently at UMass Amherst pursuing a totally new direction in the plant sciences.

Sean Burton, Ph.D. Candidate

Sean is a graduate student in the Neuroscience and Behavior Program at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. He is under the Joint supervision of Michael Barresi (Smith College) and Rolf Karlstrom (UMass). Sean’s has worked to complete the characterization of a screen of insertional mutants for axon and astroglial defects. He is now focused on defining the role of axon-astroglial interactions during the formation of forebrain commissures.

Allegra Lord
Biology Major, 2005

Allegra began the first attempts to knock down robo1 function and determine its effect on the POC. After graduation she took a position as a 2-3yr lab technician in Leonard Zon’s Zebrafish lab in at MGH, Boston, MA. She has been most interested in the stem cell work they have been doing and has plans to go on for her Ph.D. focused on stem cell development.

Kristina DiPietrantonio
Biology Major, 2007

Kristina was the first student to work in my laboratory and spent a total of 3 years. Her efforts initially were focused on defining the role of Roundabouts, but soon shifted to the analysis of 50 insertional mutants generated by the Hopkins Lab at MIT. Kristina then concentrated on characterizing one of the mutants that effects the eg5 gene. She will be working in Brent Stockwell’s Lab at Columbia University testing the effect of various small molecules involved in cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. Kristina is also enrolled in the Biotechnology Masters Program at Columbia and hopes to pursue a career in the Biotech/pharmaceutical Industry.

Anne Tanenhaus
Neuroscience Major, 2007

Anne has spent two years in my lab and completed an honors thesis to which the college granted her highest honors. Her work was focused on defining the role of Robo1,2, &3 during forebrain commissure formation using both molecular and genetic loss of function approaches. After taking a year of R&R in Arizona she will be applying to Ph.D. programs. Her main interest is to study the genetic and molecular regulation of behavior as it relates to neuroscience.

Kristin Alligood
Neuroscience Major, 2008

Kristin first worked with Dr. Stefan Bodnarenko in the Psychology Department focused on bipolar neuron patterning in the developing retina of Ferrets. Fostered initially through a collaboration between our labs, Kristin began working on zebrafish bipolar development. However following the unfortunate passing of Dr. Bodnarenko, Kristin stayed on in my lab focused on defining the role of Slits as repellent and potential attractant cues in the zebrafish forebrain, as well as characterizing the cellular and molecular aspects of astroglial cells in the forebrain. Her work was heroic and comprehensive, setting the foundation for the work of many students to follow in her foot steps. Kristin completed and Honors Thesis that was awarded Highest Honors by the college. She is currently employed as a research assistant under the guidance of Dr. Judith Eisen at the University of Oregon. Kristin’s future goal is to attend graduate school for her Ph.D. focused in the newly emerging field of ecology and development (Eco-Devo).

Michelle Wong, SOMAS Scholar
Biological Sciences Major, 2008

Michelle spent two years working in my laboratory investigating the role of Roundabout receptors 1 and 2 in forebrain commissure formation. Michelle and her work was funded by a grant from Davidson College and the NSF under the SOMAS program (Support of Mentors and their Students in Neuroscience). Michelle is currently a Doctor’s assistant while pursuing medical school.

Elizabeth Deschene
Neuroscience Major, 2009

Elizabeth spent almost two years in my lab and competed an honor thesis project focused on determining what guidance roles Slit1a and Slit2 play during post-optic commissure formation. Elizabeth is currently enrolled in the Ph.D. program in the molecular, cellular and developmental biology track at Yale University.

Sarah Krikorian
Biology Major, 2009

Sarah spent nearly all four years of her undergraduate career in the Barresi Lab. Her time in the lab was split by an extra year off of college to work on an organic farm in South America. Sarah has participated in all of the projects of the lab one way or another. She spent much of her first 2 years focused on defining the role of Roundabout receptors in commissure formation, and then her last 2 years more concentrated on characterizing the role of Eg5 in neural stem cell proliferation. Sarah plans to spend 1-2 years volunteering before pursuing a graduate degree in public health.

Azucena Ramos
Neuroscience/Chemistry Double Major, 2009

Azucena (Susy) was an Arnold and Mabel Beckman Scholar and her honors thesis project focused on defining the roles of the Roundabout receptors during post-optic commissure formation. After graduation Susy took a position as a research associate and lab manager in Dr. Fernando Camargo’s Lab at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute working on adult stem cell biology in the mouse.


Sarah Bashiruddin, ’10 Neuroscience Major, Past Stride Scholar, New Beckman Scholar

Sarah started in my laboratory Fall of 2006 as a STRIDE scholar and was awarded the nationally regarded Arnold and Mabel Beckman Scholarship. Sarah completed and honor thesis focused on defining the populations of astroglia in the forebrain and on determining whether whether these populations are directly required for commissure formation. Her research was remarkably diverse using approaches in the fields of embryology and microscopy to genetics and biochemistry.

Alissa Ortman, ’10 Neuroscience Major, Past Stride Scholar

Alissa started in the Barresi lab is Fall of 2006 as an entering first year student through the STRIDE fellowship program. Alissa stayed on for all four years focused on characterizing the role of the Kif11 kinesin motor protein in mediating neural stem cell division in the embryonic spinal cord. Her efforts have contributed significantly to a publication in preparation on this work. Alissa will be entering the Peace Corp for two years as a secondary education teacher. She has aspiration to pursue public health and law to “act as a liaison between politicians and scientists”

Alexander Workman

Alex has been the labs research technician since July of 2007. He plays crucial roles in the development, maintenance, and management of all the Barresi Lab research studies.

Alexandra Sobhani, ’11 Biology and Neuroscience Double Major

Alexandra has been responsible for a majority of our labs genotyping, but will be transitioning into testing the role of Slit1a in POC guidance.

Christine Bishundat, ’12 Undecided, AEMES Scholar

In her first year Chris is becoming familiar with zebrafish husbandry and providing assistance on the characterization of astroglia in the forebrain.

Other Students who have participated in Barresi Lab research:

Emma Coleman (’09), Arlene Ellis (’07), Selmanesh Nida (’07), and Caitlyn Webster (’08), Alissa Ortman (’10), Sarah Bashiruddin (’10), Azucena Ramos (’09), Sarah Krikorian (’09), Elizabeth Deschene (’09), Michelle Wong (’08), Kristin Alligood (’08), Anne Tanenhaus (’07), Kristina DiPietrantonio (’07), Allegra Lord (’05), Christine Bishundat (’12), Alexandra Sobhani (’11), Sean Burton (Ph.D.), Alexander Workman, Rebecca Bernardos (Post Doctoral Associate), Paula Zaman (’13), Maria Caterina Lagdameo (’12), Alyssa Bobe (’15), Brittany Edens (’13), Lidiya Denu (’13)


Current Lab Members