Research Team

Monica Dus, PhD

Assistant Professor, Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology Other departmental affiliations: NGP, CMB, and PIBS Ph.D from Watson School of Biological Sciences, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, NY.  Thesis advisor, Gregory J. Hannon Monica is interested in the interactions between genes and environment and how they shape behavior; neuroepigenetics Other interests: Bichons, cupcakes,  postmodern literature, epistemology, history of science, American football. Watson School of Biological Sciences, CSHL: Alumna Monica Dus discovers the cookie-brain connection Email Monica Dus

Daniel Wilinski, PhD

NRSA Postdoctoral Trainee   PhD from University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI.  Thesis advisor: Marvin Wickens. Daniel  is currently examining the molecular mechanisms that underpin changes in the brain due to a high sugar diet. During his graduate training at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with Marvin Wickens, he examined the evolution of RNA-protein regulatory networks. Prior to graduate school, Daniel taught biology at an all-girls secondary school in Bukoba, Tanzania (East Africa). Other interests: Daniel enjoys traveling with his family (especially to Tanzania), running, cooking, and exploring craft beer in Michigan. Email Daniel Wilinski

Manaswini Sarangi, PhD

PhD from JNCASR, Bangalore, India.  Thesis Advisor: Amitabh Joshi Manaswini’s research is focused on studying what and how the effects of high dietary sugar in parental generation are transmitted to modulate phenotypes in subsequent generations. By keeping her interests in exploring inter/trans-generational inheritance aspect, she aims to understand the extent to which non-DNA molecules transmit information between generations and whether the nature of this information is altered depending upon the dietary environment. She did her Ph.D. from JNCASR, India where she used long-term experimental evolution approach to examine interplay of ecology and genetic architecture for driving greater competitive ability in crowded Drosophila cultures. Other Interests: Passionate about visual arts and science communication. Email Manaswini Sarangi Twitter: @Dr_Manaswini

Hayeon Sung, PhD

Ph.D. from Sungkyunkwan University, Korea. Thesis advisor: Jae Young Kwon. Hayeon is interested neural mechanisms underlying sugar depress sweet taste sensation and effect of diet on various taste modality sensation. She is currently examining the change of peripheral taste sensory neurons and taste organs due to a high sugar diet using flies and rats. Other interests: Traveling, Watching movies and dramas. Email Hayeon Sung

Christina May

Graduate Student, Neuroscience Graduate Program NIH Trainee 2016-18 B.S. in Neuroscience at the University of Texas at Dallas Christina has long been interested in reward systems and how they become dysfunctional, causing long-term behavioral problems like addiction.  Her project in the lab focuses on a sugar diet's effects on taste reward and, using fruit fly and rodents, she is trying to dissect the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which sugar drives overeating and obesity. Other interests: Christina enjoys dancing, swimming, and playing her guitar.  Coming from South Carolina, she has also learned to embrace Michigan winters and is learning how to ice skate. Email Christina May

Anoumid Vaziri

Graduate Student, Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology M.S. in Molecular Biology at Oakland University; B.S. in Marine Biology at Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran Anoumid is interested in how the environment changes brain and behavior, and how environmental cues are integrated into the genome to persistently change gene expression and brain physiology. To tackle such questions she is exploiting the simplicity of the Drosophila feeding circuitry, to understand the neuroepigenetic mechanisms that lead to altered feeding behavior. Other interests: Anoumid enjoys hiking, traveling, spending time with friends and family, and taking care of her plants. Email Anoumid Vaziri Twitter: @anoumid

Thibaut Pardo-Garcia

Graduate Student, Neuroscience Graduate Program Post-Baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) scholar, Medical University of South Carolina B.Sc., Universidad de Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras campus Thibaut is interested in the mechanisms of reward together with learning and memory, as well as feeding behavior. Specifically, he wants to trace the pathways involved in the dysregulation of sugar feeding, modulate these pathways and then look at subpopulations of these neurons and the genes involved in this behavior using learning and memory, as well as feeding behavioral assays. Other interests: Thibaut enjoys dancing to Latin music, outdoor recreational activities, sports, gaming, organizing outreach activities and travelling. Email Thibaut Pardo-Garcia

Ewelina Nowak

Lab Manager, B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Email Ewelina Nowak  

Jasmine Winzeler

Laboratory Technician M.S. in Chemistry, Eastern Michigan University; B.S. in Professional Biochemistry with Honors, Eastern Michigan University Jasmine was the lab manager at the Dus Lab and is currently finishing her work in the lab studying the effect of a high sugar diet on satiation response.  She spends the majority of her day studying transcriptional changes in preterm births at the single cell level. Other interests: outdoor recreational activities, weight lifting, reading, and traveling Email Jasmine Winzeler

Julia Rosander

Undergraduate in Neuroscience, LSA, 2020 Julia is using confocal microscopy and software to determine the relationship between neuronal structure and diet.  She hopes that this data and research will bring attention to the many effects of diet on health. Other interests: looking through scientific and medical journals in search of interesting articles or breakthroughs, shopping and trying the latest restaurants in and around Ann Arbor. Email Julia Rosander

Evan Dennis

Undergraduate in Neuroscience, LSA, 2020 Evan is fascinated by neurology and the influence of the environment on the brain. Other interests: Evan is also passionate about music and loves to play the guitar and violin. In addition to science and music, Evan enjoys running, collecting records, and spending downtime with the family. Email Evan Dennis

Amishi Taneja

Undergraduate in Microbiology, LSA, 2022 Amishi is interested in how sugar diets affect taste circuitry as well as which genes are responsible for changes the neural pathways that alter fly taste responses. Other interests: writing poetry, listening to medical mystery podcasts, heavily analyzing song lyrics, exploring different cities, numerous outdoor activities, and working out. Email Amishi Taneja

Kathleen Gu

Undergraduate in Neuroscience, LSA, 2022 Kathleen is interested in the relationship between the environment — specifically a high-sugar diet — and the mushroom body output neurons in Drosophila. Other interests: Kathleen enjoys laughing, swimming, skiing, pondering bioethics topics, and singing in the car with friends and family. She is also trying to learn how to cook and play electric guitar (not at the same time). Email Kathleen Gu


Brendan Genaw

Former Undergraduate in Biology and English double major, LSA, 2019 Brendan is interested in the metabolic relationship between genes and the environment, specifically, how everyday diets may alter gene expression. He hopes to use this knowledge to not only help individuals lead healthier lives but change how society views food and the environment around us. Other interests: Outside of academics, Brendan enjoys long distance runs in the woods, singing along to the radio at piercing volumes, and losing himself in the pages of the latest bestseller. Email Brendan Genaw

Katty Wu

Former Undergraduate in Cellular & Molecular Biology, 2018 Katty is passionate about understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms, especially the epigenetic regulation, behind sustained changes from environmental influences. During her free time, Katty enjoys reading non-fiction, listening to podcasts and spoken word pieces, as well as writing her own poetry. Other interests: Born and raised in NYC, Katty loves traveling and exploring nooks and crannies on spontaneous adventures with the occasional fashion photo shoot. Email Katty Wu

Jennifer Gottfried

Former Undergraduate in LSA, 2018 Jennifer is studying the effect on sugars on the brain, feeding, and metabolism. Interested in how the brain responds to hunger and satiety. Email Jennifer Gottfried

Lorraine Horwitz

Former Post-baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) Student
Currently graduate student in Neuroscience Graduate Program, Duan Lab