The Ron Davis Laboratory at the Scripps Research Institute Florida | Lab Members

Lab Members


Isaac Cervantes-Sandoval

Isaac Cervantes-Sandoval

Staff Scientist, Sr.
Email: isandova@scripps.edu

Isaac graduated in 2009 with a Ph.D. in Chemical and Biological Science in The National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) in Mexico. His dissertation work with Dr. Shibayama involved the study of immune natural response against the human parasitic amoeba Naegleria fowleri. Isaac is currently exploring reward learning memory traces.

**Jacob Berry

Jacob Berry

Research Associate
Email: jaberry@scripps.edu

Jacob Berry graduated in 2002 with a Bachelor's degree in Computation Physics from the University of Texas at Austin. After working for two years in breast cancer research at Baylor College of Medicine and MD Anderson Cancer Center, he entered the Developmental Biology Program at BCM and started his PhD research on learning and memory in the Davis lab. Jacob recently obtained his PhD and is currently a postdoctoral fellow studying dopamine neurons and their role in learning and forgetting using a combination of in vivo functional imaging and behavioral assays.

Germain Busto

Germain Busto

Research Associate
Email: gbusto@scripps.edu

Germain graduated in 2009 with a Ph.D. in Neurosciences from the University of Lyon with Dr. Anne Didier’s team. His dissertation work with Professor Jourdan and Dr. Marcel involved the study of the cellular and molecular processes underlying olfactory associative learning in the mouse main olfactory bulb. Germain is currently exploring project ideas to study learning and memory processes using Drosophila as a model system.

Ilaria Drago

Ilaria Drago

Research Associate
Email: idrago@scripps.edu

Ilaria graduated in 2009 from the University of Padova in Italy with a Ph.D. in Cellular Biology. Her previous research with professor Tullio Pozzan laboratory dealt with peroxisomal and mitochondrial calcium homeostasis by the use of FRET-based calcium probes. Ilaria is currently investigating the role of mitochondria in memory formation in Drosophila.

Yunchao Gai

Yunchao Gai

Research Associate
Email: ygai@scripps.edu

Yunchao Gai received his Ph.D. from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in May 2009, under Professor Linsheng Song’s guidance. During that period, he had been investigating invertebrate innate immune system at the cellular and molecular level. After graduation, he worked as a research assistant in the Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Technology, CAS, to develop clinical diagnostic reagent until 2010 May. Before joining the Davis Lab, he studied on the immune genes and signaling pathways as a postdoctoral fellow in the University of Missouri- Kansas City. He is currently involved in RNAi screen project identifying genes that play roles in Drosophila learning and memory.

Tugba Guven Ozkan

Tugba Guven Ozkan

Research Associate
Email: tguven@scripps.edu

Tugba obtained her Bachelor’s degree from Bilkent University, Turkey in 2004. She moved to Dallas, Texas and graduated from UT Southwestern Medical Center in 2009 with a Ph.D. in Genetics and Development. In her graduate work, she used model organism C. elegans in Dr. Rueyling Lin’s lab to investigate transcriptional and translational regulation of oocyte maturation and germline formation. She joined the Davis lab in September 2010 and is currently focusing her studies on ERK/MAPK signaling pathways in learning and memory.

Tugba Guven Ozkan

Ze "Cindy" Liu

Research Associate
Email: zliu@scripps.edu

Cindy graduated in 2013 from the University of Missouri-Kansas City with a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences. Her previous research in Dr. Erika R. Geisbrecht's laboratory focused on muscle development processes in Drosophila. She joined the Davis lab in September 2013 and is currently focusing her studies on Mitochondria Drug screening using cultured mouse primary neurons.

Rodrigo Pacifico

Rodrigo Pacifico

Research Associate
Email: rpacific@scripps.edu

Rodrigo graduated in 2005 with a Bachelor's in Biological Sciences from the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) in Brazil. He obtained his Ph.D. in Neuroscience in 2012 from Northwestern University, where he worked in the lab of Dr. Thomas Bozza. Rodrigo's graduate work on the mouse olfactory system uncovered a genetically distinct neural circuit specialized in the detection of amines--a behaviorally relevant class of chemicals. He is generally interested in the molecular basis of behavior, and he joined the Davis Lab in June 2013 to study the genetics of psychiatric disorders.

Anna Phan

Anna Phan

Research Associate
Email: aphan@scripps.edu

Anna graduated in 2013 with a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from The University of Guelph in Canada, where she worked with Dr. Elena Choleris, studying the effects of estrogens on learning and memory, dendritic spines and glutamate neurotransmission in mice. Anna is currently investigating the role of structural plasticity in learning and memory in Drosophila Melanogaster.

Sophie Ziegler-Himmelreich

Sophie Ziegler-Himmelreich

Research Associate
Email: sziegler@scripps.edu

Sophie graduated in 2013 with a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany. Her dissertation work in Professor Dr. Grünewald’s lab involved the study of cellular mechanisms during learning and memory formation in the honeybee. Sophie is currently investigating the role of intracellular pathways during memory and learning in the fruit fly,Drosophila Melanogaster.

Molee Chakraborty

Molee Chakraborty

Research Assistant III
Email: mchakrab@scripps.edu

Molee graduated from the University of Burdwan, India, in 1997 with a Master’s degree in Zoology. After receiving a Bachelor’s degree in Education, she went on to teach Math & Science at the Heritage School, Kolkata, India in 2000. She moved to the US in 2004 and in 2008 she started working at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, at the laboratory of Dr. Mark Donowitz searching for novel drugs for treating diarrhea.  She joined Dr. Davis’s lab in 2012 and is currently studying the molecular biological aspect of learning and memory in the Drosophila model system.

Courtney MacMullen

Courtney "Cori" MacMullen

Research Assistant IV
Email: cmacmull@scripps.edu

Cori graduated from Cedar Crest College in 1999 with a Bachelor’s degree in Genetic Engineering and minor in Chemistry. She went on to work for 11 years at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where she searched for novel, disease-causing mutations in children with Hyperinsulinism. Cori is currently using these techniques to search for novel mutations in bipolar disorder patients whose shared genetic haplotypes link them to genes involved in memory and learning.

Kyle Vick

Kyle Vick

Research Assistant II
Email: kvick@scripps.edu

Kyle graduated from Florida Atlantic University in 2009 with a Master's Degree in behavioral neuroscience. His thesis work with Dr. Robert Stackman's lab focused on the role of small conductance calcium-activated potassium channels (SK channels) in discrete brain regions associated with learning and memory. Kyle is currently investigating the role of integrin signaling for working memory using genetic techniques on a mouse model.

Erica Walkinshaw

Erica Walkinshaw

Research Assistant I
Email: ewalkins@scripps.edu

Erica received her Bachelor's degree in Biology from Boston University in January 2011. Joining the Davis Lab as a Research Technician in February 2011, she was involved in a screen identifying genes that impact olfactory learning and memory in Drosophila. Erica was promoted to Research Assistant in January 2013, and is currently studying genetic mutants with enhanced learning and memory abilities.

Caitlin DeStefanis

Caitlin DeStefanis

Research Technician
Email: cdestefa@scripps.edu

Caitlin graduated from Palm Beach Atlantic University in 2010 with a Bachelor's Degree in Biology. She joined the Davis Lab as a Research Technician in March 2011 and is currently involved in identifying genes associated with olfactory learning and memory in Drosophila.

Trina Kemp

David Walkinshaw

Lab Helper
Email: dwalkins@scripps.edu

David joined the Davis Lab at Scripps in September 2013 as a fly food chef. Prior to joining the lab, David retired to Florida after a 30 year career in funeral service.

Trina Kemp

Trina Kemp

Administrative Assistant Sr
Email: tmiles@scripps.edu

Trina Kemp joined the Davis Lab at Scripps in July 2009 as Administrative Assistant. She supports Dr. Ronald L. Davis, Professor and Chair for the Department and Dr. Damon Page, Assistant Professor in the Department. Trina’s background includes more than 15 years of professional support experience.