Lab Members

Helen Bateup, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator


Dr. Bateup completed her postdocotoral training in Dr. Bernardo Sabatini's Laboratory at Harvard Medical School where she studied how the mTOR signaling pathway regulates synaptic funciton in the hippocampus. She completed her Ph.D. with Dr. Paul Greengard at Rockefeller University where she elucidated dopamine signaling dynamics in striatal neurons.

Polina Kosillo, DPhil

Project Scientist


Dr. Kosillo completed her DPhil in the lab of Dr. Stephanie Cragg at Oxford University, where she studied the properties of dopamine neurotransmission in health and disease. She joined the Bateup lab in January of 2015 to study the impact of Tsc1 mutations on dopamine neuron physiology and neurotransmitter release.

Jillian Iafrati, Ph.D.

Project Scientist


Dr. Iafrati received a PhD from the University of Marseille in France where he worked with Dr. Pascale Chavis on prefrontal cortical maturation in mice deficient for the reelin protein. He did postdoctoral training in the lab of Dr. Vikaas Sohal at UCSF where he studied dopamine modulation of glutamatergic transmission in the prefrontal cortex. In the Bateup lab, Dr. Iafrati is elucidating the role of the post-synaptic density protein Syngap1 in the striatum and how mutations in Syngap1 lead to autism-related behavioral changes.

Bipan Deb, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow


Dr. Deb received a PhD from the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore, India working in the laboratory of Prof. Gaiti Hasan. During his doctoral studies, he investigated the mechanisms underlying activation of neuronal store-operated calcium (SOC) entry channels by a class of filament forming GTPases, Septins. As a Fulbright fellow at UC San Diego, he explored SOC-channel regulation in human neural precursor cells and forebrain neurons. In the Bateup lab, Dr. Deb is using human cerebral organoid models of TSC to understand the mechanisms underlying the development and formation of cortical tuber cells. He is additionally investigating altered functional properties of the tuber cells using calcium imaging.

Khaja Syed, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow


Dr. Syed received a PhD from Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology, Thiruvananthapuram, India where he worked in the laboratory of Dr. Debasree Dutta studying the role of histone chaperones during somatic cell reprogramming. Following that he worked as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Chung Chau Hon at RIKEN-IMS, Japan where he investigated functional long non-coding RNAs in Parkinson’s Disease (PD) iPSC models using genome-wide CRISPRi screening approachs. In the Bateup lab, (joint with Hockemeyer lab) Dr. Syed will apply functional genomics tools to sudy PD risk genes in human brain organoid models.

Vira Iefremova, Dr. rer. nat.

Postdoctoral Fellow


Dr. Iefremova is originally from Ukraine. She graduated with a BS/MS in Cell Biology and Developmental Biology. She completed her Dr. rer. nat. in Molecular Biomedicine at the Rhenish Friedrich Wilhelm University of Bonn in Germany, where she worked on modeling malformations of human cortical development utilizing human stem cell-derived 3D organoids. In the Bateup lab, Dr. Iefremova is applying human organoid models of TSC to decipher the mechanisms underlying the development of cortical tubers.

Katy Brewer, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow


Dr. Brewer received a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Kentucky working with Dr. Matthew Gentry. Her thesis work centered on biochemical approaches for the diagnosis and treatment of Lafora disease, a fatal childhood epilepsy. In 2019, she earned a Marie Curie COFUND Fellowship to do postdoctoral training in Joan Guinovart’s lab at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine in Barcelona, Spain. There she studied glycogen metabolism in brain and in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Dr. Brewer joined the Bateup lab in 2021.

Tommy Li, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow[at]

Dr. Tommy received a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Stanford University, working in the labs of Dr. Bianxiao Cui and Dr. Sergiu Pasca. Previously, he worked on engineering a genetically-encoded magnetic protein crystal and a flexible mesh electrode system for chronic electrophysiology in brain organoids. In the Bateup lab, he is working on the functional characterization of a brain organoid model of Tuberous Sclerosis Complex.

Villy Karalis, M.S.

MCB Graduate Student


Villy is orignially from Greece. She graduated from the University of Ioannina with a BS/MS in Applied Biology. She previously studied how the olfactory system regulates appetite. Her current project is to elucidate the functions of mTORC1 and mTORC2 signaling in neurons.

Erin Aisenberg

Neuroscience Graduate Student


Erin graduated from Trinity College with a B.S. in Neuroscience and Mathematics, where she studied traumatic brain injury. She then worked as a research technician at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine developing biosensors to detect neuropeptide release. She is investigating neuropeptide signaling within mesolimbic circuits.

Katie Cording

Neuroscience Graduate Student


Katie graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder with a degree in Neuroscience. As a research technician at Columbia University she studied innate olfactory circuits and behaviors in Drosophila. She's investigating how autism-related genetic mutations alter striatal physiology, and how this impacts motor behavior and learning.

Jesse Dunnack

MCB Graduate Student


Jesse is an MCB graduate student who hails from Connecticut. After graduating from UConn with a B.S. in Molecular and Cell Biology, he worked as a research assistant in a developmental neurobiology lab. While there, he helped to establish a mouse model of pediatric ependymoma. He is interested in the use of engineered stem cells to model disease states, particularly using human brain organoids. He hopes to apply these methods between the Hockemeyer and Bateup labs to study Parkinson's Disease.

Laura Haetzel

Neuroscience Graduate Student


Laura is a Neuroscience graduate student in the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute. She received her B.A. in Neuroscience from Pomona College before working as a research specialist at Princeton University. While there, she investigated how striatal circuits mediate reward learning and decision making. In the Bateup Lab, Laura studies the function of Syngap1 in the striatum.

Victoria Du

Staff Research Associate


Victoria is a former UC Berkeley MCB undergrad. She worked as a research assistant at Stanford University and The University of Hong Kong prior to joining the Bateup lab.

Mahmoud Farhan

Staff Research Associate


Mahmoud graduated from U Mass Boston with a B.S. in Biology. He worked as a research technician at Northwestern University prior to joining the Bateup lab.

Devin Snyder, Ph.D.

Project Manager


Dr. Snyder obtained a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore. She is the project manager for our collaborative Aligning Science Across Parkinson’s grant. Devin’s ultimate objective is to generate a highly organized, dependable, and successful team through team member coordination, progress report preparation, and deadline and budget management.


Kamran Ahmed

Neurobiology PhD student at Harvard Medical School

UC Berkeley MCB-Neurobiology undergraduate and honors student (2016-2019), research technician from 2019-2020

John Blair, Ph.D.

Postdoc in Satija lab at NYU

Research technician from 2013-2015 and MCB graduate student from 2015-2020

Dan Kramer, Ph.D.

Consultant at Clear View Health Partners

MCB graduate student from 2015-2020

Katie Benthall, Ph.D.

Scientist at KODA

MCB graduate student from 2014-2019 (the first graduate student in the Bateup lab!)

Alex Agopyan-Miu

MD student at Columbia University Medical School

UC Berkeley MCB-Neurobiology undergradute, our first honors student, and research technician in the lab from 2014-2017

Yan Han, Ph.D.

Scientist at Newomics

Post-doctoral fellow from 2014-2015