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Matthew T. Colonnese, PhD

Principal Investigator   |  PhD Yale University

Dr. Colonnese established the Laboratory for Systems Neural Development at the George Washington University Medical School in Washington, D.C. in 2011. The group studies early brain activity using a multi-disciplinary approach including in vivo electrophysiology and network analysis of brain activity in the neonatal rodent.  Dr. Colonnese' expertise includes in vivo electrophysiology and fMRI in developing rodents, analysis of EEG in preterm infants, and anatomical assays of synapse development and connectivity in sensory systems.  Dr. Colonnese is an active scientist and lecturer and continues to seek close relationships with clinicians to ensure the relevance of the laboratory's work to human health and development. 

Dr. Murata studies how neuronal activity propagates in intact neonatal animals. Activity is crucial for normal circuit formation, but is usually assumed to be passively transmitted.  Dr. Murata's work is revealing active mechanisms used by the developing brain to compensate for weak immature connections and ensure efficient information transfer, which facilitates proper wiring.  His expertise includes molecular biology, in vivo electrophysiology and 2-photon imaging, optogenetics,  mass spectroscopy-based proteomics, and synaptic biochemistry. 

Marnie Phillips, PhD  

PhD  Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Dr. Phillips is a developmental neurobiologist interested in the extent to which external factors, like experience, can influence synaptic development of the brain.   Her expertise includes ion channel electrophysiology, molecular cloning, synaptic analysis, viral mediated gene transfer, biochemistry, neuroanatomy and science writing.  Dr. Phillips' work is helping to understand the degree to which early sensory input shapes the neonatal brain. When not in lab, you can find her on a backcountry trail or climbing wall.


Maria Pompeiano, MD PhD  

MD PhD University of Pisa, Italy

Dr. Pompeiano is interested in the neurochemical basis of sleep-wake cycle development.   Her research is identifying the neuromodulator systems important for early sleep and wake behaviors in developing animals.  Her expertise includes over 20 years of experience in the biology of sleep and circadian rhythms, biochemistry, neuroanatomy and behavioral analysis.

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Ruben Tikidzhi-Khamburyan, PhD

MS Physics Southern Federal University

PhD Computer Science/Neuroscience

Kogan Research Institute for Neurocybernetics, Russia, 

Dr Tikidzhi-Khamburyan is a computational and theoretical neuroscientist interested in information processing in neural networks.  He is creating detailed biophysical models of network development to understand the neuronal mechanisms of sensory perception and how early neuronal assemblies are formed.  

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Nate Boley

Bachelor of Science, Muhlenberg College

Mr Boley is a predoctoral student pursuing a PhD in Biomedical Sciences under the mentorship of Dr Colonnese.  He is interested in understanding thalamic connectivity in early development.  

Former Lab Members

Program Analyst

Division of Extramural Research

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), Bethesda MD

Alexis Gorin, PhD Candidate

PhD candidate, Neuroscience

University of Southern California

Laboratory of Judith Hirsch

Visual encoding in thalamic networks

Myron Houngbedji

Premed/Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins University

NIH/NIDDK student research fellow

Kelsey Kuebler

Premed, George Washington University

Chongxi Lai, PhD Candidate

Scott Risney, MD candidate

School of Medicine

Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond VA

Pouria Riyahi, MS

MS George Washington University

Clinical Data Scientist and Manager

Sinaria, Inc., Washington D.C.

Jing Shen, MSEE


MathWorks, Natick MA

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