Graduate students

Maryna Pilkiw

Ph. D. student

I am in my final undergraduate year at the University of Toronto studying neuroscience and psychology. During my studies I took various courses, from linguistics and philosophy to chemistry and computer science. The common thread that I found in each of these disciplines was their unique contribution to asking and giving answers about how the brain and mind work. My most valuable experience, however, came not from the classroom but from “hands on” work with the brain in the lab – from seeing intricate anatomical structures to hearing the translation of firings of single neurons. This experience shaped my interest to pursue studies in systems neuroscience and computational neuroscience at the graduate level.

XiaoTian (Tag) Yu

Ph.D. student

Tag is currently a PhD candidate researching the neural mechanisms behind how temporal associative memories are formed. He has been in the Takehara Lab at U of T since his undergraduate years, after graduating with an Honours Bachelor of Science he joined the lab as a Masters student and then transferred into the PhD program. Since he joined the lab Tag has become proficient at many techniques used in neuroscience, such as: optogenetics, chemogenetics, stereotaxic surgery, and various forms of MATLAB data analysis. His current research involves using a blend of all the aforementioned techniques as well as a new technique called fiber photometry to investigate the various neural pathways underlying the formation of temporal associative memories.

Justin Jarovi

Ph.D. student

Gaqi (Jakki) Tu

Ph.D. student

While working on ischemic stroke and Huntington's disease research during my undergrad years, I was fascinated by brain sciences, from synaptic molecules to neuronal firing and to animal behaviors. I, therefore, ventured into the field of neuroscience, specifically to understand the underlying mechanism of associative memory. Here in Takehara lab, my research is focused on identifying and characterizing the role of basal forebrain cholinergic inputs to the medial prefrontal cortex in the trace eyeblink conditioning. Outside of the laboratory, I like photography and cooking.

Victoria Dawson

MSc student

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Undergraduate students

Afnan Shahid

Lab Manager

Samuel Gillman

Undergraduate studen

Michael Truong

Undergraduate student

Martin Hermans

Undergraduate student

Jessica Yu

Undergraduate stude

Andrew Peluso

Undergraduate student

Lisa Guan

Undergraduate student

Surovi Yasmin

Undergraduate student

I am a neuroscience undergraduate student in my final year at U of T. My involvement in Dr.  Takehara’s lab allowed me to learn about the brain from a completely different perspective than what is presented in lecture halls and textbooks. Throughout my time at the lab, I have gained experience in handling and constructing small electrical components for surgeries as well as learning to conduct behavioural experiments involving primates. My current work focuses on examining the effects of enhancing the mPFC on long term memory formation in rats. Aside from the lab work, I do karate, I love cooking, going on adventures, especially camping and going on hikes, traveling, and connecting with my peers. 

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Former postdocs

Nathan Insel, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at the University of Montana

Julien Volle, Ph.D.


Former graduate students

Mark Morrissey, Ph.D., Post-doctoral fellow in the Tonegawar lab at MIT

Navdeep Lidhar, Graduate student in the Martin lab at University of Toronto Mississauga

Seyed (Bardia) Nouriziabari, Student at Ryerson University 

Stephanie Tanninen, Ph.D., Manager, Centre for Biological Timing and Cognition at University of Toronto 

Bohan Xing