Post-doctoral fellow

Sergey Chekhov

Sergey is an electrophysiology specialist studying
memory formation and retrieval. He previously focused on the initial stages of spatial learning in rats and in particular, the resulting early modifications of hippocampal maps and their reliance on visual cues. He currently investigates hippocampal traces of new knowledge inferred from previously learned premisses. This project is a close proxy for studying the extraction of semantic knowledge from episodic memories in humans, but with all the power of electrophysiological experimentation in rodents.


Ph.D. student

Maryna Pilkiw

I am a PhD candidate working on understanding the neural bases of integration of different sensory and mnemonic information in the brain. During my Master’s work, I characterized activity of single neurons in the lateral entorhinal cortex (LEC) and demonstrated its role in situation coding. In the current project, my aim is to discover the role of the LEC projections to the medial prefrontal cortex, and their role in memory retrieval. Outside of the lab, I am discovering astrophotography and drone piloting.

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Ph.D. student

Gaqi (Jakki) Tu

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.

Pampas Flower

MSc. student

Yixiong Sun

Yixiong is a MSc candidate studying the role of hippocampal ripple and neocortical spindle coupling on memory consolidation in Alzheimer's disease. He graduated from McGill University with a Bachelor of Science - Honours Computer Science and Biology. Throughout his undergraduate study, Yixiong has accumulated extensive experience in the software development industry and hopes to be able to apply his computer science skills in the field of neuroscience. Now as a part of the Takehara lab, Yixiong will learn and use a variety of neuroscience techniques, including electrophysiology with LFP, single neuron recordings, and electrical stimulation, behavioural experimentation, stereotaxic surgery, and time series analysis. In his free time, he tends to go on hikes, read, and play board games with his friends.


Undergraduate student

Fasika Jembere

I am a fourth-year undergraduate student investigating the neural circuits underlying transitive inference in the hippocampus (HPC) & the prefrontal cortex (PFC). I am working with Dr. Sergey Chekhov as an undergraduate project student and I am involved directly with the experimental and analytical parts of the project by training the rats, assessing task performance, preparing, and imaging the brain sections, and quantifying the labelled cells. Outside of the lab, I like to read, travel & spend time with friends. 


Undergraduate student

Bhavya Patel

I am a fourth-year undergraduate student at the University of Toronto specializing in Neuroscience and majoring in Physiology. Working alongside and under the supervision of Dr. Sergey Chekhov, I have completed a literature review of research articles from 2000-2011 examining the pattern of c-fos expression in various memory-related tasks. Furthermore, I assist Dr. Chekhov in investigating transitive inference behavioral tasks in rodent models. Outside of the lab, I work at the Humber River Hospital Vaccination Clinic and am involved in many university positions such as ASKme Anything Student Ambassador, Green Screen Student Ambassador. 


Ph.D. student

XiaoTian (Tag) Yu

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.

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Ph.D. student

Justin Jarovi

I am a PhD candidate investigating the role of the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) on memory expression. During my master’s work, I focused on understanding how the mPFC regulates the strength of memory encoding. I found that chemogenetically enhancing mPFC activity facilitated faster associative learning in rats and was accompanied by increased theta activity. After transferring into the PhD program, I broadened the scope of my project to investigate how neural networks within the mPFC interact with hippocampal networks to promote novel behaviours that are based on prior learning. Throughout my graduate studies, I have learned to analyze various biosignals such as EEG/LFP, EMG and action potentials using a multitude of techniques including single-unit, neural network, and time-frequency analyses as well as machine learning in MATLAB. Outside of the lab, I enjoy travelling to new countries, trying new foods, and listening to hip-hop.


Ph. D. student

Mryam Ali

Mryam is a PhD student at the Takehara Lab. She is studying the role of cholinergic neurons projecting to the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) in order to understand the neurochemical and circuit bases of maladaptive threat anticipation. She graduated from the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus where she completed a double major in Neuroscience and Psychology towards her Honours Bachelor of Sciences undergraduate degree. Here at the Takehara lab Mryam will broaden her methodological and technical proficiency through her work with optogenetics, fibre photometry, chemogenetics and more. Outside the lab, Mryam enjoys to spend a lot of her time with her cat, going on adventures and listening to music.

Field of Flowers

Undergraduate student

Adel Halawa


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Undergraduate student

Rushil Dave

I am an undergraduate student majoring in Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus. I assist Dr. Sergey Chekhov in conditioning rats to investigate immediate-early gene expression in memory-related processes. Outside of the lab, I’m a Co-Host on the MedBoys Podcast, a YouTube channel where I interview doctors and students on their experiences.


Former postdocs
Nathan Insel, Ph.D.                   Assistant Professor at the University of Montana
Julien Volle, Ph.D.                     Research Scientist at Synapcell
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 the University of Toronto Mississauga
Seyed (Bardia) Nouriziabari       Student at Ryerson University 
Stephanie Tanninen, Ph.D.         Behavioural Neuroscience Technician/Specialist, Biological Sciences Facility,                                                     University of Toronto 
Bohan Xing
Victoria Dawson