People

Our lab in the Mellon Institute is not easy to find without directions.
Nathan

Principle Investigator –
Nathan Urban, Ph.D.
Frederick A. Schwertz Distinguished Professor of Life Sciences and Head,
Department of Biological sciences.Professor, Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition,
Adjunct Professor Department of Neuroscience University of Pittsburgh and Center for Neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh.Work in my lab focuses on how networks of real neurons give rise to brain function and especially brain computation. Thus we use physiological and optical approaches to monitor neuronal activity while also developing computational models of the neurons and circuits from which we record. Much of our work is performed using the mouse olfactory system as a model for the kinds of processing that occurs throughout many areas of the brain. We are particularly interested in mechanisms and functions of oscillations and synchrony, dynamics of inhibitory interactions in networks, and dendritic integration/single neuron computation. We are also interested in the regulation of synapse specification, both during early development and during the integration of adult-born neurons. Finally, we are working with several collaborators to develop new approaches to the study of decision making in human subjects.

Postdocs
Rick Gerkin
Rick Gerkin
rickg AT SYMBOL cmu PERIOD eduI am interested in how odor representation unfolds across time in the olfactory system, and whether such temporal dynamics can contribute to olfactory performance in vivo.Specifically, I am investigating the contribution of inhibitory synaptic input to the temporal patterning of ensemble mitral cell activity in vivo, and how this temporal patterning might increase the identification or discriminability of odors.

Pete Jones
pwjones AT SYMBOL cnbc PERIOD cmu PERIOD edu

Jing Wen
jingwen AT SYMBOL andrew PERIOD cmu PERIOD edu

Graduate Students

Ph.D. Student – Jun Ma

junma AT SYMBOL andrew DOT cmu DOT edu

Ph.D. Student – Matthew Geramita

Geramita Dot Mathew AT SYMBOL medstudent DOT pitt DOT edu

I am interested in using electrophysiology and computational modeling to understand the dynamics and impact of mitral cell correlations across time scales.

Ph.D. Student – Santosh Chandrasekaran

santoshc AT SYMBOL andrew DOT cmu DOT edu

Ph.D. Student – Shawn Burton

burton AT SYMBOL cmu DOT edu

I am investigating local network interactions among mitral cells, including lateral inhibition between active mitral cells and correlation-induced synchronization of oscillating mitral cells.

Shreejoy Tripathy
Ph.D. Student – Shreejoy Tripathy
stripat3 AT SYMBOL gmail DOT com

Ph.D. Student – YiYi Yu

yuyiyi1987 AT SYMBOL gmail DOT com

I am investigating local network interactions among mitral cells, including lateral inhibition between active mitral cells and correlation-induced synchronization of oscillating mitral cells.

Research Technician
Greg
Greg LaRocca
glarocca AT SYMBOL andrew DOT cmu DOT edu

I graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1982 with a B.S. in Microbiology, and since that time have worked at the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, and Cellomics, Inc. My current responsibilities include immunohistological staining and imaging of olfactory bulb slices, maintaining the labs’ microscope systems, and ordering supplies.

Urban Lab Collaborators

Alison Barth
, Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University
Anne Marie Oswald
, Assistant Professor, Neuroscience, University of Pittsburgh

Bard Ermentrout, Professor, Department of Mathematics, University of Pittsburgh

Brent Doiron, Assistant Professor, Department of Mathematics, University of Pittsburgh

Rob Kass, Professor, Statistics,  Carnegie Mellon University

Undergraduate Students
Amy Zhang – amyz AT SYMBOL andrew DOT cmu DOT edu

Mridula Nadamuni – mnadamun AT SYMBOL andrew DOT cmu DOT edu

Summer Undergrad – Elise Croteau – Chonkacrote22e AT SYMBOL mtholyoke DOT edu

Urban Lab Alumni

Sonya Gridhar

Ph.D. Student – Sonya Giridhar

sbp11+ AT SYMBOL pitt DOT edu

I am interested in using electrophysiology and computational modeling to understand the dynamics and impact of mitral cell correlations across time scales.

Ken Hovis

Ph.D. student – Ken Hovis

khovis AT SYMBOL @cmu DOT edu

While in the lab – I was working on a project along with Jason Castro examining the spontaneous synaptic activity of mitral cells as a result of activation of metabotropic glutamate receptors in the accessory olfactory bulb.

Daniel Jimenez
Ph.D. student – Daniel Jimenez
djimenez AT SYMBOL gmail DOT comWhile in the lab – I was interested in the functional integration of stem cells into neural circuits. Our experiments in the olfactory bulb pointed to ongoing activity as a modulator of the ability of neural stem cells to enter an existing neural system. In order to investigate this we used a variety of techniques including viral transfection, behavior, electrophysiology, and 2 photon in vivo imaging.

Krishnan Padmanabhan

Postdoc – Krishnan Padmanabhan

kpadmana AT SYMBOL andrew DOT cmu DOT edu

vikrant

Ph.D. Student – Vikrant Kapoor

Jason
Student and Postdoc – Jason Castro
ArmenMD/PhD student – Armen Arevian Galan
Postdoc – Roberto Fernánadez Galán Ph.D.

My research is at the juncture between physics -my background- and neurobiology -my vocation. I am focusing on understanding biophysical mechanisms for neuronal synchronization and its role in sensory coding. To this end, I study phase-response curves and stochastic synchronization in real neurons, which allows me to construct realistic computer models of neuronal networks, like the olfactory bulb.

Josh

Josh Bagley – Undergraduate

Now grad student at UCSF

I study the specification of adult-born neurons into different biochemical subtypes of olfactory bulb neurons such as those expressing calretinin, calbindin, tyrosine-hydroxylase, n-copine, and GABA. Currently this involves the expression of these markers at different periods from the last division of these newly generated neurons in the adult mouse.

Nicolas
Postdoc – Nicolas Fourcaud Trocmé Ph.D.
Sameer
Postdoc – Sameer Walawalkar, Ph.D
Zhengping Ji
Postdoc – Zhengping Ji