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Fishman Lab

Image credit: Luis Hernandez-Nunez, Mariela Petkova, Yasuko Isoe

Fishman Lab People

Photo of Mark C. Fishman

Mark C. Fishman’s group studies the heart-brain connection. They employ a range of genetic, developmental, and neurobiological tools in zebrafish to understand what the heart tells the brain, and how critical internal sensory systems adjust homeostatic and somatic behaviors, including social interactions.

Photo of Emily Voce

Emily Voce is the Administrative Lab Manager for the Fishman and Hsu labs.

Postdoctoral Fellows

Photo of Sara Lelek-Greskovic

In my current work as a postdoc in Fishman and Engert labs I will focus on the characterization of the brain-heart communication. Previously I was working on the zebrafish heart regeneration and the cellular response to the heart injury.

Photo of Soma Singareddy

Did you know that the heart has its own “brain”? I didn’t! Given my doctoral training as a classical ion-channel electrophysiologist specializing in the cardiovascular system, I found this revelation more exhilarating than embarrassing. So, I joined the Fishman-Engert Group in March 2022 to investigate what (if) this intrinsic cardiac nervous system (ICNS) is sensing and how (if) it communicates. I use physiological and engineering techniques to explore the molecular and cellular intricacies of heart(-)brain communication. I mostly probe live baby fish hearts. Once in a while, I do ePhys on zebrafish cells in and ex vivo.

Photo of Kristian Herrera

I am interested in how brains evolve to cope with new environments. An animal’s brain continuously integrates external sensory cues with information about the animal’s internal physiological state to generate behaviors matched toward the animal’s immediate needs. As they move into new environments across evolutionary timescales, natural selection leads to the emergence of new sensory and internal physiologies that are suited for their new conditions. For these changes to be truly adaptive, the brain must correspondingly change how it balances and integrates these evolving cues. Using various fish models, I am trying to identify any generalizable principles that might facilitate the coordinated evolution of these complex systems.

Photo of Luis Hernandez Nunez

I am a postdoctoral fellow at the Fishman and Engert Labs. I study the heart-brain communication axis from a systems-level perspective in larval zebrafish. With a multidisciplinary approach that incorporates genetics, cellular physiology, control engineering, and computational neuroscience, I hope to uncover the neural circuit mechanisms underlying cardiac control. I also study how cardiac state modulates brain function and ultimately behavior.

Photo of Yasuko Isoe

I am a post-doc in the lab of Florian Engert. My research interests are in the ontogeny and species-diversity in the social behavior. I am comparing the social behavior of zebrafish and medaka, fish which, as adults, show very different collective behaviors. I have found behavioral differences even as larvae. The relative simplicity and transparency of the embryos permit me to model the behaviors and to use cellular imaging to dissect the underlying neural activity.  My hope is that these experiments will illuminate the mechanisms and evolutionary diversity of social decision-making.

Photo of Roy Harpaz

My research at the Engert Lab focuses on understanding how brains generate natural and complex social behaviors. Specifically, I use behavioral analysis, functional imaging and mathematical modeling to study the neural circuits underlying social behavior in wildtype and mutant zebrafish over development. The results of my study will allow me to understand how complex social behaviors are represented in the brain and to link genetic mutations that effect social behaviors to changes in these neural representations.

Technical Staff

Research Assistant

Student Technician

Graduate Students

Photo of Stephan Foianini

MCO PhD Student

Undergraduate Students

Aquatics Facility

Manager of Aquatic Animal Research Facilities

Animal Technician


Photo of Ariel Aspiras

Postdoctoral Fellow

Photo of Oliver Oz

HDRB Student

Photo of Sydney Chambule

Research Assistant

Photo of Armin Bahl

Postdoctoral Fellow with Engert Lab

Photo of Solveig Stensland

Research Assistant

Photo of Marcel Leyton

Postdoctoral Fellow

Photo of Sierra Tseng

Research Assistant II

Photo of Deepthi Rajan

Visiting Fellow, University of Copenhagen

Photo of Erin Song

Staff Scientist

Photo of Kate Condra

HDRB Student

Photo of Akila Muthukumar

HDRB Student

Photo of Piper Ireland

Research Assistant II

Photo of Tyler Masuyama

HDRB Student

Photo of Kumaresh Krishnan

MCO PhD Student

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