Gittis Lab

Lab Members

The Team









Aryn Gittis

Principal Investigator

Email: agittis AT

Aryn Gittis, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and the Neuroscience Institute at CMU.    She received her undergraduate degree from Brandeis University in 2001 and was a Fulbright Scholar in France from 2001-2002.  She received her PhD from UCSD in 2008 where she studied with Sascha du Lac, and then completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Anatol Kreitzer’s lab at the Gladstone Institute/UCSF in 2012.  For her postdoctoral work, she was awarded a K99 from NINDS and was a 2012 Finalist for the Eppendorf & Science Prize for Neurobiology.

She joined CMU in 2012, where her lab uses electrophysiology, optogenetics, and computational approaches to study the progression of neural circuit dysfunction in mouse models of Parkinson’s disease, with the goal of developing strategies to guide therapeutic plasticity that can repair circuit dysfunction and restore movement.  She has received numerous awards for this work, including a NARSAD Young Investigator Grant in 2013, the Janett Rosenberg Trubatch Career Development Award from the Society for Neuroscience in 2018, and was a Finalist for the Science and PINS Prize for Neuromodulation in 2018.

Aryn enjoys chocolate. White chocolate is her favorite.

Mary Cundiff

Ph.D. Candidate

Email: mcundiff AT

Mary is a Ph.D. candidate in CMU’s Biological Sciences Program. She holds a Master’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Villanova. She studies the connectivity of basal ganglia nuclei to downstream regions in the brainstem and their relevance in rescuing motor deficits of a parkinsonian model.

Mary mooches food from everyone in the lab.

Shruti Nanivadekar

M.D./Ph.D. Candidate

Email: snanivad AT

Shruti is an M.D./Ph.D. student at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, pursuing a Ph.D. in Neural Computation at CMU. She is interested in utilizing modeling and behavioral approaches to understand the cellular mechanisms that can optimize deep brain stimulation in a parkinsonian model.

Shruti cannot make 1x PBS.

Maxime Vounatsos

Ph.D. Candidate

Email: mvounats AT

Maxime is a Ph.D. student in CMU’s Biological Sciences program. He is interested in the retrorubral field, home to the A8 dopaminergic neurons.

Maxime is actually an 80 year old man.

Emma Gao

Ph.D. Student

Email: yag2 AT

Emma is a Ph.D. student in the Program of System Neuroscience (PSN) at CMU. She graduated B.S. from Brandeis University. In Gittis Lab, she studies circuit plasticity and cognitive function in the progression of Parkinson’s Disease.

Emma is the kindest person among us and should be protected at all costs.

Asier Aristieta Arbelaiz

Postdoctoral Fellow

Email: aaristie AT

Asier is a postdoc who got his Ph.D. degree at the University of the Basque Country (Spain). Then, he moved to France as a postdoc where he investigated the basal ganglia neurotransmission in movement disorders. He is interested in studying the basal ganglia physiology in dopamine depleted condition, using in vivo techniques and Parkinson’s disease models.

Asier is the biggest sweet tooth in the lab.

Dan Albaugh

Postdoctoral Fellow

Email: dalbaugh AT

Dan received his PhD in neuroscience from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He then conducted postdoctoral research at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center (Emory University), investigating neurophysiological abnormalities in a monkey model of Parkinson’s Disease (PD). As a postdoctoral fellow in the Gittis lab, he will study the neural underpinnings of motor deficits in a PD mouse model, focusing on locomotor circuits downstream of the basal ganglia.

Dan has visited every coffee shop in Pittsburgh.

Jeff Yurek

Research Technician

Email: jyurek AT

Jeff graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology from Seton Hill University and is currently working as a laboratory technician. Through this, he assists in multiple projects while also assisting in colony maintenance and histological analysis. He really enjoys the Food Network.

Jeff brings candy and is therefore the favorite.

Thomas Fuchs

Research Technician

Email: thomasfu AT


Welcome to the lab!

Rebecca Moglin

Undergraduate Researcher

Email: rmoglin AT

Becca is a sophomore studying biology with a focus in Neuroscience and business at Carnegie Mellon University. She is pursuing a dual degree in the Mellon College of Science and Tepper School of Business. Within the Gittis lab, she is involved in histological analysis and training the B-SOID model to recognize and quantify mouse movement in Parkinsonian mouse studies.

Welcome to the lab!

Henry Liu

Undergraduate Researcher

Email: hwliu AT

Henry is a senior at Carnegie Mellon University studying Neurobiology and Piano Performance within the BXA interdisciplinary degree program. He intends to complete his master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. Within the Gittis lab, he is involved in training the B-SOID model to recognize and quantify mouse movement in Parkinsonian mouse studies.

Welcome to the lab!

Seojun Jang

Undergraduate Researcher

Email: seojunj AT

Welcome to the lab!

Renae Kurian

Undergraduate Researcher

Email: renaek AT

Welcome to the lab!


Alumni Lab Members

Katrina Nguyen
Postdoc, Denver Colorado

Jenna Schwenk
Lab Technician, University of Pittsburgh

Brian Isett, Ph.D.
Bioinformatics Senior Research Specialist, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center

Ian Rosner
Research Associate,University of Pittsburgh

Teresa Spix, Ph.D.
Previous Graduate Student

Christen Snyder
Ph.D. Candidate, University of Michigan

Tim Whalen, Ph.D.
Data Scientist, Design Interactive

Liz Wendel
Research Associate, University of Pittsburgh

Victoria Corbit, Ph.D.
Postdoc, Princeton

Rachel Bouchard, M.S.
Senior Technician, Western Oncolytics

Amanda Willard, Ph.D.
Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Department of
Biological Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University

Yazel Goksen
Resident Physician in Allegheny Health Network

Kevin Zitelli
Research Associate, Inscopix

Kevin Mastro, Ph.D.
Postdoc, Harvard

Fluffy Lab Members

Mittens (Parent: Emma)









Daisy (Parent: Mary)