OUR TEAM

Scientific Minds

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CHRISTOPHER MAKINSON, PHD

Assistant Professor

Educated at Wake Forest University and Emory University, Chris completed his postdoctoral training at Stanford University where he interrogated neural circuits in epilepsy using state-of-the-art genetic, electrophysiological, and optical methods. He joined the Institute for Genomic Medicine and Department of Neurology at Columbia in June of 2020. His lab uses rodent models and human brain organoids to understand disease mechanisms and explore avenues for personal/precision medicine. His goal is to increase our understanding of how neural networks give rise to normal and pathological conditions, with an emphasis on elucidating the genetic underpinnings of neurological diseases. In his spare time, he enjoys wrangling his toddler.

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AUSTIN REESE, PHD

Associate Research Scientist

   

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DAMIAN WILLIAMS, PHD

Associate Research Scientist

Damian began his research career at the University of Oxford where he obtained his doctorate studying how nicotinic receptors regulate neurotransmission in sympathetic nerves. Damian then moved to the US to carry out postdoctoral training at NIH and Columbia University. During this period, he investigated the mechanisms by which voltage gated calcium channels are regulated before moving into the neurological disease field studying ALS using iPSC-derived motor neurons. Following this, Damian led the Electrophysiology and Calcium Imaging Section of Columbia University Stem Cell Core. Damian joined the IGM in 2017 where he has characterised the excitability and synaptic changes in a number of epilepsy models. Damian is particularly interested in axon function in normal and diseased states. When not in the lab, Damian can be found on the squash court missing easy shots.

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JANE YI, PHD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Jane studied at UC Berkeley for her undergraduate degree then pursued a masters and doctorate in Neuroscience at the University of Lausanne and École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland. Her thesis under the direction of Prof. Henry Markram involved studying the morphology and functionality of local interneurons in the thalamus of mice using multiple patch clamp electrophysiology. She is now a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Makinson lab and is enjoying the sights and sounds of New York and takes ballet classes in her free time.