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David Prober  Professor of Biology and Biological Engineering

David performed his graduate work in Bruce Edgar's lab at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, where he studied mechanisms that regulate cell growth and the cell cycle in the developing Drosophila wing. For his postdoctoral studies, David joined Alex Schier's lab at the Skirball Institute and Harvard University. Together with Jason Rihel (now at University College London), David developed genetic, molecular and behavioral approaches to study mechanisms that regulate sleep using zebrafish. David's work has been recognized by an NIH Pathway to Independence Award, a Sleep Research Society Young Investigator Award, and awards from the Edward Mallinckrodt Jr., Rita Allen, and Brain and Behavioral Research Foundations. David grew up in Winnipeg, perhaps best known as the target of derogatory comments (sadly, usually true) on The Simpsons, and does not miss the Canadian winter. David's time outside of lab is largely occupied by his most important genetic experiment, Joshua, age 4.

   
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Ulrich Herget  Postdoctoral Fellow

Uli majored in neurobiology at the LMU Munich and then joined Soojin Ryu's group at the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg, where he worked on the stress regulation system of larval zebrafish. The German Society for Endocrinology awarded him their dissertation award for his work at the MPI. Switching from stress to sleep, he is investigating sleep/wake-regulating circuits and their interactions in the Prober lab with a Research Fellowship of the German Research Foundation. He is also a ballroom dancer and hard-core Trekkie.

   
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Daniel A. Lee  Postdoctoral Fellow

Dan (not to be confused with other notable Daniel Lee's, such as the Korean rapper, "Manimals" painter, or the recent winner of Malaysian Idol) received his B.A. from UC Berkeley, and his Ph.D. at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where he investigated hypothalamic development and physiology in Seth Blackshaw's lab. In the Prober lab, he is studying novel and evolutionarily conserved sleep regulatory mechanisms. Dan is a recipient of the NIH Pathway to Independence Award, the NARSAD Young Investigator Award, a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award, and a Caltech BBE Divisional Postdoctoral fellowship. Dan is a science fiction bibliophile and hopes to write his own space zombie thriller someday. He also enjoys wilderness survival courses, although anyone who truly knows him believes a bear would eat him in the wild.

   
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Grigorios Oikonomou  Postdoctoral Fellow

Grigorios got his B.S. in Biology from the University of Athens in Greece. He then joined the lab of Shai Shaham at Rockefeller University, where he studied the role of glia in sensory organ morphogenesis. In the Prober lab he has been investigating the role of major neurotransmitters in sleep regulation. He is the recipient of a Della Martin Postdoctoral Fellowship and a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award. When he is not loading videotracker plates or optimizing his matlab scripts, he likes to travel, hike and read. He is very proud of his tzatziki protocol.

   
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Chanpreet Singh  Postdoctoral Fellow

Chanpreet received his B.Tech and M.Tech degrees from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. For his doctoral research, he developed a novel neurogenic therapeutic for Alzheimer's disease and a novel mouse model for autism spectrum disorder in the lab of the late Richard Thompson at the Unversity of Southern California. Chanpreet's studies in the Prober lab focus on neuropeptidergic regulation of sleep and arousal states. In his spare time, he enjoys playing cricket, watching fantasy TV shows, listening to Celtic and neoclassical dark wave music, and spending time with his two genius cats, Marley and Sammy.

   
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Steve Tran  Postdoctoral Fellow

Steve received his H.BSc. and Ph.D. from the University of Toronto. His graduate studies in Robert Gerlai's lab, which were supported by an Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship, examined the role of the dopaminergic system in regulating alcohol-induced behavioral effects in zebrafish. In the Prober lab, Steve is using CRISPR-Cas9 to screen for novel genes that regulate sleep, and his work is supported by a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Fellowship. When not in the lab, Steve enjoys bouldering and playing volleyball. He has also been quite successful in persuading his lab mates to binge-watch Netflix.

   
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Andrew Hill  Graduate Student

Andrew received his B.S. from Cal State Northridge, where he worked in Cheryl van Buskirk's lab and characterized a stress-induced sleep-like state in C. elegans. He decided to continue studying sleep - this time using a vertebrate model - for his Ph.D. thesis in the Prober lab. Andrew is currently investigating genes and neuronal populations that act downstream of melatonin, a molecule that appears to play an important role in circadian regulation of sleep. When not thinking about fish sleep, Andrew is still thinking about worm sleep. He's a mediocre guitar player, but his Labrador retriever, Shelby, will testify that he gives the world's best belly rubs. 

   
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Viveca Sapin  Senior Research Technician

Viveca came to American in the mid 1970s as an exchange student from Sweden to work with Floyd Bloom at the Salk Institute on catecholamine uptake/release and distribution in the mouse brain. After a few years break from science to raise her children, she worked for over 15 years in Seymour Benzer's lab at Caltech on projects that included neurogenesis, aging and obesity in Drosophila. After Dr. Benzer's passing she joined the Prober lab when it was setting up at Caltech, where she played a key role in a screen for genes that regulate sleep. Lately her time is mostly spent as lab manager making sure the lab is safe and has all necessary supplies, equipment and birthday cakes as needed. Her favorite hobby is identifying and observing the birds of Los Angeles and beyond.

   
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Tasha Cammidge  Research Technician

Tasha completed two B.Sc. degrees, in archaeology and zoology, at the University of Calgary in 2013. She then completed her M.Sc. in evolution and ecology at the University of Calgary in 2017. There she studied in Jessica Theodor's lab, investigating the cause of mammoth and mastodon extinctions ~11,000 years ago. She hopes her findings can be used for modern conservation efforts of large-bodied mammals. Tasha joined the Prober lab in 2017, where she loves learning new techniques and helping postdocs with their research. While she misses Tim Hortons coffee, she loves living in California, is a voracious reader, and enjoys knitting, traveling, camping, stargazing and hiking.

   
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Hannah Hurley  Research Technician

Hannah got her B.S. in Biology from the University of California, Los Angeles. While studying there, she was a part of the Pandol lab at Cedars Sinai Medical Center, where she performed research on pancreatic cancer. In Prober lab, she assists the postdocs with their various research projects concerning the regulation of sleep in zebrafish. In her down time, Hannah enjoys watching TV, reading and baking.

   
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Uyen Pham  Research Technician

After growing up in Vietnam, Uyen got her A.A. degree from Tallahassee Community College and her B.S. degree in Biochemistry from Cal Poly Pomona. During her undergraduate studies, she worked on increasing the solubility of the protein edestin, a potential nutrition source found in hemp seeds. In the Prober lab, Uyen works as a technician contributing to the study of sleep regulation, and is the master of large-scale PCR genotyping. She loves hiking, reading and eating. She once won second place in a lab ice cream-eating contest.

   
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Daisy Chilin  Fish Facility Manager

Daisy got her B.S. in Marine Biology from Cal State Long Beach. As an undergraduate student, she investigated effects of climate change on rocky shore communities. She also volunteered at different aquariums throughout the Los Angeles county where she learned general fish husbandry. She now manages the fish facility for the Prober lab, ensuring fish health and keeping up with routine maintenance of the facility. Daisy enjoys staying physically active by hitting the gym, hiking local trails or running along the beach.

   
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Axel Dominguez  Fish Facility Technician

   
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Young Hong  Undergraduate Student

   
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Sarah Hou  Undergraduate Student

   
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Alison Ren  Undergraduate Student

  

 

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Alumni

Previous Graduate Students

Shijia Chen: consultant, McKinsey & Company
Cindy Chiu: postdoctoral fellow, McLean lab, Northwestern University
Avni Gandhi: technician, Aravasc Inc.
Justin Liu: postdoctoral fellow, Calico
Christin Montz, technician, McNaughton lab, UC Irvine

Previous Postdoctoral Fellows

Audrey Chen: Visiting Assistant Professor, Claremont College
Eric Mosser: Assistant Professor of Instruction, Northwestern University
Sridhara Chakravarthy: Biotechnology industry, India

Previous Undergraduate Students

Joy Chen
Sohini Khan
Suna Li: graduate student at University of Pennsylvania

Previous Research Staff

Alex Mack Cruz
Kenna Molinder
Brett Niles
Jason Schwer