SOPHIE CARON, principal investigator

B.Sc. Université de Montréal
Ph.D. New York University
Post-doctoral training Columbia University

Sophie grew up in Saint-Blaise-sur-Richelieu, a small village in Québec, Canada. She studied biochemistry at the Université de Montréal and moved to New York City to pursue her graduate studies. There, she joined the laboratory of Alex Schier, first at New York University, later, at Harvard University. During her thesis, Sophie studied the developmental mechanisms behind the diversification of sensory neurons in zebrafish. For her post-doc, Sophie returned to her beloved New York, to the laboratory of Richard Axel at Columbia University. Ever since, she has been studying how the fly brain uses and stores sensory information. As of fall 2017, Sophie is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Utah.


ADAM WEINBROM, lab manager 

B.A. Gettysburg College, 2014

Adam graduated from Gettysburg College after completing a double major in Psychology and Economics. Adam is currently developing new ways to train flies to associate an object with a reward. Adam wants to understand whether and how, when forming associative memories, the mushroom body integrates information collected through different sensory systems. When not psychoanalyzing flies, you may catch up with Adam in the pool. But you better swim fast! Interesting fact: Adam reads a book every week. Now, that is fast.


JINZHI LI, graduate student

B.S. University of Wisconsin Steven's Point, 2012

Jinzhi graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Steven’s Point after completing a major in Biochemistry. Jinzhi is interested in developing new techniques to map neuronal connections in the fly brain. Jinzhi uses these techniques to understand how individual mushroom body neurons integrate inputs from different sensory systems. When not in the lab, Jinzhi is cruising down the ski slopes on the Wasatch front, playing the Chinese flute or hanging out with his mischievous kitten, Mocha. Interesting fact: Jinzhi does not like chocolate. Really. 


KAITLYN ELLIS, graduate student

B.S. Reinhardt University, 2013

Kaitlyn graduated from Reinhardt University after completing a major in Biology. Kaitlyn is interested in adapting neuronal tracing techniques to different Drosophila species. Kaitlyn wants to use these techniques to understand how connections in the brain, and in particular in the mushroom body, change as species evolve in new ecological niches. Kaitlyn is an avid hiker and a fearless rock climber. Interesting fact: Kaitlyn has visited the Galapagos Islands. Lucky her.

ABBY CILKER ZIMMERMANN, graduate student

B.S. Montana State University, 2015

Abby graduated from Montana State University after completing a major in Chemistry. Abby is interested in recording neuronal activity in the mushroom body as a fly experiences multisensory stimuli. Abby wants to use these recordings in order to understand how the mushroom body, with its limited number of neurons, build an internal representation of the outside world. When not recording from the fly brain, Abby is either practicing her ski moves or finding her Zen in yoga classes. Interesting fact: Abby has a heart made of titanium. Literally.