Meet the team
Richard S Smith, he/him/his
My research passion is to understand fundamental biophysical mechanisms of human neocortex development, including how aberrant cellular excitability affects key biological processes underlying human neurodevelopmental diseases. For my postdoctoral training, I transitioned from neurobiology-based methods in mouse sensory processing (Ph.D), to molecular and genetic approaches in human neurodevelopment (Post-doc). During my training with Dr. Christopher Walsh’s research group, I developed expertise in human genetics, molecular approaches, ferret and mouse cortex model, and single cell technologies. My laboratory will work at this intersectional field of functional neurogenomics, moving human genetics findings into biologically relevant data and potentially therapeutics. During graduate school and post-doc, I have devoted significant efforts to training young scientists, particularly students from backgrounds underrepresented in science, and I plan to continue these important mentorship opportunities throughout my career.
My time outside the lab includes my family, singing and music, Photography/print making, technology/gadgets.
Karla Itzel Soriano-Rodríguez
Karla recently completed her BSs in Basic Biomedical Research from National Autonomous University of Mexico. Karla's completed her thesis, entitled "Generation and transplantation of midbrain organoids into parkinsonian rats" with Dr. Iván Velasco in the Biomedical Research Institute, Cellular Physiology Institute.
Her research interests include stem cell modeling (cerebral organoids and 2D models) of neurodevelopmental diseases.
Sean recently completed his Bachelor of Science in Physics from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Sean's previous research experience includes evaluating the efficacy of machine learning for coding practices, as well as his work as part of the Adult Development, Adaptation, & Technology Laboratory at UI, where he employed algorithms to track participants’ postural trajectory during balancing tasks through graphical and numerical techniques.
Sean will leverage his computational and mathematics background to model neurodevelopmental diseases related to childhood brain development.
Sean is passionate about education, Sean also regularly tutors and teaches AP physics, undergraduate calculus, introductory programming, and has worked with aspiring US Physics Olympiads.