Lab Members

Principal Investigator - Graduate Students - Undergraduates - High School Students - Research Assistants - Visiting Scientists - Former Lab Members


Li Lab - left to right, front to back: Adanna Alexander (with bloody sign), Swera Cheema (as witch), (masked) Michelle Swah, Katie Cheng (as scuba diver), Raubern Totanes (with bloody knife), Trinisia Fortune (in lab coat), Vanessa Marfil (as chicken), Alex Mir (as chef), Dan Raps, Chris Li (the bumblebee), Alex Chait. Missing: Lana Tolen, Mahmoud Salem.

Principal Investigator:


Chris Li, Ph.D. - Professor

Belongs to the graduate programs in Biochemistry, Molecular, Cell & Developmental Biology, and Neuroscience.

Postdoctoral fellow:


Vanessa Marfil, Ph.D.

My project is to investigate a receptor protein tyrosine phosphatase MOA-1, which was identified as a suppressor of a temperature-induced lethality of an apl-1 allele yn5. We have found that this protein functions in the heterochronic pathway. After working in the Li lab for many years, I am now split betwen the Li lab and the lab of Gal Haspal.


Graduate Students:


Adanna Alexander - Ph.D. Candidate

My project is geared towards understanding the cellular function of apl-1 and identifying components of the apl-1 pathway. APL-1 is the C. elegans homologue of APP, which is found in humans. APP is cleaved to produce beta amyloid peptide, which forms dense plaques--a key characteristic of the brains of Alzheimer's Disease patients. An understanding of the processing of APL-1, including its upstream and downstream targets in C. elegans, will eventually give us insight to AD and possible remedies.



Alexander Mir - Ph.D. Candidate

My project is focused on identifying a biological role for the Alzheimer's disease related protein APP by studying its C. elegans ortholog APL-1. I am investigating the cleavage of APL-1 by the candidate alpha-secretases ADM-4 and SUP-17. This cleavage relseases the critical extracellular domain of APL-1, which is necessary and sufficient for viability. I am further investigating an observed genetic interaction of APL-1 with members of the DAF-2/insulin sigaling pathway using forward genetics.



Ingrid Buntschuh - Masters Candidate

In the lab I work on the flp project, helping to determine the effect that the flp genes have on behavior. I take worms that are missing certain flp genes and then watch and record their behavior to see how they differ. In addition to working in the lab, I am the head of the science department at A. Philip Randolph Campus High School in the building right next door to the lab. I am continually amazed by how the body works and by how much we have in common with other organisms, including C. elegans. In the future I hope to develop a research program for students at Randolph and to continue to study learning and memory.

Undergraduate Students:


Swera Cheema

Trinisia Fortune

Katie Cheng

Alexander Chait

Christopher Reid

Raymond Zou

Anika Nabila

Felix Granovskiy


High School Students:


Frank Martinez

Franklin Perez

Michele Soltsov

Research Assistants:


Former Lab Members:

Maureen Gannon

Maureen Gannon

Visiting Professor from Bronx Community College



Casey Brander

Casey worked as the lab's web and graphic designer and helped with a brochure for the Biology Department, and the graphics for a lab paper. She also poured lots of plates, autoclaved lots of trash, and filled lots of tip boxes. She is currently teaching in Shanghai, China.


Tina Burton, M.D.

She finished her M.D. at University of Utah and is now a neurologist in Bethesda, MD.

jenny chang 2

Jenny Chang, D.D.M.

Jenny just finished her D.D.M. at Case Western Reserve University and is doing a fellowship in Brooklyn.

lawrence ha

Lawrence Ha, M.D.

Finished his M.D. and is Chief Resident at LIJ.

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Zi Huang, M.D.

Finished his M.D. at Boston University. Currently practicing as an ER physician at LIJ.

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Karishma Rahman

Karishma was a high school student working in the Li Lab. Guang Yu Lee, her partner, and she won the New York City Science and Engineering Fair Team competition and went on to compete in the International Science and Engineering Fair in 2007. She finished her undergraduate degree at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is currently an MD/PhD candidate at NYU. Guang is at NYCOM.

Collin Ewald

Collin Ewald - Ph.D.

Why do only “old” people age? To find out, we are using the model organism C. elegans, which has a short lifespan and mutations are easily introduced. After finishing his Ph.D. in the lab, Collin joined Keith Blackwell's lab at Harvard and continues to work on aging. Collin's Bio - Collin on WormBase

Ruby Cheng

Ruby Cheng

Nearly done with vet school at Tufts.

Ivor Joseph

Ivor Joseph

Finished his M.S. in Biology at Brooklyn College and now starting a Ph.D. program at Rutgers.


Aysha Islam


Mahmoud Salem, M.D.


Received his M.D. from Howard University. Now doing his residency in NYC.

Vishal Shah

Vishal Shah, M.D.

Finished his M.D. at St. Louis University and happily returned to the New York area. Currently doing his residency at NYU.

Lana Tolen

Lana Tolen, M.D.

Finished her B.S./M.D. degree at Sophie Davis & Downstate. and now doing a residency

Dan Raps

Dan Raps

Sadly, Dan left us for greener pastures at Columbia with Iva Greenwald.

danny xu

Danny Xu

Starting his last year at NYCOM in 2015, so a D.O. to be. And a naval reserve officer to boot!