Lab Members

Principal Investigator

Vikaas S. Sohal, M.D., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor in Residence

Dr. Sohal earned his A.B. in Applied Mathematics from Harvard University, his M.A.St. in Mathematics from Cambridge, and his MD, PhD from Stanford University. He completed his graduate work in the lab of John Huguenard, then stayed at Stanford to completed his psychiatry residency and a postdoctoral fellowship in the lab of Karl Deisseroth. Dr. Sohal's research focuses on how the prefrontal cortex carries out important cognitive functions, and how this may be disrupted in the setting of neuropsychiatric disease. Dr. Sohal is also a board certified psychiatrist and continues to see outpatients approximately one half day each week.

Postdoctoral Fellows 

Kathleen K.A. Cho, Ph.D.
Ph.D, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
B.S., B.A., Brown University

Kathleen received her B.S. with Honors in Neuroscience and a B.A. in History at Brown University. At MIT, she studied learning and memory mechanisms in the visual cortex in Mark Bear's laboratory and earned a Ph.D. in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences. She joined Vikaas Sohal's laboratory at UCSF as a postdoctoral fellow, to study the mechanisms of functional circuits in the context of mental illness.

Lowry Kirkby, Ph.D.
Ph.D, University of California, Berkeley
M. Phys, Oxford University

Lowry received her undergraduate degree in Physics from Oxford University. She completed her Ph.D in Biophysics at UC Berkeley, where she studied mechanisms of circuit plasticity in the developing retina. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow in Vikaas Sohalís lab. Her research focuses on understanding how brain circuits are altered in depression and anxiety.


Jillian Iafrati, Ph.D.


Clio Korn, Ph.D.


Ruchi Malik, Ph.D.


Scott Wilke, Ph.D.


Graduate Students


Karuna Meda B.S.


Sarah Robinson, B.S.


Jiggy Athilingam, B.S.


Margaret Cunniff, B.S.


Anthony Lee, B.S.

Rotation Students


Kara Presbrey

Marc Turner

Neurology Resident


Derek Southwell, M.D., Ph.D.

Nicholas Frost, M.D., Ph.D.


Tosha Patel, M.S.
M.S. New York University
Junior Specialist / Lab Manager

Tosha graduated from Rajiv Gandhi University of Health and Sciences with a B.Pharm. in 2006. After moving to the United States in 2007, she completed a masters degree in biotechnology. As a member of the Sohal lab, Tosha manages its daily operations and conducts behavioral assays using optogenetic manipulation techniques.


Karen Lavi


Helia Seifikar
Junior SRA



Vikram Rao, M.D., Ph.D.

Current position: Faculty member, UCSF

Steven Gee, Ph.D.

Current position: Postdoctoral fellow, Pfizer


Celia Hansen, Ph.D.


Tobias Marton, Ph.D.