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Julie Semmelhack

Julie did her undergraduate training at Princeton, and got her PhD from UCSD, working on the Drosophila olfactory system in Jing Wang’s lab. She began working on the zebrafish visual system as a postdoc with Herwig Baier, first at UCSF and then Max Planck Institute for Neurobiology in Martinsried, Germany. She started her lab at HKUST in early 2017.


Ivan Alex P. Lazarte

Ivan got his master’s degree in Physics from National Central University in Taiwan. He did his thesis on quantification of cyst morphology and its implications in apical constriction at Dr. Keng-hui Lin’s lab in Academia Sinica. He joined Julie’s lab, and is studying zebrafish attention. He loves tinkering with things, and also enjoys travelling and racket sports.

Richard G. Tian

Richard obtained his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from HKUST. He did his thesis research in Prof. King Chow’s lab, working on synthetic gene circuits in cultured mammalian cells. After graduation, he moved to Vienna and studied the neural control of Drosophila mating behaviour at the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP). He is a passionate traveller, a coffee addict and a gym rat.

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Biswadeep Khan

Biswadeep holds a Masters of Technology in Computational Biology from IIIT, New Delhi, India. Besides working on a dissertation titled, “Application of Pattern Mining on Data of Flavor Molecules, their Percepts and Molecular Features”, Biswadeep did a research internship at National Cheng Chung University, Taiwan, in the Embedded System Lab. A learner at heart, Biswadeep has the experience of working as Asst. Systems Engineer in an MNC in Mumbai. Biswadeep pursues cricket as a sport and writes poetry to channel his creative juices. With an interest in designing algorithms and understanding the brain, he joined Julie’s Lab in August 2018 and is working as a PhD student in Bioengineering.

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Jane Yam

Jane obtained her bachelor’s degree in neuroscience from University College London, where she did her dissertation on Optogenetics. After graduation she did a research masters degree in Advanced Neuroimaging. With a passion for neuroscience, she joined Julie’s lab as a research assistant in November 2019. She is interested in using Optogenetics as a technique to study the connectivity of neural circuits, and she loves traveling and bouldering. 

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John Bear

John studied physiology, biochemistry, and mathematics at the University of Connecticut as an undergraduate, while working between a number of different labs to get a feel for the ins and outs of research in the physical and life sciences. In 2017, as part of the joint Sussex/HKUST program, he began his Ph.D. journey in Tom Baden’s lab, studying the retinal basis of prey capture . He is continuing his project in Julie Semmelhack’s lab, where he plans to probe the relationship between structural/functional anisotropies in the retina and prey capture behavior. In addition to work, he enjoys reading, writing, drawing, and sports.


Frederick Peixiong Zhao

Fred graduated with a bachelor’s degree  in Human Neuroscience and Cognitive Science from University of Toronto. He then moved to the United States and studied in Marco Gallio’s lab at Northwestern University as a Neurobiology masters student. His masters thesis addressed how attractive sweet taste and aversive hot temperature influence feeding behavior in Drosophila. His research interest is in how conflicting sensory information is resolved in the nervous system and how does the resolution leads to decision-making. He joined the lab in 2020 as a Ph.D. student studying visual attention in zebrafish. He’s a self-proclaimed good home cook and a chronic cat addict.



Lola Lam: former RA, now PhD student at Bordeaux Neurocampus.

Amanda Huang: former RA, now PhD student at CUHK.

Shanqian Ma: former RA, now Masters Student at Eberhard Karls University, Tübingen.

Yang Li (DT): former Masters Student, now PhD student at Stanford University.

Jessie Yu: former RA, now PhD Student at University of Windsor, Ontario.