Matt McCarroll is a postdoctoral fellow in the Kokel lab, where he is developing high throughput behavioral assays that will aide in the discovery of new neuroactive compounds. After receiving his B.S. in molecular biology from Portland State University in 2005, he was a research assistant for 3 years in the lab of Dr. Ashlee Moses where he studied how HIV evades the immune system through the aide of accessory protein VPU. He then attended graduate school at the Oregon Health and Sciences University where he studied the early development of cranial sensory organs in the lab of Dr. Alex Nechiporuk and received his PhD in February of 2014.

Cole Helsell is a graduate student in UCSF’s biophysics and bioinformatics program, IPQB. He has always been fascinated by molecular explanations of mental and sensory events. While obtaining his B.S. in biochemistry from Arizona State University, Cole used NMR and computational modeling to understand the structure and function of thermosensitive ion channels. In the Kokel lab, Cole hopes to use behavioral phenotyping to uncover novel neuroactive chemical probes, and in turn use these to understand the etiologies of psychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases. Cole has diverse intellectual interests including history, philosophy, and international affairs. Outside of the lab, Cole enjoys skiing, hiking, sea kayaking, live music, and travel.


Douglas Myers-Turnbull is a PhD student in the Biomedical Informatics program. He received a B.S. in Computer Science with a Specialization in Bioinformatics from UC San Diego, where he did research in structural biology. He subsequently worked as a Research Associate in clinical sequencing at the Stanford School of Medicine and is interested in neuropharmacology, statistics, and applied math.


Ethan Fertsch is a research assistant in the Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease and also serves as the Kokel Lab Zebrafish Facility Manager. Ethan received his B.S. in Biology with a focus in Aquaculture from Salem State University in Salem, Massachusetts and relocated to San Francisco to pursue new opportunities in science in September of 2014. In addition to Zebrafish colony management, Ethan also handled CRISPR-based mutagenesis projects for the laboratory. Ethan will depart in the fall of 2016 to pursue his passion in Web Development

Amanda Carbajal is a graduate student doing her Master’s thesis work with the Kokel lab. Amanda, the first in her family to attend college, earned her B.S in Biology with a focus in Zoology from San Francisco State University, and it was there that she began her research experience studying the effects of environmental stressors on adult neurogenesis in crickets. Since then, she was a recipient of the Irene and Eric Simon Brain Research Fellowship in Neuroscience, where she studied HIPK2 and TDP43 protein effects on neurodegeneration in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Amanda is interested in many aspects of neuroscience, including ways of improving drugs for neurological related disorders and elucidating disease mechanisms. When she isn’t in class or in the lab, she enjoys entomology, volunteering with the homeless population of San Francisco, making music and art.


Jack Taylor is interested in basic neuroscience that can translate into better medical treatments for individuals with neurological disorders. He received his bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of California, Davis. At the IND, Jack specializes in high throughput imaging and human disease modeling in zebrafish.


Giancarlo Bruni, Research Technician, 2012-2014: Graduate Student at University of Colorado Boulder

UCSF, 2016. Counter Clockwise from right: Jack Taylor, Cole Helsell, David Kokel, Douglas Myers-Turnbull, Amanda Carvajal, Capria Rinaldi, Matt McCarroll, Ethan Fertsch and some guy in a wolf shirt. 

UCSF, 2016. Counter Clockwise from right: Jack Taylor, Cole Helsell, David Kokel, Douglas Myers-Turnbull, Amanda Carvajal, Capria Rinaldi, Matt McCarroll, Ethan Fertsch and some guy in a wolf shirt. 

MGH, 2014

MGH, 2014