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Lab Members

Patrick Emery


I studied Biology at the University of Geneva (Switzerland) and in 1990 began my research career in the laboratory of Prof. Bernard Mach in the Department of Genetics and Microbiology of the University of Geneva Medical School. My M.S. and Ph.D. work focused on the regulation of MHC Class II genes, and in particular on the then-novel RFX family of transcription factors. In 1997, I moved to Brandeis University to work with Prof. Michael Rosbash on the molecular mechanisms underlying circadian rhythms in Drosophila. Most of my work there was dedicated to understanding the detection of circadian light cues, in particular the discovery of the cell-autonomous circadian photoreceptor Cryptochrome, in collaboration with Dr. Ralf Stanewsky and Prof. Jeffrey Hall.

In 2001, I joined the Department of Neurobiology at the University of Massachusetts. My laboratory at UMass first worked on photic and thermal entrainment of the Drosophila circadian clock, at the molecular and neural circuit levels. We also became particularly interested in transcriptional and post-transcriptional mechanisms of gene regulation within the circadian pacemaker and the circadian neural network. More recently, we have expanded this work to study mechanisms underlying sleep in Drosophila.

In 2018, I received a Whitman Center Fellowship award to work during the summer at the Marine Biology Laboratory in Woods Hole with Dr. Joshua Rosenthal. Our goal was to identify a genetically-tractable model organism to study circatidal rhythms. We found that the crustacean Parhyale hawaiensis is a promising model to examine genetically how marine organisms cope with tides. This work is now an important element of our research program.

image2kde.pngYongliang Xia, Ph.D.

I earned my PhD at the Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), where I studied the molecular genetics, development, and metabolisms of insect-pathogenic fungi. My work focused on the biosynthetic mechanism of the bioactive metabolite cordycepin (3’-deoxyadenosine) in the laboratory of Dr. Chengshu Wang. I currently work on the molecular and neural mechanisms underlying circadian behavior in Drosophila.  In particular, I study how circadian circuits are shaped by the action of miRNAs.

In my free time, I enjoys spending time playing ball sports and listening to music.

Ratna Chaturvedi, Ph.D.

I received my Ph.D. in Molecular and Cell Biology from the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur (IIT-KGP), India. I then joined UMass Chan Medical School as a postdotoral fellow.  My initial research there was focused on glia-neuron interactions in the Drosophila visual system. In the Emery Lab, I am now investigating the molecular mechanisms that control sleep. In particular, I aim to identify key glial genes that impact the amount and qualtiy of sleep. I recently found that the astrocytic GABA transporter GAT plays an important role in sleep regulation by modulating GABA tone on circadian neurons. My work might help identifying glial therapeutic targets to treat sleep disruptions as well as related neurodegenerative and psychiatric dysfunctions.

 My interest outside the lab includes painting, poetry, and travel.

image4yuh.pngErica R. Kwiatkowski

I graduated from Grinnell College with a BA in Biological Chemistry, and am a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. As a high-school student and undergraduate, I conducted research in neurobiology at Harvard Medical School and Children's Hospital Boston, studying autophagy and circadian rhythms in the context of the genetic disorder tuberous sclerosis in the lab of Dr. Mustafa Sahin.

Currently, I am a MD/PhD candidate in the lab of Dr. Patrick Emery in the department of Neurobiology at the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School, where I investigate the molecular mechanisms underlying circadian behaviors in Drosophila melanogaster and circatidal rhythms in Parhyale hawaiensis

Outside of the lab, I'm an avid hiker (member of the New England 4,000ft club) and an active cat enthusiast.

Chenghao Chen

I earned my PhD in Neuroscience from Queen Mary, University of London in the UK, where I studied the molecular mechanisms that reset the circadian clock in response to daily temperature changes. After completing my degree, I moved to the US and worked as a Postdoctoral fellow at the University of Washington and Janelia Research Campus. During that time, I investigated the circuit of proprioception in Drosophila melanogaster. Currently, I work as a research scientist in the Emery lab, where I study molecules and circuits that regulate circadian rhythms and sleep.

  Lauren North

After graduating from Smith College with a BA in Neuroscience, I moved to Worcester  to work here at UMass Medical School, in the lab of Dr. Steven Reppert, studying Cryptochrome-based magnetoreception in Drosophila. I then joined the Emery lab where my research focus has been on RNA-binding proteins and their role in post-transcriptional regulation of the Drosophila circadian clock. As lab manager, I make sure the lab runs smoothly day-to-day. Outside of the lab I enjoy gardening, crafts, reading, seeing live music, and spending time with my family. 

imagebw7o.pngVinh Phan

I was a teacher in Vietnam before immigrating to the US.  In the Emery Lab, I take care of fly stocks and prepare fly food for behavioral experiments. I also prepare plates for other labs working with C. elegans in the department of Neurobiology.

Outside of the lab, I am a lover of nature and enjoy painting.