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Current Members of the Francis Lab

mike francis

Michael Francis, PhD - Principal Investigator

Mike Francis received his B.A. (1992) in psychobiology from the University of Virginia. He received a predoctoral National Research Service Award from NIMH to pursue his Ph.D. (1998) in the Department of Neuroscience at the University of Florida. He received a postdoctoral National Research Service Award from NIDA to pursue postdoctoral training in the Department of Molecular Medicine at Cornell University. He pursued additional postdoctoral training at the University of Utah and joined the faculty at the University of Utah as a Research Assistant Professor in 2001. Mike started his lab at UMass Chan Medical School in January 2007.


Shankar Ramachandran, PhD - Instructor

Shankar is a senior research faculty, who joined the lab in 2016. He received his Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he characterized calcium channels at presynaptic terminals of lamprey reticulospinal axons using calcium imaging and electrophysiology. He is currently investigating molecular mechanisms underlying synaptic connectivity and plasticity in the C. elegans motor circuit using genetic tools, optogenetics and calcium imaging.



Kasturi Biswas - Graduate Student

Kasturi  is a Neuroscience graduate student from Kolkata, India. She earned her B.Sc. with a major in microbiology from St. Xavier’s College and completed her neuroscience from National Brain Research Centre in 2018. She joined the Francis lab in 2019 and is interested in molecular basis of memory-formation. Kasturi is currently studying proteins important for synaptic remodelling and circuit formation. Apart from her lab-work, she enjoys cooking, painting and reading non-fiction novels, especially on brain-science and consciousness.


Samuel Liu - Graduate Student

Sam is a Neuroscience graduate student from Las Vegas, Nevada.  He earned his Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Massachusetts Amerhest in 2018. He joined the Francis lab in 2020, as part of the Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences program. His interest lie in the genetic regulatory mechanisms governing synapse formation/composition, and using various optic and informatic tools to identiy components that make up these mechanisms. Apart from his lab-work, he enjoys cooking and watching baseball.

Caroline Moore - PREP scholar

Caroline Moore is a 2023-2024 PREP scholar from Baltimore, Maryland. She earned her degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. In the summer of 2021, Caroline was a Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) student at UMass Chan Medical School, an experience that solidified her commitment to research and encouraged her to return as a PREP scholar. Beyond the laboratory, Caroline enjoys reading, running, and spending time with friends.