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Lab Members

Current Sternberg Lab Members

Graduate Students

Katie Brugman

I discovered roles for the mechanoreceptor piezo in C. elegans male mating behavior.

Cynthia Chai

I'm broadly interested in the neural and genetic basis of C. elegans diapause entry. I currently study the roles of a) the first-layer amphid interneurons and b) the transcription factor FKH-7 in mediating the dauer entry decision.

Sarah Cohen

I study the roles of o-acyltransferases and esterases in the formation of ascarosides, pheromone-like small-molecules used for communication and behavior mediation, in the nematode C. elegans.

Elizabeth Holman

I am interested in spectroscopy of biological systems.

Sharan Prakash

I’m interested in the sensory dynamics of dauer formation in C. elegans.

 Porfirio Quintero

I am interested in understanding how eukaryotic cells can quickly assemble the molecular machinery required to make many copies of RNA from DNA on demand.


Sandy Wong

I am interested in the functional consequences of ASD-associated missense variants in neurological development and behaviors. 

Mark Zhang


My goal is to elucidate the genetic and neuronal mechanisms that underlie decision-making in C. elegans. In particular, I am focusing on factors governing the dauer exit decision and how it relates to those of dauer entry. I am also interested in exploring how C. elegans retains neurological memory of whether or not it has undergone the dauer process.

Postdoctoral Fellows

Mengyi Cao


I am interested in studying microbial symbiosis in between the entomopathogenic (insect-parasitic) nematode Steinernema carpocapsae and its beneficial bacterium Xenorhabdus nematophila as a naturally occurring mutualistic symbiosis system.

Chun-Hao Chen

I am interested in neural mechanisms of mate recognition in C. elegans, especially how males recognize reproductive hermaphrodites for mating by contact-dependent surface cues.

Wen Chen

I am interested in using proteomic methods to study the composition of C. elegans Excreted/Secreted products and the roles they play in regulating the molting cycle and growth rate, defense against bacterial infection, pathogen susceptibility.

Yan Jin

I’m interested in the basic molecular mechanism of human disease related genes in C.elegans and large-scale screen methods by using transposons.

Hillel Schwartz

I am developing whole animal-transcriptomes as phenotypes for use in genetic analysis.

James Tan

A focus of my research involves the migration of the male linker cell in C. elegans.



Stephanie Nava

I am interested in expanding cGAL and split cGAL, a genetic tool using the GAL4-UAS system in C. elegans for transgene control.

Heenam Park

One of the projects I'm working on focuses on generating new null mutants in C. elegans.   I use CRISPR/Cas9 based simple and efficient knock-in methods such as STOP-IN cassette insertion.

Wilber Palma

One of the projects I'm working on involves  a GAL4-UAS based genetic tool.  I'm looking to expand our toolkit through the building of “drivers” for neuron specific transgene control.  I am also part of a project that seeks to generate C. elegans null mutants.

Carmie Puckett-Robinson

My work explores the use of RNA-seq to study genetic interactions within and between pathways.