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Faculty Mentors

Meet our Faculty Mentors

Bill Newsome

Bill Newsome is the Vincent V.C. Woo Director of the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute, Harman Family Provostial Professor and is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. He received a BS degree in Physics from Stetson University and a PhD in Biology from the California Institute of Technology. He served on the faculty of the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at SUNY Stony Brook before moving to Stanford in 1988. Dr. Newsome is a leading investigator in the fields of visual and cognitive neuroscience. He co-chaired the NIH working group that planned the US national BRAIN initiative.

Dr. Newsome has made fundamental contributions to our understanding of the neural mechanisms underlying visual perception and simple forms of decision-making. Among his many honors are the Rank Prize in Opto-electronics, the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award of the American Psychological Association, Karl Spencer Lashley Award of the American Philosophical Society, the Champalimaud Vision Award, and most recently, the Pepose Award for the Study of Vision, Brandeis University.

He has given numerous distinguished lectureships and was elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences in 2000 and to the American Philosophical Society in 2011. His scientific publications include more than one hundred research articles in preeminent scientific journals.


Tanya Raschke

Tanya Raschke is the director for planning and operations for the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute. She has been an integral part of Wu Tsai Neuro since its inception and considers the institute her start up project. Tanya oversees all of the research, fellowship, community building and training programs for Wu Tsai Neuro. Previously, she worked for Stanford Bio-X. Tanya came to Stanford as a postdoc in the lab of Michael Levitt in structural biology. Tanya holds a PhD in Molecular and Cell Biology from UC Berkeley. Her research areas included protein folding structure and kinetics and molecular dynamics modeling to better understand the hydrophobic effect, a central stabilizing force for biological macromolecules. Tanya’s alter ego can be found bicycling up and down Bay Area mountains and teaching Vinyasa yoga.

Elise Kleeman

Elise Kleeman is the scientific program manager for the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute, and a huge SUNS fan! Besides working with Stanford’s amazing undergraduates, she also helps run the institute’s graduate student and postdoctoral training programs and track institute analytics. Before coming to Stanford, she was a faculty member at Minerva Schools, a graduate student at UC Irvine, a science journalist for newspapers and magazines including Discover and New Scientist, and a geologist at Caltech. Elise’s favorite brain area is the hippocampus, which she studied as part of her neuroscience PhD to understand the long-term impact of early-life nicotine exposure on learning and memory. She thinks the other parts of the brain and nervous system are fantastic, too, and also likes tromping through redwoods looking for funky fungi and brilliant banana slugs, kayaking with sea otters, pretending to be graceful in ballet class, and creating unintentionally lopsided pottery

Julia Kaltschmidt

Julia Kaltschmidt is a Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute Faculty Scholar and an Associate Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at Stanford Medical School. Originally from Germany, she received my undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from the University of Madison, Wisconsin. She then completed my PhD at the University of Cambridge in the UK, where she trained as a developmental biologist and studied the cellular mechanisms underlying early Drosophila nervous system development. During her postdoc at Columbia University, she began working with mouse as a model system, and became interested in mechanisms that underlie sensory-motor circuit connectivity in the spinal cord. She continued to explore the development and molecular regulation of spinal circuity as an Assistant Professor at the Sloan Kettering Institute in New York City. During this time, the focus of her laboratory further expanded to include neuronal circuits that underlie sexual function and gut motility.

Scott Delp

Scott Delp is the James H. Clark Professor, Founding Chairman of the Department of Bioengineering at Stanford, and Director of the National Center for Simulation in Rehabilitation Research. Delp transformed the field of biomechanics by creating highly accurate computer models of musculoskeletal structures and providing them to researchers worldwide using a software system (OpenSim) that he and his team developed. Delp invented fundamental technology for surgical navigation that is now in wide clinical use. Together with Mark Schnitzer and their students, Delp developed novel microendoscopes that allow real-time in vivo imaging of human muscle microstructure. Together with Karl Deisseroth and their students, Delp pioneered the use of optogenetics to control activity in the peripheral nervous system leading to important inventions for treating paralysis, spasticity and pain.

Mary Hynes

Dr. Hynes is a leading expert on the development of dopaminergic neurons, critical nerve cells whose degeneration causes the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Research by Dr. Hynes and her colleagues has shown how these cells can be induced to grow from stem cells in the laboratory.  Her ongoing studies are aimed at development of new treatments for Parkinson’s disease, including neuron transplantation. Recently, she made the unexpected finding of differential expression of mRNA components in different cells, revealing an additional level of complexity in gene expression underlying neuron development and function.

Grégory Scherrer

Dr. Grégory Scherrer received his PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology from Strasbourg University in 2005 under the supervision of Dr. Brigitte Kieffer. In 2006 he joined Dr. Allan Basbaum’s laboratory at UCSF for his postdoctoral training. From 2009-20012 he continued as a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Amy MacDermott at Columbia University in NYC. In 2012 he started his own research laboratory at Stanford University as a faculty member of the Neurosciences Institute and the Departments of Anesthesiology and Molecular and Cellular Physiology. His laboratory combines a variety of experimental approaches including molecular and cellular biology, neuroanatomy, electrophysiology, opto-/pharmacogenetics and behavior in mouse to resolve the functional organization of pain neural circuits in normal conditions and during injury- or disease-induced chronic pain, and how opioids modulate neuronal function to produce analgesia and detrimental side effects.