Schoppik Lab

How does the brain learn to balance?

We're constantly engaged in a vital struggle against gravity. Using a set of unconscious reflexes, we stabilize our bodies. Amazingly, these reflexes adapt as our bodies grow.

We study how developing brains learn to balance.

David Schoppik, Ph.D.

David trained as an undergraduate in the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at NYU, did his doctoral work with Steve Lisberger at UCSF, and worked as a postdoc with Alexander Schier and Florian Engert at Harvard University. Scientific genealogy at Neurotree. List of publications can be found at Google Scholar. 


Picture courtesy of Harvard MCB imaging. Sweater courtesy of Katherine Nagel. Seriously. She made it.

Oreo cheesecake. No corn. He plays in a band made up of doctors called "Steely Gland." 

David Ehrlich, Ph.D.

David did his Ph.D. work at Emory University with Donald Rannie looking at the effects of prenatal stress on the development of basolateral amygdala neurons. His first paper showed that zebrafish learn to move to balance. Now he's working to understand how experience-dependent plasticity improves balance. 

Chocolate cannolo. Yes, cannoli is plural. Yes, Marie knew that before the internet confirmed it for the rest of us. Favorite Pokémon: Bulbasaur.

Marie Greaney

Marie transitioned from plant-coaxing to fish-wrangling after graduating from Haverford College in 2014. She published her first paper on the development of ocular motoneurons in 2016. She now builds bleeding-edge microscopes in collaboration with Elizabeth Hillman's group and uses them to study the neural circuits responsible for locomotion and is off to the University of Chicago for graduate school soon. When not tucked away practicing violin in her apartment, she can often be found wandering around the Met in an ecstatic daze.

Fruit tart & sfogliatella. Because there's no reason to make such difficult decisions such as "which pastry should I have?"

Katherine Harmon

Katherine received a bachelors degree in neuroscience from Bowdoin College in 2014. She was a member of the Bowdoin Track and Field team throughout college, receiving two Division III All-American honors in the hammer throw. Katherine is an ace in vivo intracellular electrophysiologist. Her research focuses on the developing vestibulo-spinal neurons responsible for balance while swimming. When not in the lab, Katherine can often be found trying out new recipes in the kitchen.

Chocolate volcano. With "optional" vanilla ice cream. Not pictured: hazelnut coffee.

Kristen D'Elia

Kristen did her undergraduate work at Providence College, where she studied neural differentiation and neuronal migration. She worked extensively as a tutor and continues her outreach work today looking to engage young women in STEM. She optimized a technique to birthdate developing neurons during her rotation (paper)  and now studies the development of locomotor circuits as a graduate student in both the Schoppik and Dasen labs.

Ann Privorotskiy

Ann is currently an undergraduate at the Macaulay Honors College of CUNY. She studies the development of the vestibulo-ocular reflex circuit using molecular genetics and optical microscopy and is our ace quantifier of anatomical data (paper). She is a consummate New Yorker, and swears she'll never leave.


Chocolate cannolo. Coffee.

Basak Rosti

Basak got her Bachelor and Master's degrees at Istanbul University and spent five years running the zebrafish research arm in Joseph Gleeson's laboratory. We could not be more excited that she's joined us now.

Vaishali Talwar is currently rotating in the lab, looking at the neurons responsible for posture.

Katelyn Carbonell: Katelyn is a University of Illinois at Chicago graduate.  Upon completion of her bachelor's degree in Psychology she spent time working in a psychosocial rehabilitation center and inpatient psychiatric unit at Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Il. Outside of the lab, Katelyn spends most of her time outdoors, including biking and long walks with her two dogs. Kate now works at Weill Cornell Medical College.

David Tingley: David got his bachelors degree in Cognitive Science (specializing in Neuroscience) from UCSD. There, David worked in Douglas Nitz’s lab, working on several projects employing electrophysiological and computational approaches. He then spent a year of research with Janet Wiles at the University of Queensland to study bio-inspired computation. David is now a graduate student in Gyuri Buzsaki's lab.

Zhiwei Li: Zhiwei rotated in the lab, where she worked to develop our pipeline to analyze data generated by combined imaging and electrophysiology.

Mahdi Choudhury: Mahdi joined us as an NYU undergraduate and looked looking into how zebrafish learn to stabilize their gaze as they grow.


Simon Sun: Simon graduated in 2011 from the College of William and Mary with a double major in music & neuroscience. He received his MS in Biology form Virginia Commonwealth University, characterizing proteins involved in cell migration during development with Gregory Walsh. Simon is now a graduate student in Dick Tsien's lab.  

Margaret Zhang: Maggie spent the summer in the lab (2015) as part of NYU's Girls in Science, Technology and Medicine summer program. She worked on coding eye movements to understand how gaze stabilization develops.  

Avenelle Onaifo: Avenelle also spent the summer in the lab (2016) as part of NYU's Girls in Science, Technology and Medicine summer program. She too worked on coding eye movements to understand how gaze stabilization develops.