Assistant Professor

Princeton Neuroscience Institute

B.A.  University of Pennsylvania

Ph.D.  Columbia University

Robin Chemers Neustein Postdoctoral Fellow, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai  |  CV  Google Scholar

Postdoctoral Fellows

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Julie-Anne RoDier, PhD

Julie-Anne received her PhD in 2018 from the Grenoble Institute of Neuroscience in France. Her doctoral work focused on understanding the cleavage of BDNF, a neurotrophine with a dichotomous role in neuron survival, growth and differentiation. She identified a phosphorylated form of BDNF capable of modulating BDNF processing, and thus, its functions in synaptic plasticity and memory. 

Before that, she completed her Master’s as part of an exchange with Western Washington University, WA, USA and Claude Bernard University, Lyon, France. 

Julie-Anne became passionate about neuroscience while learning about Huntington’s Disease and is interested in better understanding physiological mechanisms and changes underlying mood and psychiatric disorders.

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Future Postdoctoral Fellows: We are always looking for motivated and creative people. Please email with your CV, a brief description of your research experience and interests, and contact information for references.  

Research Specialist


Shannon Bennett

Shannon majored in Biology with a concentration in Neuroscience at Penn State.

Before joining the Peña Lab, she was an associate scientist at a pharmaceutical company for several years, where she performed in vivo pharmacokinetic studies.

Graduate Students

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Gian-Carlo Toriano Parel

Gian is a Neuroscience graduate student rotating in the Peña Lab.

They majored in Neuroscience with double minors in Economics and Comparative American Studies at Oberlin College.
Gian researched multiple sclerosis at Weill Cornell for several years before starting graduate studies at Princeton.


Undergraduate Students

Kendra Dombroski   Princeton 2020  Senior Thesis Advisee

Kendra Dombroski

Princeton 2020
Senior Thesis Advisee

Anne Elizabeth Sidamon-Eristoff   Princeton 2020

Anne Elizabeth Sidamon-Eristoff

Princeton 2020

Austin Chang   Princeton 2022

Austin Chang

Princeton 2022

Tanzina Islam   Princeton 2021

Tanzina Islam

Princeton 2021

Parker Jones   Princeton 2021

Parker Jones

Princeton 2021

Christabel Mclain   Princeton 2021

Christabel Mclain

Princeton 2021

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If you are interested in working in the Peña Lab, please email with your interests, what you hope to gain from participating in research in the lab, and any relevant coursework you have taken. Preference will be given to Neuro majors who can work at least 4 hours/week during the school year.