Baccus lab members, alumni, and friends (2023). From left to right: Bongsoo, Misha, Julia, Josh, Satchel, Srinidhi, Sofia, Juhyoung, Sophie, Mike, Mai, David, Mark, Xuehao, Kyrstyn, Eric, Youssef, Javier, Carolyn, Steve, Barbara
Dr. Stephen Baccus (Professor of Neurobiology, He/Him)
Contact: baccus [at] stanford [dot] edu
Steve is the current chair of the Department of Neurobiology at Stanford University Medical School. He received a B.S. degree in computer science in 1983 and a J.D. degree in 1986, both from the University of Miami. He received an M.S. degree in computer science from the Courant Insitute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University, New York in 1987. He practiced law in Miami from 1987–1994, then in 1998 received his Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Miami where he studied the leech nervous system with Ken Muller. After postdoctoral research at Harvard University with Markus Meister studying the retina, he started his lab in the Stanford Neurobiology department in 2004. He has received a Pew Scholar Award in the Biomedical Sciences, a McKnight Scholar Award, a Sloan Research Fellowship, a Karl Kirchgessner Vision Science Award, and a E. Mathilda Ziegler Foundation Vision Science Award. He currently co-directs the Marine Biological Laboratory Methods in Computational Neuroscience Course in Woods Hole, MA. He has four cats, a dog and chickens.
Dr. Michael Menz (Research Associate, He/Him)
Mike Menz is a basic life research scientist who has been in the Baccus lab since 2006. His current research seeks to understand ultrasonic neuromodulation by working with in vitro preparations including salamander and mouse retina and mouse hippocampal brain slice. His educational background is in electrical and bio-medical engineering. Previous non-academic employment: small bio-tech company, clinical engineer at Johns Hopkins Hospital, math teacher as a US Peace Corps Volunteer in the Central African Republic, and assistant patent examiner for the US Patent Office. His hobbies are cooking, hiking, golfing and listening to music.
David Au, PhD (Postdoctoral Scholar, Neurobiology, He/Him)
David is a postdoctoral researcher and PRISM Baker Fellow interested in understanding how the complex computational processes that drive visual encoding of natural scenes occur, with special emphasis on the pathways that canonically drive non-image forming vision. His research involves high-throughput in vivo electrophysiology and computational modeling to understand the multiplexed photoreceptor system of mice. He attended the University of Utah as a Miller Scholar, where he received a BS in Biomedical Engineering; then the University of California, Irvine as an NRSA NIH F31-Diversity Fellow, where he received a Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences emphasized in Neurophysiology and Behavior. He tries to adopt a work hard-play hard balance with several hobbies outside of research, including bouldering, swimming, hiking, volleyball, tennis, snowboarding, outreach, and good vibes.
Youssef Faragalla (Graduate Student, Neuroscience, He/Him)
Originally from Egypt, Youssef received both his undergraduate and master’s degree in neuroscience from George Mason University prior to coming to the neurosciences PhD program at Stanford. During his master’s degree, he conducted biophysics research at Ling-Gang Wu’s lab at NINDS studying vesicle release with simultaneous single-cell electrophysiology and multi-color super-resolution microscopy. In the Baccus lab, Youssef utilizes a combination of high-resolution neural recordings, state-of-the-art machine learning models, and explainable AI methods to uncover the neural code of natural scenes in the early visual system. Outside of the lab, he enjoys playing and following soccer, performing music, catching up on the latest advances in AI and tech, and exploring the wonders of the Bay Area and California.
Eric Nguyen (Graduate Student, Bioengineering, He/Him)
I’m interested in ways to use neuroscience to make better AI systems, and also, how AI can help us better understand how the brain works. My research focuses on deep learning, computer vision and ways to model mental disorders using reinforcement learning. I’ve spent time at Google Research, Facebook AI and Adobe Research. In a previous career I was in management consulting in the energy industry. I did a masters in computer science at Cornell, and a masters and bachelors in civil engineering at Stanford and Berkeley, respectively. I enjoy rock climbing, volleyball, and horror movies.
Xuehao Ding (Graduate Student, Physics, He/Him)
I am an Applied Physics PhD candidate in Baccus lab co-advised by Surya Ganguli. My research focuses on building encoding models of the retina with various biophysical properties especially for natural scenes and answering scientific questions based on computational models. I believe that the core problem in the field of sensory systems is to understand the representation manifold and I am achieving this goal with methods of differential geometry, deep learning, statistical physics, etc. I obtained Physics B.S. in Peking University with the research expertise on non-equilibrium statistical mechanics. My hobbies are Hegel’s philosophy, music, tennis and nunchaku.
Dongsoo Lee (Graduate Student, Neuroscience, He/Him)
I’m a PhD candidate in Neurosciences. My research focuses on understanding how interneurons contribute to motion processing in the retina. Outside of science, I love reading novels, listening to jazz, and watching movies.
Kyrstyn Ong (Graduate Student, Materials Science and Engineering, She/Her)
I graduated from Swarthmore College with a B.S. in Engineering. I am a Materials Science and Engineering PhD candidate. My research focuses on understanding the mechanism of ultrasound neurostimulation using molecular dynamics simulations. In my spare time, I enjoy skiing, golfing, reading novels, and knitting.
Javier Weddington (Graduate Student, Neuroscience, He/Him)
Javier earned his Bachelor of Science at Trinity College, Hartford Connecticut as a Posse Scholar from Chicago. His neuroscience research journey began at Trinity College and Harvard-MGH with Mohammad Milad studying trauma in humans. Dissatisfied with the resolution of human tools, he transitioned to electron microscopy at Trinity College with Daniel Blackburn with the hopes of characterizing neural circuits via connectomics. Despite his fervor for the beautiful high quality images of microscopy, he wanted to connect his findings to behavior. Ultimately, he settled on the happy medium of between humans and metal coated specimens: mice. With the help of Stephen (AZA) Allsop, Javier transitioned to studying systems neuroscience connecting neural circuits to behavior with Kay Tye at MIT. After two exciting and lifechanging years in Tye Lab, he enrolled PhD at Stanford and joined the Baccus Lab. Here he investigates visual encoding in mice and neural network models. He proposes reinforcement learning as a system to study efficient encoding and learning in mouse and in silico. My hobbies are competing in Muay Thai Fights, Music, Dancing, Archery, Marksmanship and Cookouts.
Joshua Melander (Graduate Student, Neuroscience, He/Him)
Josh was trained in cellular neurobiology at Whitman College (with Ginger Withers and Chris Wallace) and the Vollum Institute (with Tianyi Mao and Haining Zhong). In the Baccus Lab, he utilizes his experimental expertise, together with computational modelling, to understand how the visual system encodes naturalistic scenery. When not in lab, I enjoy playing violin (experimental and Bach) and propagating drought-tolerant succulents and cacti.
PhD Candidate, Psychology, Stanford University
Undergraduate, Neuroscience, University of Washington
PhD Candidate, Neuroscience, Cold Spring Harbor
Meta Reality Labs
Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering, University of Utah
Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, University of Utah
David B. Kastner
Adjunct Instructor, Psychiatry, UCSF Weill Institute for Neuroscience
Principal Investigator at Instituto Nacional de Psiquiatría Mexico City, Mexico
Department of Neurosurgery, Cologne-Merheim Medical Center Witten/Herdecke University School of Medicine, Germany