Principal Investigator

Mike O’Donnell, PhD

I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology. I grew up in the Philadelphia area and went to graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania, working with Greg Bashaw.  In my postdoctoral work, I developed a system to study the effects of gut microbes on animal behavior using C. elegans in the lab of Piali Sengupta at Brandeis University. I hope to make science a more diverse, inclusive and supportive place and am committed to mentoring and outreach. In my spare time, I enjoy cycling, playing soccer and spending time with family.

Postdoctoral Fellows

Madhumanti Dasgupta, Ph.D.

I have joined the lab as a post-doctoral fellow in September, 2021. I am from India, and I have obtained my PhD from the Indian Institute of Science. In my PhD I have studied the role of lipid droplets in Caenorhabditis elegans during infection. In this lab, I am excited to work on how microbes present in the natural microbiome of C. elegans impact sensory perception and physiology. Additionally, I am interested in elucidating the role of neuroactive chemicals in C. elegans’ biology. In my free time I enjoy reading, exploring new places, hanging around with friends and family, and photography.  

Postgraduate researchers

Tia Brown

Tia joined the lab after graduating with a BA in Biology from Haverford College, where, among other research, she worked on serotonin receptor function using Zebrafish in the lab of Prof. Roshan Jain. Tia is working on a class of octopamine-linked glucoside chemicals that influence olfactory behavior in C. elegans.


Julia Balch (‘23)

I am an undergraduate (‘23) in Ezra Stiles College studying MCDB, and I am from North Salem, NY. Outside of my studies, I’m a member of the Yale Women’s Fencing Team and a FOOT leader.  My project involves the identification and function of novel diet-dependent neuroactive glucosides.

Andrew Jackson III (‘22)

I am an undergraduate (’22) in Branford College, pursuing a B.S. in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. I am looking to apply my research in the O’Donnell Lab and my studies in biology to a career in medicine. In my free time, I love going on scooter rides, listening to music, and hanging out with friends. My project focuses on the effects of certain microbes and their metabolic footprint on the behavior of the model organism C. elegans.

Rotation students

JoAnne Villagrana

MCGD rotation student JoAnne Villagrana joins us for the Fall 2021 semester. 

Come join us!

We are looking for postdocs, graduate students and other

researchers to help build our research program. If you are interested in joining us, please reach out!

For graduate students, I will be accepting students beginning in the spring 2021 semester.

For undergraduates, post-graduates and prospective postdocs - please email me directly.