Anne Andrews Group

Principal Investigator

Senior Scientists/Postdocs

Graduate Students

Research Assistant

Rotation Students

Undergraduate Students


Lab Alumni



Principal Investigator:

Anne Milasincic Andrews, Ph.D.



Anne Andrews is Professor of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences and Chemistry & Biochemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles. At UCLA, Andrews leads efforts in basic and translational research on anxiety and depression, and at the nexus of nanoscience and neuroscience. Andrews interdisciplinary research team focuses on understanding how the serotonin system and particularly, the serotonin transporter, modulate neurotransmission to influence complex behaviors including anxiety, mood, stress responsiveness, and learning and memory. Dr. Andrews was a guest of the White House during President Obamas announcement of the BRAIN initiative, which she helped to shape.

Dr. Andrews earned her B.S. in chemistry from the Pennsylvania State University and received her Ph.D. in chemistry as a U.S. Department of Education Fellow working at the National Institute of Mental Health. There, she was later a postdoctoral fellow and senior staff fellow. Andrews has been the recipient of an NIH Fellows Award for Research Excellence, an Eli Lily Outstanding Young Analytical Chemist Award, an American Parkinsons Disease Association Research Award, and a Brain and Behavior Research Foundation Independent Investigator Award. She is a member of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, International Society for Serotonin Research vice president, an advisory board member for the International Society for Monitoring Molecules in Neuroscience, and serves as Associate Editor for ACS Chemical Neuroscience.



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Senior Scientists/Postdoctoral Fellows

Dr. Hongyan Yang


Dr. Yang earned a B.S. in Biology & Applied Electronics (1997) and a Ph.D. in Molecular Neuroscience (2002) from East China Normal University in Shanghai. Her doctoral work, titled Function of NMDA receptors in the development of the central auditory system, was carried out under the supervision of Prof. Xinde Sun. In 2002, she joined Prof. Liangyou Ruis group as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Molecular & Integrative Physiology at the University of Michigan. There, she studied the mechanisms of obesity and type II diabetes. In 2003, Dr. Yang joined the laboratory of Prof. Jill Becker in the Molecular & Behavioral Neuroscience Institute at the University of Michigan. Under Dr. Beckers guidance, she focused on investigating gender differences in drug abuse, rapid effects of estradiol in the brain, and sex chromosome effects in Parkinsons Disease. In 2011, she joined the laboratory of Prof. Andrews where she is currently investigating the influences of neonatal serotonin transporter disruption on adult serotonin system circuitry. Dr. Yang is also working on fast scan cyclic voltammetry to study serotonin system function in vivo.


Dr. Olena Lukoyanova


Dr. Lukoyanova earned a B.Sc. in Pharmacy from Lviv Polytechnic National University (Ukraine) and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Clemson University under the supervision of Prof. Luis Echegoyen. Her Ph.D. research focused on design and synthesis of regioselectively functionalized fullerenes as well as studies of their electrochemical properties. Subsequently, she held a post-doctoral position in Prof. Dmitrii Perepichka?s group at McGill University (Canada) where she worked on design and synthesis of pi-conjugated thiophene-based materials with tailored electronic properties. She also held faculty positions teaching undergraduate students at the University of Regina and California Lutheran University. In Dr. Andrews?s group, Dr. Lukoyanova is developing methods to control and optimize the surface chemistry that involves linking aptamer biomolecules to the metal oxides surfaces of FET-biosensors.





Dr. Nako Nakatsuka




Nako graduated from Fordham University with a BS in Chemistry and a minor in French in 2012 . She carried out undergraduate research under the mentorship of Professor Ipsita Banerjee in her bionanotechnology research group focused on design, synthesis and assembly of peptide bolaamphiphiles for potential tissue engineering and drug delivery applications. In addition, she explored specifically designed peptide sequences for cell penetration and examined the effect of size, charge and specific amino acid moieties for cellular penetration. Additional work involved gene therapy with siRNA bound microtubular networks, as well as biomimetic formation of gold, platinum and silver nanoparticles using specific peptide sequences. Nako's joint graduate research between Dr. Anne Andrews' and Dr. Paul Weiss' labs  involved developing nanoscale surface chemistry for small molecules such as neurotransmitters, in addition to capturing multiple molecules on the surface to create multiplexed neurochips. She then worked on the design and development of aptamer field-effect transistors to monitor small molecule neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine in physiological conditions.  In her spare time, she likes to compete in Triathlons


Dr. Sara Rahimnejad



Dr. Sara Rahimnejad earned a B.S. in chemistry (2001) and a Ph.D. in physical chemistry (2009) from Sharif University of Technology, Iran. In her doctoral work titled ?Synthesis, Characterization and Kinetics?, she studied metal oxide catalyst-supporting nanoporous titanium dioxide for degradation of environmental organic pollutants under the supervision of Prof. Mohammad R. Gholami. In 2008, she did an internship at the Department of Chemistry at the National University of Singapore to study the optimized physicochemical properties of TiO2 for CO2 photoreduction in Prof. Xu Guo Qin?s research group. There, she later worked as a research fellow and focused on tuning electronic and optical properties of metal oxides as photocatalysts to reduce the carbon footprint. In 2015, Dr. Rahimnejad joined as visiting researcher Prof. Juan Bisquert?s group in the Institute of Advanced Materials at Universitat Juame I, Spain and studied how coordinate chemistry dictates the structural defects in lead halide perovskites for photovoltaic devices. In 2017, she joined Prof. Anne Andrews? and Prof. Paul Weiss?s research groups at UCLA where she currently focuses on optimizing oxide surfaces for bio-FETs for new and enhanced nanobiosensors in neuroscience.



Dr. Leonardo Scarabelli


Leonardo received his bachelor and master degrees in Chemistry from the University of Pavia (Italy) with a thesis on the photothermal properties of branched plasmonic nanoparticles. In 2016, he completed his PhD in Prof. Luis M. Liz-Marzn?s group at CICbiomaGUNE (San Sebastian, Spain). His thesis focused on the development of plasmonic materials based on crystalline assemblies of anisotropic nanoparticles used for Surface Enhanced Raman Scattering detection of signaling molecules involved in bacterial quorum sensing. During his PhD, he acquired a broad expertise in the synthesis, characterization and self-assembly of anisotropic plasmonic nanostructures. He also developed a strong background in biologically inspired nanotechnology research, focusing particularly on the interactions of living systems with nanosized objects. At UCLA, he is working as a shared postdoc with Prof. Anne M. Andrews and Prof. Paul S. Weiss. He is coordinating a small team for the development of aptamer-based field-effect transistors for the detection and monitoring of neurotransmitters in a microfluidic flow system. His goal is to develop a new biomimetic neuromorphic computing system using FET-arrays sensitive to a variety of biomolecular inputs. He is also an avid rock climber, nature enthusiast, and guitar player.

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Graduate Student Researchers


Kevin Cheung




Kevin graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a BS in chemistry in 2014. He carried out undergraduate research under the mentorship of Professor Norbert Reich. This research involved the design and optimization of spatiotemporal controlled nanoparticle drug delivery vehicles, specifically for the release of siRNA conjugates from hollow gold nanoshells by a pulsed near-infrared laser for targeted gene knockdown in cancer and stem cells. Kevin was also a visiting researcher in the Department of Materials at the University of Oxford where he worked with Professor Kyriakos Porfyrakis. There he carried out research on the synthesis, characterization, and purification of endohedral metallofullerenes for applications in quantum computing. Kevin?s joint graduate research between Dr. Anne Andrews' and Dr. Paul Weiss's labs focuses on the detection of single nucleotide polymorphisms in nucleic acids via ultrathin film field effect transistor biosensors. He is also working on advancing chemical lift-off lithography, a subtractive patterning technique pioneered by the Andrews and Weiss groups.




Chuanzhen Zhao




Chuanzhen is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Chemistry at UCLA. His research between Prof. Anne Andrews' and Prof. Paul Weiss's labs focuses on metal oxide-based biosensors for detection of small molecules such as neurotransmitters, and a variety of biosensor platforms including point-of-care devices and wearable biosensors. He is also working on development of nanoscale chemical patterning for applications in semiconductor and biomolecule patterning, micro/nanoscale fabrication for precision medicine and intracellular delivery, and nano-systems for high-throughput intracellular delivery and gene modification including slippery liquid-infused porous surfaces (SLIPS) cell squeezing and acoustic wave gene-editing. Chuanzhen loves jogging with music and reading books in his spare time.




Jason Belling





Jason graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a BA in Physics. He carried out his undergraduate research under the mentorship of Professor Alex Zettl and his research focused on the purification of carbon nanotubes and the design and fabrication of carbon nanotube devices with an emphasis on neuroscience applications. At UC Berkeley, Jason was a UC LEADS scholar which allowed him to explore other research universities in the UC system. Following in the footsteps of his community college chemistry professor, Heidi McMahon, Jason started a post-baccalaureate research position under the mentorship of Paul S. Weiss at UCLA. During his time at UCLA, Jason assisted in the fabrication of polymer pens for chemical lift-off lithography. Jason continued on to help establish an ongoing collaboration with Professor Namjoon Cho of Nanyang Technological University as a visiting scholar, where his research focused on tailoring the protein coatings of graphene oxide to analyze the innate immune response in vitro. Jason?s graduate research is currently focused on nanoplasmonic sensors for inflammatory diagnostics, fabricating antifouling biomimetic microfluidic devices for gene editing applications, and assisting in the fabrication and functionalization of biosensors for both the neuromorphic and neurochip projects.



Sara Erwin




Sara is a Ph.D. candidate in the Molecular Toxicology program at UCLA. She received her B.S. from West Chester University of Pennsylvania, majoring in Forensic and Toxicological Chemistry with a minor in Biology. She was a part of the National Chemistry Honors Society as an undergraduate and was the President of Women in Science Club bringing women together with their interest in the sciences.  Sara interned at Lehigh Valley Toxicology Laboratory working on developing and validating a method for free vs. total opioid detection in pain clinics.  Her research in the Andrews’ group focuses on determining the effects of perinatal SSRI exposure in combination with maternal stress on long term behavioral and neurochemical outcomes in offspring. She loves dogs, hiking and spending time at the beach.





Liv Heidenreich




Liv studied as an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee and graduated in 2015 with a B.S. in Chemistry and Mathematics. A Milwaukee native, her research interests in math began as a student in the BioMath program ( ) under the mentorship of Dr. Gabriella Pinter. To study the population dynamics of invasive bivalve species and the influence on nutrient cycling in Lake Michigan, stochastic modeling was employed to understand underlying processes given data collected from the lake. She also worked under Professor Joseph Aldstadt developing in analytical chemistry a method to study of the kinetics of the Maillard Reaction. Separation and measurement of reaction mixtures in time sought to test the effects of conditions such as reactant concentration, pH, and ionic strength on the stages of sugar and amino acid crosslinking processes. As a Ph.D. student working under Prof. Anne M. Andrews and Prof. Paul S. Weiss, Liv is helping develop aptamer-based field-effect transistors incorporated into microfluidic flow systems with a goal of creating reversible sensors to better understand neuromodulation pathways integral to behavior. Liv enjoys spending time painting.  






Merel Dagher




Merel is a Ph.D. candidate in the Molecular Toxicology program at UCLA. She received her B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, majoring in Public Health and Cognitive Science. She worked as a peer educator, designing workshops and researching content about the link between mental illness and violence. She was also an undergraduate teaching assistant in the Chemistry department for general and organic chemistry. As a graduate student, Merel has taught introductory neuroscience, a translational neurobiology course focused on drugs of abuse, and a behavioral neuroscience lab. Her research in the Andrews’ group focuses on determining the effects of perinatal SSRI exposure in combination with maternal stress on long term behavioral and neurochemical outcomes in offspring.






George Hobbs Major


George Major


George graduated from Brigham Young University with a BS in Neuroscience and a minor in Psychology in 2017. During his undergraduate career, he worked closely with his mentor, Dr. Matthew Linford working in novel applications of photolithography for thin layer chromatography (TLC) plate development. In addition, George worked to analyze surface composition of display glass using analytical techniques, including XPS, TOF-SIMS, ellipsometry and LEIS. George also did research with Dr. Scott Steffensen, focusing on changes in D2 receptor densities in and around the VTA after exercise induced stress and in alcohol dependent rat models using fast scan cyclic voltammetry. Further, he worked to develop an Arduino controlled vibration motor to stimulate the DSML pathway for modeling possible treatment for alcohol dependance. Now he is interested in utilizing FSCV to measure other neurotransmitters in new environments.


Katie Perotta




Katie graduated with BS in both chemistry and neuroscience from Muhlenberg College (a small, private, liberal arts college in Allentown, PA). Her primary undergraduate research was performed under the co-mentorship of Drs. Christine Ingersoll and Jeremy Teissere. The collaborative project involved the chemical and pharmacological analysis of Passiflora incarnta in order to wholly understand its anxiolytic properties. Katie designed HPLC and ESI Spectrometry methods to characterize the flavonoid constituents in a commercially available passionflower extract. Flavonoids have been experimentally shown in literature and experimentally by members of the Dr. Jeremy Teissere lab to act on the GABAA receptor, making them a prime candidate as the active chemical component of passionflower. In the lab of Anne Andrews Katie will be using fast scanning cyclic voltammetry and microdialysis to monitor serotonin in vivo.





Anthony Sica




Anthony studied as an undergraduate at Hofstra university where he graduated in 2018 with a B.S. in Chemistry and a minor in physics. His undergraduate research was done under Professor Scott Lefurgy where the lab focused on structurally identifying the source of antibiotic resistance in Class C beta-lactamases. Anthony was also a visiting researcher at NYU where he did theoretical chemistry modeling chromatin with Professor Tamar Schlick and also worked with Professor Nadrian Seeman assembling and growing DNA nanostructures. Anthony is currently a Ph.D student with the department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. His work with Dr. Anne Andrews will be working on carbon fiber electrodes and using fast-scan cyclic voltammetry to study the serotonin system function in vivo.


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Undergraduate Student Researchers

Katie Perotta




Weiye is an undergraduate student majoring in Chemistry (General) at UCLA. She plans to graduate in Spring of 2019 and then pursue a Ph.D. in Chemistry or Biochemistry. She want to learn about pharmaceuticals and particularly those regarding mental health diseases. Weiye works with Dr. Lukoyanova and is interested in organic synthesis and surface functionalization. 



Hannah Chung


Xinyi (Cindy) Cheng

Cindy is a UCLA undergraduate student majoring in biochemistry with plans to graduate in the Spring of 2018. She plans to go to graduate school to pursue a Ph.D. in biochemistry after graduation. She has a keen interest in neuroscience and more specifically how different chemicals, neurotransmitters or drugs, affect the neural pathways, which ultimately guide our behaviors and thoughts.



Rahul Iyer


Rahul Iyer

Rahul is a UCLA undergraduate student pursuing a degree in Electrical Engineering. He loves to work on electronics and robotics projects as a hobby, and is excited to apply his skills to contribute to the lab?s data acquisition hardware and software. Rahul is currently an intern at Tesla.






Vicky Wang

Vicky is an undergraduate Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology major planning to graduate in 2019 and pursue a Ph.D. She?s interested in cellular pathways and the ways that they affect us, along with mental health in general, and is excited to be studying the serotonin system.


Rahul Iyer

Riya Pathare

Riya is a UCLA undergraduate student pursuing a major in physiological science and planning to graduate in Spring of 2021. After graduation, she plans to go to medical school and continue research. She is interested in how blocking and changing brain chemicals and cellular pathways affects moods and behaviors and seeing how these effects pass through generations. 



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Current Collaborators


Miguel Alcaniz Fillol (Universidad Politcnica de Valencia)

Alexandre Bonnin (Department of Neuroscience, USC)

Cathy Cahill (School of Medicine, UC Irvine )

Christopher J. Evans (Director, Brain Research Institute, Semel Institute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior, UCLA)

Michael E. Jung (Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, UCLA)

Andrea Kasko (Department of Bioengineering , UCLA)

Andrew F. Leuchter (Director, Laboratory of Brain, Behavior & Pharmacology, Semel Institute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior, UCLA)

Hal Monbouquette (Chair, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, UCLA )

Pablo Moya (Department of Neurobiology, Universidad de Valparaiso)



Kevin Plaxco (Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, UCSB)

Aydogan Ozcan (Department of Electrical Engineering, Engineering, UCLA)

Sandra J. Rosenthal (Director, Vanderbilt Institute of Nanoscale Science and Engineering and Department of Chemistry, Vanderbilt University)

Damla Senturk (Department of Biostatistics, UCLA)

Milan N. Stojanovic (Department of Biomedical Engineering and Systems Biology, Columbia University)


Greg M. Swain (Department of Chemistry, Michigan State University)

Steve G. Weber (Department of Chemistry, University of Pittsburgh)

Paul S. Weiss (Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, and Department of Material Science & Engineering, UCLA)

Yang Yang (Department of Engineering, UCLA)


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Lab Alumni

Postdoctoral Researchers

Liane Slaughter, Ph.D. - Postdoctoral researcher at Hong Kong University

Wei-Ssu Liao, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor of Chemistry at National Taiwan University

Ann-Sofie Cans, Ph.D. - Associate Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Chalmers University

Graduate Students

Huan H. Cao, Ph.D. - Postdoctoral researcher at UC Merced, Merced, CA

Brendan Biekmann, Ph.D. - Instructor at the Webb School

T. Lee Gilman, Ph.D. - Postdoctoral research associate with Lynette Daws at UT Health San Antonio, San Antonio, TX

Stefanie C. Altieri, Ph.D. - Postdoctoral researcher at the Rangos Research Center at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

Sarawut Cheunkar, Ph.D. - Faculty at the School of Bioresources and Technology, King Mongkut's University of Technology

Amanda Bressler, Ph.D.

Mitchell Schuster, Ph.D. - Consultant, Knowledgent

Amit Vaish, Ph.D. - Scientist-Discovery Analytical Sciences, Amgen

Yogesh Singh, Ph.D. - Process Engineer, Intel Corporation, Hillboro, OR

Walter Jackson, III, Ph.D. - Biomedical Sciences at Pennsylvania State University, Hershey, PA - Research Associate in fMRI imaging, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh Medical School, Pittsburgh, PA

Beth Luellen, Ph.D.- Freelance Science Writer

Xiomara Perez, Ph.D.- Research Neuroscientist, SRI International, Menlo Park, CA

Matthew E. Szapacs, Ph.D. - Principal Scientist, Glaxo Smith Kline, King of Prussia, PA

Erica Unger, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor of Biology, Lebanon Valley College, Annville PA

Tiffany A. Mathews, Ph.D. - Coordinator for Women in Engineering Program at Pennsylvania State University,University Park, PA


Brandon Yoshida - graduated from UCLA with a B.S. in Chemistry and is attending the University of Southern California Medical School in Fall 2017

Hannah Cheung - graduated from UCLA with a B.S. in Neuroscience and is now joining the Peace Corps

William Perdomo

Chloe Purgason - moved on to Clinical Nursing Research Opportunity, June 2015

Drumil Bhatt - graduated from UCLA with a B.S. in Neuroscience and is attending the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, Fall 2015

Jeffrey A. Lee - graduated from UCLA with B.S. in Biochemistry, June 2014

Woonwoo R. Choi - graduated from UCLA with B.S. in Neuroscience, June 2014

Pasha Dabiri - graduated from UCLA with B.S. in Psychobiology, June 2012

Hannah J. O'Brien - graduated from UCLA with B.S. in Biology, June 2012

Jeffrey Xu - graduated from UCLA with B.S. in Molecular, Cell & Developmental Biology, June 2012

Brian D. Ezekian - currently a med student at University of Virginia School of Medicine

Roya Nezarati - currently a Ph.D. student in Chemistry at Texas A&M

Michelle Martinez-Rivera - currently a Ph.D. student at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Daniel J. Ramos - currently a med student at UMDNJ Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

Shoba A. Belegundu - currently a med student at University of Cincinnati

Jason B. Ochroch - currently a med student at Jefferson Medical College

Lauren E. Sawarynski - recently graduated from Yale's Physician Associate Program, currently working as P.A. in Hartford, CT

Chubi A. Ihunnah - currently a Ph.D. student in Pharmacology at University of Pittsburgh

Claudia A. Rodriguez

Brooke B. Osborne - recently graduated from Colorado State University with Master's in Environmental Science, enrolling in Brown University's Ph.D. Ecology program Fall 2013

Alexandra R. Lewis - studying Veterinary Medicine at Colorado State University

Laura B. Taylor - received M.D. from University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, currently a resident at St. Margaret in Pittsburgh, PA

John E. McManigle - pursuing an M.D. at Duke University and a Ph.D. at Oxford University

Tara N. Chrzanowski - currently a Research Scientist at MPI Research

Ashley L. Gibb - NSF graduate fellow in Chemistry at University of California, Berkeley

Lisa U. Dudek - currently a Ph.D. student in Chemistry & Biochemistry at UCLA

Kaycee M. Hulet - completed degree in International and Family Law at Brigham Young University

Lindsey M. Schneider

Jacqueline F. Morris - received Ph.D. in Neuropharmacology from University of Pennsylvania

Christopher K. Materese - received Ph.D. in Chemistry from University of North Carolina, Postdoctoral Fellow at NASA Ames Astrophysics & Astrochemistry Laboratory

Dawn E. Rupp

Christian M. Squillante

Kristen E. Seabright

Drew Kiraly

Kenneth J. Sowinski

Adam L. Numis - received M.D. from Harvard University, residency at University of California, San Francisco, Pediatric Neurology at UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital

Eric D. Horowitz - received Ph.D. in Chemistry from Georgia Tech, Postdoctoral Fellow at University of North Carolina

Corey M. McCann - entered M.D./Ph.D. program at Harvard University

Katherine Sixt - received Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology from Johns Hopkins Medicine, Postdoctoral Fellow at National Cancer Institute

Robert S. Bridges - graduate school in Pharmacology at Columbia University

Francesca A. Coppelli - received M.D. as Howard Hughes Fellow from University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, currently practicing Internal Medicine at Philadelphia VA Medical Center

Marimar D. Aponte - received a Ph.D. in Immunology from University of Pittsburgh

George M. Jawahar 

Erin J. Steck - Research Scientist at DuPont

Douglas L. Sheridan - received Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Yale University, working in new therapeutic biologics at Alexion

Diane Ingabire - Spelman College


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