Principal Investigator

Anju Vasudevan, PhD

Anju Vasudevan, PhD is an Associate Professor and Scientific Director of the Neurovascular Research Program, and Director of the Postdoctoral Fellowship Program at Huntington Medical Research Institutes (HMRI). Dr. Vasudevan received her PhD degree in Neuroscience from the University of Cologne, Germany and performed postdoctoral work in the Department of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School. From 2007-2020, Dr. Vasudevan was as a faculty member in the Departments of Neurology and Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.  Dr. Vasudevan established the Angiogenesis and Brain Development Laboratory in 2011, at McLean Hospital. The lab moved to HMRI in 2020. Dr. Vasudevan’s work on early embryogenesis of the forebrain vascular system has opened up an entirely new conceptual framework from which to view this important component of brain development. Her research focuses on defining new cellular and molecular mechanisms governing prenatal brain development and the way it shapes postnatal and adult behaviors. This work has implications for understanding, prevention and treatment of a variety of nervous system disorders like schizophrenia, autism, epilepsy, and developmental delays. Dr. Vasudevan is the recipient of the NARSAD Young Investigator Award, NARSAD Independent Investigator Award and awards from the National Institute of Health.

Apart from science, Anju loves nature and enjoys creative activities.

Postdoctoral Researcher

Pranay Goel, PhD

Pranay Goel, PhD is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Angiogenesis and Brain Development Laboratory. Dr. Goel received his PhD degree in Medicine from the University of Adelaide at Adelaide, Australia. His doctoral studies were focused on understanding fundamental pathways underlying cell survival, apoptosis, and ubiquitination in the maintenance of cellular homeostasis, for which he received the International Post Graduate Research Scholarship and Adelaide Post Graduate Award. He was also the recipient of Dean’s Commendation for doctoral thesis excellence. Next, Dr. Goel was associated with MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Lymphoma and Myeloma, where he studied genomic and molecular alterations in multiple myeloma. His current research focuses on elucidating new signaling pathways in the developing forebrain vascular system that can directly contribute to behavioral diversity. This work will provide insights into the origin and mechanisms underlying psychiatric illness.

In addition to research, Pranay likes spending time in nature, traveling in his free time, cycling and playing tennis. He also loves cooking and enjoys different cuisines.

Divya Desai, PhD

Divya Desai, PhD is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Angiogenesis and Brain Development Laboratory. Dr. Desai received her PhD degree in Biological Sciences with a specialization in Stem Cell Biology and Epigenetics from NMIMS University in Mumbai, India. During her doctoral training, she studied the role of Polycomb (PcG) group proteins in early neuronal differentiation with the use of human pluripotent stem cells. She detected the localization of small histone modifiers at genomic targets during stage-specific early neuronal development and explored its regulation of neuronal differentiation. Dr. Desai’s current research focuses on generating human forebrain-like endothelial cells using human pluripotent stem cell technology and elucidating new paradigms of neurovascular interactions.

When not in the lab, Divya enjoys reading, travelling, and hiking. She also likes to cook different dishes in her free time.

Lab Staff

Anass Agrud, MS

Anass Agrud, MS is a Research Associate in the Angiogenesis and Brain Development Laboratory at HMRI. He received his Master’s degree in Biology, majoring in Health and Environment, and a Bachelor’s degree in Cell and Molecular Biology from UAE, Morocco, and is planning on pursuing a PhD in Neuroscience.

Apart from science, Anass enjoys water activities and cooking cuisines from different cultures. Also he loves spending his free time doing outdoor activities with friends and family.

Olinda Bran, BS

Olinda Bran, BS is a Research Assistant in the Angiogenesis and Brain Development Laboratory at HMRI. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Biology, from California State University, Los Angeles, minoring in Microbiology. After graduation, she worked in COVID-19 testing laboratories, learning and practicing the current techniques in viral testing. She is pursuing a Master of Public Health at Grand Canyon University, specializing in Epidemiology, and is planning on becoming a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine.

Aside from the lab, Olinda enjoys volunteering in the community, traveling, martial arts, and cooking with her family.

Student and Volunteer opportunities are available.

Chungkil Won, PhD
Research Associate, 2009-2011

Peeyush Kumar, PhD
Research Fellow, 2012-2013

Suyan Li, PhD
Research Assistant, 2011-2013
Research Fellow, 2013-2015

Sampada Joshee, MS
Research Assistant, 2014-2016

Vicky Wang, MS
Research Assistant, 2017

Sarah Kaye, BS
Research Assistant, 2018-2019

Yong Kee Choi, PhD
Instructor/Faculty, 2017-2020

Debkanya Datta, PhD
Research Fellow, 2016
Instructor/Faculty, 2017-2020

Jugajyoti Baruah, PhD
Research Fellow, 2018-2020