Principal Investigator

Anju Vasudevan, PhD

Anju Vasudevan, PhD is an Associate Professor of Neuroscience, Director of the Angiogenesis & Brain Development Laboratory, and Chair/Scientific Director of the Department of Neurosciences 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 a faculty member in the Departments of Neurology and Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.  Dr. Vasudevan established the Angiogenesis and Brain Development Laboratory (ABDL) in 2011, at McLean Hospital, that pursues basic and translational research in neuroscience. The ABDL moved to HMRI in 2020, and is also known as the Neurovascular Research Program here. Dr. Vasudevan served as the Director of the Postdoctoral Fellowship Program from 2020-2022, and created a robust network of talented postdoctoral fellows at HMRI. Dr. Vasudevan’s work on early embryogenesis of the forebrain vascular system, and diversity of endothelial cell populations, 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 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, developmental delays, anxiety, and depression. 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

Kazi Helal Hossain, PhD

Kazi Helal Hossain, PhD is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Angiogenesis and Brain Development Laboratory. Dr. Kazi Helal received his Ph.D. degree in Biomedical Science from the Department of Medicine, Shimane University, Japan. His doctoral training focused on investigating the impact of P. gingivalis lipopolysaccharide on alteration of gene expression patterns in endothelial cells and its contributions to the pathogenesis of vascular inflammatory diseases. He also studied the morphological and pathological changes of hypertensive brain vessels to understand how hypertension induces the early pathogenesis of cerebral small vessel diseases. During his doctoral studies, he received several scholarships (Honors, Shimane International Center, and Furukawa Scholarship) in Japan. His postdoctoral research focuses on studying the fundamental mechanisms of endothelial GABA and its receptor-mediated signaling during postnatal brain development with the use of genetic models and elucidating new paradigms of neurovascular interactions in the neocortex.

In addition to his research, Kazi Helal loves social work, cooking, gardening, and fishing.

Divya Mishra, PhD

Divya Mishra, PhD is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Angiogenesis and Brain Development Laboratory. Dr. Mishra received her PhD degree in Life Science from the Jawahar Lal Nehru university of India. Her doctoral training focused on understanding the anti-hypertensive potential of natural compounds and exploration of mechanisms by which they produced vasorelaxation and rescue in cardiac tissue. Specifically, she explored the role of Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) in ex-vivo and in-vivo studies in rodent models, for which she received the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) Fellowship. Her current research focuses on uncovering novel aspects of endothelial-neuronal interactions and mechanisms of their crosstalk during embryonic forebrain development, that can contribute to the origin of psychiatric illness.

Divya loves painting and enjoys cooking during her free time.

Lab Staff

Said Elbakri

Said Elbakri is a Research Assistant in the Angiogenesis and Brain Development Laboratory at HMRI. He received his Diploma in General Science from FSSM – La Faculté des Sciences Semlalia, Marrakech. Said is the heart of the lab, coordinating transgenic colony management and genotyping, with multiple lab operations.

Said enjoys boxing, reading, soccer, and traveling.


Michael Bailey

Michael is a rising junior at Maryville College in Tennessee doing a double major in Neuroscience and Criminal Justice. He is currently an Undergraduate Research Fellow in the Angiogenesis & Brain Development Laboratory. Michael harbors thoughts of eventually pursuing a Ph.D., in Neuroscience.

Michael enjoys watching true crime, surfing the internet, and reading books about psychiatric disorders.

Emily Abad

Emily Abad is a junior undergraduate student at UCLA and is pursuing a B.S. degree in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology. Emily is a devoted Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow (SURF) and Volunteer in the Angiogenesis & Brain Development Laboratory at HMRI. With an interest in genetics, Emily is planning to move forward with her education by pursuing a PhD in Genetics or a Masters in Genetic Counseling.

Outside of her professional and academic life, Emily likes to spend her time cooking, baking, and making new memories with friends and family.

Justin Lin

Justin Lin is a junior at San Marino High School. He is currently a student research volunteer in the Angiogenesis and Brain Development Laboratory at HMRI. In the future, Justin would like to pursue a career in the medical field practicing internal medicine.

Apart from science and medicine, Justin enjoys playing tennis, hanging out with friends, and going on campouts with his boy scout troop.

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

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

Anass Agrud, MS
Research Assistant, 2020
Research Associate, 2020-2022

Divya Desai, PhD
Research Fellow, 2021-2023

Marque Villareal, BS
Undergraduate Research Fellow, 2022-2023