Postdocs and Research Associates

Post Docs

ZhiXiong Ma

ZhiXiong is a Postdoc/visiting scholar. ZhiXiong graduated from National Institute of Biological Science (NIBS), Beijing, China​. His interests include circadian clock regulated-gene function in neurodegenerative disease, mood disorders, and channelopathies. He uses molecular biology, patch-clamp​, EEG recording, behavioral assays, and cell biology to study the reciprocal​ relationship between circadian clock and diseases/disorders.

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JingLiang Zhang

Jingliang is a postdoc joining the lab in 2018. He graduated from Peking University Health Science Center (from BS to PhD). 

He is interested in neuroscience and specializing in models of ischemic stroke, learning and memory, epilepsy, with the skill of animal experiments and electrophysiology related (EEG, In vitro electrophysiological whole-cell patch recordings and cell-attached patch recordings, etc.)

JingLiang's famous quote: "you think I work hard? No, I work like crazy"


Ningren Cui

Ningren is an Reserach Assoicate. 

Ningren has extensive experiences in patch-clamp recording and will help graduate students and postdocs to push project forward. 


Graduate Students

Muriel Eaton

Muriel Eaton is a PhD student in Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, College of Pharmacy. She earned a BS cum laude in Biochemistry from Kansas State University in May 2017. Her research interests focus on mitigating neurodegenerative diseases and the pain they cause. She is involved in the American Chemical Society, Alpha Chi Sigma (professional chemistry fraternity), and the Purdue Reamer Club. In her spare time, Muriel enjoys spending time with her cats and driving her Camaro. 

Muriel is a recipient of NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. 

Zhefu "Jeff" Que

Jeff graduated from China Pharmaceutical University and earned a M.S. degree at Illinois Institute of Technology. His current research mainly focuses on epilepsy and autism related sodium channel mutations. By using patch-clamp and multi-electrode array recording techniques on models of iPSC-derived neurons , he is trying to figure out how the biophysical properties of sodium channel with mutations have been changed, and how it contributes to these diseases.​

Jeff is a recipient of Lynn Fellowship. 


Maria Olivero

Maria earned her B.S, in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from the University of Cartagena in Colombia. During her undergraduate years, she performed virtual screens with natural product libraries to identify molecules that could be considered as potential chemopreventive agents through modulation of the ErbB kinase domain. She recently joined the Y lab where she is studying mouse DRG neuron subpopulations and their role in inflammatory and mechanical pain. Her interests revolve around art and computers.

Maria is a recipient of Fulbright Scholarship.


Undergraduate Students

Rachel Onken

Rachel is studying biochemistry in the College of Agriculture. She's interested in drug discovery and development. In the lab she work with genotyping and immunostaining. Outside of lab she is the president of Boilermakers for Life. 


Layan Yunis

Layan is an undergraduate research assistant studying Brain & Behavioral Sciences. She is involved with cell culturing and imaging experiments. Outside the lab, she is a medical scribe and an exec member of TEDxPurdueU.


Pharmacy Students

Amanda Huntsman

Amanda is a PharmD candidate in the class of 2022 and her passions lie in policy, personalized medicine for patients, and harm reduction concerning the opioid crisis. At Purdue, she is involved in CPNP and APhA where she advocates as a student pharmacist for these issues. She reviews literature for targeted treatments of pain for patients. 


She graduated cum laude from Grace College in Winona Lake, IN in 2018 with a B.S. in Health Science. Currently, she hopes to pursue a fellowship in industry after Purdue. In her free time she enjoys going to concerts and listening to music. 

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Chloe Romero

Chloe is an undergraduate research assistant currently working on genotyping for ongoing lab work. As a freshman in pharmaceutical sciences, she is interested in neurology and psychology and hopes in the future to attend graduate school. Outside of the lab, she is the PP1 liaison for American Pharmacists Association (APhA) and enjoys horseback riding and reading.


YuJia (Mary) Wang

Mary is an undergraduate research assistant. She is currently a sophomore majoring  in Public Health concentrated in epidemiology and environmental science, with a minor in statistics. In the lab she's working on genotyping of the 1.8 mice. Her interests include pediatrics and psychology, hope to go to graduate school after graduating from Purdue. She's a member of Purdue University Chinese Students and Scholars Association, working to help international students like her. 

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Marshall Shafer

Marshall is a PharmD candidate in the class of 2022 who joined Y lab in February 2019. His research interests include drug product development and repurposing existing drugs for new indications. He is currently working on a drug screen to identify drugs and natural products that selectively inhibit mutant sodium channels, which can be developed into new therapeutics for the treatment of epilepsy. Marshall has teamed with Maria, whose skills in virtual drug screening will help identify essential structural motifs responsible for drug-target activity.


Marshall plans to pursue a career in the pharmaceutical industry, developing drugs for the treatment of neurological and psychiatric disorders. Marshall is the VP of Purdue NORML and in his spare time enjoys exercising and spending time with his wife.

Marshall is a recipient of the OUR Scholarship

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Anthony Park

Anthony was an undergraduate research assistant in Y lab before becoming a graduate student. He was in Biological Engineering at Purdue University with a concentration in Cellular and Biomolecular Engineering. He is studying seizure propagation through in vivo single unit recording and other bioinformatics and computational research. Outside of the lab, he's an enlisted soldier in the Indiana National Guard and participates in the Purdue Muslim Student Association.

Anthony is a recipient of Lynn Fellowship. 


Shirong Lai

Shirong Lai was a postdoc who joined the lab in 2019. She graduated from Peking University Health Science Center.

She is interested in neuroscience and specializing in animal surgery, learning and memory, epilepsy, with the skill of animal experiments and electrophysiology related (EEG, In vitro electrophysiological whole-cell patch recordings, etc.)


Emily Coleman

Emily is an undergraduate research assistant. She received her BS in Biological Engineering in the College of Engineering and the College of Agriculture at Purdue University. She also graduated from the University Honors College. In lab, she helps with behavior experiments and managing the mice colony. In her free time, Emily enjoys playing with her dog, Cooper, and cheering on the Purdue sports teams.

Current: Medical student, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis


Maggie Szakacs

Maggie Szakacs was a 2017-2018 graduate research assistant that assisted with setting up the lab, creating protocols, and reviewing previous literature. She is a 2019 Purdue Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) Candidate that hopes to work in managed care and the pharmaceutical industry after graduation. In her free time, she enjoys exercising, spending time with loved ones, and exploring new places in downtown Chicago. 

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Hyunhee Oh

I am 4th year student at Purdue Pharmacy school. It was such a great opportunity to learn about pharmacogenetics with Dr.Yang. I am currently in APPE rotation in Eli Lilly. Dr.Yang’s lab has helped me to be prepare for the rotation in the industry and I am grateful for the experience I had at the lab.


Angela Jung

Angela Jung is a graduate research assistant. She is currently a 2019 Purdue University Doctor of Pharmacy candidate. She received animal handling training and assisted setting up animal behavior protocol. In her spare time, she enjoys watching movies and traveling around the world.

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Xinhao Zhuang

Xinhao is an undergraduate research assistant. He is an undergraduate student of University of Oregon, majoring in biochemistry and psychology. He is working here for internship during summer  2018. Teaching is one of his interest, that he works as a teaching assistant in UO for organic chemistry lecture and lab. In sparetime, he is a member of edit team and is the manager of Huafeng magazine in UO, writing some beautiful articles.


Sarah Liu

Sarah Liu is an undergraduate research assistant. She is currently a junior in Biological Engineering at Purdue with a concentration in Cellular and Biomolecular Engineering and a minor in Forensic Sciences. Her interests include medical applications of biotechnology, molecular genetics, and cell biology. She plays violin in the Purdue Philharmonic Orchestra and is involved in Purdue Science Olympiad, Purdue iGEM, and the Purdue Exponent. 


Chris Cui

Chris Cui is an undergraduate research assistant. He is currently a junior major in Pharmacy(PharmD), Chemistry and Philosophy with a minor in Music History and Theory. His academic interest is in neurodegenerative diseases. He is also a tenor in Heart and Soul of Purdue Musical Organisation. 


Emma Lietzke

Emma Lietzke is an undergraduate research assistant. She is a sophomore in Biological Engineering at Purdue University with a concentration in Cellular and Biomolecular Engineering. In the lab, she assists Muriel with her projects, specifically mouse behavioral experiments. She is also a member of the Purdue Honors College. Outside of academics, she is a resident honors preceptor and is involved in Purdue’s Society of Women Engineers and Team Tech.