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Lab Members


Alexander (Sander) van der Linden, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator

I am an Associate Professor at the University of Nevada, Reno. I obtained my Ph.D. from the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands, and completed my postdoctoral work in the lab of Prof. Piali Sengupta at Brandeis University, MA, where I studied the salt-inducible kinase (SIK) pathway and circadian rhythms in collaboration with Prof. Michael Rosbash using the roundworm C. elegans as my favorite model organism. My lab has a deep interest in understanding the neural and molecular basis of sleep and aging in both health and disease.


Aja McDonagh, BSc

PhD Student

2016 - present

Integrative Neuroscience (INP) Ph.D. student

Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award (2016)


I obtained my B.Sc. in Neuroscience at the University of Nevada, Reno. I currently investigate the the role of diet and SIK3 signaling in the metabolic regulation of sleep.


Pearson McIntire, BSc

2020 - present

Integrative Neuroscience (INP) Ph.D. candidate


I obtained my B.Sc. in Neuroscience with a minor in Mathematics at the University of Nevada, Reno. I currently investigate sleep-metabolic interactions with a focus on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which cells that store energetic reserves communicate with sleep-regulating neurons to promote sleep.


Hussam (Sam) Alshareef, MSc

2019 - present

Cellular and Molecular Biology (CMB) Ph.D. candidate

I obtained my B.S. in Medical and Molecular Biology at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences University in Boston, MA, with a minor in Pre-Medicine and Health Psychology. I obtained my M.Sc. at UNR, and currently study the role of age-accumulated circular RNAs in transgenic C. elegans models for Alzheimers disease.

Recent Lab Alumni

  • Brian Jorgensen - Postdoctoral Scholar (2020-21) - Currently a Postdoc at UNR Medical School 

  • Tatiana Nikooei - Undergraduate researcher (2018-2020)

  • Jaffar Bhat - Postdoctoral Scholar (2019) - Currently an Assistant Professor at Govt Degree College Kupwara

  • Ari Winbush - Postdoctoral Scholar (2013-2016) - Currently a Research Associate, Singh Lab at the University of Oregon

  • Jeremy Fodor - Cellular and Molecular Biology, Ph.D (2019) - Postdoc, Raizen Lab at the University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine, but currently Life Scientist Specialist at L.E.K. Consulting in NYC

  • Jeannette Crew - Undergraduate researcher (2018-2019) - Currently a medical student at the School of Medicine, UNLV

  • David Viramontes - Undergraduate researcher, Biotechnology (2018-2019)

  • Kendal Warner - Undergraduate researcher (2014-2019) - Currently a medical student at the School of Medicine, UNR

  • Thoann Ngo - Undergraduate researcher (2017) - Currently in PA school at the New York Institute of Technology

  • Matthew Gruner - Cellular and Molecular Biology, Ph.D. (2017) - Currently a postdoctoral fellow, Goga Lab at UCSF 

  • Alexandru-voda Loan - Undergraduate researcher, IURP Manchester University (2016-2017) - Currently a Ph.D. student at Oxford University, United Kingdom

  • Kristin Lu - High school student, Sage Ridge School (summer 2017)

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