top of page

Lab Members

Ellen J. Hoffman, MD, PhD

Principal Investigator


Ellen studied Biochemistry at SUNY Stony Brook and received her MD from SUNY Stony Brook School of Medicine. As a medical student, she worked in the laboratory of Gail Mandel of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Ellen did her residency in Psychiatry and fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, where she worked in the laboratories of Deanna Benson and Joseph Buxbaum. She then completed a research fellowship in Childhood-Onset Neuropsychiatric Disorders at the Yale Child Study Center and received her PhD in Investigative Medicine from Yale University in the laboratories of Matthew State and Antonio Giraldez. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Yale Child Study Center and the Yale Department of Neuroscience.


Priyanka Jamadagni, PhD

Priyanka was born and raised in India. She received her BS-MS dual degree from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Mohali in 2016. During her undergraduate studies, she worked with a range of model organisms from Drosophila melanogaster to mice before deciding zebrafish was her one true love. During her PhD, she worked on understanding the neurodevelopmental aspects of a developmental disorder called CHARGE syndrome in a zebrafish model for the disorder. She earned her PhD in 2022 from INRS, Canada. She joined the Hoffman Lab in May 2022 as a postdoctoral research associate. She is a recipient of the Kavli Postdoctoral Research Fellowship. Her postdoctoral research focuses on exploring PTSD driver genes in zebrafish. She will also be exploring whole brain circuitry in the context of neurodevelopmental disorders. Outside of research, Priyanka is a pastel artist and loves everything music, art, books and food!!

Elizabeth Davidson, PhD

Elizabeth received her PhD from the University of Miami for zebrafish studies on the brain-gut-microbe axis and its involvement in comorbidities of autism. Prior to graduate school, she earned a bachelor’s degree at American University, where she first began working with zebrafish as an undergraduate researcher studying diabetic retinopathy. In her new role, she will be pursuing questions relating to the genetic mechanisms of neurodevelopmental disorders.

Sarah E Fitzpatrick photo.jpeg

Sarah E Fitzpatrick

MD-PhD Student


Sarah was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio and received her B.S. in Neuroscience from Ohio State University in 2016. Throughout undergrad and for 2 years after graduation, she worked with Dr. Craig Erickson at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital studying neurodevelopmental disorders both from the bench and in clinical trials. She also spent time doing research at the UC Davis MIND Institute and OSU Nisonger Center. She left to Midwest to join the Yale MD-PhD program in August 2018. In Fall 2020 following 2 years of medical school, she will affiliate with INP and begin her graduate work in the Hoffman lab where she will study the roles of ASD-risk master regulator genes in early neurodevelopment. In her spare time, she enjoys salsa dancing, theater, hiking, and traveling.


Marina Carlson

PhD Student


Marina earned her Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry at California State University Fresno in 2019. During her undergraduate degree, she worked in Dr. Joy Goto’s lab studying neurodegenerative disease in human neuroglioma cell culture and Drosophila. She also participated in the Harvard Amgen Scholars Program, conducting research in Dr. Amar Sahay’s lab at Massachusetts General Hospital. There she studied the differences in hippocampal neurogenesis in young and aged mice. She joined Yale as part of the MCGD track in 2019, and since joining the lab is now affiliated with the INP PhD program. She is most interested in performing comprehensive functional analyses of high confidence autism risk genes to identify underlying molecular mechanisms at play in early neurodevelopment. Beyond science, Marina loves dinosaurs, zombie movies, musicals, and reading terrible romance novels.

April Headshot.JPG

April Pruitt
PhD Student

April attended the University of Louisiana at Lafayette where she received her B.S. in Biology with minors in Chemistry and Psychology. She was awarded Outstanding Graduate for the College of Sciences in 2020. As an undergraduate, April worked in Dr. Karen Smith’s lab at UL Lafayette studying postnatal cerebellar glia and motor deficits, and participated in three summer research programs at LSU Health Sciences Center-Shreveport, UC San Diego, and Stanford University, where she investigated a breadth of topics from ASD behavioral phenotypes to post-heart attack inflammation. She joined Yale Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program and the Medical Research Scholars Program in August 2020 and is co-mentored by Dr. Kristen Brennand. April is a Kavli Institute for Neuroscience Scholar and Autism Science Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellow. She is studying the development of GABAergic and glutamatergic neurons as well as the biological basis for sex bias in ASD. In her free time, April enjoys reading novels (especially romance), hiking, and driving across the country.

Screenshot 2023-05-10 at 11.13.37 AM.png

Suha Khan
Post-Graduate Associate

Suha was born and raised in Pakistan. She received her B.S. in Neuroscience from the University of Miami in 2022. As an undergraduate, Suha worked in Dr. Julia Dallman’s lab where she began working with zebrafish to understand the role of genes in neural development and behavior. She joined the Hoffman lab in May 2023 with the goal of furthering her understanding of the underlying mechanisms by which genes impact behavior. In her free time, Suha loves to travel, creating nail art designs, and solving puzzles. 


Grace Dossou
Undergraduate Student

Grace is a junior at Yale in Pauli Murray College majoring in History of Science, Medicine, and Public Health. She is originally from Cotonou Benin and resides in Lillington, North Carolina. Within her first year, she joined the cheer team and worked as a research assistant in the Hoffman Lab studying genes associated with neurodevelopmental disorders in zebrafish. During her free time, she enjoys cooking food that reminds her of home and exploring different cities and states with friends. Grace hopes to unite her medical research and gender studies background to improve the equity in health care of black women and other poc women.

valeria photo.JPG

Valeria Ceron
Undergraduate Student

Valeria was born in El Salvador and moved to the US at age 6. She grew up in Chicago where she obtained her high school diploma from the Latin School. A rising junior at Yale College, she plans to major in neuroscience and later attend medical school. With an interest in neuronal development and translational neuroscience, she aims to pursue a career in child psychiatry or neurology. She joined the Hoffman Lab in the summer of 2022, where her research focuses on characterizing mutations in high confidence ASD genes and identifying potential pharmacological candidates to treat the disorder. In her free time, Valeria loves spending time at the beach, shopping, and trying new restaurants with friends and family.

Lab Alumni

Hellen Weinschutz Mendes, PhD.
Post-Doctoral Associate
Current Position: Senior Scientist, Universität Innsbruck


Uma Neelakantan
Lab Manager & Post-Graduate Research Associate 
Current Position: Graduate Student, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital


Tianying Chen
Post-Graduate Research Associate 
Current Position: Research Associate, Hangzhou Qihan Biotechnology Company, Ltd.


bottom of page