Palmer Lab Members

Principal Investigator

Theo Palmer, PhD

Associate Professor of Neurosurgery
Vice Chair of Neurosurgical Research

Administrative Associate

Suzette Rodriguez

Executive Assistant

Lab Manager

Moises Rivera

Life Science Research Assistant

I joined the Palmer Lab in 2005 and since then I have been helping great people in the lab to get their projects done. Graduated from San Jose State University while working in the biotech/bioresearch since 1990. I spend my time helping lab members in anything they may need not only in the lab, but also outside the lab. In my spare time, I enjoy playing soccer and building and repairing anything around the house.

Research Scientists

Jim Wiemann

Senior Research Scientist

My interests centers on the signaling pathways that regulate the development of the mammalian cerebral cortex. I have developed paradigms to transplant neural progenitors and neurons into the mammalian cortex to ascertain their differentiation potential after various manipulations. I have developed a protocol to generate cortical pyramidal neurons from ES and iPS cells that after transplantation can fully integrate into local neural networks. My background is in neural systems and the modulation of network activity by neuropeptides. Recently, we have been developing methods to generate several classes of neurons from human iPSC and ESC lines to be used after spinal cord injury and to study several neurological disease states.

Postdoctoral Fellows

Aditya Asokan, PhD

Aditya received his PhD in Biomedical Engineering where he studied the how neuroinflammation impacted adult neurogenesis in the hippocampus  and using luminex assays identified cytokines and chemokines that affected the differentiation of neural progenitor cells. After the joining the Palmer lab, Aditya's research focuses on studying the influence of classical immune receptors such as MHC-1 on neural connectivity in midbrain dopaminergic neurons. To this end he uses IPS-derived dopaminergic neurons and in vitro and in vivo following cell transplantation in a Parkinon's disease mouse model.

Marc Carmichael, PhD

Marc received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Rutgers University. His overarching interest is in regenerative medicine, particularly in developing the tools to exploit the therapeutic potential of iPSC-derived cells to replace neurons lost following a traumatic CNS injury or neurodegenerative disease. Currently, Marc is on leave from the Stanford M.D. program to pursue postdoctoral research in the Palmer lab. His postdoctoral research is focused on investigating how the interaction of genes of interest and inflammation affects synaptic connectivity, and ultimately the integration of endogenous and transplanted neurons into functional networks within the CNS. Before coming to Stanford, Marc worked as both a Chemical and Process Engineer in the R&D divisions at Centocor and Merck & Co. with a focus on process development, tech transfer, and new technology development in the production of biopharmaceuticals from mammalian cells and fermentation processes. In addition to his academic and industry pursuits, Marc remains involved in various teaching, mentoring, and service activities within the Stanford and local communities.


Hyang Mi Amy Moon, PhD

Amy received her BS and MS in Biological Sciences from Seoul National University in South Korea and in 2012 obtained her PhD in Biomedical Sciences at UCSF. Her doctoral thesis research focused on cellular functions of Lissencephaly-1 in mouse model of human neuronal migration disorder, smooth brain. Her current postdoctoral research in Theo Palmer lab aims to investigate molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis in maternal illness-induced immune activation mouse and GABA receptor mutants as animal models of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In particular, she is interested in maternal-fetal interaction in the placenta and neural stem cell division/cerebral cortex neurogenesis during early brain development.


Graduate Students

Jessica Lynn Diaz

Co-mentor: Suzanne Tharin

I am a 2nd year PhD student in the neuroscience program in Suzanne Tharin’s lab, co-mentored by Theo Palmer.   

I am interested in the role of microRNA in the development of corticospinal neurons, what the role of microRNAs might be in spinal cord injury, and the potential application to new therapies for spinal cord injuries.  

I grew up in Michigan.  Before coming to Stanford, I practiced as a veterinarian in emergency and critical care medicine in Florida.  Outside of lab, I enjoy spending time in the California sunshine with my dog Yoshi, reading, and crochet.

Nora Vivanco Gonzalez


Nora received her B.S. in Biological Sciences with Honors from the University of Chicago in 2014. During her time at UChicago, Nora developed a strong interest in molecular and cellular biology, and for four years she researched the yeast-to-hyphae transition of Candida albicans under Dr. Stephen Kron and Dr. Daniel Kornitzer’s mentorship. Outside of lab, Nora co-founded and led GeneHackers, a student-run organization with a focus on synthetic biology. After graduating, Nora worked in Dr. Sean Bendall’s lab, using single cell mass cytometry to study phenotypic variation in human granulocytes. Nora joined the Palmer and Bendall labs in 2016, and currently investigates the immunomodulatory role of neurodevelopmental risk genes at the feto-maternal interface. During her spare time, Nora enjoys rock climbing, playing board games, and pampering her dog, Leo.

Co-mentor: Sean Bendall, PhD


Victoria Mallett

(CIRM fellow)

Victoria received a B.A. in Psychology with minors in Neuroscience and Biology from McGill University in 2017. At McGill, she studied several Parkinson’s disease risk genes (GBA, SMPD1, and LRRK2) under the mentorship of Dr. Guy Rouleau and Dr. Ziv Gan-Or at the Montreal Neurological Institute. After graduating, she was awarded the CIRM Bridges Fellowship and is currently pursuing an M.S. in Stem Cell Biology. Victoria joined the Palmer Lab in 2018 to complete her master’s thesis project. Her research utilizes bioinformatic approaches to profile changes in gene expression at the single cell level using both in-vitro and in-vivo models of autism spectrum disorder. In Fall 2019, Victoria will begin her Ph.D. in molecular and cellular biology!

Amber R. Moore


Amber received her B.A. in Anthropology and Chemistry from Bryn Mawr College. Immediately following graduation, she spent time doing traditional medicine research and living with lizards and spider crickets in Swaziland. She then returned to the States to accept a fellowship at the National Institutes of Health and study thymic reconstitution after bone marrow transplantation. Being predictably unpredictable, Amber moved to Japan to study HIV reverse transcriptase dimerization and developed an udon obsession. During her time in Japan, she became really excited about reproductive immunology. Now, she is interested in understanding how maternal infection during pregnancy alters fetal brain development. As a graduate student in the Palmer lab, Amber studies the immune mechanisms that underlie placental pathology following maternal immune activation. She also devotes a significant amount of time to judo, mentoring, teaching science to kids, and volunteering with STEM programs to encourage youth from underserved communities to pursue science.

Kristin Muench


Kristin studied Cognitive Science with an emphasis in Neuroscience at UC San Diego. She subsequently researched language development at Emory University before joining Stanford's Neurosciences Ph.D. program. At Stanford, Kristin uses bioinformatic tools to study cell fate decisions in the developing neocortex following maternal immune activation. She estimates that she drank 65.625 gallons of tea in 2016.

Jennifer Su

Jennifer received her B.A. in Molecular Cellular Biology from UC Berkeley in 2014. At Berkeley, she studied the effects of stress on adult neurogenesis under the mentorship of Dr. Daniela Kaufer. After graduating, Jennifer worked in the Palmer lab investigating the synergistic effects of genetic susceptibilities and maternal immune activation on placental and fetal brain development. Her interest in better understanding the neuroimmune interactions disrupted during neurodevelopment following early inflammatory events prompted her to rejoin the lab for her Ph.D. In her spare time, she enjoys experimenting in the kitchen and long walks in nature.

Undergraduate Students

William Brown

I am a senior majoring in Biology, and have plans to apply to medical school after I graduate.  My two biggest academic interests are neuroscience and sports medicine.  I am very interested in genetic predisposition mixed with environmental conditions, and hope to explore that more in the Palmer lab. I also enjoy playing soccer, playing the drums and watching soccer.

Hannah Thi Minh Nguyen

I am currently an undergraduate at Stanford University, and joined the Palmer Lab in 2017. I am currently working with Brooke Babineau to investigate the effects of infection on placental development and embryonic brain structures. 

John Christopher Rodgers

I am a sophomore majoring in biology and following the pre-medical track. I previously worked in the Lowe Lab at the Hopkins Marine Station, studying genetic patterning in bat star larvae. In general, I enjoy learning about neurobiology and developmental biology. I find the Palmer Lab's research exciting because it combines these two fields in the context of health. In my free time, I enjoy birdwatching, photography, traveling, and gardening.

Jacob Umans

Jacob joined the Palmer Lab in 2017, and is majoring in biology on the neurobiology track. He is interested in studying the cellular and molecular signaling pathways through which neuroimmune interactions shape disease risk, and hopes to pursue this field after graduation as a physician-scientist. In the Palmer Lab, he studies the effects of maternal immune activation and reactive gliosis on the maturation of neural stem cells. Outside of research, Jacob enjoys playing piano and tennis.

Summer Scholars

From left to right: Sara Walton (SSRP), Niharika Loomba (SSRP), Theo Palmer, Kalkidan Agdie (SIMR),  Darya Buchholz (SIMR), Alejandro Viveros (SIMR)