About Nirao Shah

Nirao Shah is a Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and of Neurobiology at Stanford University. After completing his medical training, Nirao was a graduate student at Caltech, where he identified mechanisms that control differentiation of neural stem cells. For his post-graduate fellowship at Columbia University, Nirao developed genetic approaches to identify neural pathways that regulate sex differences in social behaviors. Nirao started his faculty position as Assistant Professor at UC San Francisco in 2004, received tenure in 2010, and was promoted to Professor in 2014. He moved to his current position at Stanford in Fall 2016.

In his own laboratory, Nirao’s research has discovered mechanisms whereby nature and nurture control social behaviors in males and females. Nirao’s findings have provided insights into how our brains generate social interactions in health, and they are relevant to understanding mechanisms underlying behavioral manifestations of autism, dementia, mood disorders, and PTSD. His work has been supported by funding from the Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund, Burroughs Wellcome Fund, Ellison Medical Foundation, Mallinckrodt Jr. Foundation, McKnight Foundation for Neuroscience, NARSAD, NIH (including a Director’s Pioneer award, Sloan Foundation, and more recently by seed grants from the Stanford Neurosciences Institute and WSDM at Stanford.

Meet our Team

Lab meeting via Zoom

Current Members

  • Maricruz Alvarado, reasearch assistant & lab boss
  • Daniel Bayless, postdoctoral fellow
  • Chung-ha Davis, graduate student (Neuroscience)
  • Lily Duong, Admin. Associate
  • Sayaka Inoue, postdoctoral fellow


  • Dan Landayan, postdoctoral fellow
  • Nicole Leung, postdoctoral fellow
  • Joe Knoedler, postdoctoral fellow
  • Mengjun Sheng, postdoctoral fellow
    (Neurosurgery; joint with Jun Ding)

Cooper, the lab decider


  • Adarsh Tantry, research assistant & lab tech
  • YiChao Wei, postdoctoral fellow
  • Grace Wong, undergraduate student
  • Taehong Yang, postdoctoral fellow


  • Sama Ahmed, graduate student
  • Neha Agarwal, undergraduate student
  • Crista Barberini, software guru
  • Max Borius, research specialist
  • Allen Cai, undergraduate student
  • Catriona Carey, lab boss
  • Michael Chiang, research specialist
  • Delara Chizari, research specialist
  • Jennifer Coats, graduate student
  • Laura Crothers, lab boss
  • Karen Dai
  • Byron Fan, undergraduate student
  • Pu Fan, graduate student (Faculty: Peking Union Medical College)


  • Eleanor Fraser, graduate student
  • Catherine Garrison, graduate student (Chemistry; joint with Justin Du Bois)
  • Scott Juntti, graduate student (Faculty: U Maryland, College Park)
  • Sara Kwong, undergraduate student
  • Ali Malik
  • Vidya Mandiyan, lab boss
  • Dev Manoli, clinical and postdoctoral fellow (Faculty: UCSF)
  • Gabe McKinsey, postdoctoral fellow
  • Julius Oatts, undergraduate student
  • Srini Parthasarathy, postdoctoral fellow
  • Jessica Porter, postdoctoral fellow
  • Taylor Soderborg, undergraduate student


  • Albert Susanto, undergraduate student
  • Erik Sudin, research specialist
  • Stella Tan, undergraduate student
  • Jessica Tollkuhn, postdoctoral fellow (Faculty: CSHL)
  • Liz Unger, graduate student
  • Amy Wang, undergraduate student
  • Jessica Wu, undergraduate student
  • Melody Wu, graduate student
  • Cindy Yang, graduate student
  • Xiaohong Xu, postdoctoral fellow (Faculty: ION, Shanghai)