Palmer Lab Members

Principal Investigator

Theo Palmer, PhD

Professor of Neurosurgery
Vice Chair of Neurosurgical Research

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.

Graduate Students

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


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.

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.


Angelica Romero

Angie received her B.S. in Cellular and Molecular Biology from Humboldt State University. Her undergraduate research focused on whether modifications in gene expression and MAPK signaling cascades significantly affected the tumor potential of murine neural progenitor cells. As a CIRM Bridges intern in the Palmer lab, she is interested in neurodevelopmental mechanisms that are affected by the 16p11.2 CNV that intersect with mechanisms following a maternal immune event. She is currently using hiPSCs to recapitulate neurodevelopmental growth trajectories in autism spectrum disorders. She enjoys sports and outdoor activities, playing the guitar, and writing music.