The Knowles Lab Research Team

Juliet Knowles, MD, PhD

Juliet Knowles is Assistant Professor in Neurology at Stanford. Dr. Knowles is a physician-scientist who provides clinical care for children with epilepsy and leads a lab team conducting basic, translational and clinical research on pediatric epilepsy. She completed her M.D. and Ph.D. in Neurosciences at Stanford University, followed by residency training in Pediatrics and Child Neurology at Stanford, where she also served as Chief Resident. Following clinical fellowship training in Pediatric Epilepsy, Dr. Knowles completed post-doctoral research related to myelin plasticity in epilepsy, under the mentorship of Drs. Michelle Monje and John Huguenard. Dr. Knowles is passionate about providing thorough, compassionate and innovative care for her patients, and her overarching goal is to use research as a tool to discover improved therapies for children with epilepsy. She is committed to mentoring the next generation of scientists and clinicians, from undergraduates interested in learning about lab research to medical students, residents and post-doctoral scholars. When she is not in the clinic or the lab, Dr. Knowles loves to spend time with her husband, Josh, and their two children. She also enjoys reading, training and running in marathons, and spending time in the great outdoors of California.

Research Scientist

Maria-Belen Perez-Ramirez PhD
Basic Life Research Scientist

Belen is interested in understanding how the brain changes through neurological disorders and how to mitigate these changes. She got her PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the Institute of Cell Physiology at the Autonomous National University of Mexico (UNAM). While studying for her PhD, she also managed clinical human trials combatting an ophthalmologic pathology using neurostimulation, which lead her to move into an R&D role after graduating. Later, she returned to academia to perform postdoctoral studies at Stanford, where she showed that a single episode of neocortical focal status epilepticus leads to chronic morphological and functional changes in mice in the local cortical network and interconnected areas such as the thalamus. Currently, she is interested in identifying mechanisms of epilepsy progression that can be tackled to mitigate the progression in models of generalized epilepsy. Outside the lab, she enjoys dancing, DIY/arts/plant projects, cooking with her daughter, and travelling with her family.

Postdoctoral Scholars

Kala Nair, PhD

Kala earned an MPhil, and Ph.D. in Neurophysiology from the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), India in 2022 after completing a Master's degree in Neuroscience at Madras University. Her doctoral research focused on understanding behavioral and cellular changes in epilepsy with a specific focus on trkB inhibitor and an enriched environment, as treatment strategies to alleviate seizures and associated epilepsy-induced deficits. She is currently exploring how myelin plasticity contributes to seizure progression in Lennox-Gastaut syndrome in the Knowles lab. Outside of the lab, she enjoys hiking and sketching.

Azin EbrahimAmini, PhD

Azin earned her PhD in Biomedical Engineering, specializing in Neural Systems, after obtaining her Honours BSc from the University of Toronto. During her doctoral studies, she investigated the role of glial gap junctional coupling, glial membrane potential and ATP in regulating the potassium concentration in the neocortex, mainly during spreading depolarization and in epilepsy animal models. While carrying her projects she has been teaching and mentoring at Universities. In the Knowles lab, she is exploring the neuron-glial interactions that contribute to maladaptive myelination in pediatric epilepsy cases. Azin enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, painting and going into nature.

Life Science Research Assistants

Pierce Popson

Pierce graduated from the University of Houston in 2022 with a B.S. in Biochemical and Biophysical Sciences with minors in Chemistry and Psychology. His previous research experience ranges from the impact of hypoxia on circadian rhythm and the corresponding physiological changes to how cardiovascular exercise is protective of the effects of binge alcohol use on the brain. Inside the lab, Pierce's research is focused on understanding the transcriptomic changes that occur within models of epilepsy in hopes to find new therapeutic targets for the disorder. Outside of the lab, he enjoys hiking, road trips, weightlifting, photography, and bike rides.

Undergraduate Research Assistants

Giuliana Martinez Albuja

Giuliana is a Stanford undergraduate majoring in Human Biology with a concentration in Neurology and Public Health in Marginalized Communities. As a part of the White Matter LGS project, she’s excited to use MRI analysis to better understand the role of maladaptive myelination in epilepsy. Outside of lab, she enjoys playing guitar, going to the beach, dancing, and exploring the Bay.

Charlotte Hook

Charlotte is an undergraduate at Stanford majoring in Human Biology with a concentration in Regenerative Medicine and Neuroscience. In the lab she will be involved with research on how myelin plasticity contributes to seizure progression in Lenox-Gastaut syndrome. Outside the lab she is a member of the Stanford Women’s Swim Team and enjoys hiking, traveling, listening to music, and spending time with her friends.

Lena Mikacich

Lena Mikacich is an undergraduate at Stanford majoring in Human Biology with a concentration in Biological and Social Influences on Early Human Development. She is using quantitative MRI analysis on Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome patients to better understand the pathology of maladaptive myelination. She is also assisting with an investigation of keto-amino acids as a novel therapeutic for refractory pediatric epilepsy. Outside of the lab she loves exploring the outdoors, traveling, photography, tennis, and spending time with family and friends.

Mary-Tyler Mosley

Mary-Tyler is an undergraduate at Stanford majoring in Human Biology with a concentration in Neurobiology and Neuroscience.  She is excited to participate in transcriptomic research on maladaptive myelination, which aligns with her interest in the molecular mechanisms of neurological disorders.  Outside (and inside) the lab, she enjoys getting caught up in a good story, dancing not so secretly, and singing anything and everything.

Alumni

Lour Drick Valsote
Former Undergraduate Research Assistant

 

Veronica Alonso
Student

Current position: Graduate student, University of Nebraska

Madeline McKean
Life Science Research Assistant

Current position: MD-PhD student, Yale University School of Medicine

Tristan Saucedo
Former Undergraduate Research Assistant

Audrey Yingwei Xu
Former Undergraduate Research Assistant

Sofia Restrepo
Former Undergraduate Research Assistant

Marco Guerra Gonzalez
Former Undergraduate Research Assistant

Ankita Batra
Life Science Research Assistant

Current Position: Rush Medical School, Chicago

Haojun (Lucy) Xu
LIfe Science Research Assistant

Current Position: Post-doctoral scholar, Monje lab, Stanford CA

Sydney Talmi
Life Sciences Research Assistant

Current Position: UC Davis School of Medicine

Jayashri Viswanathan

Current Position: Predoctoral student, Huguenard Lab, Stanford CA