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.

Lab Manager

Sara Ratia, BM, MS

Sara completed her medical education and residency in internal medicine in China. She also received a master’s degree in Immunology from the University of California, Davis. Before she joined the Knowles Lab in 2022, Sara served as a lab manager with Bishr Omary Lab in the Division of Gastroenterology at Stanford School of Medicine for 2 years, and a senior associate scientist with Amgen for 10 years. She enjoys walking dog in the great Stanford neighborhood with her husband.
 

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

Madeline McKean

Maddie graduated with a B.A. in Neuroscience and a minor in Education Studies from Middlebury College in 2022. Her previous research investigated cell signaling during neurodevelopment, specifically the GPI-anchor cleaving protein GDE6s role in neural patterning and neurogenesis. In the lab, Maddie's research focuses on the potential role of subplate neurons in epilepsy. Outside of the lab, she enjoys hiking, skiing, and crafting.

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.

Students

Veronica Alonso

Veronica is a sophomore at Stanford planning to major in Biology and minor in Psychology. Veronica is a first-generation student with an interest in neuroscience, computational biology, and biochemistry. This is Veronica’s first experience in the lab, and she is assisting with research on myelin plasticity and absence seizures. Outside of the lab, she enjoys baking, singing karaoke, and making tea for her 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.

Lour Drick Valsote

Lour Drick is a sophomore at Stanford studying Human Biology. As a NeURO Fellow of the Stanford Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute, his research is focused on determining the role of microglia in the generation of absence seizures in rare forms of epilepsy such as Lennox Gastaut Syndrome. In his free time, Lour Drick enjoys practicing taekwondo with his friends, learning new languages, and skating around campus while filming YouTube videos.

Alumni

Tristan Saucedo
Student

Audrey Yingwei Xu
Student

Sofia Restrepo
Student

Marco Guerra Gonzalez
Student

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