Alex Nord, Ph.D.

I received my Ph.D. from the University of Washington, where I worked with Mary-Claire King, identifying the genetic causes of human diseases and disorders such as autism and schizophrenia.  I did a postdoctoral fellowship at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory with Axel Visel, Len Pennacchio, and Eddy Rubin working on mouse models of development and functional genomics. I am interested in the genetic and epigenetic systems that control gene regulation in the brain. I joined the faculty at UC Davis in 2014. I grew up in Seattle, WA and enjoy time away from the lab with my family, taking advantage of living in California through all means of outdoor activities across all seasons. I used to play a lot of ultimate frisbee and soccer.

Email: asnord@ucdavis.edu

More about Alex Nord, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Scholars

Jason Lambert, Ph.D.

Jason Lambert

I got my start in science at Southern Oregon University, where I worked in the lab of Dr. Darlene Southworth, using molecular genetic techniques to study the ecology of symbiotic fungi which live in the roots of plants. After completing my bachelor’s at SOU, I moved to UC Davis, where I earned a Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology in the lab of Dr. Karen Zito, investigating the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying learning and memory. As a postdoc in the Nord lab, I am studying how non-coding sequences impact neurodevelopment and developing new tools to detect sequences in the genome that have transcriptional enhancer activity. In my spare time, I enjoy tinkering with old electronics, completing home improvement projects, and making my son laugh.

Email: jtlambert@ucdavis.edu

Cesar Canales, Ph.D.

Cesar Canales

I am a developmental biologist with interest in molecular mechanisms and gene regulation that govern physiopathological processes in neurodevelopmental disorders. Originally from Chile, I received my Ph.D. in Medical Sciences from UNSW, Australia where I studied the neurological and somatic functions of the gene GTF2IRD1 and its contribution to Williams Beuren Syndrome pathology. My research interest as a postdoctoral researcher in the Nord lab is in the study of mouse models relevant to Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and characterization of phenotypic consequences of maternal immune activation (MIA) in the developing brain. When not in the lab, I am most likely spending time with my family or riding my bike in town or country roads around Davis area.

Email: ccanales@ucdavis.edu

Karol Cichewicz, Ph.D.

Karol Cichewicz

I received my PhD from the University of Virginia where I worked with Dr. Jay Hirsh on identifying compensatory mechanisms responding to the loss of dopamine in our fruit fly model of Parkinson’s disease. During my doctoral studies I used genomic, transcriptomic, and behavioral approaches. I also developed a software for analyzing Drosophila behavior. In the Nord lab I am studying the developmental processes in a mouse model relevant to Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Schizophrenia (SZ) induced by the maternal immune activation (MIA). I am interested in studying physiological processes in the brain using functional genomics and molecular biology techniques. In my free time I enjoy the nature and wildlife of California, cooking, and spending time with my family.

Email: kcichewicz@ucdavis.edu

Graduate Students

Tracy Warren

Tracy Warren

I entered UC Davis’s Neuroscience Ph.D. program in 2018 after graduating from UC Berkeley with a psychology degree and subsequently working in a psychiatry lab at UCSF. Since joining the Nord lab in 2019, I have been investigating how genomic regulation of biological pathways in the brain results in the development of psychiatric disease. I’m an avid fan of anything coffee, linguistics, or Harry Potter, and in my spare time you can catch me hanging out on my balcony with my burgeoning vegetable garden.

Email: tlwarren@ucdavis.edu

Yurong Wang

Yurong Wang

I graduated from UC San Diego under Molecular biology and with a psychology minor. After joining the Nord lab in 2020 as a graduate student from Integrative Genetics and Genomics Ph.D. program, I started learning interneuron development via computational genomics using experimental datasets. In my spare time, I like playing the piano, enjoying music, and wandering alongside the streets.

Email: yurwang@ucdavis.edu

Cory Ardekani

Cory Ardekani

I graduated from Temple University in 2018 with a B.S. in Neuroscience and a minor in Psychology. Afterwards I spent two years working with Dr. Debra Bangasser investigating sex differences in stress responses with an emphasis on the effects of early life stress on development and behavior. I then joined UC Davis’s Psychology program (specializing in Biopsychology) in 2020 and joined the Nord lab in Spring 2021. I am interested in environmental effects on genes and how it can lead to the development of neurodevelopment and psychiatric disorders. In my free time I enjoy going on hikes, playing video games, brewing tea/coffee, and playing music.

Email: csardekani@ucdavis.edu

Stephanie Lozano

Stephanie Lozano

I earned my B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2017, then spent 2 years working as a lab tech in Dr. Yang Li’s genetic medicine lab at the University of Chicago. I started in UC Davis’ Neuroscience Graduate Group in 2020 and joined the Nord lab in 2021, intending to study the molecular bases of complex neurological and neurodevelopmental diseases. I'm particularly interested in the genetic underpinnings of neuroimmune crosstalk in the central nervous system and periphery, and how dysregulation of this crosstalk may be implicated in disease pathology. Outside of the lab, I love to cook, exercise, be outdoors, listen to music, take care of my plants, and work on various art projects.

Email: alozano@ucdavis.edu

Emily Smith

Emily Smith

I graduated from the University of Kansas with a B.S. in Biochemistry and came to UC Davis as a graduate student in the BMCDB Ph.D. program. My interest in molecular mechanisms underlying genetic disorder led me to join the Nord lab in 2021. In my free time, I like to watching Netflix, reading, crocheting, and trying new baking recipes.

Email: emosmith@ucdavis.edu

Undergraduates and Volunteers

Rebecca Ortiz

Rebecca Ortiz

I am a Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior major, interested in learning more about gene expression and regulation mechanisms in the brain and how these processes contribute to neurological disorders such as schizophrenia and ASD. Once I graduate, I plan to go to medical school to become a pediatrician. In the future I would also like to add a research component to my clinical training. In my free time, I love to explore new places, go to concerts, and play volleyball and soccer.

Jiyuan Zhu

I am a Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior major, with an emphasis on Neurobiology. My research interest is determining how genes can be a part of creating a huge impact on neurological disorders. After completing my B.S., my goal is to go to medical school and to become a neurosurgeon. Outside of school and lab, I enjoy playing and watching basketball, ice hockey, ping-pong, and badminton.

Erika Castillo

Erika Castillo

I am a Neurobiology Physiology, and Behavior major with an emphasis in Physiology. I am currently working on cloning enhancers to better understand their role in regulating expression of neurological disorders. After finishing my undergrad studies, I plan to attend graduate school to continue pursuing research. In my free time, I like to write poetry and watch thriller movies.

Mylena Corona

Mylena Corona

I am a second year undergraduate student in Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior, and am on my way to pursuing a double major in Psychology. I'm particularly interested in the genetic and epigenetic factors that lead to Autism Spectrum Disorder. After graduating, I hope to attend graduate school in order to pursue a career in research. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my friends and family and playing with my dogs.

Aditi Goyal

I am a Genetics and Genomics major with a double major in Applied Statistics. Currently, I am fascinated with understanding how wet-lab experiments translate into statistical models, and how we can use big data analysis methods to better understand our data. After undergrad, I plan on pursuing a master's degree, ultimately culminating in a Ph.D. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time in Downtown Davis, meeting new people, and going for a swim.

Trainee and Staff Alumni


Ayanna Wade, Ph.D. (Neuroscience)
Linda Su-Feher, Ph.D. (BMCDB)
Rinaldo Catta-Preta, Ph.D. (IGG)


Jess Haigh, Ph.D.
Tyler Stradleigh, Ph.D.
Andrea Gompers, Ph.D.


Sarah Morse
Iva Zdilar
Justin Lim
Christopher Cowing-Zitron
Jasmine Garcha

Undergraduate Alumni

Viktoria Haghani
Diana Quintero
Jack Good
Bradley Jenner
Paris Beauregard
Nick Wong
Tina Pham
Ellie Kreun
Hannah Parolini
Diwash Srestha
Emma Connolly
Samrawit Agezew
Hafsa Mir
Nick Wong
Spencer Moss
Michael Sramek
Ryan Ward
Vasco Morais
Anh Nguyen
Kimia Akbari
Alex Mawla
Shreya Louis
Raychelle Laureano
Yeni Belachew
Leslie Matheu
Danielle Dougan
Lyndon Liu
Paige Morgan
Lauren Hobbs

Previous Trainees


Linda Su-Feher

Linda Su-Feher, Ph.D

BMCDB Graduate Group (degree awarded 2020)

Email: lsu@ucdavis.edu



Rinaldo Catta-Preta

Rinaldo Catta-Preta, Ph.D.

IGG Graduate Group (degree awarded 2020)

E-mail: rpreta@ucdavis.edu | Twitter: @RCatta_Preta | More info about Rinaldo



Ayanna Wade

Ayanna Wade, Ph.D.

Neuroscience Graduate Group (degree awarded 2020)

Email: aawade@ucdavis.edu