Josh Levitz


Assistant Professor


Josh received a B.S. in Biology and a B.S. in Physics from American University in 2009. While an undergraduate he worked in the lab of Miguel Holmgren at the National Institutes of Health. As a PhD student and postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Ehud Isacoff at UC Berkeley, Josh developed and applied new optical approaches to study the activation mechanisms and neurophysiology of glutamate receptors and ion channels. He joined the department of biochemistry at Weill Cornell in September 2016.



Amanda Acosta Ruiz


PhD Student

After growing up in Puerto Rico, Amanda earned her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in Biology with a concentration in Neurobiology. She was an undergraduate researcher at Dr. Michael Marks’ lab studying the SNARE proteins involved in trafficking melanin in melanosomes. She then worked as a research technician in Dr. Matthew Lazzara’s lab at Penn for a year studying endocytosis in kidney cells. Amanda is currently a PhD student in the Biochemistry Department at Weill Cornell. Her interests focus on the cellular and molecular mechanisms of neurotransmission and synaptic activity. Beyond the bench, Amanda enjoys science policy and exploring the New York food scene. 

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Vanessa Gutzeit


PhD Student

Vanessa graduated from Emory University in 2015 with a B.S. in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology. At Emory she conducted research in the lab of Dr. Kerry Ressler investigating the role of perineuronal nets in synaptic plasticity and fear memory. After graduating, Vanessa worked with Dr. Zoe Donaldson in the Dr. René Hen lab at Columbia University as a laboratory technician. There she studied the role of social buffering and SNP variants on fear and anxiety in animal models.  Vanessa is currently interested in the complex circuit-based roles of mGluR-mediated synaptic modulation and plasticity in animal models of various psychiatric disorders.

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