Joe is a neuroscience PhD student at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and a first-generation Georgian-Egyptian-American. He is originally from Queens, NY and received his B.S. from Northeastern University in Behavioral Neuroscience with a minor in Computer Science. While in undergrad, he worked in three neuroscience labs, separately studying the neural substrates of olfactory perception (with Dr. Sandeep Robert Datta), fear suppression (with Dr. Leon Reijmers), and fear relapse (with Dr. Steve Ramirez). At Sinai, Joe is currently investigating how the brain integrates and segregates episodic memories, and he is particularly curious about how emotional valence during learning influences this process. He uses animal behavior, in vivo neural recordings, neural manipulations, and mathematical modeling approaches to address this question, under the guidance of Drs. Denise Cai and Kanaka Rajan. He is separately interested in the rules governing axon guidance during brain development and in the structure of chaos in dynamical systems.
At Northeastern, he served on the executive board of the neuroscience student organization NEURONS, where he organized speaker events, managed a mentor-mentee program for undergrads, founded a journal club, among other roles. He found that being part of a warm and supportive environment enriched his academic and professional growth, and he seeks to foster that same environment for incoming trainees.
Outside of lab, Joe plays basketball, takes photos, is obsessed with watermelon, enjoys making baklava and cheesecake, and also enjoys eating baklava and cheesecake.