Karen Zito

Principal Investigator

Karen Zito is Professor of Neurobiology, Physiology & Behavior in the UC Davis Center for Neuroscience. Together with the members of her research team, she hopes to better understand the molecular mechanisms that support brain plasticity during learning and how those mechanisms are altered with aging and disease. Dr. Zito has the privilege of teaching at many levels, both in the classroom and through mentoring students for research projects in the lab. She is committed to fostering a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment in the lab, classroom, and college. She received a B.S. from Indiana University, a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley, and postdoctoral training at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Beyond her academic pursuits, she enjoys listening to live jazz, traveling, and exploring the wilderness.

Jinyoung Jang

Project Scientist

I received my PhD in Physiology from Medical school of Sungkyunkawn university in South Korea. My area of research pertains to the understanding of the functional role of dendrites in learning and memory mechanisms. I joined the Zito lab in November 2019 to study about synaptic plasticity in the single spine level.

I recently moved from Connecticut, and I am enjoying the California ‘winter’.  In my free time I enjoy hiking and exploring Davis downtown with my family. Also, I enjoy puzzles and escape rooms.

Margarita Anisimova

Postdoctoral Scholar

I graduated with honours from Far Eastern Federal University in 2013, receiving a specialist degree in Nanotechnology and semiconductor devices. I received a M.Eng in Biophysics from Hokkaido University in 2015. I received my Ph.D. from Hamburg University in 2020 working with Drs. Oertner and Gee at the Center for molecular neurobiology, where I worked on understanding the fundamental mechanisms of learning and memory. Now, at Dr. Zito’s lab I am focusing on investigating synaptic plasticity in the 22q11.2DS mouse model (Walter Benjamin Fellowship, DFG).

I enjoy singing and hiking, sometimes at the same time. Also, I love sitting outside the Center of neuroscience here in Davis and watching tiny cute lizards running around.

Juan Flores

Graduate Student Researcher

I earned a BS in Chemistry and a BA in Biology from Central Washington University in 2017. I am a graduate student in the Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Physiology graduate group. I joined the Zito lab in 2018 and I am studying the cellular and molecular mechanisms of synaptic plasticity.  Outside of the lab, I like to code, play video games and spend time with my wife and daughter and our cat and dog. 

Nicole Claiborne

Graduate Student Researcher

I am a grad student studying the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying learning and stable memory formation. Sometimes, I do things that aren't related to grad school. I enjoy those things.

Samuel Petshow

Graduate Student Researcher

I graduated with a BS in Biology from Oregon State University in 2015. As an undergraduate I studied behavioral immune responses in garter snakes. After graduation, I worked as a research assistant at Oregon Health & Science University studying the molecular mechanisms of Wnt signaling in Drosophila. In 2018, I was admitted into the BMCDB graduate group at UC Davis, where I joined the Zito Lab. My research interests include the sub-cellular signaling components which confer dendritic spine structural plasticity and their relevance to Alzheimer's Disease. In my free time I like to make music. 

Katherine Sayaseng

Undergraduate Volunteer

I am an undergraduate research assistant and will graduate in 2022 with a major in Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior. I joined the Zito Lab in Winter 2020 with the support of the Advancing Diversity in Neuroscience Research (ADNR) and Biology Undergraduate Scholars Program (BUSP). I am curious about understanding learning through the use of synapses and neuromuscular junctions of Drosophila melanogaster. During my time, I would love to gain experience in conducting scientific research, critical thinking, and maybe even contribute to the discoveries of neuroscience!