Lab Team

photo by Monica Chen

Primary Investigator

Giovanni Manfredi
Giovanni Manfredi , M.D., Ph.D.
  • Finbar and Marianne Kenny Professor in Clinical and Research Neurology
Research Focus:

Since 1994, Giovanni Manfredi has focused on the genetics and biochemistry of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation in neurological diseases. With a broad background in clinical neurology, cell biology, and biochemistry, he has contributed significantly to the field of mitochondrial disorders, neurodegeneration, and mitochondrial biochemistry and physiology. Dr. Manfredi has authored over 100 papers in peer-reviewed journals, including Hum Mol Genet, Nat Genet, J Biol Chem, J Cell Biol, Cell Metab, Brain, J Neurosci and Mol Biol Cell. Appointed director of the neuroscience graduate program at Weill Cornell Medicine in 2014, Dr. Manfredi has successfully mentored many pre-doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows, who have moved on to research and leadership positions in academia. He received his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart Faculty of Medicine and Surgery in Italy. (PubMed Profile)

Lab Members

Gabriella Assunta Casalena
Gabriella Assunta Casalena , Ph.D.
  • Associate Research Scientist
Research Focus:

Drug development for ALS using in vitro and in vivo models

  • Favorite breakfast food: Italian style = yea carbs, nay proteins
  • Hobbies: Yoga and reading
  • Ph.D., University of Bologna, Italy
Marilena D'Aurelio
Marilena D'Aurelio , Ph.D.
  • Assistant Professor
Research Focus:

Pathogenic mechanisms of mitochondrial diseases focusing on tissue-specific metabolic consequences associated with OXPHOS deficiency with the goal of developing novel evidence-based strategies that oppose disease progression (PubMed Profile)

  • Favorite breakfast food: cappuccino con cornetto al cioccolato
  • Hobbies: yoga
  • Ph.D., University of Bologna, Italy
Jalia Dash
Jalia Dash , B.S.
  • Research Technician
  • B.S., Cornell University
  • Favorite breakfast food: avocado toast
Jasmine Fels
Jasmine Fels , B.A.
  • Graduate Student
Research Focus:

Sex/estrogen-dependent differences in mitochondrial dysfunction in neurodegenerative disease (PubMed Profile)

  • Favorite breakfast food: pancakes and bacon
  • Hobbies: yoga and pilates, eating but not cooking, creative hair coloring
  • B.A., University of Virginia
Meri Gerges
Meri Gerges , B.S.
  • Laboratory Technician
Research Focus:

Mitochondrial and metabolic dysfunction in the context of neurodegenerative diseases (PubMed Profile)

  • Favorite breakfast food:  scrambled eggs and fresh fruit juice
  • B.S., Queens College
Veronica Granatiero
Veronica Granatiero , Ph.D.
  • Postdoctoral Associate
Research Focus:

Calcium dynamics and autophagy in ALS pathophysiology (PubMed Profile)

  • Favorite breakfast food: scrambled eggs
  • Ph.D., University of Padova, Italy
Hibiki Kawamata Fujita
Hibiki Kawamata Fujita , Ph.D.
  • Assistant Professor
Research Focus:

Astrocytic calcium dynamics involvement in ALS pathogenesis

  • Favorite Breakfast Food: coffee and bacon
  • Hobbies: Driving the kids to baseball games and watching them play, latte art, taking kids' photos
  • Ph.D., Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences
Csaba Konrad
Csaba Konrad , Pharm.D., Ph.D.
  • Instructor
Research Focus:

Biomarkers for ALS, bioenergetics, microfluidics, microscopy, machine learning (PubMed Profile)

  • Favorite breakfast food: Macaroni and Cheese Pizza, but I don't eat breakfast.
  • Ph.D., Semmelweis University, Hungary
Jordi Magrane , Ph.D.
  • Associate Professor
Research Focus:

Peripheral neuropathy in Friedreich's ataxia (PubMed Profile)


  • Favorite breakfast food: Pa amb tomàquet! (bread with tomato spread, salt and olive oil).
  • Hobbies: Burning kilocalories while doing very little
  • Ph.D., University of Barcelona (Catalonia)
Kevin McAvoy , Ph.D.
  • Postdoctoral Associate
Research Focus:

Molecular mechanisms by which neurons and astrocytes communicate in health and disease (PubMed Profile)

  • Favorite breakfast food: toasted sesame bagel
  • Hobbies: backcountry camping, playing guitar, taking photographs
  • Ph.D., Thomas Jefferson University
Nicole Sayles
Nicole Sayles , B.A.
  • Graduate Student
Research Focus:

Localization and expression of nuclear-encoded mitochondrial mRNA in axons and how these dynamics are altered during stress and disease conditions in vitro and in vivo (PubMed Profile)

  • Favorite breakfast food: white grapefruit
  • Hobbies: hiking, interior design, indoor gardening, collecting insects
  • B.A., Clark University
Headshot of NNeka Southwell
NNeka Southwell
  • Neuroscience Graduate Student
Research Focus:

Metabolic alterations in mitochondrial diseases

  • B.s., Rochester Institute of Technology
Anatoly Starkov
Anatoly Starkov , Ph.D.
  • Associate Professor
Dazhi Zhao
Dazhi Zhao , M.S.
  • Laboratory Technician
  • M.S., Northern Jiaotong University, China
  • Favorite breakfast food: dim sum
  • Hobbies: eating and remodeling house