Harris Lab

In Pursuit of Synapse Structure and Function...

The Laboratory of Synapse Structure and Function investigates the structural basis of learning and memory, synapse development, and the ultrastructure of synaptic plasticity using in vivo and in vitro preparations, hippocampal slice physiology, serial section transmission electron microscopy, and 3D reconstruction.

Current Lab Members at UT Austin

P.I.: Kristen M. Harris, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Neuroscience
Center for Learning and Memory
Institute for Neuroscience
The University of Texas at Austin


Kristen has served on the faculty of the Harvard Medical School, Boston University, and the Medical College of Georgia. She has been a Professor at UT Austin since 2006. More info and CV

John Mendenhall, MA 
Research Associate 


John joined Kristen Harris's new lab at UT in 2006. His main responsibilities in the lab are tissue preparations, multi-dimensional imaging, visualization, and analysis. 

Guan Cao, Ph.D.
Research Scientist


Guan’s current projects are to investigate the cellular and molecular mechanisms of developmental onset of enduring long-term potentiation (LTP).


Masaaki (Masa) Kuwajima, Ph.D.
Research Associate


Masa uses electron microscopy and immunolabeling methods to investigate subcellular structures that underlie brain cell functions in learning and memory, normal brain development, as well as in disease models (e.g., for Fragile X syndrome). More info

Seth Weisberg, BA, BS, MS
Graduate Research Assistant


Seth has been interested in neuroscience since he realized that all conscious experience and by extension the entirety of the world was predicated on the functioning of that gelatinous organ in his skull. The Harris lab at UT has the tools to see this structure at the highest possible resolution.  

Patrick Parker, BS
Research Assistant


Patrick assists in the 3D reconstruction of dendrites, with a focus on quantifying synapses and creating lab protocols. He handles a variety of administrative tasks and acts as the SynapseWeb administrator.

Clayton Smith

Clayton Smith, MS
Research Associate


Clayton joined Dr. Harris's lab in 2016. His primary duties include tissue processing, sectioning with the ultramicrotome, and operating the electron microscope.

Lyndsey Kirk, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow


Lyndsey is currently studying the cellular mechanisms of augmentation of long term potentiation (LTP), a cellular model that represents the efficacy of spaced vs massed learning. 


Undergraduate Researchers:

  • Corey Haines
  • Kyle Zatyko
  • Alia Pederson
  • Dakota Hanka
  • Dusten Hubbard
  • Katie Hedgpeth

Former Lab Members

Research Scientists:

  • Sergei Kirov, Ph.D.

  • John C. Fiala, Ph.D.

  • Bitao Shi, M.D.

  • Jennifer Bourne, Ph.D.

  • Larry Lindsey, M.S.

Postdoctoral Fellows:

  • Gordon M.G. Shepherd, M.D., Ph.D.

  • David Selig, M.D.

  • Patricia Suppes, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Frances Jensen, M.D.

  • Jared Bowden, Ph.D.

  • Beth Bell, Ph.D.

  • Deborah Watson, Ph.D.


  • Libby Perry

  • Robert Smith

  • Jamie Hurlburt, DO

  • Anusha Mishra

  • Marcia Feinberg, M.S.

  • Lara Petrak

  • Alex Goddard

  • Karen M. Szumowski

Graduate Students:

  • Marc Seid, Ph.D.

  • Linnaea Ostroff, Ph.D.

  • Mark Witcher

  • William Risher

  • Jennifer Salgado

  • Peter Sultan, M.D.

  • Paul S. Jackson, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Ann Clemens, Ph.D.

  • Andrea Haessly, Ph.D.

  • Michael Chirillo, Ph.D.

  • Heather Smith, Ph.D.

Undergraduate Students:

  • Rachel Ventura

  • James Cooney

  • Priya George

  • Sean Behounek

  • Amy Pohodich

  • Junho Ahn

  • Katherine Williams

  • Michael Musslewhite

  • Ryan Ellis

  • Mikayla Waters

  • Alyssa Herbort
  • Kyle Zatyko
  • Kate Dembny
  • Paola Gonzalez
  • Alyssa Herbort
  • Sindy Ventura
  • Marshall Drake
  • Masha Aseeva

Current Collaborators

  • Daniel Johnston, Ph.D.               

  • Chandrajit Bajaj, Ph.D. 

  • Wickcliffe C. Abraham, Ph.D.

  • Josef Spacek, MUDr, DrSc

  • Mike Ehlers, M.D., Ph.D.               

  • Mitya Chklovskii, Ph.D.           

  • Mary Kennedy, Ph.D.           

  • Terrence J. Sejnowski, Ph.D.           

  • Tom Bartol, Ph.D.  

  • Karin Sorra, Ph.D.

  • Cailey Bromer, Ph.D.

Past Collaborators

  • Matthew A. Xu-Friedman, Ph.D.

  • Wade G. Regehr, Ph.D.

  • German Barrionuevo, M.D.

  • David B.T. McMahon, Ph.D.

  • Howard Eichenbaum, Ph.D.

  • Viktor Popov, Ph.D.

  • Yannan Ouyang, Ph.D.

  • David Kantor, Ph.D.

  • Erin M. Schuman, Ph.D.

  • Steven Finkbeiner, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Sohail F. Tavazoie, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Anna Maloratsky, M.D.

  • Kori M. Jacobs, Ph.D.

  • Michael E. Greenberg, Ph.D.

  • Ingrid Carlbom, M.S., Ph.D.

  • Demetri Terzopoulos, Ph.D.

  • James F.A. Traniello, Ph.D.

  • Ben Kater, Ph.D.

  • John Lisman, Ph.D.