Horwitz Lab


Greg Horwitz – Principal Investigator

Greg was born in Eugene, Oregon, grew up in Concord, Massachusetts, and returned to the Pacific Northwest to join the faculty at the University of Washington in 2007. He and members of his lab use tools from neurophysiology, statistics, and viral gene delivery to study the neural basis of vision and perceptual decision-making. Greg is particularly enthusiastic about microfabricated electrode arrays and cis-regulatory elements to achieve experimental access to individual cell types in the visual system.

Brenna Menz – Research Scientist

Brenna grew up in Bothell, WA, and went to school for her Bachelor’s in Science at Western Washington University where got her degree in Biology with an Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Emphasis. Brenna spent several years in volunteer work with a variety of animals and interned at a wildlife rehab center while also working. She then went into working with animals in research labs working with both mature and infant primates as well as beagles. In her spare time, Brenna enjoys playing video games as well as singing/songwriting. She also volunteers some weekends at Pasado’s Safe Haven in Monroe to care for some of the animals there.

Luke Bun – Graduate Student

Luke was born and raised in Seattle. Seeking an academic challenge, at the ripe age of 15, Luke started his undergrad at the UW. While majoring in Neuroscience, he found himself fascinated by neural engineering. Wanting to learn more about the technical side of neural engineering, Luke moved down the street to the Department of Bioengineering to complete a Ph.D. He is interested in the function and computations of complex cells in cortical area V1 and analogous units in convolutional neural networks. Outside the lab, he enjoys playing video games and learning about US and world history.

Padideh Yazdan-Shahmorad – Research Assistant

Padideh was born and raised in Esfahan, Iran. She has a bachelor’s in Physics from Isfahan University of Technology and a master’s in cognitive rehabilitation from Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran. She moved to Seattle to pursue her graduate education in the Electrical and Computer Engineering program in April 2021. She is interested in visual neuroscience. Her research focuses on developing a new tool to inactivate neural activity in a powerful and reversible way, by combining an optical system with a genetically engineered vector. In her free time, Padideh enjoys running, hiking, watching movies and cooking.

Ryan Ressmeyer – Graduate Student

A Seattle native, Ryan joined the Horwitz Lab after receiving his degree in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University. Now, Ryan designs high-resolution digital eye trackers to study the functional properties of the early visual system with high precision. Outside of the lab, Ryan can be found climbing, gaming, woodworking, and playing Ultimate Frisbee.

Ryan Canfield – Graduate Student

Ryan was raised in Seattle and attended Cal Poly SLO for undergrad before returning to UW for his Master’s degree. His research focuses on using novel optogenetic tools in monkeys to study neural encoding and learning. In his free time, Ryan enjoys hiking, backpacking, and watching Mariners games.

Shane Gibson – Research Scientist

Shane’s current role in the Horwitz lab is to assist in the research of visual systems neuroscience. The long-term goal of the research is to discover how different types of brain cells contribute to vision and visually guided behaviors. The purpose of the research project is to develop techniques and reagents for studying the visual system of non-genetic species. The primary tool we use to do these cell-type characterizations is AAV vectors.

Shane’s hobbies mostly included exploring the wonderful outdoors of the Pacific Northwest, spending time with family and friends, and enjoying the arts.

Joanne Lee — Undergraduate Researcher

Joanne was born in Portland, OR, and grew up in Bellevue, WA. She is a current undergraduate student at the University of Washington majoring in Biochemistry. Her interest in neuroscience led her to join the Horwitz Lab where she assists in histology and plasmid construction. Outside of the lab, Joanne enjoys playing tennis, creating 3D mixed media art, painting, and crocheting.