Principal Investigator

John A. Gray, M.D., Ph.D. (Google Scholar)
Associate Professor, Departments of Neurology and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Director, MD/PhD dual degree program, UC Davis School of Medicine
Associate Director, UC Davis Institute for Psychedelics and Neurotherapeutics

B.S. in Biochemistry, Case Western Reserve University
Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Case Western Reserve University
M.D., Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
Residency in Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco
Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of California, San Francisco

I am interested in understanding the molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in synapse function and plasticity and how these processes may be disrupted in neurological and psychiatric disorders. I earned my PhD in the laboratory of Bryan Roth at Case Western Reserve University (now at UNC) examining the mechanisms underlying the desensitization and downregulation of serotonin 5-HT2A receptors, the primary target of serotonergic psychedelics such as LSD and psilocybin. Then, during my clinical training in psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, I became interested in the synaptic basis of neuropsychiatric disorders and pursued postdoctoral research in the laboratory of Roger Nicoll, examining synapse development and the role of a key glutamate receptor, the NMDA receptor, which is also the primary target of the dissociative anesthetic and rapid-acting antidepressant ketamine. As a psychiatrist and synaptic biologist, my laboratory is interested in fundamental questions of synapse biology both at the basic science level as well as understanding how subtle disruptions of these synaptic mechanisms can lead to the development of brain disorders such as schizophrenia, autism, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Postdoctoral Scholars

Raghava Jagadeesh Salaka, M.S., Ph.D.
M.Sc. in Biotechnology, Osmania University
Ph.D. in Neurophysiology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, India

Graduate Students

Atheer Nisan
B.S. in Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior; University of California, Davis


Jasjot Kaur Sandhu
UC Davis - Psychology major


Julie Culp
Staff Research Associate

Aaron Illathu
Junior Specialist

Kevin Yin

Meaghan Paganelli, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Scholar

Zaiyang "Sunny" Zhang

Haley Martin

Casey Sawyer

Jonathan Wong, Ph.D.
Graduate Student

William Li

Yiwei Hua 华漪玮

Shekib Jami, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Scholar

Eden Barragan, Ph.D.
Graduate Student

Prior Rotation Students

Lindsay Cameron
Spring 2017

Ariel Jacobi
Summer 2018
MD/PhD Student

Hannah Saeger
Winter 2020

Jonathan Quan
Fall 2021

Yara Khatib
Fall 2021