Alan Emanuel, Principal Investigator

Curriculum Vitae

After graduating from Washington State University with a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience, Alan completed his PhD in Neurobiology at Harvard University. There, he worked with Michael Do to investigate the biophysical properties of melanopsin-expressing retinal ganglion cells. He then completed postdoctoral training with Christopher Harvey and David Ginty at Harvard Medical School, where he used mouse genetic tools to evaluate the contributions of low-threshold mechanoreceptors to the cortical representation of touch. In his spare time, Alan enjoys honing his photography skills as well as outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking, and skiing.

Katie Greenhut, Research Specialist

Katie graduated from the University of Georgia with her bachelor’s degree in biology. Before joining the Emanuel lab, she worked at GCMI aiding preclinical research projects primarily involving interventional cardiological technologies and procedures. As a research specialist, Katie is excited to study how the different types of mechanoreceptors contribute to assembling an intricate perception of touch stimuli. Outside of the lab, Katie loves making ceramics, scuba diving, collecting plants, and going to estate sales.

Ronghao "Luke" Zhang, BME PhD Student 

Ronghao graduated from Case Western Reserve University with a Bachelor of Science in Systems Biology and a Bachelor of Art in Computer Science. During his undergraduate studies, he worked at the Garvin & Gonzalez-Vicente Lab to understand the mechanism of fructose-induced salt-sensitive hypertension with bioinformatics approaches. Summer Research experience in the Bensmaia Lab promotes his interest in computational neuroscience and somatosensation. As a Ph.D. student, Ronghao is excited to explore the thalamic and cortical representations of tactile information and understand the transmission of neural signals encoding touch in the nervous system. Outside of the lab, Ronghao loves acrylic painting, calligraphy, Gu Qin (pronounced Goo-Chihn, a traditional 7-string Chinese musical instrument), and billiards.

Personal Website

Eric Kent, Undergraduate Student 

Eric is an undergraduate student majoring in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology & Chemistry. Currently he is studying touch perception in the Emanuel Lab and he is eager to understand how this sense is processed at multiple levels of the somatosensory pathway. In his free time, Eric enjoys reading, playing sports, and socializing with friends.

Yuna Lee, Undergraduate Student

Yuna is majoring in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology. Currently, she is working on a project exploring the role of S1 in the discrimination of tactile stimuli in mice, and is eager to learn more about the somatosensory system through the development of new skills in the Emanuel Lab. In her free time, Yuna enjoys baking, exploring new cafes, and reading.

Custer Liu, Undergraduate Student 

Custer is an undergraduate majoring in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology with a co-major in visual art. Currently, she is working on a project to examine mechanisms in the somatosensory system. In the Emanuel Lab, she seeks good mentorship and to learn transformational skills. In her free time, she enjoys working out, saving wildlife, and reading.

Ruorong Qi, Undergraduate Student 

Ruorong is an undergraduate student majoring in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology & Math. She hopes to gain research experience in the Emanuel Lab, and is ultimately preparing herself for graduate school. In her free time, Ruorong enjoys playing volleyball, exploring on foot, orchestra, and coffee.


Contact us at if you are interested in joining. We are actively recruiting new lab members.

Cover image: May 2024 Lab Outing.