Ms. Tanisha Goel (Ph.D., 2024)

Ms. Tanisha Goel received her M.Sc. degree in Drug Discovery and Development from UCL, London in 2018 and completed her B.Sc. from King’s College, London in 2015. She started her graduate studies in 2020 in the Mathuru lab and is interested in examining the role of Chrna5 in comorbid brain disorders.

Dr. Joshua Raine (Research Fellow)

Dr. Joshua Raine completed his PhD in Marine Biology at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, in 2020, and joined the Mathuru lab for mechanisms underlying behaviour in 2022. Currently, his main research focus is investigating the role of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in addiction behaviours to nicotine and alcohol, using gene knockout and transgenic zebrafish as model organisms. He is also working on assaying the capacity of amyloid beta peptide, a key protein in Alzheimer’s Disease pathology, to transmit and propagate through the digestive system as a true prion. His research interests and past areas of study are eclectic, ranging from the conspecific info-chemical signalling of marine microalgae, to the adhesion systems of biofouling barnacles and sea anemones. When not practising molecular biology in the lab, you can often find him enjoying more tangible pursuits, such as board games or miniature painting. 

Dr. Rekha Jakhar (Research Fellow)

Dr. Rekha Jakhar completed her PhD in Cancer Biology at Daegu University, Daegu, South Korea in 2016, where she explored autophagy, ER stress and UPR in cell death pathways in breast cancers. She then joined Karen Crasta’s lab in Nanyang Technological University, Singapore and worked to identify novel players in chromosomal instability as well as exosomal contribution from therapy-induced senescent cells. She Joined Mathuru lab in 2022 for mechanisms underlying behavioural studies and her main research focus is to identify role of CCSER1 in substance dependence and cell division defects, in the contexts of cancer progression and neurodevelopment. When not practising molecular biology in the lab, you can often find her painting landscapes. 

Ms. Kai-Lin Shen (Capstone Project, 2023)

Kai-Lin Shen is currently an undergraduate Life Sciences student at Yale-NUS College. As a final year capstone student, she is currently focusing on the functions of oxytocin receptors OXTR and OXTRL in zebrafish. Specifically, she is conducting feeding assays to examine the effect of oxytocin receptor mutant zebrafish on normal feeding behaviour. Previously she has worked on research projects investigating behavioural responses of stick insects to environmental changes and using citizen science data to characterize Odonate biodiversity in Singapore. Outside of the lab she picks up random crafts projects like crocheting or just watching k-dramas.  


Ms. Silky Hou (Capstone Project, 2023)

Silky Hou is currently a final year undergraduate Life Sciences student at Yale-NUS College. Her main interest lies within understanding human behaviour and one day applying this to understand others in industry and herself. She is currently working on the collaborative project between Professor Ajay and Dr. Karen Crasta to identify the role of CCSER1 in cell division defects and cancer progression. She has specifically been working with CRISPR knockout and shCCSER1 knockdown DLD1 cell lines as part of her senior capstone project. She has previously researched the mechanisms underlying pain perception, specifically NaV1.8 channels. When she is not in the lab, she loves to bake and spending as much time as possible with friends.  

Ms. Melodi Inceboz (Yale-NUS College, Student Research Assistant) 

Melodi is a second-year Life Sciences student at Yale-NUS College, who is also minoring in Mathematical, Computational and Statistical Sciences, and Psychology if the university allows her to graduate with one major and two minors – not attempted before at Yale-NUS. Her research interests include behavioural neuroscience, computational biology, and psychedelic science. In the ASM lab, she worked with killifish to quantify their learning behaviour and create a pipeline for quantitative behaviour analysis using machine learning tracking for future studies. Outside the lab, she acts as the Editor-in-Chief of the Yale-NUS Undergraduate Journal and enjoys playing volleyball and basketball in university teams. 


Mr. Jeff Winxin Collado (Yale-NUS College, Student Research Assistant)

Jeff Winxin Collado is currently a sophomore at Yale-NUS College pursuing a major in Life Sciences and a minor in Innovation and Design at NUS College of Design and Engineering. As a student associate and summer intern at the ASM lab, Jeff has mainly been working to help understand the roles of Chrna5, Chrna3, Chrnb4, and OPRM1 receptors in addiction by conducting behaviour and in-situ hybridization experiments. Outside the lab, Jeff is also a varsity cheerleader, self-proclaimed dance machine, and digital artist. Jeff is also currently leading a non-profit in the Philippines on science communication and appreciation among the youth.  

Dr. Elisa Lim

Dr. Elisa Lim completed her graduate studies at Griffith University, Australia and is trained in virology. She joined the Mathuru lab in 2022 and handles the safety & operational aspects of the lab, with casual research involving molecular biology. Her research interests and past areas of study are broad and include host-virus interactions/pathogenesis of mosquito-borne viruses. In her spare time, she enjoys movies, board games and is a hoarder for Nanoblocks collectibles. 

Recent Escapees


Ms. Caroline Kibat (Ph.D., 2022)

My primary research interests focus on the neurogenetics underlying addictions and my current project aims to understand the role of the nicotinic receptors (nAChRs) in addiction to substance of abuse. I am focusing on the Chrna3-Chrna5-ChrnB4 cluster as most reported studies have associate mutations in these genes to addiction. I have generated several zebrafish mutant lines with mutations in the cluster of genes implicated in addiction using the Crispr-Cas9 technology and I am characterizing the profile of these mutants by means of molecular biology and analyze their response to nicotine using the behavioral assay established in our lab. I hope the findings of my research will shed some insight to the conundrum of addiction!

Dr. Meg Nathan (Research Fellow)

Dr. Meg Nathan completed her Ph.D. from Monash University Malaysia in 2015. She then did an year’s postdoctoral work in Shriners Pediatric Research Center. She joined the Mathuru lab in 2018, and has been working on the use of a Self-Administration Zebrafish Assay (SAZA) to examine preference to addictive substances like alcohol among genetic mutant lines. She is working on CCSER1 gene (Coiled-Coiled Serine Rich Protein 1), OXTR and OXTRL (oxytocin receptor isoforms in zebrafish).

Ms. Saoirse Lightbourne (Capstone Project, 2022)

Saoirse is a Life Science major at Yale-NUS College and a research associate at the ASM laboratory. Her expertise is in computational neuroscience. During her time at the ASM lab, she has developed various computational programs to analyse a range of animal behaviour. Her current project focuses on analysing the locomotory behaviour of Killifish in a learning assay. Outside of the lab, Saoirse enjoys finding the spiciest food that Singapore has to offer, as well as  playing Monopoly Deal with friends. 



Mr. Raunak Vijayakar (Capstone Project, 2022)

I am a Life Sciences researcher with skills in biological data analytics, an interest in understanding human genetic diseases, and experience with genomic and transcriptomic sequencing data. I was born and raised in the US, and attended undergrad at Yale-NUS College. The bulk of my work in the ASM lab has involved developing RNA-sequencing analyses to study rare genetic disease models in zebrafish. Outside of the lab, I’m an enthusiastic (not especially good) runner and skier. You’ll almost always find me listening to either music or a podcast (I recommend Common Descent and History of Japan). You can reach me at 

Ms. Nabilah Binte Abdul Rehman (Capstone Project, 2022)


Mr. Matas Vitkauskas (Yale-NUS College, Student Research Assistant)

Ms. Saoirse Lightbourne (Yale-NUS College, Student Research Assistant)


Mr. Rytis Kazimieras Jonynas (Summer Research Program)

Ms. Daniela Ferreira Franco Moura (Summer Research Program)

Ms. Rebecca Anne Rubright (Summer Research Program).

Ms. Anjali Pal (Summer Research Program, Barnard College)


Ms. Wang Qing (Capstone Project, 2019)

Capstone project titled “Molecular and behavioural characterisation of a novel CHRNB4 zebrafish mutant”. Winner of the Capstone Life Sciences Award 2019 and Outstanding Poster Award, 2019 SfN Singapore Annual Meeting.

Ms. Sara Haghani (Yale-NUS College, Research Internship and Summer Research Program)

Sara’s summer work in 2018, together with Maharshee automation was subsequently published in 2019 as an original research article titled ” An Automated Assay System to Study Novel Tank Induced Anxiety” in Frontiers of Behavioral Neuroscience (Front. Behav. Neurosci., 08 August 2019)

Ms. Lavvona Mark (Yale-NUS College, Research Internship and Summer Research Program)

Lavvona worked on generating ABeta-CRY2 transgenic fish with Ms. Caroline Kibat. Caroline pursued this work further to demonstrate the utility of the CRY2 system in for studying the physical damage caused by human amyloid beta aggregates triggered by optogenetic methods. The paper that pooled work from 2 other Yale-NUS labs with Chu Hsien Lim  as the co-first author and was published in eLife eLife 2020;9:e52589 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.52589.

Ms. Malika Mammadoma (Yale-NUS College,Summer Research Program)

Mr. Toby Limanto (Yale-NUS College, Summer Research Program)


Mr. Ruey Zhe (Summer Research Program).

I’m interested in many academic disciplines, particularly life sciences and philosophy. I am fascinated by the evolutionary basis of behaviour, and enjoyed running the behaviour experiments at Professor Ajay’s lab.

Ms. Ignacius Tey (A*STAR Summer Attachment, Research Internship)

Ms. Maharshee Karia (McGill University, Research Internship)

I worked in the lab as an Intern through Summer 2017. My projects were based on analysing and representing social recognition data and social decision-making behaviour collected from various experiments done on fish. This mainly involved writing code in Python, with the aim to be able to extend and automate this kind of analysis technique. With a major in Physiology and Mathematics, at McGill University, Canada, this felt like the best way to implement my studies in a project and it allowed me to explore new aspects of research that I may want to take up in the near future. The internship truly showed me how intricately complementary the seemingly dissimilar fields of Statistics and Biological Sciences are.

Mr. Vishnu K Sajeenth (Imperial College London, Research Internship)


I had the pleasure of doing my Summer 2017 internship at Dr Ajay’s lab. I conducted novel behavioural assays on zebrafish which had various induced deletions within the CHRNA3 and CHRNA5 gene loci. This involved constructing a rig to conduct these assays, crossing the relevant fish and carrying out self-administration assays on them. I also carried out DNA extraction, PCR and gel electrophoresis to confirm their genotype. It does not stop there – the copious amounts of knowledge and learning I took away from this internship simply do not fit in a list; ranging from the workings of a professional laboratory to exposing myself to the complex realm of coding in MatLab. I am currently in third year (2017) of Medical School at Imperial College London and have a deep-rooted passion in scientific research. I aspire to one day contribute to the advancements in and understanding of Neuroscience. All in all, it was truly an enriching experience and an honour to have worked in the ASM lab; bringing me one step closer to my dream.


Ms. Sau Tsoi Yee (Capstone Project, 2017)

My academic interest is in how thought and behavior is produced, and how these processes may be manipulated to produce different outputs, be it through the use of drugs, conditioning or genetic mutations. In this lab, I worked on characterising the acute behavioural response of Danio rerio to ethanol and examined the role of the CHRNA5 gene in this response using a behavioural assay. I graduated from Yale-NUS College in May 2017 with a major in Life Sciences and minor in Psychology, and my goal is to become a researcher in Neuroscience.


Ms. Loh Jia Tyia (Yale-NUS College, Research Internship)