Research staff: The Werling Lab is currently (June 2022) seeking applicants for a Research Specialist position to contribute essential experimental and organizational skills to ongoing research projects on brain development and risk factors for neuropsychiatric disorders. This work will involve colony management and handling of laboratory mice, as well as laboratory techniques such as PCR, extraction of DNA/RNA/protein from tissue, and sample prep for high throughput genomic sequencing experiments. Come join our team! More details here:

Postdocs: We are always looking for interested postdocs with genomics and bioinformatics experience. Please contact Donna Werling for more information.

Graduate students: The Werling Lab accepts rotating graduate students admitted to the Genetics, Neuroscience, Cellular and Molecular Biology, or Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology graduate programs at UW-Madison.

Please reach out if you are interested or have any questions!

Donna Werling

Credentials: Ph.D. Neuroscience, B.S. Psychology

Position title: Assistant Professor

Donna earned her B.S. in Psychology at Duke University, Ph.D in Neuroscience at UCLA, and completed her postdoctoral training in the Psychiatry department at UCSF. Now in the Genetics department and a Waisman Center-affiliated investigator at UW-Madison, she is interested in the mechanisms by which genetic variation and sex-differential biology influence risk for neuropsychiatric conditions, with a major focus on autism spectrum disorder and other neurodevelopmental disorders.

Lee Kissel

Credentials: B.S. Neuroscience, Chemistry

Position title: PhD student, Neuroscience

Lee earned her B.S. in Neuroscience at the University of Miami and is now a PhD student in the Neuroscience Training Program at UW-Madison. Broadly, she is interested in the studying the risk factors and pathogenesis of neural disorders and diseases. With a background in neuroimmunology, she is specifically focused on the role of CNS immune cells in mediating the risk mechanisms and development of neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder.

Nandita Chittajallu

Credentials: B.S. Biology, M.S. Biology

Position title: Research Specialist

Nandita earned a B.S. degree in biology from Indiana University and a master’s degree in Molecular Biology from Indiana University – Purdue University. She is intrigued by the role of sex-based differences in autism’s etiology. She has worked with mouse models in the past for disease modeling and behavioral studies and is eager to combine her knowledge in both of these areas in order to further the efforts of the Werling lab’s autism research.

Joseph Lalli

Credentials: B.A. Biology, Political Science

Position title: MD/PhD student, Cellular & Molecular Biology, Medical Scientist Training Program

After attending Macalester College in St. Paul, MN, Joseph worked as a technician in Dr. Stephen Rice’s HSV-1 lab at the University of Minnesota before joining the MD/PhD program at UW-Madison. Joe’s background is heavily focused on infectious disease and immunology, but his love of psychiatry has led him to pursue a PhD in the genetics of psychiatric disease. The fields of neurology and immunology both seek to understand highly complex systems where subtle differences in the balance of invisible, context-specific molecular interactions can produce life-altering diseases. Joe’s research focuses on utilizing large data sets to understand why the same genetic variations can yield different outcomes in different people, using neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism as model systems.

Liz Nouel

Credentials: B.S. Health and Nutrition Sciences

Position title: PhD student, Genetics

Jenna Gold

Position title: Undergraduate Researcher

Intended major: Genetics & Genomics

Werling Lab Alumni

Undergraduate researchers:

  • Nicole Montag, Undergraduate Researcher, UW-Madison, Major: Neurobiology, Spring 2020-Spring 2022
  • Jiaxin Li, Undergraduate Researcher, UW-Madison, Major: Genetics & Genomics, Summer 2020-Spring 2022
  • Aasma Haider, Lawrence University-Waisman Center Summer Research Program, Lawrence University, Major: Psychology, Neuroscience, Summer 2021
  • Lauren Pondikati, UW-Madison, Major: Pharmacology & Toxicology, Spring & Fall 2020
  • Pengying Sun, Undergraduate Researcher, UW-Madison, Major: Neurobiology, Nutritional Science, Spring-Fall 2020
  • Kalina Larsen, Undergraduate Researcher, UW-Madison, Major: Genetics & Genomics, Spring 2020