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Assistant Scientist
Vollum Institute
Oregon Health Sciences University
PhD Harvard Medical School
BA Swarthmore College

Arpiar Saunders

Principal Investigator

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Arpiar “Arpy” Saunders earned his B.A. in Biology and Linguistics from Swarthmore College in 2006.


He researched wild-flower genomes at the University of Montana before moving to Harvard Medical School for doctoral and postdoctoral training. At Harvard, Saunders earned his Ph.D. in Neuroscience in the lab of Bernardo Sabatini, studying the synaptic organization of the mouse brain. As a Helen Hay Whitney Fellow in Steve McCarroll’s lab, he used single-cell genomics to describe molecular diversity of brain cells.


Saunders joined the Vollum Institute as an Assistant Scientist in 2020.


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Graduate Students

You perhaps? Apply through the following OHSU PhD programs: NGP, BME or PBMS

Kenny is pursuing a PhD in Biomedical Engineering after developing software for nearly 10 years. He holds BSs in Molecular Biology, Computer Science, and Communications from Montclair State University (MSU), Western Governors University, and Ramapo College, respectively. While at MSU, he collaborated with Dr. John Gaynor to develop bioinformatic pipelines and visualization tools for Cnidarian transcriptomes. In the Saunders Lab, Kenny will develop computational tools to analyze single-cell, spatial, and synaptic network biology. Kenny enjoys climbing, hiking, and watching Star Trek.


Kenny Pavan

B.S. Computer Science, Molecular Biology & Communications


Emily Rainge

B.A. Neuroscience, Pomona College

Emily graduated with a B.A. in Neuroscience in 2022 from Pomona College in Claremont, California, where her undergraduate research investigated the structure and function of F-box genes in food choice behavior in C. elegans. She is interested in how genetic and cellular mechanisms lead to changes in synaptic connectivity. In her free time, Emily enjoys reading fiction, trying out new food spots, and spending time with friends..

Austin graduated from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette with a B.S. in Biology where he developed a broad interest in the life sciences. As an NIH PREP Scholar in the Chen lab at UC Santa Cruz, Austin investigated the molecular mechanisms underlying neurodevelopmental disorders. Austin aims to develop novel techniques to study cortical development in the context of health, disease, and human evolution. In his free time he enjoys playing soccer, exploring the wilderness, and scientific communication. 

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Austin Schubert

B.S. Biology, Univ. of Louisiana (Lafayette)



Dr. Lamya Ben Ameur

PhD Molecular and Cellular Biology
Ecole Normale Supérieure (Lyon, France)

Lamya earned her PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University Claude Bernard Lyon 1 (France). During her PhD, she  studied the interplay between chronic NF-kB activation induced by HTLV-1 oncoprotein Tax and alternative splicing. She is fascinated by the molecular mechanisms through which cells adapt to their environment, especially after pathogen infection.

Alex graduated from Washington State University in 2015 with a B.S. in Biology where he studied neuroanatomy of the ascending auditory system. He received his PhD from the Neuroscience Graduate Program at OHSU in 2022, studying molecular specializations in the songbird brain. Alex is interested in using viral tools to study neural circuits. In his free time he likes to watch horror movies and go birding around Portland. (F32 recipient from NINDS/BRAIN Initaitive).


Dr. Alex Nevue

PhD Oregon Health & Science University

Research Staff


Zach Goode

M.S. Bioinformatics,

University of Oregon

Zach attended Oregon State University where he completed a B.S. in Biochemistry & Biophysics (2017). He then transitioned from wet lab techniques to computational analyses, and obtained his M.S. in Bioinformatics & Genomics from University of Oregon (2018). Zach contributed as the bioinformatician in the lab of Joan and Ron Conaway at Stowers Institute in Kansas City, MO for three years before joining Saunders Lab at the Vollum Institute in 2021.

Emily earned her B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 2020 at Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon. Her undergraduate research includes organic synthesis of small molecule inhibitors of the Arp2/3 protein complex as a cancer therapeutic. Additionally, she has experience in genome annotation of insulin signaling pathway genes across the Drosophila genus to elucidate the evolution of regulatory regions of genes to gain a better understanding of the evolution and function of biological pathways. 


Emily Tiedemann

B.S. Biochemistry & Molecular Biology 

Linfield College

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Elizabeth Kolb

B.A. Lewis & Clark College

Lizzy graduated with a B.A. in Mathematics from Lewis & Clark College in 2023.  Outside of the lab, Lizzy enjoys biking and ultimate frisbee.



(please email Arpy with cover letter and CV if interested)


• Not hiring at the moment

We are excited to  mentor undergrad researchers in our laboratory

-Semester research can be arranged for local undergrads (including PSU, Reed, Lewis and Clark)

- Summer research is available to non-local students as well



We are accepting graduate students through the following OHSU PhD programs:

- Neuroscience Graduate Program (NGP)

- Biomedical Engineering (BME)

- Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences (PBMS)

Open Positions

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Karl Young (RA, 2020-23): PhD Student (deferred; Univ. of Washington, Genome Sciences)

Hoa Trinh (RA, 2022-23): PhD Student (OHSU/Vollum, Neuroscience Graduate Program)

Melissa Sek (PREP Scholar 2022-23): PhD Student (OHSU/Vollum, Neuroscience Graduate Program)

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