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Anchor 1
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.


Anchor 2

Graduate Students

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

Kenny is pursuing a PhD through Biomedical Engineering after developing software for nearly 10 years. Kenny holds BSs in Computer Science, Molecular Biology and Communications from Montclair State University. At Montclair, Kenny worked in Dr. John Gaynor's lab developing bioinformatic pipelines and visualization tools for Cnidarian transcriptomes. In the Saunders Lab, Kenny will develop computational tools to study synaptic network biology. Kenny enjoys climbing, hiking and watching Star Trek.


Kenny Pavan

B.S. Computer Science, Molecular Biology & Communications



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.


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


Karl Young

B.S. Biology,

Reed College

Karl is from a small town called Socorro in south central New Mexico. He majored in biology at Reed College in Portland OR, studying the neural circuitry of frog vocalizations, and started in the Saunders lab following his graduation in 2020. He especially enjoys the computational and mathematical challenges involved in working with single-cell data, and in his free time likes reading (s/o Discworld by T.Pratchett), bubble tea, and goofy command line tools. His favorite food is green chile.

Hoa graduated from the University of Oregon with a B.S in Human Physiology. Her undergraduate research investigated the relationship between the inhibitory neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and motor performance. Hoa is interested in the structures of neural circuits and the interactions between neurotropic viruses and their host brain cells. In addition to science, Hoa loves spending time playing with her golden retriever puppy (Oliver) and  exploring the outdoors through hiking, camping and traveling. Hoa is actively attempting to  overcome her acrophobia...


Hoa Trinh

B.S. Human Physiology,

University of Oregon


Arisa Sek

B.S. Psychology, Portland State University

Arisa obtained their B.S. from Portland State University in 2021 in Psychology and minored in Biology and Chemistry. They joined the Saunders lab as a Postbaccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) Scholar. They are interest in synaptic connectivity and hope to study how episodic memory is created and stored in the future. Outside of lab, Arisa enjoys creative writing and drawing.



(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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