Bryan Hooks

Principal Investigator

Mac was born and raised in Gaithersburg, MD. After graduating from Harvard with a degree in Evolutionary Biology, he spent five years serving in the United States Navy’s Submarine Force. When done travelling the world, he settled down on the East Coast, completing a PhD in Neuroscience at Children’s Hospital Boston in Chinfei Chen’s lab studying developmental changes in circuit connectivity. He next worked with Karel Svoboda and Gordon Shepherd at Janelia Farm studying the local and long-range connectivity of motor cortex using optical techniques. Mac started his own lab to study primary motor cortex circuitry at University of Pittsburgh in 2014.

Andrew Papale

Postdoctoral Associate

My research aims to understand the different roles of inhibition in motor cortex. Through a combined approach of genetics, behavior and electrophysiology, I hope to identify synaptic correlates of motor learning in interneuron populations.

I earned my Bachelor's of Science in Physics from Juniata College in 2008. My doctorate in Neuroscience was completed in 2015 at the University of Minnesota under the direction of David Redish. My thesis work was on neural correlates of decision making in the hippocampus during a delay discounting task.

Brett Saltrick

University of Pittsburgh, School of Arts and Sciences

Sandra Okoro

Research Technician

University of Pittsburgh, Department of Neurobiology

B.A. Biology, Fisk University, Nashville, TN


Dillon Thomas

Research Assistant

Dillon was raised in Sacramento, CA. He is currently pursuing a major in Bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh, Swanson School of Engineering.

Abish Pius

Research Assistant

Hello, I am Abish Pius and I am a rising senior, Neuroscience major at the University of Pittsburgh. I have had the opportunity to be a part of Dr. Hook’s Lab for roughly two years, as a student and as a Brackenridge fellow. My project is to identify the role of motor cortex interneurons during motor skill learning. I conduct my work in mouse models manipulating the activity of different interneuronal populations and observing their corresponding behavioral changes. My career goal is to become an ophthalmologist and I would recommend Dr. Hook’s lab to anyone looking for exposure to research. Dr. Hooks is a valuable resource, willing to dedicate his time and efforts to expand your scientific knowledge and let you dictate the nature of your independent project.

Muhammad Feroze

Research Assistant

Muhammad is a sophomore Neuroscience major and Honor College Mentor. He does data analysis of fluorescent protein-labeled brains from transgenic mice to study motor circuitry