Hiro Furukawa – The PI

Hiro became a PI of the HF lab in late 2006. He wants to understand and control processes involved in neuronal plasticity, neurodegeneration, and cancer/neuron interactions. Formerly a chemistry major, he still has a tendency to decompose biology into chemistry. After spending many years at CSHL, he is ‘finally’ starting to appreciate biology as it is. Find out more about who he is in Hiro who?

Johanna Syrjänen – Charles H. Revson Senior Fellow in Biomedical Science

Johanna grew up in many places in Europe and the U.S.A. She studied Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge as an undergraduate student. She decided to stay in Cambridge for graduate school and completed her Ph.D. in Biochemistry with Prof. Luca Pellegrini where she worked on structural and functional analyses of proteins related to meiotic chromosome organization. Johanna has been the key player in making breakthroughs in the field of large-pore channels.

Tsung-Han Chou – Postdoctoral Fellow

Tsung-Han, aka Eric, completed his Ph.D. with Prof. Edward Yu at Iowa State University, where he worked on structural studies of proteins related to the carbon concentration of green alga. Eric has been making important breakthroughs in understanding the structures and functions of NMDA receptors.

Kevin Michalski – Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Postdoctoral Fellow

Kevin grew up in South Hadley, Massachusetts. He studied biochemistry at Siena College, then moved further west to Ithaca to attend graduate school at Cornell University where he completed his Ph.D. with Prof. Toshi Kawate working on functional and structural studies of Pannexin hemichannels. He likes to read fantasy and sci-fi, and spends too much time on youtube, tiktok, and playing computer games.

Max Epstein – Postdoctoral Fellow

Max grew up in London before eventually moving to Bristol for his undergraduate degree in Pharmacology. He then relocated to Oxford to pursue his DPhil in biochemistry in Professor Phil Biggins group, where he worked on MD simulations/ electrophysiology of pentameric channels. In 2021 he finally escaped the south of England for New York, where he currently works on NMDA receptor MD simulations! In his spare time, Max enjoys collecting vinyl records from dusty record stores, running and drinking beer.

Hyunook Kang – Postdoctoral Fellow

Hyunook grew up in Daegu, South Korea, and went to Seoul to study biology as an undergraduate in Seoul National University. He continued to pursue Ph.D. in Seoul National University where he studied structural biology in the laboratory of Dr. Hee-Jung Choi. In 2022, he joined the Furukawa lab. Hyunook is interested in understanding the molecular machine in neurons. In his spare time, he likes to play games, read books, and wonder around the city.

Ruben Steigerwald – Postdoctoral Fellow

After growing up in Hamburg, he moved to Münster to study pharmacy, where he completed his PhD in medicinal chemistry in Prof. B. Wünsch’s group. His research interests are ion channels, in particular NMDA receptor biophysics. Aside from that, he enjoys bouldering and playing the piano in his free time.

Noriko Simorowski – Technician-III

Noriko grew up in Tokyo, Japan. She studied Chemistry (Science and Engineering) at Meisei University in Tokyo and worked in NIIH [National Institute of Infectious diseases], and the Institute of Medical Science/the University of Tokyo. She came to the U.S.A. to work in the lab of Hamaguchi lab at Fordham University before joining the HF lab. Noriko’s ability in research has been the major force for driving the HF lab to success for many years.

Sam Kleeman – Ph.D. Student

Sam is a graduate school student at CSHL School of Biological Sciences working in the Janowitz lab and in collaboration with the HF lab. He grew up in Cambridge, UK and went to Cambridge University to study pre-clinical medicine. He then moved to Oxford University, received his MD and worked as a clinician for two years in the UK before joining CSHL. Sam bridges the HF lab to the cancer biology community at CSHL. Outside of science, he likes cycling, traveling and wine tasting.

Rachel Polfer – Ph.D. student

Rachel is a graduate school student at CSHL School of Biological Sciences. She grew up in Orlando, Florida, and went to Mt. Holyoke to study biochemistry. She then moved to Columbia University to work on self-nucleic acid sensing by pattern recognition receptors in the lab of Dr. Hachung Chung before joining CSHL. Outside of science, she likes baking, swimming, and hiking.

Lauren Richter – Senior Scientific Administrator

Lauren is our scientific administrator who carries out the organizational responsibilities and many more for the HF lab. She grew up in Long Island, NY, went to Carnegie Mellon University to receive her B.S. in Economics, and then received an M.B.A. in Finance from Hofstra University. She spent several years working for financial firms and then moved on to medical billing before joining CSHL in 2022. Lauren spends her free time reading, listening to podcasts, and getting into a game of Mah Jong when she can.

Adriana Hincapie – Media Maker

Adriana grew up in Cali, Columbia. She made a big move to New York and started to work at CSHL in 2001.  Adriana makes cell culture media and biochemical reagents, which are critical for all of our experiments. Apart from that, she is interested in studying and mastering scientific communications in English and Spanish. She likes exercising, cooking, and traveling.

Ming Wang – X-ray lab/Computing Facility manager

Ming is the manager for the x-ray and computation facility manager at CSHL. He has also been assisting the annual CSHL x-ray crystallography course for >20 yrs. He joined CSHL in 1998 after completing his research associate position in Medical College of Wisconsin. We have been lucky to have Ming who deeply appreciates and understands every aspect of x-ray crystallography.

Dennis Thomas – Cryo-EM Facility Manager

After his PHD study in the DeRosier lab at Brandeis, Dennis went on conduct studies in the Baumeister lab at MPI of Biochemistry in Munich. Dennis has been the facility manager for the CSHL EM facility since 2017. He also assists the annual CSHL cryo-EM course.


Stephen Traynelis (Emory University), Lonnie Wollmuth (Stony Brook University), Niko Grigorieff (University of Massachusetts Medical School), Stephen Tucker (Oxford University), Tim Grant (Morgridge Institute for Research/University of Wisconsin Madison), Ryohei Yasuda (Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience), Graham Collingridge (University of Toronto), Albert Lau (Johns Hopkins University), David Jane (Bristol University), Katharina Schmack (The Francis Crick Institute), David Jackson (CSHL), Tobias Janowitz (CSHL)


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In the Furukawa lab


Erkan Karakas Grad. Student in the Caroline Kisker lab@Stony Brook University Postdoc (2007-2016) Assistant Professor@Vanderbilt University [link]
Nami Tajima Grad. Student in the Jeremy Tame lab@Yokohama City University Postdoc (2011-2018) Assistant Professor@Case Western University [link]
Puja Singh Postdoc in the Patrick Sung lab@Yale University Postdoc (2010-2012) Research Associate at University of Minnesota
Tomas Malinauskas Postdoc in the Yvonne Jones Lab@Oxford University Postdoc (2013-2016) Postdoc @Oxford University
Mike Regan Grad. Student in the Bushweller lab @University of Virginia Postdoc (2014-2018) Scientist@Sanofi
Annie Jespersen Master student@University of Copenhagen Visiting Master student (2011-2011) PhD student@University of Copenhagen
Annabel Romero-Hernandez Master student@ Instituto Politécnico Nacional Ph.D. Student

(CSHL SBS) (2012-2017)

Scientist@Regeneron Pharmaceuticals
Jue Xiang Wang Master student@ the University of Cambridge Ph.D. Student

(CSHL SBS) (2014-2019)

Consultant@Boston Consulting Group.
Paul Wolski Undergrad@Cornell University Undergraduate summer research student (2007) Ph.D. student@UC Berkley
Claudio Morales Undergrad@University of Puerto Rico Undergraduate summer research student (2010) Ph.D. student@UT Southwestern
Yitong Li Undergrad@Cornell University Undergraduate summer research student (2013) Ph.D. student@University of North Carolina
Minjun Li Undergrad@Smith College Praxis summer research student (2018) Smith College
Saamia Alam Undergrad@SUNY Binghamton College Intern (2009) Med. School
Elena Ghiban Volunteer (2007-2008) Comp. Sci. Developer at the Genome center @CSHL
Irene Gill Scientific Administrator (2007-2014) Scientific Administrator for Adam Siepel
Hongjie Shen CSHL Technical Staff (2007-2017) Happily retired

Rotation Students

CSHL SBS: Hassana Oyibo, Jack Walleshauser, Brittany Cazakoff, Anja Hohmann, Mike Giangrasso, Charlie Yuan, Bri Bibel, Leah Braviner

Stony Brook: Iehab Talukder, Brian McGillick, Jessica Johl, Allen Chen