Maya Opendak, Ph.D.

Dr. Opendak immigrated from St. Petersburg, Russia when she was 2 and grew up outside of Philadelphia, PA. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in Psychology at Columbia University, working with Dr. Peter Balsam. She then earned her Ph.D. at Princeton working in Dr. Elizabeth Gould's lab and completed her postdoctoral research fellowship at NYU Langone Health under the mentorship of Dr. Regina Sullivan. Dr. Opendak joined the faculty at Kennedy Krieger Institute and the Solomon H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in August 2021.

When not in lab, Dr. Opendak enjoys movies, sci-fi novels, and being a proud mom to baby Pete and her dogs, Linus and Benny. 

Postdoctoral Fellows

Cesar Augusto Medina, Ph.D.

Hola, my name is Cesar! I graduated from the University of Arizona with my BS and PhD in Neuroscience. For my PhD, I worked with Dr. Julie Miller on developing a model of Parkinson's disease using zebra finches. I then joined the Opendak Lab in May 2022 to study the molecular drivers underlying the effects of early life stress on the neural circuits subserving social behavior throughout development.

Outside of the lab, I am involved with initiatives to promote Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in STEM. I have previously worked with organizations in Tucson, AZ, including Casa Alitas (Asylum center), URM SRPs, and other STEM initiatives. As a Mexican-American, this work inspires me and helps me center my work around people.

Lab Technicians

Nikitah Isabellah, B.A. 

Hi! My name is Nikitah. I graduated from Williams College with a BA in Biology, Neuroscience and a minor in French. Some of my interests in Neuroscience lie in Anxiety Disorders and the role of the environment in the development and course of these disorders which I hope to pursue in grad school.

Outside of lab, I enjoy listening to music for hours, playing and learning new board games, long walks and messing around with random ingredients in the kitchen.

Jhanay Rowden

Hi I’m Jhanay! I recently graduated from Johns Hopkins University pursuing a B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology and a minor in Psychology. I am planning on joining an M.D. program following graduation. My current primary academic and research interests lie in the neuroscience of social and developmental psychology, hence the reason I decided to come aboard the Opendak lab. When I’m not in the lab, I love going to group workouts with friends, trying new eating spots, and watching movies and tv shows!


Tommy Song

Hi! I'm Tommy and I am a Junior at Johns Hopkins University studying Neuroscience and Public Health.  I am most interested in the neurological basis of late life disorders and illnesses such as Alzheimer's Disease and Parkinson's Disease. I am planning on pursuing a MD/PhD program after undergrad, focusing on clinical neuroscience. Outside of lab and the library, I love to play sports (run, badminton, rock climbing, lifting), do anything outdoors, read, strum on my guitar, and mess with my baby sister. 

Allison Su

Hi I'm Alli! I'm a Junior at Johns Hopkins University studying neuroscience and computer science. In the future, I hope to go to medical school following graduation. I'm interested in research focusing on neuroscience related to neurological disorders and diseases. Outside of lab, I enjoy going on runs, exploring the city with friends, and painting.

Pranali Bendale

Hey, I’m Pranali! I’m a Junior at Johns Hopkins University studying Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economics. I am most interested in studying neurological diseases (such as Huntington’s disease and Alzheimer’s) as well as learning about the various ways neurology can be further explored through neurosurgery. In my free time, I love to bake, hang out with my friends in the city, read, and try new foods!

Victoria Grimaldi 

Hi, I’m Victoria! I am a Junior at Johns Hopkins University studying Neuroscience and Psychology. I am interested in investigating neurodegenerative disorders as well as better understanding traumatic brain injuries and ways to develop more effective therapies. I plan to attend medical school following graduation. When I’m not at the lab, you can find me playing the piano or guitar, reading, or doing anything outdoors. 

Elaina Regier

Hi! I’m Elaina. I’m a Senior at Johns Hopkins studying neuroscience and psychology, with a hope to go into academia when I finish grad school. My main academic interests are in neurodevelopmental disorders, especially autism and ADHD, and in how environmental factors affect development (a perfect fit for the Opendak Lab!). I enjoy reading, digital art, and constantly cuddling with my dog Milo.

Emily Tesone

Hi! I’m Emily and I’m a Junior at Johns Hopkins University studying Neuroscience, Behavioral Biology, and Visual Arts. I am most interested in the prevention of neurogenetic disorders (such as Neurofibromatosis and Epilepsy), and the process of recovery after severe TBIs. After undergrad, I hope to obtain a MD/PhD. I enjoy horror movies, roller coasters, and orange jello!

Oliver Nguyen-Lopez

Hello! My name is Oliver and I am a Junior at Johns Hopkins majoring in Neuroscience and Molecular and Cellular Biology. I am most interested in increasing understanding of neurodegenerative diseases for better treatments and therapies. I hope to attend dental school or continue neuroscience research post-graduation. In my free time, I enjoy playing tennis, folding origami, and exploring the outdoors!

Maria Raudales

Hi! My name is Maria and I am a junior studying Neuroscience and Psychology at JHU. Before being a part of this amazing lab, I was mostly interested on pediatric neurological disorders and the socio-behavioral consequences of trauma. However after being able to work alongside Rochinelle, I found brain circuitry fascinating. After graduation, I plan to pursue an MD.

Outside of lab, I enjoy trying new recipes, working out, and reading for fun. I am fluent in both English and Spanish and currently trying to learn Portuguese.

Emily Amsden

Hi, I’m Emily! I’m a junior at Johns Hopkins studying neuroscience and psychology. My main interests are neurological disorders and physical therapy, and I plan to attend graduate school in the future. Outside of the lab, I enjoy playing field hockey, hiking, spending time with friends, and trying new recipes!

Lab Alumni