Lab Members



I earned my Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati in 2015. I study the evolutionary, genetic and neural mechanisms underlying diverse behaviors and phenotypes, with a current focus on sleep. My projects include identifying novel genetic regulators of sleep, and development of a new system to interrogate the interaction between sleep and metabolism in the fruit fly. To complement, I also utilize the blind Mexican cavefish to characterize the effects of natural genetic variation on sleep. I have genetically engineered transgenic cavefish, enabling us the ability to investigate state-dependent changes in brain activity, along with numerous applications for manipulating single genes. Some of my earlier work focused on identifying the genetic basis for loss of pigmentation in cavefish and the evolution of genome size in tetraploid sucker fish.



Dr. Bethany Stahl



I received my PhD from the University of Cincinnati in 2017 where I trained in the lab of Stephanie Rollmann. My research interests include investigating the neurogenetics of sensory processing and understanding how it contributes to behavioral variation. I received my Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. My dissertation research focused on understanding the genetic factors that underlie variation in olfactory behavior in natural populations of Drosophila melanogaster. My current work in the Keene lab investigates the mechanisms underlying taste perception, feeding state, and their interrelationship with sleep behaviors.



Dr. Elizabeth Brown



Dr. Paloma Amaral



I received a B.S. degree in Animal Science, a Master’s degree and a Ph.D. in Animal Nutrition, with emphasis on beef cattle nutrition, from the Federal University of Viçosa, Brazil. In 2014, I was awarded a scholarship from the CAPES foundation, an agency under the Ministry of Education of Brazil, to conduct part of her doctoral research as a visiting scholar at University of Nevada, Reno. After completing my Ph.D. I moved to Jupiter, FL, and joined the Keene Lab as a lab manager and fish core facility director. I currently manage the fish facility for the Keene, Duboue and Kowalko Laboratories.



Maria Yurgel



I received my B.S. in Biomedical Sciences from Marist College, then joined the P.h.D program in Cellular and Molecular Biology at the University of Nevada. In 2015, I moved with the lab to FAU and joined the Integrative Biology and Neuroscience program to finish my P.h.D. I am investigatin the mechanisms underlying the integration between sleep and metabolism. My work has identified  translin, an RNA binding protein that serves to integrate sleep and metabolic state.  I am now applying circuit mapping approaches and functional imaging to define the neural circuitry regulating the integration of sleep and metabolic function.  In my free time, I love  playing tennis and hiking. I also enjoys drinking mate and going for walks with my dog Frida.



Kazuma Murakami



James Jaggard



Evan Lloyd



Cody Loomis



Joshua Torres



I received a B.S. in Biology and B.A. in Music from the University of Nevada in 2014. After working in the Keene lab as an undergraduate reesarcher, I joined the doctoral program in Integrative Biology and moved with the lab to FAU. I am investigation the neural mechanisms underlying the evolution of sleep loss in Mexican cavefish.  I have identified evolutionarily derived changes in Hypocretin signaling that drive sleep loss in a number of populations.  I am also developing genetic tools for cavefish.  When not in the lab, I enjoy playing music on a variety of instruments, especially my violin, mandolin or guitar. I can also be found hiking or climbing mountains, playing soccer, running, serving at my church, or exploring the beautiful tropical environment of southern Florida.  



In 2017 I received my B.A. in Psychology from Florida Atlantic University. After joining the lab as an undergraduate researcher, I began to investigate differences in foraging and feeding strategies between different populations of Astyanax mexicanus. Upon graduation, I went on to begin work on my Ph.D in the Integrative Biology program. My current research involves understanding the sensory basis of prey capture in larval cave fish, as well the neural mechanisms underlying regulation of feeding behavior. 



I am currently a member of the Integrative Biology and Neuroscience PhD Program. My project is focused on sleep and metabolism interaction in the fruit fly. I previously found translin regulates the metabolic control of sleep; when this gene is knocked out, these flies sleep when starved compared to controls that suppress sleep to forage for food. Currently, I am following up on a gene out of a genetic screen involving sleep and starvation resistance. Using a combination of behavioral, biochemical and genetic approaches, I want to identify and dissect the functionality genes in the sleep and metabolic interactions. I was born in Sagamihara, Japan and raised by my Grandmother and moved to the Fallon, Nevada to be with my parents at a young age. My interest in science peaked in middle school science class and been a student of science ever since then. I enjoy coffee, conversation and cinema. 



I am currently an undergraduate at the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College of
FAU pursuing my Bachelor of Science in Biology. I will be pursuing my Master’s in Biomedical Sciencestarting in the fall of 2018. .As an undergraduate, I have been examined sleep and metabolic function in flies collected from diverse geographic localities throughout the world.  During my graduate studies I will screen for novel genes regulating the interaction of sleep and feeding state.



I graduated from FAU with a B.S. in Neuroscience and Behavior in the fall of 2016. I began working in Dr. Keene and Dr. Duboue's lab in the fall of 2017 before entering the M.S. program in Biology during the spring 2018 semester. I am currently generating a brain atlas in Mexican cavefish and examining the genetic basis for cave-derived changes in metabolic rate.



Ariana Kerbs



I am in the International Baccalaureate program at William T. Dwyer High School and will be attending the University of Florida this coming fall. My extracurricular interests include volunteering with several local charities and music activities like classical piano and choir. My interests in the Keene lab include investigating the developmental consequences of selection for starvation resistance as well as examining natural variation in sleep in relation to environmental changes.



Estelle Laure Sah Pamboro



I am a Senior international student from Cameroon at Florida Atlantic University. I am interested in the study of the brain and nervous system and ultimately hope to pursue MD-PhD upon graduation. My research interests in the Keene lab include examining how the supplementation of fatty acids into the diet contribute to changes in sleep by targeting tissues that are known to mediate the metabolism of dietary fats.



Former Lab Members

Masato Yoshizawa, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Hawai'i

Pavel Masek, PhD, Assistant Professor, SUNY Binghamton


Kurtresha Worden, B.s., CMB Graduate Program, UC-Berkeley

John Silvaroli, B.s., UNLV Dental School

Nicolai Oh, Davidson Academy High School

Ian Oh, Davidson Academy High School

Josue Regalado, University of Nevada, Reno

McKenna Cortez, University of Nevada, Reno

Larissa Gloutak, University of Nevada, Reno

Sam Kafle, University of Nevada, Reno

Beatriz Robinson, B.S., Neuroscience PhD program, Stanford

Aradhana Mehta, UNR School of Medicine

Catriona Moody, UNR School of Medicine

Melissa Slocumb (M.S.), Technician, Standford Medical School