PI: Andre Berndt, Ph.D.

Andre Berndt is an assistant professor at UW in the Department of Bioengineering and develops molecular biosensors for applications in neuroscience. He received his Ph.D. in biophysics from the Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany, after elucidating the molecular mechanism of the light-gated cation channel Channelrhodopsin-2. Based on this essential work, he extended the optogenetic toolbox by engineering various tools for controlling neuronal circuits by light. He continued his work as a postdoc at Stanford University where he identified the structural determinants of channelrhodopsin ion selectivity, leading to the design of completely new channelrhodopsins. By combining biophysics and bioengineering with neuroscience, he aims to develop more efficient tools for interrogating neuronal circuits at high-throughput.


Lab Manager: Netta Smith




Research Scientist: Jeanot Muster


Postdoctoral Researcher

Lylah Deady, Ph.D.

Lylah is a Washington Research Foundation Innovation Postdoctoral Fellow in Neuroengineering. She received her Ph.D. in Physiology & Neurobiology from the University of Connecticut where she studied ovulation in Drosophila and demonstrated the genetic conservation to mammals. Now, she is expanding her work in Drosophila at the University of Washington to learn about neuroscience, physiology, and bioengineering. Neuronal inhibition is required in almost every sensory system, however the tools to study this process are greatly lacking. In collaboration with the Tuthill lab (Department of Physiology & Biophysics), she aims to develop a sensor to visualize neuronal inhibition in real-time with the intention to investigate proprioceptive circuits in the fruit fly.


Graduate Students

Michael Rappleye

Mike received a B.S. in Bioengineering from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the spring of 2017. His undergraduate research focused on developing point-of-care diagnostic tests for sepsis. After joining the Berndt Lab at UW to pursue a PhD, his research efforts transitioned to developing genetically encoded indicators for neuroscience applications. Mike is interested in developing sensors with novel sensing domains to decode how the brain works.  In his free time, Mike enjoys reading, skiing, and climbing in the mountains around Seattle. 


Justin Lee

Justin received both his BS in Physiology and MS in Applied Bioengineering from the University of Washington. His previous work before joining Berndt lab was focused on nanotopography guided mechanical manipulation tools for muscle tissue engineering. For his Ph.D. study, he is interested in developing sensors for various neuromodulators and optogenetic zebrafish model to uncover the complexity of excitatory/inhibitory balance in the pathogenesis of neurological disorders. Besides science, Justin loves everything about dogs and music!




Carol Perez-Ajax

Kira Evitts

Nathaniel Linden

Amanda Nguyen