Current lab members

Elise Savier, PI

Originally from the North East part of France, I grew up in a small town surrounded by nature. I've always been interested in animal behavior, biology and genetics. My initial training after high school was as a medical lab technician, but once I've set a foot in a research lab, I couldn't get enough! I got an opportunity to reconcile my passion for behavior with my undergrad training in biochemistry and molecular biology when I joined the Joint Master in Neuroscience at the University of Strasbourg. I pursed with a PhD with Michael Reber at the INCI during which I studied the development of visual maps in the mouse superior colliculus. I had found my structure of interest! After obtaining my PhD, I had to know more about the physiology and behavioral implication of this structure, and with this in mind, decided to join Jianhua Cang's lab (JC) for a post-doc. Since then, I've been characterizing the visual responses, organization and modulation in this structure, hoping to reconcile physiology with behavior.  There is still a long way to go, and I'm pretty excited to take this work to the next level within my own lab at the University of Michigan!


Alexander Ford, PhD Candidate Neuroscience

Alex Ford grew up in Michigan, attaining a Psychology degree from Eastern Michigan University before deciding to pursue graduate study in neuroscience. He is a current PhD candidate in the University of Michigan’s Neuroscience Graduate Program, with research interests that include the foundations of how the brain processes sensory information, from circuits to behavior, and has worked on both the auditory and visual systems. Outside the lab you’ll probably find him reading and writing, painting, and spending time in the great outdoors. 

Xena Relota, Research Technician 

 Xena recently graduated from Virginia Tech with a BS in computational neuroscience. Her scientific interests include biointerfaces, neuromorphic computing, and anti-aging research. She plans on eventually pursuing a PhD in the biomedical sciences. Besides doing science, her idea of a good day also involves music, fashion and makeup, DIY projects, socializing, and writing science fiction. 

Abdullah Masri, Master student, Physiology

Abdullah Masri, originally from Iowa, graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in Biology and is currently pursuing a Masters in Molecular and Integrative Physiology at the University of Michigan. He plans to pursue medical school in the near future. Outside the lab his hobbies include kayaking, attempting to cook, and adventuring around Ann Arbor.

Previous lab members

Ari Coester, Research Technician 

 Ari Coester (he/him) is a 2022 Michigan grad in Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity and Creative Writing and Literature. He’s originally from Colorado. His research interests include animal behavior and sensory systems. Outside of the lab, he enjoys spending time with his tortoise, Tau, and cat, Myles, drinking good tea, and drawing comics.