People

Kara Margolis, MD

Kara Margolis

Director, NYU Pain Research Center
Associate Professor, Molecular Pathobiology
NYU College of Dentistry

Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics
Associate Professor, Department of Cell Biology
NYU Grossman School of Medicine

Kara G. Margolis did her residency in Pediatrics at the Montefiore Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine and completed a clinical and research fellowship in Pediatric Gastroenterology at Children’s Hospital of Boston, Harvard Medical School.  After completion of her Fellowship training, Dr. Margolis was recruited to Columbia University where she spent 15 years treating children with brain-gut axis disorders, including children with Disorders of Gut-Brain Interaction and also children with Neurodevelopmental Disorders and GI issues. She simultaneously spearheaded a laboratory focused on clinical, translational and basic science research examining diverse aspects of the gut-brain signaling.  This research has provided important insights into how abnormalities in the gut can arise in children with brain-gut axis disorders such as autism, inflammatory bowel diseases, antenatal antidepressant exposure, and disorders of gut-brain interaction. Dr. Margolis was recruited in 2022 to NYU to become the Associate Director for Clinical and Translational Research, and Director of Brain-Gut Science, for an inaugural NYU wide Pain Research Center.

Dr. Margolis’ laboratory is currently funded by the NIH, DoD, Foundations, the pharmaceutical industry and philanthropic donations.

      


      

Lin Hung, PhD

Lin Hung, PhD

Assistant Research Scientist

Lin completed her BSc (Hons) and PhD in enteric neurophysiology from the University of Melbourne in Australia. She joined the Margolis Lab in 2019. Her research focus is the multifaceted roles of serotonin in disorders of the gut-brain axis, where serotonin has the potential to be pathophysiological and therapeutic. In her spare time, Lin enjoys traveling and exploring new places, and she hopes to visit many cities and states during her time in the US.

      


      

Sarah Najjar, PhD

Sarah Najjar, PhD

Post-doctoral scholar

Sarah is a postdoctoral researcher in the Margolis Lab. She received a BS in biology from the University of Central Florida (2013) and a PhD in neuroscience from the University of Pittsburgh (2020). Sarah completed her dissertation research on the role of the colon epithelium in visceral nociception and gut motility. She is currently studying how epithelial serotonin influences the visceral hypersensitivity associated with gut-brain disorders. Outside the lab, Sarah enjoys reading, playing music, and trying out new vegan recipes.

      


      

Luisa Valdetaro

Luisa Valdetaro, PhD

Post-doctoral scholar

Luisa received her Master’s degree (2018) and PhD (2022) in Neuroscience from Federal Fluminense University. Outside the lab, Luisa enjoys sports, traveling and visiting new places.

      


      

Taeseon Woo

Taeseon Woo, PhD

Post-doctoral scholar

Taeseon received his BS in Pharmacy in 2010 and an MS in pharmacology in 2012, both from Sahmyook University in Seoul, South Korea. He completed his PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Missouri where his dissertation research focused on the effects of prenatal stress exposure on neurochemical, epigenetic, and structural brain changes in autism spectrum disorder. In his free time, Taeseon loves to cook, play tennis, and cheer for the Kansas City Chiefs. He is dedicated to giving back to the community and supporting causes that he cares about.

      


      

Chalystha Yie Qin Lee, PhD

Chalystha Yie Qin Lee, PhD

Postdoctoral Associate

Chalystha received her BSc in Biomedical Science (Hons) from University of Malaya, Malaysia (2018). She then completed her PhD in Biomedical Science from RMIT University, Australia (2023), where her research focused on the enteric nervous system and neuro-immune interactions in mouse models of neurodevelopmental disorders. Outside the lab, she enjoys running, thrift shopping, and hopes to explore all that NYC has to offer.

      


      

Erfaneh Barati

Erfaneh Barati, MS

Junior Research Scientist

Erfaneh received an MS in Human Anatomy from the Kashan University of Medical Science. She is a dog lover who is interested in doing HIIT and strength workouts and trying different types of cuisine.

      


      

Rahi Shah

Rahi Shah

Junior Research Scientist

Rahi received her Bachelor’s degree from Wayne State University. In her free time, Rahi enjoys playing badminton and squash, travel journalism, and exploring new bars and art cafes.

      


      

Bo Shen, Junior Research Scientist

Bo Shen, MS

Junior Research Scientist

Bo Shen received a BS in Biology from The Ohio State University and an MS in Biomedical Engineering from Columbia University. Bo enjoys likes reading, making coffee, calligraphy and birding in her free time. 

      


      

Michael O’Connor

Michael Quinn

Student

Michael is a senior at New York University on the pre-medical track and joined the Margolis lab in 2022. Outside of the lab, he enjoys weightlifting, running, and reading.

      


      

Daniel Juarez

Daniel Juarez

Student

Daniel Juarez is an undergraduate student on the pre-medical track and is studying neuroscience and behavior at Columbia University. During his free time he enjoys hiking, writing poetry, and exploring the city with friends. Daniel looks forward to joining to the laboratory as a junior research scientist this summer!