Krencik Lab 2023

Krencik Lab 2021 

Krencik Lab Team Photo

Krencik Lab 2019 


Robert Krencik, PhD
Associate Professor of Neurosurgery

Robert Krencik, PhD, studied neuroscience at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with Su-Chun Zhang, MD, PhD, where he devised the first cellular system for the efficient generation of human glial progenitors and astrocyte subtypes from pluripotent stem cells. He conducted research as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California San Francisco with Erik Ullian, PhD, where his studies illuminated mechanisms for human astrocytes in controlling the timing of synaptic plasticity. Currently, his lab is using organoid-like sphere cultures as a disease model of the human nervous system.

Dr. Krencik’s Google Scholar Profile

Aboud Tahanis, MD
Postdoctoral Fellow, 2021-present

Dr. Tahanis has a Medical Degree, and a Master’s Degree in Molecular and Translational Neuroscience from Ulm University in Germany, where his research focused on motor neuron disease. Currently, he is identifying disease processes due to glioblastoma and genetic mutations that cause Parkinson’s disease.

María Dolores (Lola) Montalvo Parra, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow, 2022-present

María Dolores (Lola) Montalvo Parra has a PhD in Biotechnology and her most recent publication is about the construction of tissue engineered corneal endothelium. While in the MSc Biotechnology Program, Lola analyzed ventricular calcium dynamics in hypo and hyperthyroid murine models. She is a biologist and a huge science enthusiast; used to teach in Junior High and currently teaches in Med School at Universidad Anahuac-IEST, Tampico, Mexico. In her free time, she co-hosts and produces a science divulgation podcast, in Spanish, called ‘Ciencia al Chile’.

Sajedeh Nasr Esfahani, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow, 2022-present

Sajedeh has a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She is co-advised with Dr. Omid Veiseh at Rice University in Bioengineering department. Currently, she is developing cell-based therapeutics to improve neuron reconnectivity after various nervous system injuries.

Sailee Lavekar, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow, 2023-present

Sailee has a PhD in Vision Neuroscience from Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, where her research focused on the analyses of the development and function of stem cell derived cells in neurodegenerative diseases. Currently, she is working on understanding the contributions of astrocyte-dependent extracellular matrix and how it modulates neural synaptic activity and neuroregeneration.

Samira Aghlara-Fotovat
Graduate Student, 2021-present

Samira received a Bachelor of Arts in psychology with a minor in neuroscience from the university of Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Currently, she is a PhD student at Rice University in the Bioengineering Department, where her advisor is Dr. Omid Veiseh. Dr. Robert Krencik serves as her co-advisor. As of now, her thesis is to develop cell based therapeutics to treat inflammation in various diseases. In her free time, Samira enjoys cooking and doing hot yoga!

Megh Patel
Graduate Student, 2021-present

Megh received a Bachelor of Science degree in Bioengineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He was previously a research analyst at the Byer’s Eye Institute at Stanford University. He is currently an MD/PhD student at the Texas A&M College of Medicine and is pursuing his PhD in the Department of Medical Sciences. Megh’s thesis will focus on understanding the interactions between astrocytes and neuronal synapses by using bioengineered neural organoids produced from human pluripotent stem cells.


  • Fayobami Taiwo, Undergraduate Researcher, Texas A&M University, 2023
  • Ronak Jaisalmeria, Undergraduate Researcher, Rice University, 2023-present
  • Jazmine Jayasi, Research Assistant, 2021-2023
  • Serena Fu, Undergraduate Researcher, New York University, 2022
  • Maya Levitan. Undergraduate Researcher, Rice University, 2021-2022
  • Caroline Cvetkovic, PhD. Postdoctoral Fellow, 2017-2021
  • Morgan Anderson, Research Assistant, 2019-2021
  • Arya Shetty, Undergraduate Researcher, Rice University, 2018-2021
  • Alan Ta, Undergraduate Researcher, Texas A&M University, 2021
  • Ayisat Adegbindin, Undergraduate Researcher, Johns Hopkins University, 2021
  • Raj Patel, Collaborator, Baylor College of Medicine, 2018-2021
  • Debosmita Sardar, Collaborator, Baylor College of Medicine, 2018-2021
  • Anna Kimata, Undergraduate Researcher, Brown University, 2019
  • Saba Barlas, Undergraduate Researcher, Texas A&M University, 2017
  • Nupur Basu, Research Assistant, 2017-2019