Who we are
Suzana Herculano-Houzel, P.I. (her.kou.LAH.no.who.ZELL) is Associate Professor of the Departments of Psychology and Biological Sciences at Vanderbilt University since 2016. She was previously an Associate Professor at Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, between 2002-2016.
She majored in Biology at Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (1992), holds an M.Sc. in Neuroscience (Case Western Reserve University, 1995, with Story Landis), and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience (Université Paris VI, 1999, with Yves Frégnac and Max-Planck-Institut for Brain Research, with Wolf Singer). In Brazil, she was a Scientist with the National Research Council (CNPq) from 2007 to 2016; Young Scientist of the State of Rio de Janeiro (FAPERJ, 2007-2009) and Scientist of the State of Rio de Janeiro (FAPERJ) between 2009 and 2016. In 2010, she was a recipient of the Scholar Award in Understanding Human Cognition, James S. McDonell Foundation.
She is the author of six books (in Portuguese) for the general public on the neuroscience of everyday life, with over 80,000 copies sold, was the writer and presenter of the TV series Neurológica (Fantástico, Rede Globo de Televisão) between 2008 and 2011, and remains a regular writer for the newspaper Folha de São Paulo since 2006.
E-mail: suzana.herculano at vvanderbilt.edu (with a single v)
Current lab members
Sandra Dos Santos, postdoctoral fellow since 2012
- Former advisor: Linda Holland, Scripps Institute, San Diego, USA
- Publications: Dos Santos et al. (2017)
- Current project: Analysis of numbers of non-neuronal cells in mammalian brains
Lissa Ventura-Antunes, postdoctoral fellow since 2017
- Obtained her PhD in 2016
- Joined the lab as an undergraduate student in 2008
- Publications: Ventura-Antunes et al. (2013) and Ribeiro et al. (2013)
- Current project: Analysis of the relationship between capillary density and neuronal density in mammalian brains
Kleber Neves, PhD candidate at UFRJ since 2014
- Joined the lab as an undergraduate student in 2010
- Publications: Neves et al. (2014)
- Current project: Relationship between numbers of neurons and cognitive abilities in birds
Former lab members
Bruno Mota is an Associate professor at the Institute of Physics at Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, which he joined in 2013 after a postdoctoral fellowship in our lab from 2008-2013. Bruno obtained a Ph.D. in Physics (Centro Brasileiro de Pesquisas Físicas) in 2007, working on topology of the cosmos. Bruno remains a close collaborator and visits us often at Vanderbilt.
- Publications: Herculano-Houzel et al. (2006), Herculano-Houzel et al. (2010), Mota & Herculano-Houzel (2012), Ventura-Antunes et al. (2013), Ribeiro et al. (2013), Mota and Herculano-Houzel (2014), Mota and Herculano-Houzel (2015)
Nina Patzke was a postdoctoral fellow in the lab between 2014-2016. She is now a professor in Japan. She was previously advised by Paul Manger, at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa.
Ayanda Ngwenya was in the lab for a few months while still a PhD candidate at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, supervised by Prof. Paul Manger, studying crocodile brains.
- Publications: Ngwenya et al. (2013), Ngwenya et al. (2016)
Débora Jardim Messeder obtained her MSc in 2016 working on the cellular composition of the brain of carnivorans. She joined the lab as an undergraduate student in 2011.
- Publications: Herculano-Houzel et al. (2015)
Kamilla Avelino de Souza is finishing her MSc working on the cellular composition of the Minke whale brain. She joined the lab as an undergraduate student in 2012.
- Publications: Herculano-Houzel et al. (2014)
Felipe Barros da Cunha obtained an MSc in 2016 working on how the cellular composition of the brains of burrowing moles compares to that of other, surface-dwelling rodents. He joined the lab as an undergraduate student in 2010, and is now a PhD candidate in Andrew Iwaniuk's lab at the University of Lethbridge, Canada.
Felix Ströckens was a postdoctoral fellow in the lab in 2014. Felix got his PhD working with Onur Güntürkün at the Ruhr-Universität-Bochum, Germany, came to the lab for a few months to study the distribution of neurons within the avian telencephalon, and is currently back in Onur's lab as a post-doctoral fellow.
Mariana Gabi obtained a PhD in 2014 for her work on how numbers of neurons in the prefrontal region of the cortex compare across human and non-human species. She joined the lab as an undergraduate student in 2007. Publications: Gabi et al. (2010), Ribeiro et al. (2013), Gabi et al. (2016). Mariana is currently a post-doctoral fellow in Jon Kaas's lab at Vanderbilt University.
Karina Fonseca-Azevedo was awarded an MSc in 2013 for studying trade-offs and trade-ins between the expected metabolic cost of the brain and body of different species. She joined the lab as an undergraduate student in 2008. Studied the metabolic limitations to brain expansion in primates, including humans (Fonseca-Azevedo & Herculano-Houzel (2012), and in other mammals large and small (in preparation). Karina currently lives in the Netherlands, where she is looking for a doctoral position.
Rodrigo Siqueira was awarded an MSc in 2013 for work on the cellular composition of the brains of artiodactyls, as large as primate brains and with cortices even more folded (Kazu et al., 2014). Rodrigo joined the lab in 2010. He currently a PhD student at the University of Reading, UK.
Pedro Ribeiro was awarded an MSc in 2012 for his work examining the distribution of neurons along the human cerebral cortex (Ribeiro et al., 2013) and the scaling of the olfactory bulb (Ribeiro et al., 2014). Pedro is currently a research assistant at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.
Frederico Azevedo (co-supervised with Roberto Lent) was awarded an M.Sc. in 2008 for his work determining the cellular composition of the adult human brain (Azevedo et al., 2009). Frederico is currently a PhD student at the Max-Planck Institute in Tübingen, Germany.
Fabiana Bandeira (co-supervised with Roberto Lent) received a Ph.D. in 2007 for her work examining the postnatal changes in the cellular composition of the rat brain (Bandeira et al., 2009).
Bianca Torres de Mendonça, undergraduate student 2007-2010, is now an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.
Mariana Gabi, PhD candidate since 2010, undergraduate student 2007-2010
Priscilla Morterá, Ph.D. candidate since 2009, undergraduate student 2005-2007
Karina Fonseca, Master's candidate since 2011, undergraduate student 2009-2010
Pedro Ribeiro, Master's candidate since 2009, undergraduate student 2007-2009
Rodrigo Silveira, Master's candidate since 2011
Nilma Pantoja, veterinarian, M.Sc. candidate since 2009
Carolina Masseron, undergraduate student, since 2011
Kleber Junior, undergraduate student, since 2010
Lissa Ventura, undergraduate student, since 2008
Natália Sales, undergraduate student, since 2008