Current Lab Group

Graham Diering
Primary Investigator

Dr. Diering is the PI of the Diering Lab. He studies the molecular mechanisms of synaptic plasticity, with a particular interest in sleep. Using mouse models of human disease as well as primary cultured neurons, Dr. Diering applies his work to understanding and treating neurodevelopment disorders including Autism and intellectual disability. He broadly studies biochemistry, pharmacology, animal behavior and genetics.

Sawyer Grizzard
Lab Manager


Sawyer graduated from UNC in 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Along with his lab manager duties, his research focuses on the relationship between sleep quality and viral uptake. Outside of research, he enjoys playing guitar, spending time outside, and watching UNC sports with friends.

Julia Sparks Lord
Research Specialist

Julia is in charge of our mouse colonies and behavioral assays. She is currently concentrating on profiling mouse sleep/wake behaviors through parameters such as sleep time and bout length.

Shenée Martin
Graduate Student

photo of Shenee

Shenée is a third-year graduate student in the UNC Neuroscience Department. Her research focuses on sleep disruptions in neurodegenerative disorders, particularly Alzheimer’s Disease.

Sean Gay
Graduate Student

Sean is a fifth-year graduate student in the Neuroscience Curriculum. He is investigating how sleep loss influences brain biochemistry and behavior during development. He is also interested in how sleep loss early in life may contribute to the progression and onset of neuropsychiatric developmental disorders such as schizophrenia and Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Michael Ye
Graduate Student

Michael graduated from UNC in 2019 as part of the university’s first cohort of neuroscience majors. His work consists of biochemical assays analyzing endocannabinoid expression in relation to synaptic scaling.

Liza Chartampila
Graduate Student

Liza is a second-year PhD student in the Neuroscience program. Before beginning her doctoral studies at UNC, Liza completed her B.S. in neuroscience at Washington and Lee University. Outside of research, she enjoys painting, hiking, listening to podcasts, and playing volleyball.

Kylie Joyce
Undergraduate Researcher

Tekla Maisashvili
Undergraduate Researcher

Lab Alumni

Bradley Allf

Bradley Allf Headshot

Now a graduate student in the NC Museum of Natural Sciences Biodiversity Research Lab/NC State University.

Maria F. Gonzalez-Aponte
PREP Student

Now a graduate student at Washington University in St. Louis.

Sarah Monroe

Sarah Monroe Headshot

Now a graduate student at Duke University.

Lisa Sharek
Lab Manager

Lisa Sharek Headshot

Now a researcher at the University of Hawaii.

Kirsten Smith
Undergraduate Researcher

Now a graduate student at Duke University.

Diane Youngstrom
Undergraduate Researcher

 Now a post-bacc at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.