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Dr. Debajit Saha

Primary Investigator

I am an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering. I joined MSU in 2019 Fall after pursuing my doctoral and postdoctoral training at Washington University in St. Louis. Previously, I received my master’s degree from Indian Institute of Technology Bombay and bachelor’s degree in Physics from Jadavpur University, India.

My work encompasses systems neuroscience and neural engineering. My previous works on identifying neural rules of learning and decision making in olfactory sensory system have been published in several high-impact journals (Saha et al. Nature Neuroscience 2013, Nature Communications 2015, 2017). I am also working on developing Insect Brain-Based chemical sensors for medical, environmental and public safety applications.

Elyssa Cox, MS

Lab Manager

I received my B.S. in Biology from New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and my M.S. in Biology from Eastern New Mexico University where I focused primarily on forensic science. A few projects I have worked on include the identification of mutations in evolved LAR1 E.coli and knockout of mutated genes, the identification of microorganisms found in groundwater from African wells, the determination of the life-cycle of Dermestes maculatus, and the utilization of extracellular vesicles in targeting cancer cells in vivo. I love walking my dogs and visiting new places around Michigan.  

Xander Farnum

PhD Student

I received my bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Maryland at College Park in 2015. Following graduation, I was a research coordinator in the Center for Genetic Muscle Disorders at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. We worked with young boys who have been diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a rare disorder characterized by rapid muscular degeneration, to test the safety and efficacy of novel therapeutics. I joined Dr. Saha’s lab in 2019 where my research will primarily focus on developing sensor technologies for the early diagnosis of cancer and related diseases. In my spare time, I enjoy playing sports and watching documentaries.

Michael Parnas

PhD Student

I received my bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Connecticut in 2020. As an undergraduate, I researched healing aids for the intestinal lumen by characterizing the material properties of silk/mucin solutions, and I assisted in the development of an in vitro model for traumatic brain injuries using rat neurons seeded on a silk/collagen scaffold. I joined Dr. Saha’s lab in Fall of 2020 to investigate the use of ex vivo locust brains to detect cancer biomarkers, as well as to study honeybee social neurobehavior. I enjoy playing Ultimate Frisbee and reading science fiction.

Simon Sanchez

PhD Student

I received my bachelor’s degree in Biophysics from St. Mary’s University (San Antonio, TX) in 2020. As an undergraduate, I researched the neuronal basis of aggression using a fruit fly model and I also investigated the use volatile compounds to repel insect pests and disrupt their olfaction-driven behavior. I joined Dr. Saha’s lab in the fall of 2021 where my research will focus on developing a biological sensor technology for the detection of diseases such as ulcerative colitis and cancer using a locust and honeybee model. I love spending time with my dog, Loki, and watching movies.


Previous Lab Members

Noël Lefevre, Undergraduate Research Assistant, Spring 2022

Sydney Miller, Undergraduate Research Assistant, Spring 2022

Nyimasata Danjo, Undergraduate Research Assistant, Spring 2020

Hannah Schecklman, Undergraduate Research Assistant, Spring 2020