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Marie Bechler, PI

Dr. Marie Bechler joined the Dept. of Cell and Developmental Biology at SUNY Upstate Medical University as an Assistant Professor in Dec. 2019.


Marie received her B.S. in Biochemistry in 2003 from The University of Wisconsin - Madison. As a graduate student she worked with Dr. William J. Brown, focusing on fundamental questions of cellular organization by examining mechanisms of intracellular trafficking. She earned her Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Molecular and Cell Biology from Cornell University in 2011. Her interest in cellular shape and organization continued in her postdoc with Dr. Charles ffrench-Constant at the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine, University of Edinburgh. 


During her postdoc, Marie made the surprising discovery that oligodendrocytes only require physical cues to create myelin sheaths with equivalent architecture to myelin sheaths in vivo, challenging the predominant view that myelin sheath formation is solely initiated by biochemical cues. This established a role for oligodendrocytes in self-control of myelin sheath formation. The goal of her lab is to define the mechanosensitive and developmentally programmed signals that allow oligodendrocytes generate myelin sheaths reflecting their in vivo origin. The overarching aim is to gain insight into nervous system function and inform strategies to treat neurodevelopmental disorders and neurodegenerative diseases.

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Current Members

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Amanda Young


PhD Candidate

Amanda is a graduate student in the Cell and Developmental biology PhD program.  Prior to joining the graduate program here at Upstate, she earned her BS from SUNY Geneseo in 2019.

As part of the team, her interests are in the mechanisms that locally control CNS myelin sheath growth.


Ana Candia Flores


Ana joined our team in June 2022 and is  part of the SUNY Upstate PREP-Up program. Prior to joining our research team in 2022, she completed her BS from SUNY Farmingdale. She is excited to dive in to  

myelin research and examine signaling within nascent myelin sheaths that promote their elongation in response to axon diameter.

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Ryan Lewis


Research Assistant

BSc in Chemistry. Syracuse University; PhD in Biochemistry, Molecular & Cell Biology. Cornell University

Ryan’s research interests have always focused on

various ways neuronal communication is regulated in the central nervous system (CNS). His doctoral research at Cornell University examined small molecule modulation of ligand-gated ion channel kinetics, with a focus on the synthesis and identification of novel GABAA receptor modulators. His first postdoctoral research position at the University of Edinburgh examined how neuronal voltage-gated channel activity, particularly potassium channels, are altered by the AMP kinase pathway in response to cellular energy levels. Ryan is now excited to investigate the formation, regulation and dynamics of myelin size and shape. He looks forward to contributing his biophysical and neuroscience background to help advance our understanding of the newly emerging role myelin size and shape likely plays in regulating neuronal circuit synchronization and timing throughout the CNS.


Emily VanDeValk


Emily joins our research team for the summer of 2022 and is part of the SUNY Upstate SURF program. She joins us from SUNY Cobleskill, where she has completed her Histotechnology degree

and is currently training in the Biotechnology program. Emily's summer project closely ties to Amanda's ongoing research. After graduation, Emily hopes to pursue a career in healthcare or research and is passionate about helping others. Outside of lab, Emily enjoys reading, hiking with her dog, and spending time with family.

Lab Photos

'fierce' lab mini-golf competition

food truck tasting night

cider, pumpkin funnel cakes, and corn mazes!

October is here... time to hit the pumpkin patch!

Cheers to qual exam success, Amanda!

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