Jason Stein (PI) is an assistant professor in the Department of Genetics and the Neuroscience Center at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. He received a BA from Northwestern University in the Integrated Science Program and the pursued post-baccalaureate work at the intramural program of the National Institute of Mental Health with Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg. He received his PhD in Neuroscience from the University of California, Los Angeles working under Paul Thompson where he worked on discovering the genetic influences on macroscale human brain structure. He also completed post-doctoral training at the University of California, Los Angeles under Dan Geschwind where he developed tools to evaluate how well neural stem cells model brain development.

Angela Elwell is the Lab Manager/Research Specialist for the Stein Lab at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.  She received her BS in biology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Angela has worked in several labs across the UW-Madison campus, which included research in plant physiology, forest mycology, human clinical trials, and veterinary medicine research.  Her most recent position involved being a Senior Research Specialist at the Morgridge Institute for Research where she worked in James Thomson’s Lab to help facilitate next generation sequencing for various stem cell projects relating to regenerative biology.

Dan Liang is a graduate student within the Bioinformatics and Computational Biology program. She earned her B.S. in Biology and Chemistry with honors from Jilin University. She earned her Master's degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Science. She joined the lab in 2016.

Oleh Krupa is a PhD candidate in the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering at UNC - Chapel Hill and NC State. He earned his B.S. in Bioengineering and Masters in Biomedical Engineering at Cornell University. Afterwards he worked for two years at Rockefeller University studying the molecular mechanisms of Parkinson’s disease. Oleh is interested in applying his engineering skills towards expanding in vitro models of cortical development.  

Mike Lafferty joined the lab in 2017 as a graduate student within the Bioinformatics and Computational Biology program. He earned his B.S. in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Biochemistry from the University of Michigan in 2010. After graduation, Mike worked in Dr. Saskia Neher’s lab at UNC Chapel Hill studying mechanisms of lipase inhibition. He also has R&D experience at Research Triangle Park biopharmaceutical companies developing purification strategies for new therapeutics. Mike is interested in the computational challenges associated with large next generation sequencing datasets and ways these data can be used to understand human cortical development.

Leo Zsembik became an undergraduate at UNC Chapel Hill in the fall of 2015. He is currently working on a double major in biology and psychology with a minor in chemistry. He joined the lab in March of 2016 and is interested in understanding how genetic variation influences human brain structure.

Tianyi Liu is an undergraduate student at UNC Chapel Hill majoring in mathematics. He joined the Stein lab in 2017 and is interested in incorporating his mathematical skills into the studies in relevant fields such as biostatistics and bioinformatics. He is working on a project to automatically find and quantify cells in 3D microscopy images.


Zachary Humphrey is an undergraduate student who began studying at UNC Chapel Hill in 2014. He is majoring in Quantitative Biology and Computer Science and is very excited to develop and apply his skills at the Stein Lab. He joined the lab in 2017. He is working on a project to automatically find and quantify cells in 3D microscopy images.

Lindsey Molina is an undergraduate of UNC Chapel Hill's class of 2020. She is majoring in Nutrition and is interested in the field of medicine. She joined the Stein Lab in the spring of 2017 and is looking at how genetic variation influences the morphology of human neurons.

Kerry Cheek joined the Stein Lab as a Research Technician in November 2016. She received her B.S. in Biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has continued to work for the University since graduating. Her previous work was in a pharmacogenetics laboratory performing high-throughput cytotoxicity assays of anti-cancer drugs on lymphoblast cell lines.

A photo album of people and science.


Lab Alums


Shana Hall completed a postdoctoral rotation in the lab in 2016 as part of her T32 training grant from the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities. She is currently working with Dr. Jessica Cohen at the University of North Carolina investigating disruptions in neural networks and in learning in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.


The Stein lab started in January 2016 as part of the Department of Genetics and UNC Neuroscience Center at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine .  We are actively recruiting creative thinkers with strong motivation to pursue genetics research applied to questions in neural development and neuropsychiatric illness. Molecular biologists and geneticists interested in large-scale, well-powered projects as well as statistical and computational thinkers interested in applying their skill sets to molecular biology are both encouraged to join.  If you are a grad student interested in a rotation, please email Jason.  If you are a interested in a postdoc position, please send a CV along with at least 3 references to jason_stein _at _ med.unc.edu.