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The Seth Tomchik Laboratory

Neuroscience of Learning, Memory, and Genetic Disorders

Our research focuses intensively on uncovering the mechanisms of neuronal plasticity and its alterations in genetic disorders such as neurofibromatosis type 1. We strive to develop and maintain an open, collaborative lab environment, continually increasing the creativity and depth of our science, fostering the development and advancement of our lab members. We value diversity and see it as a contribution to our success. Our lab is located at the University of Iowa, Carver College of Medicine, in the Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology and the Iowa Neuroscience Institute, with additional appointment in the Stead Family Department of Pediatrics. If you are interested in joining the team, check out our open positions.


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The Team

Photo of Seth Tomchik in the Scripps atrium

Seth Tomchik

Professor, Neuroscience and Pharmacology, Pediatrics; Associate Director, Iowa Neuroscience Institute

Dr. Tomchik received his bachelor’s degree in psychology and Ph.D. in biology from the University of Miami. His postdoctoral research at the Baylor College of Medicine and The Scripps Research Institute focused on the neuroscience of learning and memory. He started his lab at Scripps Florida in 2012 and moved to the University of Iowa in 2022. His current research focuses on how learning and neuronal plasticity alter the flow of information in the brain, and how these normal processes are disrupted in disease states.

Photo of Aaron Stahl at the Loxahatchee River

Aaron Stahl

Assistant Research Scientist

Dr. Stahl received a bachelor’s/master’s degree in biology from the University of Northern Iowa and a Ph.D. in biology from the University of Cincinnati. His postdoctoral research focuses on the function of neuronal circuits underlying learning and memory.

Valentina Botero photographed in the lab

Valentina Botero


Dr. Botero earned her bachelor’s degree in neuroscience and behavior from Mount Holyoke College and received her Ph.D. in the Skaggs Graduate School of Chemical and Biological Sciences at The Scripps Research Institute. Her postdoctoral research in the Tomchik lab is focused on studying the effects of neurofibromin loss of function on metabolic homeostasis, including feeding and basal metabolic rate.

Connor Broyles photographed in front of Scripps

Connor Broyles


Dr. Broyles earned his D.Phil. in Medical Sciences from the University of Oxford, and his Masters and Bachelors degrees in cellular and molecular biology at Ruprecht-Karls Universität Heidelberg and the University of Arizona, respectfully. For his postdoctoral research, Dr. Broyles is applying his expertise in human iPS modeling of inherited disease to uncover novel molecular and physiological mechanisms underlying neurofibromin loss of function.


Ritu Arya

Graduate Student

Ritu earned her BSc in Genetics from Garden City College and her MPhil from the University of Newcastle, and she has research experience in both academia and industry.  She is a doctoral student in Neuroscience and Pharmacology. Her research interests focus on metabolism and genetic disorders.


Timothy Stelmat


Tim received his Associates in Electronics Systems Technology from the USAF. He is pursuing a B.S. in Electrical Engineering (Computer) and working in the lab to develop hardware and optics for behavioral experiments.


Anthony Lange


Anthony earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Miami and his Ph.D. from University of California Merced. His postdoctoral research in the Tomchik lab is focused on understanding how neuromodulatory circuits influence learning and memory.


Jalen Emel

Undergraduate Intern

Jalen is studying to earn his bachelor's degree in Neuroscience at the University of Iowa. He joined the lab in Spring 2023 and is focusing on the role of Nf1 in modulating neuronal circuit function.



Jenifer Barrios

Undergraduate Intern

Jenifer is studying to earn her bachelor's degree in Health and Human Physiology at the University of Iowa. Her research in the Tomchik lab focuses on the role of Nf1 in modulating neuronal circuit function.


Hannah Brunner

Research Assistant

Hannah earned her bachelor's degree in Chemistry and Biology from Coe College. She joined the lab in May of 2023 and is focusing on the role of Nf1 in metabolic alterations.


Anneke Knauss

Research Associate

Anneke earned her bachelor's degree in Neuroscience from Luther College. She joined the lab in June of 2023 and is researching how Nf1 affects neuronal circuits and behavior.


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