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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. Dr. Tomchik has additional appointments in the Stead Family Department of Pediatrics and the FOE Diabetes Research Center. 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

Roy J. Carver Professor of Neuroscience and Pharmacology

Associate Director for Education, Iowa Neuroscience Institute

Dept of Neuroscience and Pharmacology

Stead Family Department of Pediatrics

FOE Diabetes Research Center


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

Postdoctoral Research Associate

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.


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.


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.


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.



Jenifer Barrios

Undergraduate Intern

Jenifer is completing 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.


Erin Flugstad

Undergraduate Intern

Erin is earning her bachelor's degree in Health Sciences, with a minor in Art, at the University of Iowa. Her research focuses on the role of Nf1 in neuronal circuits mediating motor behaviors and metabolic aspects of NF1.


Nabil Othman

MSTP SUMR student

Nabil is earning his bachelor's degree in Biomedical Engineering from Marquette. He joined the lab as part of the MSTP SUMR program and is studying the role of dopaminergic circuits in learning and memory.


Catherine Steele

Research Assistant

Catherine earned her B.S. in Genetics at Iowa State University. She joined the lab in the Spring of 2024, and is focusing on the role of several genes in regulating metabolism and behavior.

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 Ethan Rosendahl

Undergraduate Intern

Coming soon


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