Hyejung Won, PhD

I am an Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in the Department of Genetics and the Neuroscience Center. I completed my Ph.D. in Dr. Eunjoon Kim's lab at KAIST, where I investigated the underlying mechanism of neurodevelopmental disorders using genetically modified mouse models. I then did my postdoctoral studies at UCLA in Dr. Dan Geschwind's lab, where I performed genome-wide analyses of chromosome conformation in human brain. 

Postdoctoral Researcher

Won Ma, PhD

I got my Ph.D. in the lab of Dr. Eunjoon Kim at KAIST. During my PhD, I studied molecular mechanisms underlying neurodevelopmental disorders, ADHD and ASD, by generating and characterizing genetically modified animal models. After I completed my PhD, I became an Assistant Professor at the Dentistry Department of Kyungpook National University. There, I studied synaptic structures in the trigeminal nerve using an electron microscope based technique.

I joined the Won lab as I wanted to expand my horizon by tackling important questions in Neurogenetics. 

Nana Matoba, PhD

I earned my B.S. from Kyushu Institute of Technology (Dept. Biochemical Science and Engineering). After five years of experience as a system administrator/software engineer at Mitsubishi Space Software Co., Ltd, I earned M.S. in Medical Science from Saitama Medical University. I completed PhD in Medical Sciences from the University of Tokyo under Dr. Tadafumi Kato, where I studied genetics of bipolar disorder through whole exome sequencing of trio families. Then, I studied GWASs of lifestyle related phenotypes in BioBank Japan Project at the Lab for Statistical Analysis, RIKEN under Dr. Yoichiro Kamatani. I will be jointly advised by Dr. Jason Stein at UNC. I am interested in studying the genetic components of human behaviors. 

Benxia Hu, PhD

I obtained my Ph.D. from Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (KIZ, CAS) and University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (UCAS). During my Ph.D. training, I studied epigenetic and transcriptomic changes in the host system in reaction to virus infection. I used multi-omic approaches that include analyses of ChIP-seq, ATAC-seq, and RNA-seq data, and conducted functional experiments to experimentally validate my findings. In the Won lab, I plan to work on the epigenetic mechanisms underlying brain disorders using bioinformatics and deep learning approaches.

Yanqiong Zhang, PhD

I got my M.S. in Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences in China. Then I came to US to continue my Ph.D. studies at East Carolina University, NC. During my PhD, I explored the toxicological effects of environmental chemicals on reproductive systems of C. elegans. After I completed my PhD in 2016, I joined Dr. Pengda Liu's lab at Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, UNC as a postdoc to study the molecular mechanisms underlying aberrant cell signaling events that contribute to cancer. I joined the Won lab to become an interdisciplinary expert and serve our scientific community better. I love reading, traveling and making friends in my spare time. 

Graduate Student

Nancy Sey

I am a graduate student in the Neuroscience Curriculum at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. I obtained my B.S. in Psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond Va. My undergraduate research focused on understanding the effects of racial discrimination on health of African Americans. With an interest in furthering my scientific training, I joined UNC’s Postbaccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) and studied the effects of adolescent alcohol use on behavior flexibility. I plan to further my interest in substance use studies in the Won Lab by investigating the comorbidity between neuropsychiatric disorders and substance use. I enjoy participating in science outreach programs outside of the lab.

Lab Manager

Jessica McAfee

I joined in late 2018 as the Lab Manager and Research Technician for the Stein lab and Won lab. I earned my B.S. in Biology at UNC Chapel hill. My undergraduate research focused on using CRISPR/Cas9 on Arabidopsis thaliana. I went on to work at a lab at NC State, and then lived in Japan for a year. I hope to help find the genetic basis of mental illnesses through various molecular biology techniques.

Post Baccalaureate Researcher 

Zipporiah Bush

I graduated from NC State in Fall 2019 with a B.S. in Biology and a B.A. in Japanese Language and Literatures. My research background is based in biochemistry, specifically with (A) protein crystallography of thermophilic enzymes and (B) investigation of autism spectrum disorder via immunoblotting techniques. However, my current interests lie in neuropsychiatric illness, especially mood disorders. To further my studies in this field, I joined the Won lab as a UNC Postbac Research Education Program (PREP) Scholar where I plan to investigate genetic risk factors for psychiatric disorders. In my spare time I enjoy studying Japanese, trying new foods and watching films.

Undergraduate Researcher

Alice Yu

I am currently an undergraduate student at UNC Chapel Hill and is originally from Cary, North Carolina. I am pursuing a BSPH degree in Biostatistics and a BA in Computer Science. Aside from research, I am also a member of the Carolina Analytics and Data Science club as well as in GlobeMed.

Huaigu Sun

I am a senior undergraduate student at UNC Chapel Hill. I am seeking a B.S. degree in Biochemistry and academic minors in Biology and German. I hope to become a research technician and have an interest in the genetic basis of human traits and diseases.

David Peery

I am a rising junior at UNC Chapel Hill, majoring in Computer Science and Statistics with a minor in Biology.  My research focuses on using quantitative genetic tools to better understand the genetic basis for a variety of neurological disorders.  After graduation, I hope to pursue a PhD in computational biology.


Department of Genetics & Neuroscience Center