graduate students, Postdoctoral Fellows & research scientists

Training is an important component of our program, with trainees obtaining hands-on experience while conducting research projects.  Our approach is multidisciplinary with projects involving diverse expertise including clinical evaluation, genetics, genomics/gene expression, gene therapy, molecular biology,  pathology, physiology, neurobiology, imaging, and metabolomics/metabolism. We are generating large, complex datasets that require data science/biostatistics and innovative computational analyses. This provides a fertile training environment with laboratory members progressing to top graduate and medical programs. 

We are always interested in considering dedicated, high-caliber candidates at various career stages. After completing their training, almost all of our postdoctoral trainees have obtained faculty positions, with others obtaining appropriate high-level scientific positions of their choice.

Postdoctoral Research Scientist

Nicholas Tolman, Ph.D.

I am a Postdoctoral Research Scientist in the John Lab. I first joined the lab as a Research Assistant, progressed to graduate student, and have recently earned my PhD in Mammalian Genetics from Tufts University. I have experience in behavioral assays, ocular physiology, and genetics. I have worked on a variety of related projects including metabolism, complex genetics, developmental biology, and transcriptomics. I have gained a broad skill set and have become an expert in ocular outflow physiology and intraocular pressure. I am also exposed to grant writing, lab management decisions, and strategic planning. This diverse training, along with Dr. John's mentorship and the lab's environment are putting me in a strong position for my future career as a PI. NCBI Publications Link 

Associate Research Scientists

Christa Montgomery, Ph.D

I have been a Research Scientist and Lab Manager in the Simon John Lab since January of 2019.  I earned my interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry with a co-discipline Cell Biology and Biophysics from the University of Missouri at Kansas City in 2011.  I have experience with protein biochemistry and metabolism, transformed and primary cell culture and assays, and have studied mouse and rat models of autoimmune optic neuritis, metabolic syndrome/diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and glaucoma. I keep many things going and organized as well as conduct research that is currently focused on nanoCT imaging of eyes and the development of techniques for our lab. NCBI Publications Link  

Chi Zhang, Ph.D

I have been an Associate Research Scientist in the John Lab since February of 2019.  I earned my Ph.D. in Developmental Biology from Fudan University in 2012, where I used different mouse models to investigate heart, kidney, and retinal diseases. Since joining the John Lab, my focus has been on developing inducible glaucoma mouse models as well as molecular mechanisms of neural damage in glaucoma.  I am currently working on neurobiological aspects of glaucoma. I run various projects related to neurodegeneration including vascular influences. I am testing a broad range of mechanisms including axon degeneration pathways and will be testing metabolism-supporting treatments. I have developed an inducible model of glaucoma in the lab. I am active in single-cell-level characterization of the retina and collaborate with Qing Wang in our lab.  NCBI Publications Link

Marina Simón, Ph.D.

I joined the lab in January of 2023 after obtaining my Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Copenhagen (Denmark). I am experienced in several molecular imaging techniques for treatment evaluation, such as PET/CT and MRI, and in molecular biology methods. In the John Lab, I am working on different projects related to ocular development, neurodegeneration, and metabolism-supporting treatments for glaucoma. I also get the chance to develop my grantsmanship, project management, and scientific communication skills daily. I really enjoy my scientific discussions with other lab members and experiencing everything Columbia and NYC have to offer. NCBI Publications Link

➡️Former Postdoctoral Scientists and Visiting Investigators

Read about their experience and where they went after leaving the John Lab.