Kenney Lab

Welcome to the Kenney Lab!

We study the neural and molecular basis of individual differences in behavior and brain function.

We're located in the heart of Detroit, MI at the Department of Biological Sciences at Wayne State University.

We are currently looking to hire a post-doc.

Recent Lab News


We welcome two new undergraduates to the lab: Dea Kanani and Adina Kanan! Dea will be working on individual differences in behavior with Dr. Barbara Fontana and Adina will be helping to make sure our fish are happy and healthy. Welcome both!


Ever wonder if fish have personalities? Well, turns out they do! Check out our paper posted to BioRxiv for the deets! This work was lead by graduate student Neha Rajput with an assist from a precocious high schooler, Kush Parikh.


We welcome to Barbara Fontana who is joining us as a post-doc with extensive experience in zebrafish behavior! She comes to us from Brazil by way of a masters working with Denis Rosemberg at Universidad Federal de Santa Maria in Brazil, and a recently completed PhD with Matthew Parker at the University of Portsmouth. We're excited for her to join the lab, and give her a hearty welcome to the US, Michigan, and Wayne State!


The new year sees us say goodbye to two undergrads (farewell Saba and Kris! We'll do a proper farewell once Omicron subsides), and hello to another. Matheu didn't get enough of neuroscience after BIO4690 (cellular/molecular neurobiology), and has joined the lab to get his neuroscience fix. Welcome!


We've expanded our zebrafish facility thanks to our recently awarded R35 NIH grant!

Thanks to Eric and Tom from Aquarius Fish Systems and Aquatic Enterprises for the great install...Hope to see them both again whenever in person conferences resume!


AZBA (adult zebrafish brain atlas) is officially published! This 5+ year long project began in Paul Frankland's lab with Patrick Steadman, and was finished with the help of Thomas Mueller at Kansas State University and several amazing Wayne State Undergraduates! Explore it at!


We give a hearty welcome to the newest member of the lab: "Nessy". Watch out, she likes to party all night long!


AZBA (adult zebrafish brain atlas) is on the web (! Check it out! This sweet website was put together by Kris Covert, one of the stellar undergraduates in the lab. Well done Kris!


Alexa joins the lab! She is an undergraduate studying neuroscience and the former captain of her high school swim team, so watch out if she challenges you to a swim duel!


The lab has been awarded an R35 ESI MIRA award from NIGMS to support our research for the next five years! Check out the nice write-up put together for the departmental webpage.


Kris Covert, undergraduate web developer extraordinaire, joins us from the computer science department. He has been toiling away at getting AZBA (adult zebrafish brain atlas) up online! He has also been interning at Little Caesar's. Make sure to hit up Kris for some discounts on your next order of "pizza pizza"!


We give a hearty welcome to Kush Parikh! He is a precocious high school student going into his sophomore year (that wasn't a typo!) that has taken on a remote coding project over the summer and will continue working with us throughout the school year. Think he'll get carded when we hit the pub? No matter...welcome!


We welcome Kailyn Fields to the lab! She comes to us as an undergraduate in the Physics department. She began in the lab over the summer as part of the Richard Barber Interdisciplinary Research Program and will be continuing her work in the lab as part of her recently awarded MARC scholarship! Oh yea, and I think she also wins the award for brightest hair in the lab!


Jake Hudock (pronounced who? doc!) joins the lab as a research assistant. He had so much fun in BIO4690 (cellular and molecular neurobiology) that he stuck it out volunteering remotely through the first part of the year. Now he'll be diving right into working with the fish!


Congrats to previous graduate student, Muntasir Rahman, for landing a job as a research associate at Bial Biotech! He'll be working on developing treatments for Parkinson's Disease!


Several exciting developments for some of our undergraduates:

  • Congrats to Saba for winning UROP (undergraduate research project) funding!

  • Welcome and congrats to Kailyn Fields and Surbhi Noele for being selected as undergraduates for our recently awarded Richard Barber Interdisciplinary Research grant over the summer. This is an exciting collaboration with Susie Brummelte's lab in Psychology!


Our paper describing the creation of AZBA (adult zebrafish brain atlas) was recently posted to bioRxiv. This comes on the 25th anniversary of Mario Wullimann and colleagues publishing the first atlas for adult zebrafish in book form!

AZBA was started in the Frankland Lab with Patrick Steadman and continued in the Kenney Lab with Maris Polanco and some of our amazing undergraduates: Meng Ting Shi, Olivia Young, and Saba Dubaishi! We also teamed up with a world expert in zebrafish neuroanatomy, Thomas Mueller, from Kansas State University.

Don't forget to turn on the sound when listening to the video! :-)



Congratulations to Muntasir for successfully defending his MS thesis! He is the first MS student to graduate from the lab! Well done!


Congratulations to Olivia! She recently accepted an offer from the University of North Texas Health Science Center to join their PhD program in Biomedical Sciences this upcoming Fall!

We're going to miss your chameleon hair!