Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Gemma Carvill Lab

Lab Members

Meet the Carvill Lab team members. We welcome requests for information about our work and collaboration opportunities.

Principal Investigator

Gemma L.Carvill

Gemma L. Carvill, PhD
gemma.carvill( at )
Assistant Professor of Neurology and Pharmacology
View Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine faculty profile

Dr. Carvill is an Assistant Professor of Neurology and Pharmacology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Dr. Carvill began her adventure in genetics as a graduate student in South Africa. A few brief research stints in Europe during her graduate studies solidified her passion for using cutting-edge genomic techniques to determine the genetic causes of neurodevelopmental disorders, and led her to a postdoctoral position at The University of Washington. In the laboratory of Dr. Heather Mefford, Dr. Carvill used genomics techniques to identify several new genes for the pediatric epilepsies, including CHD2, SYNGAP1 and SLC6A1. With career development awards from the NIH and CURE (Citizens United in Research for Epilepsy), Dr. Carvill developed her independent research program focused on genetic and epigenetic mechanisms underlying epilepsy. At Northwestern, Dr. Carvill will be interfacing with the clinical teams to expand neurogenetics research and to facilitate better genetic diagnoses, identify new causes of epilepsy and study how seizures occur using stem cell models.

Postdoctoral Fellows


Jeffrey Calhoun, PhD
jeffrey.calhoun( at )
Postdoctoral Fellow

Jeff received a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology at the University of Michigan in 2013. His dissertation research in Dr. Lori Isom’s laboratory focused on studying sodium channel beta subunit proteins in neuronal axon outgrowth and in breast cancer cells. As a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Jennifer Kearney’s laboratory, Jeff elucidated Cacna1g as an epilepsy modifier gene in multiple mouse models of epilepsy. He also performed protein expression and trafficking studies on ion channel variants identified in epilepsy patients. This collaborative project with clinical geneticists and electrophysiologists inspired Jeff to pursue epilepsy gene discovery research in Dr. Gemma Carvill’s laboratory. Outside of the laboratory, Jeff enjoys racquetball (when his knees cooperate) and attempting to reproduce recipes from the internet (with occasional success)


Kay-Marie Lamar, PhD
kay-marie.lamar( at )
Postdoctoral Fellow

Kay-Marie graduated with a PhD in Human Genetics from the University of Chicago in 2014. She completed her thesis work in the lab of Dr. Elizabeth McNally, studying the mechanism of a genetic modifier of muscular dystrophy (LTBP4) using both cell culture and mouse models. Kay-Marie then went on to join the team of Dr. Ann Harris at Lurie Children’s Hospital and continued to study genetic modifiers. Her project involved determining the mechanism behind a modifier locus of cystic fibrosis disease severity identified through GWAS. In the Harris lab, Kay-Marie focused on epigenetic methods, and worked to delete potential regulatory elements in lung cancer cell lines using CRISPR/Cas9. Outside of the lab, Kay-Marie enjoys taking advantage of Chicago summers, going to concerts in Millennium park, walking along the lakeshore path, and going to neighborhood festivals. She is also a theater-goer, and frequents the Steppenwolf, Chopin, and Goodman theaters.

Graduate Students


Hannah Happ
HannahHapp2022( at )

Hannah is a graduate student in the DGP. After graduating from Carleton College with a bachelor’s in biology in 2014, she worked for a year in the Semina lab at the Medical College of WI where her love of genetics took hold. In 2015, she ventured to San Francisco for some moderate weather and a position in the Ansel Lab at UCSF. She spent two years studying extracellular RNA in Th2 cell-driven allergy and asthma. She returned to the midwest for graduate school, and after a year of classes and rotations, she is thrilled to join the Carvill lab full time and get back to the world of genetics! She will be investigating the use of cell-free DNA for identifying pathogenic variants in epilepsy, and she loves being involved in the lab’s connection to the clinical world at NM and Lurie Children’s Hospital. When she’s not in lab, Hannah can be found reading, cooking, or biking along the lake.

Undergraduate Students


Kristy Zeng
KristyZeng2021( at )
Undergraduate Researcher

Kristy is an undergraduate student at Northwestern University majoring in biological sciences. She became interested in genetics after taking multiple courses of biology in high school and college. After graduation, she hopes to continue pursuing science and medicine. Outside the lab, she enjoys watching movies, dance, and cooking.

Research Staff


Aishwarya Ramamurthy, MSc
aishwarya.ramamurthy( at )
Research Technologist II

Aishwarya graduated from Purdue School of Science, IUPUI, with an MS degree, where her research work at Kusmeirczyk lab focused on biochemical characterization of putative proteasomal assembly intermediates. She then joined Dr. Steve Kron’s research team at University of Chicago, to investigate DNA repair mechanisms and their significance in cancer metabolism, primarily using CRISPR methods. Aishwarya previously worked in national research institutes in India where her varied research projects spanned from studying genetic mutations associated with Hirschsprung’s disease, to biochemically characterizing human small heat shock proteins (sHsps) and their interactions with copper, to studying in-vitro regeneration responses of mature neem (A. Indica) trees in attempts to analyze their genomes, transcriptomes and metabolomes. Currently, Aishwarya is using stem cell modelling and next generation sequencing approaches to understand the pathogenic mechanisms that underpin pediatric genetic epilepsies.

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