Principal Investigator

Osceola Whitney, Ph.D.

An avid rap connoisseur in my youth, now my lab uses molecular, neuroanatomical, and behavioral techniques to study how and why birds sing. Currently, we are focusing on the cell molecular activity that matures and maintains sensory and motor circuits in zebra finch songbirds for valuable mechanistic insight into how experience shapes the brain.

Biology Masters

Emily Tortora, B.S.

I am thrilled to be part of the Whitney Lab at CCNY. I am interested in auditory information processing in birds and humans. I plan to study veterinary medicine to help bridge the gap between human and animal health. I also enjoy playing piano and spending time with my family, especially my Pit Bull, Prin and Russian Tortoise, Shelley.

Macaulay Honors

Tayba Aziz

Hi! I am a Junior majoring in Biology, minoring in Anthropology, and on the pre-med track. Besides academics, I am the president of CCNY Circle K, a community service organization. Outside of school, my hobbies include dancing, reading, sketching, and listening to K-Pop. 

Reid Vero

I’m excited to be joining the Whitney Lab for the rest of my time as an undergraduate! I’m also involved in Health in Harlem, the Biology Club, and the Division of Science Student Council. Off campus, you can catch me listening to music or brewing up coffee. I hope to do meaningful and impactful research in college and beyond.

Shelly Zou

Hi! I’m a junior majoring in biology and minoring in chemistry and psychology. I also co-founded a community service club called Humanizing and through it I hope to inspire others to give back to their community. My research is about vasotocin regulation in the zebra finch neural circuit for song control.

Undergraduate Volunteers

Ricardo Johnson

I am majoring in psychology on a pre-med track. I believe that my major studies complemented with my biology coursework will help me understand the humanity within us all. Ultimately I want to practice medicine.  On campus, I also serve as a mentor in the UMAAN (Urban Mentoring and Achievement Network)-CUNY BMI (Black Male Initiative) program.  

Joseph Uraga


I aspire to become a cerebrovascular neurosurgeon. My research interest includes speech function following trauma to speech associated areas of the brain. In my spare time, I enjoy street photography and skateboarding. I took the shots of the zebra finch in the lab website banner.

Aminatou Wouliyou, B.S.

Hi! I am a recent CCNY graduate where I majored in Biology and was an Admissions Ambassador. Next, I will obtain a bachelor’s degree in nursing to become an OB/GYN nurse or a nurse midwife. I hope to provide better maternal care to minority women. In my free time, I read and cook.

Former students
  • Marcel Malena, Sayma Akhter, Richie Zhang,
    Viktorija Varentsova, Anisia Peters