Team Members

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Andrew C. Garcia

After growing up in Los Angeles, I made a small move north to attend San Francisco State University, and then a large move east to continue my studies in the lab of Amy Griffin at the University of Delaware.

Here I am using tiny electrodes (thinner than a strand of hair!) to drop in and listen how neurons in certain brain areas communicate with each other, with a specific emphasis on how oscillatory rhythms in the brain help to orchestrate this cross-talk. More specifically, we aim to decipher the complex neural code used between two brain areas, the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex. These areas have been shown to cooperatively support ‘working memory’ (i.e., the kind of memory used to temporarily hold information in mind, like a phone number just told to you) and are compromised in neuropsychiatric disorders like Schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Outside of the lab, I enjoy the natural outdoors, eating, live music, and playing with my cat (or dogs when I’m visiting my parents back west). 

Patrese Robinson-Drummer

I was born and raised in Philadelphia and attended the University of Delaware as an Animal science major before moving back to Philadelphia for my M.S. in Experimental Psychology at St. Joseph’s University.

I have returned to the University of Delaware to study how learning and memory develops in young animals. It is so interesting to realize that for the first few years of our lives we form so many memories that don’t last! Why is that?? Also, I am interested in the neurobiology of learning and memory and how normal development can be disrupted by perinatal alcohol exposure using a rodent model of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).

In my spare time I like listening to music, watching football with my family (GO EAGLES!) and running races and obstacle courses!


Emilio Valadez

I was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, where I received my bachelor’s degree in Psychology from California State University Northridge (CSUN). While still at CSUN, I became interested in the brain processes related to the regulation of emotion and attention and started my research career as a research assistant in a lab in which the focus was the study of emotional face processing among individuals with schizophrenia spectrum disorders.

Now a Ph.D. student at the University of Delaware, my research still centers on the neural mechanisms related to emotion- and attention-regulation processes, but my work has also expanded to include the psychophysiological study of interpersonal trust, reactions to gambling rewards and losses, and the development of self-regulation in childhood – all using brain measures such as EEG and MRI.

Fun fact: I didn’t realize that my name was “Emilio” until the first grade. Everyone had called me by a nickname!

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Karen Boschen

I am currently a postdoctoral fellow at University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill in the Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies.

My research uses a mouse model of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) that mimics a woman drinking heavily during the first trimester of pregnancy. My project focuses on cellular and molecular mechanisms of brain damage following prenatal alcohol exposure, including dysregulation of primary cilia function in the embryonic neural tube and gene-ethanol interactions that increase susceptibility to alcohol teratogenesis.

When I am not in lab, I enjoy cooking and playing with my cat, Nixie, and dog, Geordi.


Henry Hallock

My research interest is in understanding how experience-dependent plasticity shapes neural circuit function during learning and memory-guided behavior.

I am also interested in how abnormal circuit function contributes to neuropsychiatric diseases and disorders, such as PTSD and schizophrenia. To this end, I employ a wide variety of techniques at the molecular (in situ hybridization, CRISPR/Cas9, mouse genetics), circuit (projection-labeling, optogenetics, DREADDs), systems (in vivo electrophysiology, calcium imaging), and behavioral (fear conditioning, spatial working memory, attentional set shifting) levels.

In my spare time, I enjoy being a husband to Abbey, father to Oscar and Bernadette, growing vegetables, and baking.


Arun Asok

I am a postdoctoral scientist at Columbia University / Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

My research focuses on how select hippocampal and stress-related brain networks interact at the time of trauma to influence future PTSD-like behaviors. Moving a step beyond gross circuit-level interactions, I am also examining how functional prion-like proteins (PrPs) and molecular signaling cascades may consolidate information across these circuits to modulate the long-term storage of traumatic information.

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Alexandra Turano

Hi! I work in a neuroimmunology lab at the University of Delaware.

I’m interested in figuring out how things that we experience in our everyday environment, like bacteria and viruses, or even pollution, impact the immune cells of the brain (microglia). Activation of the brain's immune system during early development can be associated with the development of certain neuropsychiatric disorders, such as ADHD, autism, or even schizophrenia. I also am interested in sex differences in the brain's immune system, mostly because boys are more likely to be diagnosed with early-developing disorders, like ADHD and autism, while girls are more likely to be diagnosed with late-developing disorders, like major depression and anorexia nervosa. 

When I'm not in the lab, I love riding my bike and exploring parks and cities around the world.

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Morgan Sherer

I work in a neuroimmunology lab at the University of Delaware.

The goal of our lab is to learn more about the brain’s immune system, and how changes in the immune system during development can impact various disorders later in life,  such as ADHD or depression. Specifically, I study the effects of Zika virus on fetal brain development, and how it could affect the infant’s behavior later in life.

In my free time I like to read, travel, and spend time outside.

Steve Beighley

Our eyes can only view the world one fixation at a time, yet somehow our visual system still provides us with a continuous experience of the world around us.

To study this puzzle of the mind, my work seeks to understand how our brains interpret 2-D photographs as three-dimensional, real-world locations.  Specifically, I study how perception, memory, and imagination of scenes are each impacted by factors such as the objects in the scene, orientation of the photograph, speed of presentation, and disposition of the participant. 

Fun facts: I love playing music and used to drive the Zamboni at my local hockey rink!


 I'm currently researching the way that connections form in the brain and allow the brain to think about rules and locations.

Working with Dr. Klintsova, we look at the impact of alcohol on the developing brain and how exercise and complex, enriching environments can help the brain develop in spite of the damage caused by alcohol.

I also spend time outside the lab helping conduct and coordinate music ensembles, and can play several instruments!

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Tiffany Doherty

I was born and raised in southeast Idaho where I received my bachelor's degree at Idaho State University. My undergraduate research experiences left me fascinated with the idea that the performance of your central nervous system (i.e. your brain and spinal cord) changes based on the things you experience.

This led me to the University of Delaware, where I currently study the effect of stress on brain function. Specifically, I examine changes in DNA function in the brain following exposure to stress early in development. Since proper brain DNA function is critical for overall brain function, I also investigate how these stress-induced changes might be prevented.

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Trisha Chakraborty

I'm a fifth year Ph.D. candidate at the University of Delaware.

My dissertation focuses on the permeability of oxytocin through the blood brain barrier and the changes in neurobiology that occur when oxytocin enters the brain.

Outside lab, I explore the science of food by cooking all kinds of different foods.

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Rachel Amey

My primary research interests lie in the areas of the self-concept and autobiograpical memory.

I'm interested in exploring the neural activity and regions that accompany these phenomenons and how they can in turn influence behavior and memory. 


Alicia Edsall

I am currently a third year graduate student, working in the Griffin Lab at the University of Delaware. 

My research is focused on understanding the neural correlates of spatial working memory. To that end, I do in vivo electrophysiology and optogenetic manipulations in rodent models to understand how populations of neurons functionally interact during spatial working memory. 

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Megan Warren

My research aims to learn more about how mice communicate information to each other. Specifically, my project is looking at several different autism-models of mice, to see if they communicate differently as autism is a disorder that is diagnosed by changes in social behavior, as well as vocal activity. Thus, if we can figure out what it is different in these mouse models of autism, we might be able to figure out and understand how these changes come about.