Principal investigator

 Patricia Janak, Ph.D

 patricia.janak@jhu.edu | Google Scholar

Patricia received a BA in psychology and biology from Rutgers College and her Ph.D in biological psychology from the University of California, Berkeley. After postdoctoral positions at the Wake Forest School of Medicine and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Patricia joined the Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center at the University of California, San Francisco, as an Assistant Professor in 1999. She was appointed as Associate Professor in 2006, and named the Howard J. Weinberger Endowed Chair in Addiction Research at UCSF in 2011. In 2014, Patricia joined the faculty of Johns Hopkins University where she is a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor with joint appointments in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, and in the Solomon H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience in the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.


Postdoctoral Fellows

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Yifeng Cheng, PH.d

ycheng62@jhu.edu | ResearchGate | Google Scholar

Yifeng received his BS in biological sciences from Hubei University in Wuhan, China. He then completed his Ph.D at Texas A&M University Health Science Center under the supervision of Dr. Jun Wang. During his Ph.D, he mainly focused on investigating the casuality between alcohol-induced corticostriatal plasticity and alcohol-seeking and drinking behavior. He joined the Janak Lab as a postdoc in February of 2019 and is now investigating the corticostriatal circuit mechanisms underlying economic decision-making using in vivo electrophysiology, fiber photometry, neuronal tracing, and optogenetics. When not in the lab, he enjoys photography, watching TV, hiking, and gaming.

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Céline Drieu, Ph.D

cdrieu1@jhu.edu

Céline received her PhD in Neuroscience from the University Pierre and Marie Curie, Paris, France. She performed her PhD work in the lab of Dr. Michaël Zugaro at the Collège de France, where she studied hippocampal cell assembly sequences in memory formation and consolidation in freely behaving rats. She joined the Janak lab in September 2019 for a postdoc to study cortical and subcortical computations underlying context-dependent learning. Out of the lab, she likes to play tennis, hike and climb, discover good places to eat, and travel.

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Eric Garr, Ph.D

egarr1@jhu.edu | Google Scholar

Eric is from Walpole, Massachusetts. He received a BA in psychology from Adelphi University, with a minor in philosophy. During his undergraduate training he worked in the lab of Dr. Paul Glimcher at NYU studying choice behavior in monkeys undergoing electrical stimulation in the midbrain. He then completed his PhD with Dr. Andrew Delamater at the City University of New York, where he conducted research on basal ganglia contributions to the learning and goal-directed control of action sequences in rats. Eric joined the Janak Lab in September 2019 and is interested in the neural mechanisms underlying instrumental learning - specifically, how action-outcome contingency learning is supported by corticostriatal interactions. Outside the lab, Eric enjoys playing, listening to, and reading about music, and well as sampling pizza from everywhere he travels.

Robin Magnard, Ph.D

robin.magnard@jhu.edu

Robin received his BS in Neurobiology and Neurosciences in 2014, in Grenoble France. He then completed his PhD with honors at the Grenoble Institute of Neurosciences in the lab of Dr. Sebastien Carnicella in February 2019. During his PhD he conducted research on the neurobiological mechanisms responsible for impulsivity as a core symptom of behavioral addiction caused by dopaminergic therapy in Parkinson’s disease. Also interested in drug addiction, Robin joined the Janak Lab as a postdoc in June 2019. He is currently investigating the role played by the lateral habenula on mesocorticolimbic circuits expected to drive negative affect during cocaine withdrawal and trigger relapse. When not in the lab Robin likes to workout, read, and travel.

Youna vandaele, ph.d

yvandae1@jhu.edu | ResearchGate

Youna received her BS in cellular biology and physiology from the University of Lille in France. She then completed her Ph.D in Bordeaux, France under the supervision of Dr. Serge Ahmed. During her Ph.D, her main objective was identifying psychological and behavioral determinants of choice between drugs of abuse, specifically cocaine and heroin, and sweet water. She joined the Janak Lab as a postdoc in February of 2015 and is now investigating the neural circuits underlying goal-directed and habitual decision making using optogenetics and in vivo electrophysiology. In her spare time she enjoys eating good food, drinking good wine and beer, hiking, and climbing.


graduate students

 
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Emma Chaloux-Pinette

echalou3@jhmi.edu 

Emma is from Scarborough, Maine. She received a BS in biology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2016. While at MIT, she worked with Dr. Hazel Sive to study the genetics of neurodevelopmental disorders using zebrafish as a model system. She began her MD/PhD at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 2016. After completing the first two years of medical school, she began her PhD studies in the Solomon H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience and joined the Janak Lab in the fall of 2018. She is interested in the neural circuits underlying negative reinforcement, especially as it relates to opiate addiction. When not in lab she’s usually exploring the excellent Baltimore food scene, baking up treats for the lab, or reading.

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Kurt fraser

kfraser3@jhu.edu | Google Scholar | Twitter | Personal Website

Kurt is originally from Richmond, Michigan, a small farmtown with a bowling alley in the middle of a cornfield. He received a BS from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor in 2015 with high honors in neuroscience. While at Michigan he worked with Dr. Shelly Flagel and studied systems mediating the attribution of incentive salience to reward-paired cues, particularly on the role of dopamine. He worked on a wide array of projects and helped with initial work establishing the paraventricular nucleus of the thalamus as a key region gating the attribution of incentive salience to cues. He joined the Janak Lab in the fall of 2015 as a biopsychology graduate student and is interested in the neural circuits underlying motivation. He is currently investigating the ability of cues or contexts to resolve ambiguity about the immediate motivational significance of reward-paired cues. If you find Kurt not thinking about science he is likely enjoying craft beer, brewing his own beer, or watching Bravo.

 

Tabitha Kim

tkim87@jhu.edu

Tabitha is from La Habra Heights, California. She received a BA from Cornell University in psychology, with a minor in neuroscience. While at Cornell, she worked with Dr. Michael Goldstein to study the role of social interactions in birdsong learning and wrote an honors thesis on the developmental effects of arginine vasotocin on song learning in zebra finches. Afterwards, she spent a year working with Dr. Rachel Smith at Texas A&M University studying the neurobiological mechanisms underlying cue-induced drug seeking and modeling habitual and compulsive drug seeking. She joined the Janak Lab in the fall of 2016 and is interested in the neural circuitry involved in reward, particularly the association between cues and rewards. When not in the lab, she is usually exploring places to eat, watching TV, or running.

 

David ottenheimer

dottenh2@jhmi.edu | Google Scholar

David is from Arlington, Massachusetts. He graduated from Yale University in 2014 with a BS in psychology, with a focus in neuroscience. Afterwards, he spent a year working in the laboratory of Dr. Ralph DiLeone at the Yale School of Medicine studying the neural circuitry underlying feeding behavior. His projects included packaging novel AAVs, breeding new strains of transgenic mice, and developing an optogenetics-based model of anorexia. He started pursuing his PhD in the Solomon H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in fall 2015 and joined the Janak Lab in summer 2016. He is interested in comparing the neural ensembles that encode different reward modalities. If he's not in lab, David is likely singing, running, or mentoring students across Baltimore.


lab technicians

Chan Park

cpark51@jhu.edu

Chan is originally from South Korea and grew up in Cupertino, California. He graduated from Trinity University, TX with a BS in Biology. While at Trinity University he worked in a Practical Internship for a year and learned about general vivarium systems and how to work with various lab animals. He joined the lab in May 2018. Outside of lab Chan enjoys singing classical songs, watching movies, and exercising.


Undergraduate researchers

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Jae Choi

Class of 2021

Major: Neuroscience

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Myron Houngbedji

Class of 2020

Major: Neuroscience

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Fiona Pat

Class of 2020

Majors: Neuroscience; Medicine, Science & the Humanities


lab alumni

Staff scientistS

2000-2014 T. Mike Gill, Ph.D.

Current Position: Staff Scientist/Director of Neurobehavioral Core, Gladstone Institutes, UCSF, San Francisco, CA

2014-2017 M. Flavia Barbano, Ph.D.

Current Position: Staff Scientist, NIDA, Baltimore, MD

Graduate Students

1998-1999 Ming-Teh Chen, M.D, Ph.D., National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, Maryland

Current Position: Professor, National Yang Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan

2001-2008 Steven Shabel, Ph.D., UCSF Neuroscience Graduate Program

Current Position: Assistant Professor, Departments of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, University of Texas Southwestern, Dallas, TX

2001-2007 Cory Blaiss, Ph.D., UCSF Neuroscience Graduate Program

Current Position: Analyst, Clinical and Scientific Assessment, Kantar Health, Foster City, CA

2002-2007 Marian Logrip, Ph.D., UCSF Neuroscience Graduate Program

Current Position: Assistant Professor, Psychology Department, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Indiana

2003-2008 Bhavana Vishnubhotla Ph.D., UCSF Neuroscience Graduate Program

Current Position: Glen Eden Multimodal Centre, Vancouver, BC, Canada

2005-2008 Kay Tye Ph.D., UCSF Neuroscience Graduate Program

Current Position: Professor, Salk Institute, San Diego, CA

2007-2013 Elizabeth Steinberg Ph.D., UCSF Neuroscience Graduate Program

Current Position: Postdoctoral Fellow in the laboratory of Rob Malenka

2010-2013 Sarah Fischbach Ph.D., UCSF Neuroscience Graduate Program

Current Position: Data Systems Analyst, KIPP Foundation, Oakland, CA

2010-2015 Kate Vitale Ph.D., UCSF Neuroscience Graduate Program

Current Position: Scientist, Circuit Therapeutics, Palo Alto, CA

2010-2014 F. Alexandra Loucks Ph.D., UCSF Neuroscience Graduate Program

Current Position: Development Office, Omniox, San Carlos, CA

2012-2013 Josiah Boivin, UCSF Neuroscience Graduate Program

Current Position: Postdoctoral Fellow, Nedivi Lab, MIT, MA

PostDoctoral fellows

2000-2003 Hong Nie Ph.D.

Current Position: Statistical Analyst, Abbott Vascular, Santa Clara, CA

2001-2002 Isabella Zironi Ph.D.

Current Position: Researcher, University of Bologna, Italy

2001-2003 Maria Pia Arolfo Ph.D.

2002-2004 Graham Cousens Ph.D.

Current Position: Associate Professor of Psychology, Drew University, Madison, NJ

2004-2008 Terry Kremin Ph.D.

2005-2009 Laura Corbit Ph.D.

Current Position: Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada

2005-2009 Nadia Chaudhri Ph.D.

Current Position: Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Concordia University, Montreal, QC, Canada

2006-2010 Irene Merzlyak Ph.D.

Current Position: Data Analyst, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA

2009-2012 Susan Sangha Ph.D.

Current Position: Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

2011-2014 Zack Chadick Ph.D.

2011-2013 Virginia Long Ph.D.

Current Position: Predictive Analytics Scientist, MedeAnalytics, Emeryville, CA

2012-2016 E. Zayra Millan Ph.D.

Current Position: Postdoctoral Fellow, University of New South Wales, Australia

2013-2018 Benjamin Saunders Ph.D.

Current Position: Assistant Professor, Department of Neuroscience, University of Minnesota, MN

2015-2018 Jocelyn Richard Ph.D.

 Current Position: Assistant Professor, Department of Neuroscience, University of Minnesota, MN

2008-2018 Ronald Keiflin Ph.D.

 Current Position: Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, University of California Santa Barbara, CA