Dr. Shelly Flagel// Principal Investigator

Dr. Shelly B. Flagel was born and raised in Middletown, Ohio, came to Ann Arbor to attend the University of Michigan as an undergraduate, and never left. Dr. Flagel became involved in research through the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program conducted an undergraduate thesis project under the mentorship of Dr. Israel Liberzon, and graduated with High Honors in Psychology as a Natural Science. She then matriculated into the Neuroscience Graduate Program and conducted her graduate thesis work under the mentorship of Drs. Delia Vazquez and Terry Robinson. Her thesis project examined the effects of early life stress on drug-taking behavior in adulthood. After obtaining her PhD, Dr. Flagel joined the laboratory of Dr. Huda Akil and conducted her postdoctoral training at the Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Institute at the University of Michigan. Dr. Flagel "opened" her lab in the Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Institute at the University of Michigan in 2011 and is now an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry. In addition to "doing science", Dr. Flagel enjoys being the mom of two young boys, the outdoors, exercising and travelling.

Senior Scientists

Stephen Chang// Research Specialist Sr // Lab Manager

Steve began his research career at the University of Michigan, where he received a B.S. with High Honors in Brain, Behavior, and Cognitive Science while working in the laboratory of Dr. Kent Berridge. He then obtained his Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins University in Dr. Peter Holland's laboratory, completing a thesis on the neural basis of sign-tracking. Steve next completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Dartmouth College in Dr. Kyle Smith's laboratory investigating the neural circuitry of cue-reward learning. Steve joined the Flagel lab in September 2018. His current research interests are focused on understanding the neural pathways mediating reward-seeking behaviors that may result in the development of drug addiction.

Research Laboratory Technicians

Alexandra Turfe// Research Laboratory Technician

Alexandra is from Dearborn, Michigan, and joined the Flagel Lab in March 2019. She graduated with high honors in 2022, and will stay in the Flagel Lab as a Research Technician before attending medical school in 2023. In her free time, she enjoys boxing, going to concerts, and baking.

Postdocs

Graduate Students

Amanda Iglesias// Neuroscience Graduate Student

Amanda was raised in Southern California and received her B.A. in Psychology from California State University – Fullerton (CSUF). While at CSUF, she participated in the Maximizing Access to Research Careers program under the mentorship of Dr. Jennifer Trevitt; where she studied the effects of a western diet and physical activity on anxiety and learning. Amanda joined the Program in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Michigan and matriculated into the Neuroscience Graduate Program in the fall of 2017. Her research interests include the complex biological mechanisms and subcortical, hypothalamic neural circuitry that may subserve individual differences in cue-motivated behaviors. And, more specifically, how these differences can help us understand maladaptive behaviors related to reward and motivation, such as drug addiction. Amanda enjoys spending time with her dog, hiking, and crafting in her spare time.

Princess Felix// Neuroscience Graduate Student

Princess is a Nigerian born and Michigan raised graduate student who received her B.S in Neuroscience from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. During her time as an undergraduate, she worked on a large-scale cerebrovascular proteins project under Dr. Michael Wang at the Veterans Affairs Healthcare Center. She identified a set of brain vascular proteins that could be relevant to understanding the unique physiology and pathophysiology of the human cerebrovasculature and diseases associated with it. Afterwards, she joined Dr. Benjamin White’s lab at the National Institute of Mental Health. There, she utilized genetic manipulations to study the brain circuitry in Drosophila melanogaster that promotes their eclosion behavior. Princess is intrested in understanding the underlying neurogical circuits that contribute to maladaptive behavior, and aims to be an influential professor and neuroscientist that can better the lives of individuals through research and teaching. In her free time, Princess enjoys comic conventions, watching movies, and dancing.

Undergraduate Students

Jaydin Adams // Undergraduate Student

Jaydin is from Berkley, Michigan and joined the Flagel lab during the summer prior to his Junior year in 2022. He is pursuing a major in Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience and a minor in Music. After graduation, he plans to continue doing research with hopes of obtaining a PHD in Clinical Psychology. During his free time, Jaydin likes to produce music, play his violin, go out with friends, watch White Chicks, keep up with the latest fashion trends, and make new connections.

Jasmine Bhatti // Undergraduate Student

Jasmine is from Sterling Heights, Michigan, and joined the lab during her freshman year at the end of 2019. She is a student in the LSA Honors Program, planning to major in Neuroscience. After graduating, she hopes to attend medical school and pursue a career as a physician. Outside of her time in the lab, she enjoys watching new movies, listening to music, and taking personality quizzes.

Justin Chung// Undergraduate Student

Justin is from Montgomery, New Jersey and joined the Flagel Lab at the beginning of 2021. He is pursuing a major in Neuroscience and a minor in Applied Statistics. After graduating, he hopes to attend medical school and become a physician. In his free time, he enjoys playing basketball, rock climbing, and watching horror movies.

Shichi Dhar// Undergraduate Student

Shichi is from Midland, Michigan, and joined the lab the summer before her sophomore year. She is a student in the LSA Honors Program, hoping to study Public Health. After graduating, she hopes to pursue medicine and continue to research. Outside of the lab, she enjoys watching thrillers, playing Just Dance with her friends and trying new places to eat.

Caroline Gebczak// Undergraduate Student

Caroline is from the suburbs of Chicago, and joined the lab at the end of her freshman year. She is pursuing a major in Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience and a minor in Applied Statistics. She hopes to go to graduate school in the future and continue research. In her free time, she enjoys watching films at the Michigan Theater, cooking and baking, and discovering new music.

Nemo Liu// Undergraduate Student

Recent Lab Alumni

Sara Westbrook// Postdoctoral Research Fellow (2020-2022)

Current position: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, McLaughlin and Delevich Laboratories, Washington State University

Sofia Lopez// Graduate Student (2016-2020)

Current position: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Lattal Laboratory, Oregon Health and Science University

Paolo Campus// Postdoctoral Research Fellow (2015-2020)

Current position: Research Lab Specialist, Morrow Laboratory, University of Michigan

Lauren Krueger// Veterinary Resident (2019-2020)

Current position: Veterinary Faculty, Office of Comparative Medicine, University of Utah

Michael Motoc// Undergraduate Student (2019-2021)

Current position: Masters Student in Art History, University College London

Allison Johnson// Undergraduate Honors Student (2016-2020)

Current Position as of August 2020: NIDA Postbaccalaureate Program, Dr. Nora Volkow’s Lab

Brittany Kuhn// Neuroscience Graduate Student Alumni (2014–2019)

Current Position: Postdoctoral Fellow at Medical University of South Carolina, Kalivas Lab

Aram Parsegian// Postdoctoral Affiliate (2012-2014)

Current Position: Research Scientist, Biogen

Kurt Fraser// Undergraduate Honors Student (2013-2015)

Current position: BRAIN Initiative Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Lammel Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley

Joshua Haight// Neuroscience Graduate Student Alumni (2012-2016)

Current position: Assistant Professor of Psychology, Quinnipiac University

Alesa Hughson// Research Technician (2015-2018)

Current position: Graduate Student in Biomedical Engineering, Michigan State University

Zhongyan Gong// Undergraduate Honors Student (2017-2018)

Current position: Neuroscience Gradate Student, University of California, Berkeley

Katie Long// Undergraduate Honors Student and Lab Manager (2012-2014)

Current position: MSTP Student, University of Chicago (http://bensmaialab.org/lab-members/)

Eman Mubarak// Undergraduate Honors Student (2015-2018)

Current position: Medical Student at University of Michigan

Ignacio Rivero-Covelo// Postdoctoral Research Fellow (2014-2017)

Current position: Assistant Professor of Psychology, University of Wisconsin, Parkside

Previous Lab Members

Hannah Davies // Undergraduate Student (2019-2022)
Haewon Hwang// Undergraduate Student (2022)
Danielle Sharon// Undergraduate Student (2021-2022)
Roshini Ankireddygari// Undergraduate Student (2017-2018)
Julia Boese// Lab Manager (2014-2015)
Layne Bond// Undergraduate Student (2017-2018)
Erin Canfield// Undergraduate Student (2019-2020)
Vicky Chu// Undergraduate Student (2012-2013)
Maurice "Moe" Chojecki// Laboratory Manager (2017-2020)
Aryamaan "Arya" Gaddam// Undergraduate Student (2017-2019)
Annie Gencay// Undergraduate Student (2014-2015)
Kanav Gupta// Undergraduate Student (2016-2018)
Aidan Horvath// Research Technician (2015-2019)
Rebeca Kelly// Lab Manager (2011-2013)
Marin Klumpner// Lab Manager (2015-2017)
Allison Lang// Undergraduate Student (2014-2015)
Matea Mustafaj// Research Technician (2014-2015)
Tessa Shapiro// Undergraduate Student (2014-2015)
Betul Tatar// Undergraduate Student (2013-2014)
Jason Wong// Undergraduate Student (2017-2019)
Catherine Yang// Undergraduate Student (2019)
Charlotte Yang// Undergraduate Student (2017-2020)
Zachary Fuller// Undergraduate Honors Student (2015-2016)
Eman Mubarak// Undergraduate Honors Student (2015-2018)
Krittika Pant// Undergraduate Honors Student (2015-2018)
Salima Sewani// Undergraduate UROP and Honors Student (2012-2014)