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Principal Investigator: Elizabeth Holly, PhD

Elizabeth is currently an Assistant Professor in the Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience at Rutgers - Newark. She earned her PhD working with Klaus Miczek at Tufts University, where she investigated how social defeat stress causes long-lasting neuroadaptations in the mesocorticolimbic dopamine system to drive escalated cocaine self-administration and reinstatement in male and female rats. Her thesis earned the 2017 Outstanding Dissertation Award from Division 28 of the American Psychological Association. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship in Marc Fuccillo’s lab at the University of Pennsylvania, where she used a combination of molecular, viral, photometric, genetic, and electrophysiological approaches to investigate the contribution of local dorsal striatal circuitry to goal-directed behaviors. Her work in the Fuccillo lab was funded by the NIMH (F32 and K01). As an independent investigator, her work integrates her broad training to explore the role of the basal ganglia, and the distributed networks in which it participates, in goal-directed behaviors. In particular, she is interested in how stress across development alters decision making and underlying striatal function.

Avantika Vivek, PhD Student

Avantika is a PhD student in the Holly Lab in the Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience. She earned her B.A. in Neuroscience at Reed College in Portland, OR. Her undergraduate thesis was on amphetamine reinstatement as modulated by orexin in female rats. She is interested in the mechanisms driving negative affect behaviors and goal-directed learning, primarily focusing on environmental, social, and addiction-based stress.

Elly Ragone, Laboratory/Technical Assistant
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Elly is a recent graduate from Oberlin College of Arts and Sciences with a Neuroscience Major and a Religion Minor. At Oberlin, she studied the effects of estrogen on microglia in relation to Alzheimer's in the Mariani Lab. She also worked in the Brain and Behavior Lab at Indiana University, where she isolated neural “events” in mice using fMRI data, which resulted in the publishing of Modular subgraphs in large-scale connectomes underpin spontaneous co-fluctuation “events” in mouse and human brains. In her free time, she enjoys rock climbing, knitting, and whitewater kayaking. 





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