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Lab Members

Left to right: Claire Deckers, Evelyn Ordoñes Sanchez, Molly Dupuis, Alyssa Kniffin, James Flowers, Dr. Alexia Williams, Atiba Ingram, Cori Petersen, Alexandra Hehn, Melissa Peters, Dr. Debra Bangasser

Not depicted: Dr. Amelia Cuarenta, Sydney Ku, Dieuseul Joseph, & Rutvik Mehta


Principal Investigator

Debra Bangasser, Ph.D.

Dr. Debra Bangasser is an Associate Professor of Psychology and the Director of the College of Liberal Arts Neuroscience Program at Temple University. She earned her PhD in Biopsychology and Behavioral Neuroscience from Rutgers University and did postdoctoral training in the field of Stress Neurobiology at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Using techniques from behavioral neuroscience, cellular neuroscience, and neuroendocrinology, her laboratory has identified sex differences in sensitivity to corticotropin releasing factor that bias females towards hyperarousal and males towards cognitive impairments. Her laboratory also investigates how early life experience can promote sex-specific resilience to alterations in cognition and motivation. Dr. Bangasser’s research program received the Janett Rosenberg Trubatch Career Development Award from the Society for Neuroscience, which recognizes originality and creativity in research, and an American Psychological Association Presidential Citation.


Postdoctoral Fellows

Amelia Cuarenta, Ph.D.

Dr. Amelia Cuarenta graduated from University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2014 with a B.S. in Psychology and Human Development. Following graduation, she decided to stay at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to pursue her PhD in Biopsychology in the lab of Dr. Anthony Auger. Her dissertation research focused on psychological and physiological stressors and their impact on Line1 retrotransposon activity in the developing rat brain. Currently, her research investigates the effect of early life adversity on risky behaviors and underlying genetic and epigenetic changes. In the future, Dr. Cuarenta intends to teach and run her own lab. Click here for her Google Scholar profile and click here for her LinkedIn profile.


Alexia Williams, Ph.D.

Dr. Alexia Williams graduated from UMass Boston in 2015 with a B.S. in Biology and a minor in English Literature. Following graduation, she went to UC Davis to pursue a PhD in Biological Psychology, where she joined the lab of Dr. Brian C. Trainor. While at UC Davis her research focused on the long-term impacts of chronic social stress at molecular and genomic levels in the Nucleus Accumbens. In the Bangasser lab, Dr. Williams is particularly excited to explore how early life stress differentially affects motivation and seeking behavior for natural and social rewards compared to drug rewards, and to utilize sequencing and functional manipulation methods to identify epigenetic processes that underlie these behavioral differences. Click here for her Google Scholar profile and click here for her LinkedIn profile.


Doctoral Students

Claire Deckers, B.S.
(She, Her, Hers)

Claire graduated from the University of Vermont in 2021 with a B.S. in Neuroscience and minors in Psychology and Economics. There, she examined the effects of pituitary adenylate cyclase activating polypeptide (PACAP) within the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) on the display of anxiety-like behavior over the course of the estrous cycle. Currently, Claire is investigating the effect of early life stress on the morphology of astrocytes within the medial orbitofrontal cortex and prefrontal cortex. In the future, Claire hopes to connect this line of inquiry with behavioral assays examining impulsivity and decision making.  


Alyssa Kniffin, B.S.
(She, Her, Hers)

Alyssa received her B.S in Psychology with a minor in Biology at James Madison University. She was involved with research investigating the gut-brain axis and hippocampal dependent spatial tasks. Additionally, she started a study to understand sex differences in the brain that occur due to changes in hormone levels via tamoxifen. Currently, Alyssa is investing sex differences in CRF regulation of the septohippocampal cholinergic system. Alyssa’s long-term goal is to teach at a university where she can continue her passion for neuroendocrinology research and mentor future students.


Sydney Ku, B.A.
(She, Her, Hers)

Sydney graduated from Colby College in the spring of 2021 with a B.A. in Psychology with a concentration in Neuroscience. While at Colby, Sydney worked in Glenn Lab, a behavioral neuroscience rat lab, as a research assistant and later conducted a senior thesis examining psychomotor stimulant sensitization as a function of estrus cycle stage and biological sex. Sydney currently researches the effects of early life adversity on maternal behavior. Sydney‘s research interests include sex differences, sexual differentiation, and female-specific behaviors.



Master’s Student

Cori Lynn Petersen, B.A. 
(She, Her, Hers)

Cori graduated from Rowan University with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Neuroscience in May of 2020. While at Rowan University, Cori interned at the Center of Neurological and Neurodevelopmental Health where she studied the correlation between IQ score and academic achievement of elementary school-age children. Cori is currently in her second year of her master’s program and is researching the cellular expression of corticotropin releasing-factor binding-protein in the medial septum. After obtaining her MS in cellular and molecular neuroscience, Cori plans on continuing her education by pursuing a PhD. Her current interests include the effects of early life stress and adversity on impulsivity and decision making in adulthood as well as the neurobiological mechanisms associated with these behaviors.


Research Technicians

Molly Dupuis, B.S. 
(She, Her, Hers)

Molly graduated in 2020 from Saint Joseph’s University with a B.S. in Biology.  There, she researched the developmental consequences of antidepressant exposure during the postnatal period.  Molly currently is working on projects assessing the effects of stress on cognition. She also is pursuing a master’s degree in Forensic Medicine at PCOM and hopes to pursue a career in forensic science.


James Flowers II, B.A.

James graduated with a B.A. in Psychology from Temple University in 2019. During his undergraduate studies, he investigated impulsivity and early life adversity in the Neuroendocrinology & Behavior lab at Temple. Currently, James is working on a number of studies, including assessing stress-induced changes in maternal care. James would like to pursue a career in neuroscience research.


Atiba Ingram, B.S.
(She, Her, Hers)

Atiba graduated with a B.S. in Neuroscience from Temple University in 2021. During her undergraduate studies in the Neuroendocrinology & Behavior lab at Temple, she investigated the effect of early life adversity on impulsivity. Atiba is currently working on studies assessing stress-induced changes in signaling molecules using RNAScope. Atiba would like to continue to study neuroscience research.


Undergraduate Research Assistants
Dieuseul Joseph
Alexandra Hehn
Rutvik Mehta
Melissa Peters


NBL Alumni

Graduate Students
Samantha Eck, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow, Mentor: Dr. Brian Trainor, University of California, Davis
Miranda Langrehr, M.S., Research Specialist, University of Pennsylvania
Evie Ordoñes Sanchez, Ph.D.,  Research Associate (In vivo), The Jackson Laboratory, Sacramento

Jamie Palmer, M.S.,  Doctoral Student in Neuroscience, The University of Texas at Austin
Alexander Telenson, M.S.,  Doctoral Student in Neuroscience, Northwestern University
Brittany Wicks, M.S., Research Associate, Spark Therapeutics
Kimberly Wiersielis, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow, Mentor: Dr. Troy Roepke, Department of Animal Sciences, Rutgers University

Research Technicians
Cory Ardekani, B.S., Doctoral Student in Biopsychology, University of California Davis
George McClung, V.M.D., Critical Care Research Fellow at Clinical Investigation Facility, David Grant USAF Medical Center
Madeleine Salvatore, B.S., Laboratory Manager, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Undergraduate Students
Nausheen Baksh, B.S., The Lewis Katz School of Medicine Postbaccalaureate program, Temple University
Joy Bergmann, B.S., PsyD Program, LaSalle
Attilio Ceretti, B.S., Doctoral Student in Integrative Biology, Lehigh University
Sarah Cohen, B.S., Statistical Analyst, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Nina Duncan, B.S., MS Student, Philadelphia College of  Osteopathic Medicine
Sydney Famularo, B.S., Research Technician, Temple University
Alexa Fritz, B.S., Pediatric ER Research Intern, Columbia University Irving Medical Center
Arron Hall, B.A., Doctoral Student in Neuroscience, Drexel University
Adam Hawkins, B.S., Medical Student, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Alessandro Jean-Louis, B.S., Research Technician, University of Pennsylvania
Harah Jang, B.S., Scientist, Samsung Bioepis
Sabina Khantsis, B.S., Master of Science in Public Health, Johns Hopkins
Julia Kirkland, B.S., Doctoral Student in Neuroscience, Albany Medical College
Demetrius Lee, B.S., Research Technician, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Hanna Lefebo, B.S., Pharmacy School, University of Maryland
Mikala Moorech, B.A., Project Manager, Epic Company
Charleanne Rodgers, B.S., Masters Student in Applied Behavior Analysis, Simmons University
Marni Shore, B.S., Clinical Care Technician, Tufts Medical Center
Hannah Simko, B.S., Occupational Therapist, Lehigh Valley Health Network
Lindsey Tepfer, B.S., Doctoral Student in Psychology, Dartmouth
Kyle White, B.S., Doctoral School in Clinical Psychology, Syracuse
Mina Youssef, B.S., Clinical Trial/Project Manager, DOCS Pharmaceuticals