Principal Investigator


Jocelyn M. Richard, PhD

Jocelyn received her BA in psychobiology from Occidental College, where she worked in the lab of Nancy Dess, and completed her PhD at the University of Michigan in Kent Berridge's laboratory. Jocelyn conducted her postdoctoral work with Howard Fields at UCSF, and Patricia Janak at Johns Hopkins University, where she focused on dissecting the functional contributions of activity in ventral pallidal neurons to reward seeking behavior. She is particularly interested in how the brain generates signals related to learning, affect and motivation, and how these signals are altered in models of addiction and neuropsychiatric disease. These questions are the focus of her lab's work at the University of Minnesota.



Postdoctoral Fellows


Ankit Sood, PhD

Ankit obtained his B.S. in Microbiology from Delhi University, India. He then completed his PhD with Prof Vidita Vaidya at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, India where he worked on understanding sexual dimorphism in stress response. Currently, he is working on using in-vivo electrophysiological recordings from the ventral pallidum to tease apart neuronal populations responsible for coding expected outcome value and/or incentive value of cues. In his free time, Ankit likes to play various sports, read books, cook, watch movies and listen to music.



Research Technicians


Christelle Cayton, BA

Christelle obtained her B.A. in Neuroscience Studies with a Psychology emphasis and a Biology minor from Macalester College.Her current research in the lab investigates the neural mechanisms underlying encoding of incentive value in reward and motivation pathways. In the future she plans to attend medical school and pursue a pediatric specialty. Her hobbies include yoga, ultimate frisbee, filmmaking and discovering new coffee shops.

MJ Carpio.jpg

MJ Carpio, BA

MJ obtained her B.A. in Neuroscience with a Philosophy emphasis from Macalester College. She wrote her senior capstone on the value of philosophical analyses to epilepsy research (philosophy of neuroscience), and the value of studying epilepsy to philosophy of mind (neurophilosophy). MJ is currently studying the effects of alcohol dependence on cue-elicited behavior. She plans on pursuing a graduate education in neuroscience. In the meantime, she is trying to learn a variety neuroscience approaches, such as behavioral training, brain clearing and optogenetics. For fun, MJ likes to read non-fiction, cook for people, explore state parks in Minnesota, and bike, amongst other activities.


Graduate Students


Runbo Gao, BS

Runbo obtained his B.S. in Biological Science from Huazhong Agricultural University in Wuhan, China. He is currently a Master's student in Biological Science and plans to apply for a Ph.D. program in neuroscience after graduation. In his free time, he likes to play badminton, read books, and watch movies.


Alexandra Scott, BS

Alexandra received her B.S. in Neuroscience with a minor in Music History from the University of California, Los Angeles.  After graduating she continued research at UCLA examining how neuro-progesterone synthesis in rodent astrocytes influences kisspeptin release from kisspeptin neurons. Alexandra is currently examining the cell specific role of GABAergic neurons in the ventral pallidum.  Alexandra enjoys camping, climbing and spending time with her cats and friends.  


Dakota Palmer, BS

Dakota received his B.S. in Biology and B.S. in Psychology from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. He is now a PhD student in the Graduate Program in Neuroscience at UMN. Dakota is currently using fiber photometry to dissect the functional circuitry of the ventral pallidum. Outside of the lab, Dakota enjoys exploring state parks, spending quality time with his dog, and thinking about human-centered design.


Undergraduate Students


Erica Wooner

Erica is a junior at the University of Minnesota majoring in Psychology and minoring in neuroscience. She is currently planning to go to medical school after obtaining her B.S., although research may be a good fit for her as well. For fun she enjoys dancing for the Dance Collective and MDC, and testing out her cooking skills with vegan foods.


Iris Lin

Iris is a sophomore at the University of Minnesota in the College of Biological Sciences. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience with a minor in Psychology. After graduation, she plans to attend medical school. In her free time, she enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking, swimming, and scuba diving.


Collin Prill

Collin is a sophomore at the University of Minnesota majoring in Neuroscience in the College of Biological Sciences. After graduation, he plans to travel and take some time off before attending medical school. He enjoys his time playing cymbals in the University of Minnesota Marching Band and performing at the football games. In his spare time, he likes to find good hammocking spots and watch his latest favorite Netflix show.


Kameron Rewitzer

Kameron is a sophomore in the College of Biological Sciences at the University of Minnesota. She plans to major in Neuroscience and pursue either PA or medical school after graduation. In her free time she enjoys running (currently training for a marathon in October), drawing, playing music, and hammocking.


Grant Badger


Lab Alumni

Undergraduate Students

Arianna Dart, BA, Research Assistant and Coordinator at Boston Children’s Hospital

Danielle Frazee, BS, Sensor Research Engineer at Starkey Hearing Technologies

Diana Augustin, MnDRIVE/NorthStar Summer Intern, Carleton College ‘21

Clarissa Wallin, Williams College ‘22