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



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.


Dakota Palmer, BS


Undergraduate Students


Erica Wooner

Erica is a rising 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 currently a rising 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.


Clarissa Wallin

Clarissa is an rising sophomore at Williams College in Massachusetts. She plans to double major in Psychology and French with a concentration in Neuroscience. She hopes to attend medical school after graduation. In her free time, she likes to play ice hockey, read, and spend time with her family outdoors.


Diana Augustin

Diana is a Cognitive Science major (’21) at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. After graduation, she plans on pursuing a graduate degree in Neuroscience. She enjoys cooking, journaling, and sketching during her free time.


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