Lab Members


​Francesca M. Filbey, Ph.D.
Principal Investigator

Dr. Filbey is the Bert Moore Endowed Chair and Professor at the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas.  Her studies focus on determining the neurobiological mechanisms of reward system dysfunction.


Shikha Prashad, Ph.D.
Post-Doctoral Fellow

Shikha Prashad is a postdoctoral research associate in Dr. Filbey’s lab. She is interested in the role of cortical and subcortical networks and dopamine in cognitive and motor processing in addiction and movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease. Her research involves behavioral and neuroimaging techniques including electroencephalography (EEG) and functional MRI. Prior to joining Dr. Filbey’s lab, Shikha earned a Ph.D. in Neuroscience and Cognitive Science from the University of Maryland, College Park and a B.A. in Biology and Computer Science from Bryn Mawr College.


J Waters, M.D.
​Lab Coordinator

​J Waters is the lab coordinator for the Filbey lab.  J earned a M.D. from UT Health San Antonio School of Medicine and a B.S. in Human Biology from UT Austin.  Prior to joining Dr Filbey’s lab, he has worked on critical care research at the US Army Institute for Surgical Research, and as a resident physician with the UT Southwestern Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Management.  He also served in the US Army.  He is interested in the underlying neurobiological interface between substance use disorders and other psychiatric disorders.  In the future, he plans to train in a clinical psychiatry residency program, and eventually study the translational aspects of substance abuse research.



Mackenzie Taylor
PhD Student

​Mackenzie Taylor is a PhD Student in the cognition and neuroscience program at UT Dallas working in the Filbey lab. She received her bachelor of science in Psychology and minor in Biology at Texas Wesleyan University in May of 2017. Previously she has worked in research focus areas such as behavioral neuroscience, self-control and impulsivity, and pharmacology. She has also worked closely with addiction through previous clinical work. Currently she is interested in biomarkers of the brain and body, behavioral markers, and genetic markers that are indicative of changes related to the addiction process.


Nicolas Muniz
Master’s Student 

Nicolas Muniz graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology in the Spring of 2017, and is now working towards a Master of Science in Psychological Sciences with a focus in cognition. He is interested in the cognitive and behavioral mechanisms of substance use and is currently working on a project which focuses on substance use trends and risk factors in cannabis and opioid use.



Jensen Kidd
Master’s Student

Hi, my name is Jensen Kidd and I’m working on a MS in Psychological Science. I’m planning on eventually pursuing a PhD and becoming a professor or researcher. I’m especially interested in forensic psychology and criminology. I’m from Houston but was living in San Diego before attending Texas A&M University.



 Sahar Anjum
Master’s Student

​Sahar Anjum is a Master’s student in the Applied Cognition and Neuroscience program at the University of Texas at Dallas. She received her Bachelors of Science in Psychology, with a minor in Medicine and Society, from the University of Houston in 2017. Previously, her research aimed to elucidate why people who endorse anxiety/depressive-related vulnerabilities are more prone to substance use disorders. She is interested in investigating the underlying neural mechanisms of addiction, preventative measures, and effective treatments for those suffering with addictions.



Stephanie Batch
Intern ​

Stephanie is an undergraduate student at UT Dallas majoring in Neuroscience. She’s fascinated by the reward system in the brain and how it would relate to craving and addiction, as well as how drugs can alter certain brain processes. She hopes to utilize this experience when pursuing a profession in healthcare and neurology.


Cindy Folefack

​Cindy Folefack is an undergraduate student at UT Dallas majoring in Biological Sciences. She was born in France and raised in Cameroon before moving to Texas, and has always held an interest in understanding the reasoning and neurological processes behind human actions. She hopes to pursue medicine as a career and open her own practice as an OB/GYN in the future.


Jessica Nguyen

Jessica is an undergraduate student pursuing a B.S. in Neuroscience at UTD. They are intrigued by the topic of addiction because addiction and loss of mental autonomy are a couple of their biggest fears. They plan on going into the field of medicine and working as a neurologist after going to medical school.


Harishree Karthik

Harishree Karthik is an undergraduate student at UT Dallas, majoring in Neuroscience. She is interested in the underlying causes of addiction and the neuronal changes associated with it. She hopes to apply everything learned from this lab when pursuing an M.D. PhD program in the future.


Sharada Pillai

Sharada Pillai is an undergraduate student at UT Dallas majoring in Biology. She interested in learning more about how our reward system is affected by addiction, and the possible clinical applications of addiction research. In the future, she plans to pursue a career in the medical field.


Dimple Wadhwa

​I am an undergraduate majoring in Child Development at the University of Texas at Dallas. I am interested in how the brain is impacted by different drug usage, as well as how the brain reacts to addiction. I hope to apply my experience and what I have learned as I pursue a career in the medical field.


Emily Wang

​Emily Wang graduated from the University of Minnesota with a B.S. in psychology in May 2018. She is interested in substance use among ethnic minorities, specifically identifying risk pathways in order to inform preventions and interventions for diverse groups. She hopes to apply what she learns in this lab when pursuing a Ph.D. in clinical psychology.