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.

 

Brian Luke                                                                                                                                      Research Staff

Brian Luke received his bachelor of arts in Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin in May 2013. Previously he has worked in research exploring alcohol consumption and risk-taking behavior. He has also worked with adolescent populations serving as a case manager for at-risk youth. He is interested in the impact of substance use on cognitive development.

 

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

Originally from Houston, Jensen Kidd graduated from Texas A&M University before coming to UT Dallas to pursue a MS in Psychological Science. Jensen plans on eventually pursuing a PhD and becoming a professor or researcher with an emphasis in forensic psychology and criminology.

 

 

 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.

 

Emma Segoviano                                                                                                                                          Master’s Student

Emma Segoviano is a Master’s student in the Applied Cognition and Neuroscience program at UT Dallas. She received her Bachelors of Science in Child Learning and Development from UT Dallas in December 2016. She is interested in the neural mechanisms of the reward-system and how it can influence typical and atypical development, as well as it’s impact on behavior and neurodevelopmental disorders. In the future, she hopes to build a bridge between neuroscience and education to conduct translational research in the domain of mental health and neurodevelopmental disorders.

 

Ruqiya Barreh                                                                                                                                                Undergraduate Intern

Ruqiya Barreh is an undergraduate intern who is currently majoring in Psychology and minoring in Public Health. She’s interested in the behavioral and neurological reasonings behind human actions as well as the clinical applications of said research. She hopes to use the skills gained here to work as a clinical psychologist and a mental health advocate in the future.

 

Stephanie Batch
Undergraduate 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
Undergraduate Intern

​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
Undergraduate Intern

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

 

Harishree Karthik
Undergraduate Intern

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
​Undergraduate Intern

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.

 

Aniko Mikes                                                                                                                      Undergraduate Intern

Aniko Mikes is an undergraduate student pursuing a B.S. in Neuroscience at UTD. She is fascinated by the biophysical and genetic basis for consciousness and decision making, and how simple systems give rise to complex ones. She hopes to learn useful skills in the lab to eventually apply to a career in Neuroscience research.

 

Dimple Wadhwa
Undergraduate Intern

​Dimple is an undergraduate student majoring in Child Development at the University of Texas at Dallas. She is interested in how the brain is impacted by different drug usage, as well as how the brain reacts to addiction. She hopes to apply her experience and knowledge as she pursues a career in the medical field.

 

 

Safiyah Zaidi                                                                                                                                                    Undergraduate Intern

Safiyah Zaidi is an undergraduate freshman majoring in Healthcare Studies at the University of Texas at Dallas. She is interested in the neurological underpinnings of human behavior and decision-making, especially in relation to addictive behavior. She hopes to apply the knowledge and skills learned here in a career in medicine

 

Emily Wang
Intern

​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.