Filbey Lab Team

​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.






Amy Wessenberg
​Lab Coordinator

​Amy Wessenberg is the lab coordinator for the Filbey lab.  Amy graduated from the University of Arkansas (woo pig!) in May 2019 with a bachelor of arts in Psychology.  Prior to joining Dr. Filbey’s lab, she worked in the Laboratory for Alcohol and Substance Abuse Research at the U of A. Amy is interested in the effects of different substances on neurological processing.  In the future, she plans on pursuing a graduate degree in Clinical Psychology.





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.


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.



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.




Harsha Srikara                                                                                                              

Undergraduate Intern

Harsha Srikara is an undergraduate student at UT Dallas pursuing a double major in Computer Science and Mathematics. He is interested in the applications of software engineering and statistical learning present within the field of neuroscience – specifically in the implementation of neural models that can be trained to automatically recognize key risk and addictive factors through the analysis of brain scans. In the future, he hopes to apply the skills learned in this research lab towards designing advanced ML and AI algorithms in many diverse fields




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.