Lab Members

Our Staff

Our Fellows

Photo of Chia Li
Chia Li
Staff Scientist
Chia’s passion for neuroscience began with her undergraduate research experience in the behavioral neuropharmacology lab with Dr. Rick Bevins at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she received her Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry, Biology, and Psychology. During this time, her work focused on learning theories behind motivational behaviors in drugs of abuse such as Nicotine and Cocaine. Chia continued to explore her interest in neuropharmacology and obtained her doctorate from the Neurobiology Curriculum at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Under the guidance of Dr. Thomas Kash, she probed neural networks and nuclei surrounding the extended amygdala in the midbrain using ex vivo electrophysiology, optogenetics, chemogenetics and behavioral assays. Her work focused on the effects of stress, alcohol and opioids on neural signaling and their mechanisms. Before becoming a staff Scientist at Department of Endocrinology, Obesity Branch at NIDDK, Dr. Li’s postdoctoral work under the guidance of Dr. Michael Krashes investigated hypothalamic networks and their functional roles involving feeding, showing one of the first evidences of cell-type specific connectivity between the Arcuate Nucleus and the Paraventricular Nucleus of the Hypothalamus. As a staff scientist, Dr. Li continues to explore hypothalamic networks and their involvement in motivational and orthogonal behaviors associated with feeding, incorporating neural imaging techniques such as photometry. Outside of research, Chia enjoys hiking with her dog and family, eating and cooking, making soap and upcycling materials for craft, and any excuse to use power tools.
Photo of Amy Sutton
Amy Sutton
Post-Doc
Amy’s overarching research interest is to understand the neural circuits coordinating the motivational drive for feeding behavior in diverse environmental contexts, and to dissect how such environments can lead to dysregulated eating conditions including eating disorders and obesity. She obtained her BS at Indiana University in Biology, followed by a PhD in Molecular & Integrative Physiology from the University of Michigan. Aside from science, some of her passions include basketball, gardening, queer outreach in STEM, racial justice, and travel.
Picture of Laura Mickelsen
Laura Mickelsen
Post-doc
Laura did her graduate work at UConn and got her PhD in the Jackson Lab in Physiology and Neurobiology. Her current project is focused on understanding the impact of high fat diet on central pathways influencing motivation using a combination of in vivo optogenetics, in vitro electrophysiology, single cell RNAseq, photometry and anatomical analysis. When she’s not in lab, Laura enjoys cooking and her cats.
Picture of Chris Mazzone
Chris Mazzone
Joint Post-Doc (with Guohong Cui, NIEHS)
Chris is a Postdoctoral Fellow on a joint fellowship with Dr. Guohong Cui at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). He received his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2017. His research aims to determine how consumption of calorically dense foods, such as those high in fats, alters how hypothalamic and mesolimbic neurons regulate appetite and reward. Outside of lab, he spends his free time trying new foods around North Carolina’s Research Triangle and hanging out with his scruff ball of a dog Tucker.
Picture of Isabel De Araujo Salgado
Isabel De Araujo Salgado
Post-Doc
Isabel De Araujo Salgado is a 2019 CCB fellow and a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Michael Krashes’ laboratory at the NIDDK. She aims to investigate food-related decision-making, which can be driven by external (e.g. advertisement, threat) and internal (e.g. hunger) cues. Specifically, her work investigates the interaction between two key drives fundamental to an individual’s survival: foraging and threat avoidance. Isabel earned her MSc in Medical Biology from the University of Lausanne (Switzerland) in the lab of Dr. Ron Stoop. She received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Fribourg (Switzerland) where she studied neuronal circuits matching body metabolic signals and behaviors under the mentorship of Dr. Christophe Lamy.
Picture of Jing Liang-Guallpa
Jing Liang-Guallpa
Graduate Student
Jing is a graduate student of the Brown University/NIH Graduate Partnership Program. Her research centers on understanding the neurobiological and behavioral basis behind motivated behaviors. Her interests in the Krashes’ lab are related to valuation of palatable, high-fat foods. Post-graduation, she would be interested in alternative career paths, primarily project management, as she has heavily enjoyed her time mentoring and managing several talented women in science. She enjoys hiking, painting, traveling, trying new exotic foods (except insects), computer games and audiobooks. Currently, she is trying her best to learn Spanish.
Jordan Becker
Graduate Student
Jordan Becker is a graduate student in the NIH-GPP program. He is interested in the choroid plexus’s role in feeding, and he is interested in applications of computational vision models for automating animal behavior analysis. In his free time, Jordan is a nationally competitive Olympic weightlifter.
Picture of Ivan Alcantara
Ivan Alcantara
Graduate Student
Ivan received his bachelor’s in neuroscience from Brown University and his masters in cell biology from the Max Planck Institute of Brain Research. Currently, he is pursuing his PhD through the Brown-NIH Graduate Partnership Program in Neuroscience. His scientific interests include the interplay between feeding behavior and social interactions in mice, and the genetics and neural circuits underlying those behaviors. He is also committed to making science, education, and digital information more accessible to underprivileged communities.