Principal Investigator

R. Alison Adcock, M.D., Ph.D.,
Assistant Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Core Faculty, Center for Cognitive Neuroscience
B253 Levine Science Research Center
Duke University Box 90999
Durham, NC 27708

email: alison.adcock at
phone: (919) 681-7486
fax: (919) 681-0815

Dr. Adcock received her MD and PhD from Yale University. She completed a residency in psychiatry and a postdoctoral fellowship at University of California San Francisco, and is a diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Download CV (pdf)

Lab Personnel

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Lee Gans
Lab Manager


Betsy Sumner, MD
Graduate Student

Betsy's research combines pharmacological manipulations in healthy participants with fMRI experiments in schizophrenia patients to study the mechanisms of reward-motivated memory in humans. The overall aims of her work are to contribute to a better understanding of the effects of dopaminergic function and dysfunction on memory in health and disease. Betsy completed her undergraduate studies at the University of South Carolina where she majored in chemistry and minored in mathematics. She received her MD from the University of Virginia before entering the neurobiology PhD program at Duke in pursuit of the primary goal of adding more letters to the end of her name. 

Jeff MacInnes
Graduate Student

When he's not delivering unsolicited lectures on the virtues of living in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, Jeff heads up a number of projects aimed at training individuals to self-induce cognitive states that are most conducive to memory formation. Most recently this is being approached with the use of real-time fMRI - which involves providing participants with real-time neurofeedback of activity within particular brain regions.

Courtnea Rainey
Graduate Student

In the broadest sense, Courtnea is interested in improving educational outcomes. Within the context of the motivated memory lab, Courtnea investigates internal states as motivational signals that affect learning and behavioral change. Outside the lab, Courtnea organizes outreach activities and undergraduate research programs to improve science education outcomes in K-16 students.  


Jessica Stanek
Graduate Student

A Bay Area girl having earned her undergraduate degrees in psychology and molecular and cell biology from UC Berkeley, Jessica has left the fog behind in pursuit of memory. Well, memory research that is. She is interested in using fMRI to study hippocampal and dopaminergic midbrain influences on the encoding of novelty and expectancy violation.

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Nathan Clement
Graduate Student

Nathan's research is focused on characterizing and manipulating states of intrinsic motivation and their relationship to learning, information-seeking, and choice behavior. In 2007, Nathan completed his undergraduate studies at Stanford University, where he majored in psychology. For the next three years, he worked at Columbia University before leaving the big city behind to start his graduate career at Duke. He enjoys coffee.


Mai-Anh Vu
Graduate Student

Born-and-raised in Massachusetts, and having completed her undergraduate studies in Cognitive Science at Yale, Mai-Anh decided it was time to venture out of New England, and has since landed here in Durham. Mai-Anh worked in a few different brain labs during and after college, where she gained diverse research experiences: investigating the effects of stress and neuromodulators on prefrontal cortex function in rats, using fMRI to probe memory networks in humans, and using MRI and DTI to characterize brain and cognitive abnormalities in schizophrenia. These seem to be converging here at Duke, where Mai-Anh is pursuing learning and memory research in humans and rodents, under the mentorship of Dr. Alison Adcock and Dr. Kafui Dzirasa. 


Jane Chen
Research Assistant

Rithi Chandy
Research Assistant

Sonal Gagrani
Research Assistant

If you're potentially interested in joining the lab as a graduate student, research assistant or intern, contact Alison Adcock


Kathryn Dickerson

My research interests lie at the intersection of human reward-related learning and memory formation, including understanding how reward and motivation influence memory processes. A particular interest is investigating the role of dopamine in mediating human memory formation, and the involvement of and connectivity between the multiple brain structures (medial temporal lobe, basal ganglia, prefrontal cortex, midbrain) during these processes. A second related question is examining how salient episodic experiences can influence future behavior, particularly in therapeutic contexts. In collaboration with several members of the Adcock lab, I am addressing these topics using real-time fMRI techniques in both healthy and patient populations as well as examining differences in learning in Parkinson's patients who are receiving deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus.

Kimberly Chiew

Born and raised in Northwestern Ontario, Kim completed a BSc in neuroscience at University of Toronto and PhD in cognitive psychology at Washington University in St. Louis before continuing her trajectory south to Duke, where she started a postdoc in the Adcock lab in 2013. Kim's research has focused on examining emotional and motivational influences on cognition using a combination of behavioral, psychophysiological, and neuroimaging methods. In the Adcock lab, Kim is interested in continuing to examine motivational influences on goal-directed and exploratory behavior with a more explicit focus on the role of underlying neuromodulator systems, such as norepinephrine and dopamine.




Kristin Duffy
Lab Manager
Kristin is currently pursuing a graduate degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Vishnu "Deepu" Murty
Graduate Student
Deepu is pursuing a post-doc at NYU in the Davachi lab.

Ian Ballard
Research Assistant
Ian is pursuing a graduate degree at Stanford University.

Maheen Shermohammad
Research Assistant
Maheen is currently working as a research assistant in John Gabrieli's lab at MIT.

Rita Loiotile
Lab Manager
Rita is currently pursuing a graduate degree at Johns Hopkins University.

Kate MacDuffie
Lab Manager
Kate is currently pursuing a graduate degree at Duke.

Rory Lubner
Research Assistant

Krista Kenney
Research Assistant

Matt Isabel
Research Assistant

Kelsey Short
Research Assistant

Amish Sheth
Research Assistant
Amish is a medical student at New York University

Sanghoon Han, PhD
Sanghoon is Assistant Professor of Psychology at Yonsei University

Sora Ely
Research Assistant
Sora is a medical student at Tulane University in New Orleans

Alex Rosati
Graduate Student
Alex is a PhD candidate in Evolutionary Anthropology at Duke

Sarah Figueroa
Research Assistant
Sarah is currently pursuing a career in elementary education

Eden Rouse
East Carolina University undergraduate

Sam Snider
Research Assistant
Sam is currently living in North Carolina and applying to Medical School.

James Cook
Computer Technician, Contrarian.
James is involved in imaging for Radiology at Duke

Tara Iyengar
Research Assistant

Arul Thangavel
Research Assistant
Arul is chugging his way through Medical School

Obioma Ekeledo
Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow
Obi is currently completing his undergraduate degree at the University of Georgia.