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Current Lab Members


Jacqueline Barker, PhD

Principal Investigator


Jacqui earned her BA in Psychology at Ohio Wesleyan University. She completed her PhD in Neuroscience at Yale University, in the lab of Jane Taylor before moving to the Medical University of South Carolina to complete her postdoctoral training with Judson Chandler. Jacqui started her lab in the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology at Drexel University College of Medicine in the fall of 2017.

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Lauren Buck (Plyler), MS

Lab Manager


Lauren completed her Master's in Neuroscience in 2018 where she developed expertise in the use of mouse models to investigate neural function.

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Sierra Coleman

PhD Student, Neuroscience

Sierra completed her Bachelor of Science in biopsychology, cognition, and neuroscience at the University of Michigan in 2020. Upon graduation she continued in her undergraduate lab as a research technician for two years studying the biological basis of temperament.

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Christina Curran-Alfaro, MS

PhD Candidate, Neuroscience


Christina completed her MS in biology, with a concentration in neurobiology, at Rutgers-Camden in 2020.  Her MS thesis work explored circuitry involved in spatial memory utilizing a teleost model. In the Barker lab, she is investigating the effects of low-dose ethanol on reward valuation, reward motivation, and neural substrates which may contribute to aberrant reward seeking.


Laura Giacometti, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar


Laura completed her PhD with Dr. Ramesh Raghupathi in 2018, where her dissertation focused on sex differences in long term behavioral alterations following adolescent mild traumatic brain injury. She is building on her expertise in sex differences to investigate sex-specific effects of chronic ethanol exposure on astrocyte activity and its role in regulating reward seeking and depression-related behaviors.

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Mark Namba, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar

Mark completed his PhD in Neuroscience under the mentorship of Drs. Janet Neisewander and Foster Olive at Arizona State University, where his primary focus was unraveling neuroimmune mechanisms of motivated behavior and the impact of HIV on cue-induced drug seeking. As a postdoctoral researcher in the lab, Mark is building upon his expertise in behavioral pharmacology and addiction neurobiology by examining the role of glutamatergic and neuroimmune mechanisms in cocaine craving using translational rodent models of comorbid HIV and cocaine use disorders.

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Mitch Nothem, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar

Mitch completed his PhD with Dr. James Barrett in 2020, where his dissertation focused on the effects of peripheral nerve injury and gabapentin on cortical pain processing. His postdoctoral work focuses on the interaction between chronic pain and substance use disorders.

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Christine Side

Research Assistant

Christine completed her BS in Biochemistry and BA in Psychology at Rowan University. She aspires to get her Ph.D in Neuroscience and is interested in research involving the neural substrates of substance use disorder.

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Qiaowei Xie, MS

PhD Candidate, Pharmacology and Physiology

Qiaowei has returned to the lab to complete her PhD in Pharmacology and Physiology. Her research focus is neural circuit dysregulation in preclinical models of HIV.

Interns and Undergraduate Researchers

Former Lab Members

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Isabella Agyapong

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow, 2018

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Jordan Barnhill

Medical Student, NeuroHIV T32 Trainee, Summer 2022

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Katie Bryant, PhD

PhD Graduate, Neuroscience, 2023

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Brittanie Bland, MS

Master's student, Drug Discovery and Development, 2018

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Kelsey Chandran

Undergraduate STAR scholar, 2019


Juliette DiFlumeri

Undergraduate Researcher, 2020

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Laura Figueroa, MS

Master's student, Interdisciplinary Health Sciences, 2020

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Fatima Fleming

Pathway to SuperNOVA, 2022

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Brianna Hamilton

NeuroHIV T32 Trainee, Summer 2019

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Meghan Hemdal, MS

Master's Student, Neuroscience, 2023

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Fangyi Huang, MS

Master's student, Drug Discovery and Development, 2020

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Briana Johnson

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow, 2019

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Amanda Le

Undergraduate Intern, Summer 2022

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Toni-Shae Ledgister, MS

Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Masters's, 2023

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Wenhan Lu, MS

Master's student, Drug Discovery and Development, 2018

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Yue Lu, MS

Master's student, Drug Discovery and Development, 2021


Jessie Nagle

Master's rotation student, MCBG 2020

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Harsha Ohri

Rotating Student, Neuroscience PhD Program, 2018

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Delaney Place

Rotating Student, Pharmacology & Physiology PhD Program, 2022

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Binay Singh

Drexel Co-op student, 2020-2021

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Kaitlin Smith, MS

Master's student, Master of Laboratory Animal Science Program, 2018


Sam Stine, MS

Master's Student, Drug Discovery and Development, 2022

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Simon Tran

Medical Student Summer Research Fellow, 2022

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Rebecca Wenzel-Rideout

Undergraduate Student, InternPhilly Arcadia, Summer 2022

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Michelle Willis

Medical student, NeuroAIDS T32 Fellow, 2021

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