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.

Katie Bryant Headshot.jpg

Kathleen Bryant

PhD Candidate, Neuroscience


Katie is completing her PhD with the Neuroscience PhD Program at the Drexel University College of Medicine. Her work in the lab focuses on ventral hippocampal circuits in the regulation of behavioral flexibility.

Lauren Plyler Headshot.jpg

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.

Christina Curran-Alfaro.jpg

Christina Curran-Alfaro, MS

PhD Student, Neuroscience


Christina completed her Masters in 2020 in biology with a concentration in neurobiology at Rutgers-Camden where her work explored circuitry involved in spatial memory utilizing a teleost model. In the Barker lab, she is expanding her work to investigate  changes in behavioral response associated with low-dose ethanol exposure. 


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.

Yue Lu.jpg

Yue Lu

Master's student, Drug Discovery and Development

Yue is a 3+2 coop student between China Pharmaceutical University and Drexel University, currently completing her Master's in Drug Discovery & Development. Her background in food and nutrition at CPU has facilitated her transition to studying reward seeking in rodent models in the Pharmacology & Physiology Department.

Mitch Headshot.jpg

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 will focus on the interaction between chronic pain and substance use disorders.


Sam Stine

Master's student, Pharmacology and Physiology


Sam completed her BS in Psychology at The University of the South and is working on her Master's degree in the Pharmacology & Physiology program with a research interest in drug use and behavior.

Michelle Willis.jpg

Michelle Willis

Medical Student,

NeuroAIDS T32 Fellow

Michelle is a medical student at Drexel University College of Medicine who joined the lab as part of the T-32 NeuroAIDS Summer Research Training Fellowship. Her research focus is on the combined effects of cocaine exposure and HIV on astrocytes immunoreactivity in mouse models of HIV infection.

Xie Q .jpeg

Qiaowei Xie, MS

PhD Student, 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.

Undergraduate Researchers

Former Lab Members

Isabella Agyapong Headshot.JPG

Isabella Agyapong

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow, 2018

Mouse Drinking.png

Brittanie Bland, MS

Master's student, Drug Discovery and Development, 2018

laura figueroa.jpg

Laura Figueroa, MS

Master's student, Interdisciplinary Health Sciences, 2020

Brianna Hamilton_edited.jpg

Brianna Hamilton

NeuroHIV T32 Trainee, Summer 2019

Fangyi Huang_edited.jpg

Fangyi Huang

Master's student, Drug Discovery and Development, 2020

Briana Johnson_edited.jpg

Briana Johnson

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow, 2019

Wenhan Lu Headshot_edited.jpg

Wenhan Lu

Master's student, Drug Discovery and Development, 2018


Jessie Nagle

Master's student, Drug Discovery and Development, 2018

Harsha Ohri.jpg

Harsha Ohri

Rotating Student, Neuroscience PhD Program, 2018

Katie Smith Headshot.jpg

Kaitlin Smith

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