Ahmad Hariri

Ahmad R. Hariri, Ph.D.

Dr. Hariri is Professor of Psychology & Neuroscience at Duke University, where he is also the Director of the Laboratory of NeuroGenetics. After completing his B.S. (1994) and M.S. (1997) in evolutionary biology at the University of Maryland, Dr. Hariri completed his Ph.D. (2000) in the UCLA Interdepartmental Ph.D. Program for Neuroscience with Dr. Susan Bookheimer. He next completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institute of Mental Health with Dr. Daniel Weinberger. From 2003-2009, Dr. Hariri was first Assistant and then Associate Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry & Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh.

Throughout his career Dr. Hariri has sought to systematically integrate available and emerging research tools to study the biology of individual differences in complex behavioral traits and related risk for psychopathology. Using human neuroimaging, especially functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), Dr. Hariri and his colleagues have begun to identify how variability in brain function contributes to individual differences in complex behavioral traits. In parallel, they have combined fMRI with drug challenge studies and positron emission tomography (PET) to identify how variability in brain chemistry influences these individual differences in brain function. Against this background, Dr. Hariri and his team use molecular genetics to understand the origins of variability in brain chemistry as well as to model how such emergent variability impacts behaviorally and clinically relevant brain function. A translational aim of Dr. Hariri's research is to help develop biomarkers that predict risk for psychopathology and inform the development of more effective and individually tailored therapies.




Bart Brigidi

Bart Brigidi, PhD

Dr. Brigidi is the Associate Director of the LoNG and is a clinical neuropsychologist with training in neuroimaging and genomics. He oversees clinical and regulatory operations in the LoNG.

Prior to joining the Laboratory of NeuroGenetics in the summer of 2009, Dr. Brigidi served as the Director of the Cognition and Cancer Lab at The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke University Medical Center. Dr. Brigidi obtained both a BS and MS from St. Joseph's University where he studied anxiety using experimental psychopathology paradigms. He completed a PhD in Clinical Psychology at the University of Vermont with Tom Achenbach developing empirically-based cognitive and behavioral assessment measures. He completed a pre-doctoral internship in Clinical Neuropsychology/Cognitive Behavioral Therapy at Duke University Medical Center, and a 2-year NIH T32 Postdoctoral Fellowship in Neuropsychology (consistent with Houston guidelines) at Duke University Medical Center.

His current research is focused on characterizing the neurobiological pathways mediating variability in memory, decision-making, deception, and emotion regulation, as well as novel methods to integrate imaging, behavioral, and genomic data.


Annchen Knodt

Annchen Knodt, MS

Annchen earned a Master's in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics at Duke and now works in the LoNG as a Research Analyst. Outside of work, Annchen enjoys work, playing the piano, being crafty, and spending time in the great outdoors!


Spenser Radtke

Spenser Radtke, BS

Spenser is the lab manager for the LoNG, recently having graduated from the superior UNC Chapel Hill with a B.S. in Psychology. Besides answering emails all day, she enjoys reading and watching all the best reality shows TV has to offer.


Postdoctoral Fellows

Megan Cooke

Megan Cooke, PhD

Megan started working as a postdoctoral researcher in the lab in 2017. She received her Ph.D. in Psychiatric, Behavioral, and Statistical Genetics from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2017. Her dissertation focused on the genetic and neurobiological influences on subtypes of binge drinkers. Prior to graduate school, she received a B.S. in Psychology from Furman University and spent 3 years as a research fellow at the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Broadly, Megan is interested in how genetic, neurobiological, and environmental factors influence the development of substance use disorders. Megan is excited to explore Durham; especially the food!


Justin Kim

Justin Kim, PhD

Justin is a postdoctoral researcher in the lab. He received his Ph.D. in Psychological and Brain Sciences from Dartmouth College in 2016. Justin is interested in studying the genetic and neurobiological mechanisms - focusing on the corticolimbic circuitry - that underpin individual differences in the psychological process of how we experience our own emotions and evaluate the emotions of others. Justin is a fan of all things Durham, but he is particularly excited for Duke Basketball.


Reut Avinun

Reut Avinun, PhD

Reut is a postdoctoral researcher in the lab. She is a Rothschild Fellow supported by Yad Hanadiv. She received her PhD in 2016 from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and did her dissertation on the genetic and child influences on parental behavior. She is currently interested in gaining a better understanding of the brain mechanisms that underlie genetic plasticity (susceptibility vs. resilience), particularly in the context of anxiety and depression. In her spare time she enjoys relaxing in front of a good comedy TV show, taking a walk in nature, and reading.


Doctoral Students

Tracy Darbeloff

Tracy Darbeloff, BA

Tracy is a doctoral student in the Cognitive Neuroscience program. Before Duke, Tracy worked as a lab manager in an affective neuroscience lab at Dartmouth College. She is interested in investigating individual differences in comorbidity, as well as functional and structural correlates of psychopathology in the brain. In her free time, she likes to be outdoors: climbing, hiking, and playing ultimate frisbee.



Max Elliott

Max Elliott, BS

Max is a clinical psychology PhD student working coming to LoNG after completing his BS at the University of Minnesota and spending two years as a research fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health. He is particularly interested in finding ways to combine knowledge about genetics and lifespan development with brain imaging to better assess and understand risk factors for mental illness. In his free time Max loves to get out on his road bike and discover new parts of Durham.



Madeline Farber

Madeline Farber, BA

Madeline is a doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology program. Prior to joining the lab, she completed a fellowship with the NIMH after majoring in psychology at Cornell. She is interested in investigating the impact of early caregiving and family functioning on adolescent psychopathology and maladaptive neural functioning. Outside of research, Madeline likes playing board games and taking advantage of Durham's craft beer scene -- ideally simultaneously.



Adrienne Romer

Adrienne Romer, BS

Adrienne is a student in the Clinical Psychology PhD program. She comes to us from NIH after spending her undergraduate years at Cornell. She is interested in examining the neurobiological correlates of a general psychopathology factor accounting for shared risk for internalizing, externalizing, and thought disorders. In her spare time Adrienne enjoys traveling and she hopes to explore all that Durham and North Carolina have to offer!


Matt Scult

Matt Scult, BS

Matt is a graduate student in the Cognitive Neuroscience Admitting Program. He is interested in studying individual differences in motivational and emotional factors that affect learning and memory. He spends most of his free time sampling the food around Durham and is happy to take recommendations!


Undergraduate Scholars and Research Assistants

Rachel Corr

Rachel Corr

Rachel is a Duke senior majoring in neuroscience with minors in evolutionary anthropology and psychology. She is interested in studying genetic and neural correlates of psychopathology and in the future hopes to focus on this research in graduate school. She spends most of her free time playing trumpet at Duke basketball and football games as a member of the marching and pep band.


Jamie Hanson

Jamie Hanson, PhD

After completing a postdoctoral fellowship in the LoNG in 2016, Jamie joined the faculty in the Department of Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh. Jamie's website


Johnna Swartz

Johnna Swartz, PhD

Johnna completed her postdoctoral fellowship in the LoNG in 2016 and has joined the faculty in the Department of Human Ecology at UC Davis.


Elena Goetz

Elena Goetz Davis, PhD

Elena received her PhD in Clinical Psychology from Duke in 2015 and went on to a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford.



Liz Victor

Liz Victor, PhD

After completing her PhD in Clinical Psychology at Duke, Liz went on to a postdoctral fellowship at the Childrens Medical Center of Dallas.



Devin Ulrich

Devin Ulrich, BS

After finishing an undergraduate degree in Psychology and Biology at Duke and doing two years of post-baccalaureate work in the LoNG, Devin is now working on a PhD in Clinical Psychology at the University of New Mexico.

Adam Gorka

Adam Gorka, PhD

Adam completed his PhD in the LoNG in 2015. He is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Section for the Neurobiology of Fear and Anxiety at the NIMH working with Drs. Christian Grillon and Monique Ernst.


Yuliya Nikolova

Yuliya Nikolova, PhD

Yuliya finished her PhD in the LoNG in Spring 2014 and currently works as a Postdoctoral Fellow in Dr. Etienne Sibille's lab at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, Canada, where she studies the molecular mechanisms underlying psychiatric disorder risk. Although she loves Toronto so far, she misses the LoNG and North Carolina weather.


Fredrik Ahs

Fredrik Ahs, PhD

Fredrik received his PhD from Uppsala University in Sweden. He did a post doc in the LaBar lab colaborating with the Laboratory of NeuroGenetics. He is currently working as a research assistant professor at Uppsala University in Sweden.



Kelly Faig

Kelly Faig, BA

Kelly left the LoNG in 2013 to pursue her PhD in the Integrative Neuroscience Psychology program at the University of Chicago. She will be investigating the genetic, physiological, neural, and environmental influences impacting human social behavior.


Caroline Davis

Caroline Davis, PhD

Caroline received her PhD from Dartmouth college before working as a postdoc in the Laboratory of NeuroGenetics. She is now a research fellow at Harvard Medical School.


Ryan Bogdan

Ryan Bogdan, PhD

Ryan received his PhD from Harvard University beforing working as a postdoc in the Laboratory of NeuroGenetics. He is now an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Washington University.


Luke Hyde

Luke W. Hyde, PhD

Luke received his PhD from the University of Pittsburgh in 2012. He is now an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Michigan.




Jared Minkel

Jared Minkel, PhD

Jared is currently studying effects of psychopathology on prefrontal cortical functioning during goal directed behavior as a postdoc with Sharon Thompson-Schill at the University of Pennsylvania. In addition, he is continuing his work with the LoNG on how individual differences in sleep influence neural responses to emotional responses and emotion regulation.



Justin Carre

Justin Carre, PhD

Justin received his Ph.D. at Brock University and did a postdoc at Duke University in the Laboratory of NeuroGenetics. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Wayne State University and continues to examine the neuroendocrine mechanisms underlying variation in human aggressive behavior.



Vanessa Sochat

Vanessa Sochat, BA

Vanessa parted with her role as Research Technician for the LoNG in 2011. She is now a PhD student in the Biomedical Informatics program at Stanford University.



Kristin McNealy

Kristin McNealy, PhD

Kristin received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of California, Los Angeles while studying the neural basis of language learning in childhood and adolescence. She is now a managing editor at John Wiley & Sons.

Patrick Fisher

Patrick Fisher, PhD

Patrick received his PhD from the University of Pittsburgh in 2010. He is currently a Postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Gitte Knudsen in Copenhagen.