Lab members

Juan Mena-Segovia, MD, PhD

Principal Investigator

I graduated in Medicine in 1999 from the School of Medicine of the National University of Mexico (UNAM), followed by a Ph.D. (2003) at the Institute of Neurobiology, UNAM. In 2003 I joined the MRC Anatomical Neuropharmacology Unit of the University of Oxford in the group of Paul Bolam. In 2015 I started my own group as an Assistant Professor at the CMBN.

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Icnelia Huerta-Ocampo, MD, PhD

Research Assistant Professor

During my training, I completed Medicine and obtained a PhD from the University of Mexico (UNAM). I have specialized in the analysis of the ultrastructure of endocrine and neuronal circuits in the labs of Helen Christian (Dept Anatomy, Oxford), Peter Somogyi, Marco Capogna and Paul Bolam (MRC Anatomical Neuropharmacology, Oxford).

Daniel Dautan, PhD

Postdoctoral Associate

I graduated in Psychology and received my Ph.D in Neuroscience at the University of Leicester in 2016 under the supervision of Todor Gerdjikov and Juan Mena-Segovia (University of Oxford), examining the role of the cholinergic modulation of the mesostriatal pathway. My research focuses on investigating how cholinergic neurons in the brainstem modulate basal ganglia activity.

Nadine Gut, PhD

Postdoctoral Associate

I graduated in Psychology from the University of the Balearic Island, followed by an M.Res in Psychology from the University of St Andrews, Scotland and received my PhD in Behavioural Neuroscience (University of St Andrews), under the supervision of Prof Philip Winn and Dr James Ainge. I completed most of my PhD work at the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences in Glasgow, investigating the potential of the PPN as a target for deep brain stimulation to alleviate parkinsonian symptoms.

Krishnakanth Kondabolu (a.k.a., KK), PhD

Postdoctoral Associate

My training involved an undergraduate degree in pharmacy (2008), followed by a Ph.D in pharmaceutical sciences from University of Florida (2013) under the supervision of Dr. Raymond Booth. My doctoral dissertation focused on characterizing novel drug molecules that were selective agonist at serotonergic 5-HT2C receptors. My postdoctoral research from 2013-2015 investigated the role of striatal cholinergic tone in generating beta oscillations in basal ganglia. Since 2015 I have focused on charactering the subthalamic nucleus input to striatal interneurons. My current research is about investigating the afferent and efferent connectivity of pedunculopontine neurons.

Yixin Tong

PhD Student

I graduated in Preventive Medicine from Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU), followed by a MSc. in Neuroscience from Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience, NTNU, Trondheim, Norway under the supervision of Prof. Clifford Kentros and Nils Borgesius. My master's project was focused on in vivo tetrode recordings to investigate the object cells in the anterior cingulate cortex in mice. In 2016, I joined the Mena lab in Rutgers University - Newark as a PhD student and Graduate Assistant.

Alexandra Torres


In January of 2017, I joined Mena Lab as an undergraduate assistant. I attend Rutgers University-Newark where I am a part of the Honors College. I am currently a junior majoring in biology and minoring in chemistry. Upon graduating, I hope to attend medical school and specialize in psychiatry.

Bakhtawer Khan (a.k.a., Rida)


I am currently a junior in the Rutgers-Newark Honors College pursuing a bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in chemistry. I joined the Mena Lab in March of 2017 and am currently working as an undergraduate intern under Dr. Huerta-Ocampo.

Mary Seiler (a.k.a., Gray)


I am currently a 3rd Year Undergraduate student at the University of St Andrews, Scotland majoring in Neuroscience, and the President of the University’s Neuroscience Society. My studies have touched on cell biology, evolutionary biology and psychology, social psychology, cognition, psychopathology, comparative physiology, and statistics. This summer I am interning at Mena Lab with Dr Nadine Gut, and am learning and practicing all aspects of Neuroscience Research.


Celina Nieves-Caban

Lab Administrator