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.

[Google Scholar]

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.

Yuwoong Kim

PhD Student

I hold a BSc in Life Science from Sangmyung University, Rep. of Korea and an MSc in Neuroscience from Stony Brook University, NY. Formerly, I studied the neuronal fixation of experts in problem-solving with fMRI technique at Brain Science of Learning Center at the Korean National University of Education. My Master's thesis topic was the functional topology of the subthalamic nucleus in terms of sex hormone sensitivity related to non-motor symptoms of the Parkinson's disease

Duygu Yilmaz

PhD Student

I got my undergraduate degree in Psychology from Bogazici University, Turkey. Throughout my studies, I have worked on various topics, such as circadian rhythms, depression, extinction learning, and stress, mostly at the behavioral level. As of Fall 2017, I am doing my first rotation as a PhD student in Mena Lab.

Joe Clerke

Research Assistant

I recently graduated from my Integrated Masters (MSci) in Neuroscience at the University of Glasgow this summer (2017). My placement year was conducted at Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm in the lab of Marie Carlén where I worked on a project mapping monosynaptic inputs to the Thalamic Reticular Nucleus using viral tracers in mice. My interests lie in the neural circuitry encoding emotion and stress and how these become dysregulated in psychiatric disorders. I am joining the Mena Lab for the next 6 months assisting Dr Nadine Gut.

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.

Peter Meggali


I am currently a 4th Year Undergraduate Student at Rutgers University - Newark Honors College.  My studies thus far have focused on Applied Mathematics with a concentration in biology for pursuing medicine following graduation anticipated in May 2018.


Celina Nieves-Caban

Lab Administrator