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Undergraduate Alumni

Zahra Lalee (2015 – 2019, Neuroscience ’19)

Zahra Lalee joined HARP in Fall 2015 as a research assistant. She is currently a junior at Duke University studying to receive a BS in Neuroscience and a minor in Chemistry and American and Middle Eastern Studies. During her first year in the lab (and at Duke!), she assisted with the scoring of neuropsychological testing data and data entry for Project MIND and Project DECIDE primarily. Her work then shifted to helping with the start-up preparation for Project Avenir, working on tasks such as coding and preparing data entry screens. After a few semesters learning important skills at the lab, Zahra began an independent study project in Summer 2017 analyzing brain activity during risky decision making in individuals with HIV and cocaine dependence. Her summer project was funded through the Duke Institute for Brain Science’s Summer Neuroscience Program fellowship. She continued this project into Fall 2017 and also Spring 2018. She hopes that working on this project will give her greater insight and appreciation of fMRI studies and how the technology is being used to learn about and improve health outcomes for HIV+ communities. Zahra hopes to continue medical research and service at medical school.



Sofia Paniagua (2018, Neuroscience ’19)

Sofia is a senior studying to receive a BS in Neuroscience and minors in Chemistry and Biology. She became captivated by HIV research during her summer Global Health course in South Africa, which focused on HIV transmission and prevention. Her research interests center around the neurocognitive impairments associated with psychiatric disorders. Specifically, she is interested in the neurological changes that occur as a result of HIV infection and chronic drug use. She hopes to use neuroimaging techniques such as fMRI to gain a better understanding of the neurological basis of psychiatric disorders. Sofia plans to utilize and apply her knowledge gained through research in medical school and continue addiction research throughout her career.




Yasmin Maktal (2018, Biology ’20)

Yasmin has spent many years volunteering with Somali immigrants and refugees, which led to her interest in healthcare. She noticed the lack of awareness present in the communities so close to her and realized that her future goals were to help decrease prominent healthcare disparities. She joined the HARP lab in the spring of 2018 due to her interest in aiding underserved communities and her fascination with infectious diseases. She currently does neuropsychological scoring and data entry for Project Avenir, which aims to research how decision making is impacted by HIV and drug addiction. Yasmin Maktal is a member of the Duke class of 2020. She is majoring in Biology with minors in Global Health and Chemistry and hopes to attend medical school in the future.




Ajile Owens (2018, Sociology & Global Health ’19)

With two years of working with an on-campus HIV testing group and a year at an HIV immunology lab, Ajile Owens has been interested in studying HIV since she first came to Duke. However, only after volunteering with Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abuse, did she begin to consider the far-reaching impacts of substance abuse. These experiences ultimately led her to join HARP in the Spring of 2018. Ajile primarily contributes to the neuropsychological scoring and data entry for Project Avenir, which studies how decision making is impacted both by HIV and drug addiction. Currently, Ajile is member of the class of 2019, pursuing dual degrees in Sociology and Global Health, with a concentration in Emerging Infectious Diseases. She hopes to earn a PhD and pursue a career in public health and epidemiology.


Emma Burke (2017-2018, Neuroscience ’19)

Emma Burke joined HARP in the fall of 2017 after volunteering at Central Regional Psychiatric Hospital, where she first became interested in the relationship between disease and the brain. With the help of Dr. Bell, Emma currently analyzes resting state fMRI data from project MIND to investigate neurological changes due to HIV infection and marijuana use. Emma is pursuing a B.S. in neuroscience with minors in political science and psychology, and she hopes to pursue mental health advocacy work before earning her PhD following graduation in 2019.







Ehizokha Ihionkan (2015-2018, Psychology ’18)

Ehi joined the Meade Lab in Fall 2015 as a BioCoRE (Biological Collaborative Research Environment) Scholar. With the help of Daniella Cordero and Andrea Hobkirk, Ehi began working on Project MIND, focusing on the integrity of white matter tracts within the brain using DTI scans. Currently, Ehi is working on Project DECIDE, which focuses on the neurocognitive effects of cocaine and HIV. Ehi is interested in the psychobiological effects of substance addictions and psychological disorders and the consequences that these effects can have on the efficacy of patient healthcare. Ehi is a member of the Class of 2018 and plans on graduating with a B.A. in Psychology, then continuing his fascination for patient healthcare in medical school.




Feven Alemu (2017-2018, Public Policy & Global Helath ’18)

Feven Alemu is a member of the Duke class of 2018. She joined HARP in the Spring of 2017 after spending a summer studying issues related to HIV/AIDS in South Africa. Feven is currently contributing to the fascinating work being done at HARP through data entry for Project Avenir, which seeks to understand how decision making is impacted by HIV and drug addiction. Feven is double majoring in Public Policy and Global Health. She hopes to pursue a career in health policy after graduation.








Bennett Hartley (2016-17, Neuroscience ’17)

Bennett joined HARP in Spring 2016 after completing global health research in Uganda and Spain. During his time in the lab, he worked on a secondary analysis of Project DECIDE, focusing on behavioral and functional brain analysis of ambiguity tolerance among persons with HIV infection and/or cocaine dependence. During the summer before his senior year, he completed the Neuroscience Program of Research (NPR), which led directly to his senior thesis. Bennett graduated with distinction in May 2017 with a B.S. in Neuroscience and a Minor in Chemistry. He hopes to attend medical school after graduation and potentially continue addiction neuroscience research throughout his career.







Bianca Martin (2014-17, Psychology and Global Health ’17)

Bianca joined the Meade Lab in the summer of 2014 as a Psychology Vertical Integration Program (VIP) Fellow. With Linda Skalski as her graduate student mentor, Bianca began working on Project MIND, focusing specifically on self-reported motivation for initiation and current use of marijuana, as well as mental health and physical symptoms, in an HIV-positive sample. She presented findings from this preliminary study at the 2014 CFAR Fall Retreat. Bianca continued working in the lab as an undergraduate research assistant, and then transitioned to an independent study. Bianca’s senior thesis focused on marijuana motivations in HIV-positive adults, which she successfully defended in the spring of 2017. Bianca also collaborated with Linda on a manuscript examining sexual orientation, religious coping, and psychological health in adults living with HIV/AIDS. Bianca majored in psychology and global health, with a passionate for researching the complex and multidirectional relationships between substance addiction, HIV/AIDS treatment/progression, and depression/anxiety in at-risk populations. Bianca hopes to further pursue this passion in medical school.






Sri Sridharan (2014-17, Neuroscience and Computer Science ’17)

Sri joined HARP in the summer of 2014, after completing his first year at Trinity, and continued through his graduation in May 2017. He initially contributed to project DECIDE and Reloaded through scoring of neuropsychological batteries and loss aversion tasks conducted both in the lab and during fMRI scanning. He then transitioned into work on project MIND, completing two independent studies supported by Undergraduate Research Support (URS) grants on the topic of the neurobehavioral effects of heavy marijuana use in persons living with HIV. He presented this work at the Spring 2016 Visible Thinking Conference. The following summer, Sri participated in the Duke Global Health Institute Summer Research Training Program (DGHI SRTP) in India. With the help of his team and in collaboration with a Delhi-based NGO, he evaluated the mental and physical health outcomes of children, caregivers, and alumni associated with the NGO’s residential care program for orphaned/vulnerable children. During his senior year, Sri completed a Neuroscience honors thesis on the long-term effects of heavy marijuana use on neurobehavioral task performance and brain activation during the Counting Stroop task in individuals living with and without HIV (Project MIND). During his time in the lab, Sri co-authored a manuscript on the effects of HIV and cocaine on brain activation during a loss aversion task (Project DECIDE). Sri graduated with distinction in May 2017 with a double major in computer science and neuroscience and a minor in chemistry. After graduation, Sri plans to further explore his passions for global mental health, substance abuse and addiction, and sustainable community development in and beyond medical school or through consulting work with nonprofits and governments.



Kathryn Wong (2017)

Kathryn WongKathryn joined HARP in Spring of 2017, after spending a semester at the Lizard Island Research Station in Australia. During her semester in the lab, she worked on data entry and management analysis for Project Avenir, a study looking at the effects of HIV infection and drug addiction on decision-making processes. Kathryn is pursuing B.S. degrees in Biology and Psychology in the Trinity School of Arts and Sciences.









Jesse Mangold (2016-17)

Jesse joined HARP in the summer of 2016 as a Huang Fellow of the Duke Initiative for Science & Society, a program that seeks to understand science in the context of and in service to society. With the assistance of Drs. Andrea Hobkirk and Sheri Towe, Jesse began working on Project MIND, focusing on a project that examined the effect of age of initiation of marijuana use on HIV-associated neurocognitive impairment. He presented findings from this preliminary study at the 2016 CFAR Fall Retreat. Jesse assisted with data management and analysis for Projects MIND and Avenir through work-study and a URS Assistantship grant. He is particularly interested in understanding decision-making processes and effects on white matter integrity in HIV-positive substance users through neuroimaging methods such as fMRI and DTI. Jesse is a member of the Class of 2019 and plans to graduate with a B.S. in Neuroscience, while also obtaining a minor in Global Health and a certificate in Science & Society. Ultimately, Jesse hopes to expand his experiences with clinical research and healthcare through global health fieldwork and attending medical school.





Daniel Ye (2013-16, Biology ’16)

Dan joined the Meade Lab in the spring of 2013 as a participant in a Duke first-year internship program. Initially interested in the general field of “Global Health Studies”, he developed a strong interest in neuropsychological research. He worked primarily on Projected Reloaded, focusing his independent study on the neural correlates of impaired decision-making in cocaine-dependent and/or HIV+ patients, which was partially supported by URS grants, using BOLD fMRI imaging to identify areas of higher activation during a monetary-choice task. Dan majored in Biology and minored in Chemistry and Global Health, and graduated in May 2016. After graduation, Dan joined the NIH as a post-baccalaureate research fellow and plans to continue on to medical school after his fellowship at NIH.







Martha Berg (2013-15, Psychology ’15)

LinkedIn copyMartha joined the Meade Lab in Fall 2013 as a Psychology practicum student. With the support of an ACC Inter-Institutional Academic Collaborative Fellowship and a Bains Family Independent Research Grant, she spent the summer of 2014 working at a Matrix drug rehabilitation clinic in Cape Town, South Africa, collecting data on the social and behavioral risk factors of HIV. Upon returning to the lab, she conducted an independent analysis of the data. She presented her work at the 2015 Visible Thinking undergraduate research showcase and at the 11th Annual Duke Center for AIDS Research Fall Scientific Retreat. She went on to develop a senior thesis examining the role of substance-use coping on the relation between childhood sexual abuse and depression, and she graduated with distinction in December 2015 with a B.S. in Psychology.

Martha continues to study global mental health at Duke in the Master of Science in Global Health program. She hopes to continue exploring the social determinants of mental health in her graduate work in suicidal behavior among adolescents in rural Nepal.




Anastasia Gazgalis (2013-15, Biology ’15)

Photo for WebsiteAnastasia joined the lab in the Fall 2013 as a practicum student. With her interests in neuroscience, she learned to score and enter neuropsychological testing data, to pre-process MRI images, and to conduct MRI visits with participants. During her senior year she conducted an independent study project entitled, “Neuroanatomical Effect of Cocaine Use on Brain Volume,” which was partially supported by a URS grant. For this project, she implemented a voxel-based morphology analysis to examine grey matter brain volume changes in cocaine users compared to non-drug users. This research was presented at the Visible Thinking showcase in the spring of 2015. Anastasia graduated in May of 2015 with a biology major and chemistry minor. She is interested in neurobiology research and wishes to continue to explore this field in medical school.







Claire Meriwether (2014-15, Global Health ’15)

Claire Meriwether PhotoClaire began working in the Meade Lab as an undergraduate research assistant in Fall 2014, after completing Dr. Meade’s “Research Methods in Global Health” course and the DGHI Student Research Training program in Tanzania. Claire’s research interests center around access to health care and health disparities. She worked closely with Dr. Andrea Hobkirk on the Carolina Connections project. With the support of a grant through her A.B. Duke Scholarship, she completed an independent study that examined the association of social determinants with access and distrust of the health care system among African American cocaine users. In 2015, Claire received her BA in Global Health and International Comparative Studies from Duke University. After graduation, Claire will be working at the International Partnership for Innovative Healthcare Delivery (IPIHD) in Durham, NC.







Katie Guidera (2012-14, Global Mental Health ’14) 

katie_meadelabKatie Guidera, a Program II major in Global Mental Health, joined the Meade Lab in the Fall of 2012. She initially supported Dr. Meade’s team with participant screening, data entry, and data analysis for studies focused on severe mental illness, drug abuse, and neurocognitive functioning in Durham, North Carolina. Katie received a National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) grant to continue this support in the Summer of 2013. At this time, Katie also became involved in the design and implementation of a mixed-methods study to assess patterns of drug addiction and predictors of HIV sexual risk behavior among methamphetamine users in Cape Town, South Africa. She spent time in June 2013 supporting participant interviews and data entry in Cape Town, and worked closely with Dr. Meade and Dr. Watt to develop her honors thesis on the relationship between methamphetamine abuse and gender-based violence in Cape Town.

Katie graduated from Duke University in 2014 with distinction in Global Mental Health. In addition to her work with the HIV & Addictions Research Program, Katie co-founded and continues to lead One Sun Health, a non-profit focused on promoting sustainable solutions to public health challenges through community education and social entrepreneurship in rural South Africa. Katie also currently works as a Global Health Senior Analyst at Accenture Development Partnerships (ADP), a practice within the global management consulting company Accenture which makes world-class business and technology consulting services accessible to organizations in the international development sector. Katie will be attending Harvard Business School in the Fall of 2017 and aims to continue to work at the intersections of global health and social enterprise in the future.



Sarah Teitell (2013-14, Neuroscience ’14)

Sarah Teitell

Sarah joined the lab in the spring of 2013 as a research practicum student. While pursuing a Neuroscience major, Sarah had a wide range of interests including psychology and global health, so her first role in the lab was to program the ACASI assessments for the ASTART project to be implemented in South Africa.  She also assisted with data entry and medical record abstraction for domestic projects, including Reloaded and DECIDE. Sarah was subsequently awarded a summer fellowship from the Neuroscience Program of Research (NPR), and began an independent project that compared memory deficits and white matter integrity in HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected adults. Sarah was also trained in the conduct of MRI scans for ongoing neuroimaging studies. During her senior year, she continued to work on her thesis,  “Structural Brain Abnormalities Underlying Memory Deficits in HIV-Positive Individuals,” which she successfully defended in the spring of 2014. Her research was partially supported by URS grants, and she presented her findings at the State of North Carolina Undergraduate Research & Creativity Symposium in fall of 2013 and the Visible Thinking showcase in spring of 2014. Sarah graduated with distinction in Neuroscience and received minors in Chemistry and Japanese Literature (Asian & Middle Eastern Studies). Due to her devotion to voluntary service, Sarah served as an AmeriCorps member at the Los Angeles American Red Cross for 1 year. She still has great interest in improving the quality of life of individuals with HIV/AIDS because of her wonderful experience at the HARP lab and will continue to serve this patient population as a medical student at the University of Alabama School of Medicine, starting in Fall 2015.



Taylor Jackson (2011-13, Neuroscience ’13)

Taylor Jackson 2Taylor began working in the Meade Lab during her junior year in the Fall of 2011. She spent this first semester learning how to administer and score neuropsychological assessments, screen participants for eligibility, analyze medical records, and conduct participant visits. Eager to get more involved in the lab, Taylor then completed a research practicum focused on the processing and analysis of functional neuroimaging data, which culminated in a year-long Independent Study in the Meade Lab. Funded in part by a URS grant, her thesis, Differences in Impulsivity and Functional Connectivity are Associated with HIV and/or Cocaine, examined the effects of HIV infection and cocaine dependence on resting state fMRI data and impulsivity.  She found that HIV and cocaine were correlated with independent, unique deficits in different domains of impulsivity and that each condition correlated with independent patterns of intrinsic functional connectivity.

Taylor graduated in May of 2013 with distinction in Neuroscience and with a minor in Psychology. Taylor is currently pursuing a PhD in Clinical Psychology with a concentration in Cognitive Neuroscience at Duke University. Having received a Dean’s Graduate Fellowship and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, she works with Dr. Alison Adcock in the Motivated Memory Lab and Dr. Joe McClernon in the Triangle Smoking Studies Lab. With the guidance of her two mentors, Taylor’s research seeks to understand the neurobiological underpinnings of impulsivity in neuropsychiatric disorders and to investigate the role of the environment in modulating self-regulation.



Laura Barnes (2010-present, Biomedical Engineering ’12)

Laura joined the lab in August of 2010Laura Barnes as an undergraduate research assistant. She initially worked with Dr. Meade to develop and program computerized decision-making tasks for implementation during functional MRI scans. As a senior, Laura worked with Dr. Meade and Dr. Allen Song at the Brain Imaging and Analysis Center on her independent study, which utilized novel analytic strategies from the Human Connectome Project to map white matter fiber tract in patients infected with HIV using diffusion tensor imaging. During her undergraduate years, Laura also volunteered with service projects in Tanzania, where she worked with fellow volunteers to fix broken medical equipment in hospitals, and in Guatemala, where she led a group of high school students in providing basic healthcare to rural areas.

After graduating from the Pratt School of Engineering with a BSE in May of 2012, Laura worked for Epic, an electronic medical records company, in Wisconsin for 2 years. She began medical school at Tulane University in August of 2014, and currently serves as a leader of two student-run free clinics in the New Orleans area. Laura is particularly passionate about global health issues and providing healthcare to underserved populations both domestically and internationally. Laura has continued to work with the Meade lab on her independent study as data collection has progressed since graduation.







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