Cornell University, Ithaca, NY (BA in Psychology)
University of Washington, Seattle, WA (Ph.D. in Neurobiology and Behavior)
I have always been interested in understanding the factors that govern when and how much we eat. In graduate school, I became taken with the mesolimbic system and was heavily influenced by the work of Ann Kelley and Wolfram Schultz and have pursued the study of the mesolimbic system ever since. Given its role in motivation in general, I have expanded my interests to include disordered signaling that arises in obesity and drug addiction. I am forever grateful to my academic mentors: Drs. Barbara Strupp and David Levitsky (Cornell University); Drs. Harvey Grill and Joel Kaplan (Univ. of Pennsylvania); Dr. Ilene Bernstein (Univ. of Washington) and Drs. Regina Carelli and Mark Wightman (Univ. of North Carolina). I continue to be influenced by my colleagues and students.
In my spare time, I love to hike and travel with my family. All the background images were taken on our travels.
Current position: Lecturer, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK. Department of Cell Physiology and Pharmacology
Roitman Lab: post-doc; 2010-2013
Dr. James E. McCutcheon
Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ (BS in Biological Sciences)
During my undergraduate career, I developed a strong curiosity for understanding how drugs of abuse modulate normal brain functioning. While at ASU, I worked under Dr. Janet Neisewander on investigating the serotonin system’s involvement in cocaine action and addiction. I switched my neurotransmitter focus to dopamine upon arriving to the Roitman Lab with the sustained focus of exploring the neural mechanisms by which drugs produce their effects. Currently, I am employing chemogenetics, intracranial self-stimulation studies, and fast-scan cyclic voltammetry to study amphetamine action on mesolimbic dopamine signaling. When I am not in the lab, I enjoy seeing live music, traveling and eating pizza.
University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA (BS in Psychology)
I worked at the University of Iowa with Dr. Mark Blumberg studying the contributions of REM sleep to the developing sensorimotor system. While there, I developed a passion for neuroscience, and while I loved developmental work I changed my focus upon arriving to Dr. Mitchell Roitman’s lab. My current work aims to better understand how regulatory processes of hunger and satiety influence motivation, and specifically dopamine signaling in the mesolimbic pathway. My most recent project examined the modulatory effects of hindbrain to VTA projections on dopamine signaling by way of fast-scan cyclic voltammetry and ventricular infusions of cocaine. The hindbrain houses important structures related to hunger and satiety processes, therefore it is important to elucidate how such structures might communicate with reward related pathways. When I’m not in the lab, you’ll likely find me watching any and every NHL game. Unfortunately I am not a Hawks fan, as I was born and raised in the state of hockey – go Wild!
Current position: Post-doctoral Scholar, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Department of Neurobiology
Roitman Lab: graduate student; 2009-2014
Dr. Jackson J. Cone
Current position: Post-doctoral Scholar, University of Texas - Southwestern, Dallas, TX
Department of Psychiatry
Roitman Lab: graduate student; 2007-2013
Dr. Amy L. Loriaux
Current position: Post-doctoral Scholar, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Department of Neuroscience
Roitman Lab: graduate student; 2007-2013
Dr. Stephanie R. Ebner
Current position: Associate Director, Charles River Laboratories, San Francisco, CA
Roitman Lab: graduate student; 2008-2011
Dr. Holden D. Brown
University of California, San Diego (BS & MA in Biological Sciences)
My interest in neuronal systems started during my undergraduate education. My project in the leech inhibitory nervous system and my courses in neuroscience whet my appetite for understanding the underlying mechanisms for behavior. After graduating with a master’s degree and working as a lab manager and technician in Dr. Scott Kanoski’s lab, I decided to start graduate school in the neurosciences. In Dr. Mitchell Roitman’s lab, I am interested in using photometry and fast scan cyclic voltammetry to observe how an obesogenic diet might perturb the dopamine reward system. When I find some free time, I love to brew beer and go hiking-- not necessarily in that order.
Dr. Samantha M. Fortin
Current position: Post-doc, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Department of Psychiatry
Roitman Lab: graduate student; 2012-2017
University of California, Santa Barbara (BS in Biopsychology)
University of Southern California (Ph.D. in Neuroscience
My broad interests in neuroscience is in understanding neural pathways and mechanisms underlying motivated behaviors that govern our day-to-day lives. In particular, my passion and foundation for neuroscience research were established during my PhD training under the mentorship of Dr. Scott Kanoski at the University of Southern California. There I studied the neurobiological systems that regulate feeding behaviors, with a special emphasis on the obesity epidemic and behaviors that mediate excessive food intake. Using a combination of neuroanatomical, chemogenetic, neuropharmacological, and behavioral approaches, my work focused on uncovering the mechanisms underlying the learned aspects of feeding behaviors by examining the integration of feeding peptides (e.g. GLP-1, ghrelin) with hippocampal neural processes. Upon entering Mitch Roitman’s laboratory as a Post-Doctoral researcher, I continue to study the interaction between a variety of feeding-related peptides and neural substrates that modulate learning and memory, reward, and motivation using electrophysiology, fast-scan cyclic voltammetry, and fiber photometry. During my free time, I like skateboarding, playing music, and eating!