Anna Konova, PhD | Principal Investigator

Anna completed her PhD in Integrative Neuroscience with Rita Z. Goldstein at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Stony Brook University. She was then a postdoctoral fellow with Paul W. Glimcher at the Center for Neural Science at NYU. At Rutgers, Anna directs the ADN Lab which studies the computational and neural basis of human decision making in health and addiction.

E-mail: | CV | Google Scholar

Darla Bonagura, BA | Lab Manager

Darla received her BA in Psychology with a minor in Critical Sexuality Studies from Rutgers University in 2018. Before joining the ADN Lab, she worked as a Lab Manager and Research Assistant in clinical and social psychology labs. Her interests include the impact of stress and discrimination on psychological and physical health. In her spare time, Darla enjoys writing poetry and taking photos.


Kathryn Biernacki, PhD | Postdoctoral Associate

Kathryn completed her PhD in Psychology at the Australian Catholic University in Melbourne, Australia. Her research focuses on decision-making impairment in substance users with a special interest in opioid using populations. She is currently working at the ADN and CMBN as a postdoctoral research associate. In her spare time, Kathryn enjoys cooking and traveling.


Maëlle Gueguen, PhD | Postdoctoral Fellow

Maëlle completed her PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience with Julien Bastin and Jean-Philippe Lachaux at the University Grenoble Alpes, France. She used intracerebral EEG recordings to study reinforcement learning in epileptic patients. Now a postdoctoral fellow at the ADN lab, her research focuses on risky decision-making with special interest in populations with opioid addiction. In her spare time, Maëlle enjoys horse riding and traveling.


Manny Alvarez | PhD Student | TRACC-RU Fellow

Manny is pursuing his PhD in Neuroscience at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Before joining the ADN Lab, he examined reward function in schizotypy and hypomania at Rowan University, where he received his BS in Psychology. His research interests include deciphering the role of reward dysfunction in severe psychopathology and its neural correlates. In his spare time, Manny enjoys cycling and seeking out great food.


Emma Schweitzer | PhD Student

Emma is a PhD student in Neuroscience at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Prior to joining the ADN lab she studied decision-making behavior and the role of oxytocin in mediating social reward value in Dr. Tim Hackenberg's lab at Reed College, where she received her B.A. in Neuroscience. Her research interests encompass how value is represented in the brain and the neurobiology of decision-making in healthy and disease states. When not in lab, Emma enjoys baking and 3D printing assembly.


Josh Zhao | Accelerated BA/MD Student

Josh is a medical student at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Before joining the ADN lab, he studied the role of norepinephrine signaling in rat models of cocaine addiction in Dr. Gary Aston-Jones’ lab at Rutgers, where he also obtained his BA in Cell Biology and Neuroscience. Now, he is excited to investigate the clinical side of drug addiction, focusing on the impact of decision-making preferences on opioid abuse. Outside of studying and the lab, Josh enjoys playing soccer and football, watching movies, and playing piano.


Joany Xue | Undergraduate Research Assistant

Joany is a junior in the Rutgers University Honors College with a Cell Biology and Neuroscience major, and is on the pre-health track. Her interests include finding new treatment options for different psychopathologies and learning more about how different parts of the brain work together. In her spare time, Joany enjoys teaching and taking fitness classes at the gym, hiking, and volunteering as an EMT.


Ananya Kapoor | Graduate Research Assistant

Ananya is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Statistics with a concentration in Data Mining at Rutgers University. He is passionate about leveraging statistics, deep learning, and computer vision in ways to create lasting positive changes to society, especially for marginalized communities. Now at Konova Lab, he is excited to use advanced machine learning techniques to investigate substance use disorder’s effect on the brain’s reward circuit and to apply these research findings in clinical settings. In his free time Ananya enjoys reading, playing piano, and is a passionate animal rights activist.


Akshita Kumar | Undergraduate Research Assistant

Akshita Kumar is a junior at Rutgers University and is part of Douglass Residential College. She is on a pre-med track with a double major in Cell Biology and Neuroscience and Psychology. At Konova Lab, she is excited to explore how alcohol use disorder affects decision-making. In her spare time, Akshita enjoys drawing, painting, DIY crafts, listening to music, and spending time with friends and family.


Interested in joining our team? Find out more here.

Former Lab Members

Melanie Ruiz | Aresty Research Fellow

Robert Laumbach | Aresty Research Fellow

Gabriela Silguero | Undergraduate Research Assistant

Yash Nisar | Graduate Research Assistant

Adaugo Chikezie | Undergraduate Honors Student

Rhea Kanwar | Undergraduate Research Assistant

Mingwen Dong | Senior Research Assistant, Neuroscience PhD Student