Aubrey M. Kelly, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor - Lab PI
Dr. Aubrey M. Kelly received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) in 2007. As an undergraduate, her research focused on examining courtship behavior in birds. During a gap year upon graduating, she worked as a research assistant at UCSD examining grouping and reproductive behavior in birds and social communication in honeybees (oh look, the birds and the bees!). She then attended Indiana University for graduate school in the lab of James L. Goodson, completing her Ph.D. in Biology and Neuroscience, with a minor in Animal Behavior, in 2014. Her graduate research examined the evolution of the neural mechanisms underlying social behavior in closely related finch species that vary in sociality, ranging from highly territorial to highly social phenotypes. Upon receipt of an NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Postdoctoral Fellowship, she joined the lab of Alexander G. Ophir in the Psychology Department at Cornell University. As a postdoc, using the socially monogamous prairie vole, her research examined the development of social behavior and the social brain. Dr. Kelly joined the faculty at Emory University in the Department of Psychology in August 2018.
Download Dr. Kelly's CV here:
Brandon Fricker - DoD NDSEG fellow
Brandon is a PhD student advised by Dr. Aubrey Kelly. Before joining the Kelly lab, Brandon obtained a B.S. in Behavioral Neuroscience and a B.S. in Psychology from Lehigh University while working in Dr. Julie Haas’ lab. His undergraduate research focused on identifying how an electrical synapse’s activity induces long-term plastic changes to the same synapse. In the Kelly lab, Brandon is using a) chemogenetic technology to map neural circuits underlying grouping behavior and cooperation,
b) functional genetic approaches to determine nonapeptide contributions to kin-biased behaviors, and c) fiber photometry to elucidate neural dynamics of context-specific behavior in spiny mice.
Download Brandon's CV here:
Deborah (Deb) is a PhD student advised by Dr. Aubrey Kelly. Deb earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Neuroscience (2021) and master's degree in Psychology (2022) from the University of Michigan. As a master's student, she investigated the effects of maternal care and stress responses on the behavior of juvenile North American red squirrels. In the Kelly Lab, Deb is exploring group dynamics in spiny mice and how the brain allows animals to get along in new groups.
Download Deb's CV here:
Christian Janmil Esquilin-Rodriguez
Christian is a PhD student advised by Dr. Aubrey Kelly. Christian completed his bachelor’s degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras campus. As an undergraduate, he researched the circuits mediating reward and punishment with Dr. Christian Bravo-Rivera. He then transitioned to working with Dr. Cristina Velazquez-Marrero to conduct research elucidating the effects of “binge-like” alcohol exposure in context fear conditioning in female mice. In the Kelly Lab, Christian is examining how reward is titrated in the brains of spiny mice to uncover mechanisms that reinforce group cohesion and facilitate large group-living.
Download Christian's CV here:
Ruben de Klerk
Ruben is a master's student at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands and is currently at Emory as a visiting scholar. In the Kelly Lab, Ruben is using chemogenetics to examine contributions of the brain when animals join established groups. His internship project is entitled "Adding a pea to the pod: The Role of the Lateral Septum in the Grouping Behavior of Spiny Mice."
Emory NBB Major 2024
Emory NBB Major 2024
Emory NBB Major 2024
University of Edinburgh
Oxford College of
University of Kentucky
University of Colorado at Boulder
Postdoctoral and Graduate Alumni
Kelly J. Wallace, Ph.D.
- In Kelly Lab from 2021-2023 as an NSF PRFB postdoctoral fellow
- Currently Assistant Professor at Amherst College
Biological Sciences BS 2021
Emory Psych BA 2021
Emory NBB BS + Psych and Linguistics BA 2021
Emory NBB BS 2021
Jose Gonzalez Abreu
Research Specialist 2020-22
Emory NBB BS + French BA 2022
Emory NBB BS + Spanish BA 2023
Emory NBB BS 2022
Emory NBB BS + Japanese BA 2023
Emory Psych MS 2021
Emory NBB Major 2025