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Aubrey M. Kelly, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor - Lab PI
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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: 

Postdoctoral Researchers
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Kelly J. Wallace, Ph.D. - NSF PRFB fellow

Dr. Kelly J. Wallace ( is an NSF PRFB postdoctoral fellow in the Lab of Dr. Aubrey Kelly. Kelly received her undergraduate degree in Neurobiology & Behavior from Cornell University in 2015. While at Cornell she conducted research in the lab of Dr. Alex Ophir, investigating the neural mechanisms of spatial learning and social behavior in prairie voles. She then performed her doctoral research in the Ecology, Evolution, & Behavior PhD Program at the University of Texas at Austin under the primary supervision of Dr. Hans Hofmann and funded by a Ford Foundation Fellowship. Her dissertation characterized variation in cognition between the sexes and across dominance hierarchies in two fish species: the western mosquitofish (G. affinis) and an African cichlid (A. burtoni). In 2021 she joined the lab of Dr. Aubrey Kelly to explore the developmental origins and social influences of cognitive style in the precocial African Spiny Mouse (A. dimidiatus) and the altricial Mongolian Gerbil (M. unguicalatus). Dr. Wallace will begin a position as a tenure-track Assistant Professor at Amherst College in January 2024.   

Dr. Wallace's CV is available for download at

Graduate Students
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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:

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Deborah Ho

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 enables newcomers to join established social groups.

Download Deb's CV here:

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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:

Undergraduate Researchers
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Jinrun Jiang

Emory NBB Major 2024

Honors Student 


Venezia Roshko

Emory NBB Major + Philosophy Major 2024

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Ann Clemens

University of Edinburgh

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Richmond Thompson

Oxford College of

Emory  University

Ashley Seifert

University of Kentucky

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Zoe Donaldson

University of Colorado at Boulder

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Madison Garvin

Kennesaw State

Biological Sciences BS 2021

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Zack Hoffer

Emory Psych BA 2021

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Rebecca Kalik

Emory NBB BS + Psych and Linguistics BA 2021

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Manushri Kanoria

Emory Economics

BA 2023

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Ashley Rosenberg

Emory NBB BS 2021

Honors Student

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Zia Huballah

Emory NBB BS + French BA 2022

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Nicholas Lee

Emory NBB BS 2022

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Jeanne Powell

Emory Psych MS 2021


Jose Gonzalez Abreu

Research Specialist 2020-22


Solanch Dupeyron

Emory NBB BS + Spanish BA 2023

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Mark Li

Emory NBB BS + Japanese BA 2023

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Mikala Dowling

Emory NBB Major 2025

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