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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: 

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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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:

Anna Bautista

Joining the lab in Fall 2024!

Download Deb's CV here:

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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."
Undergraduate Researchers
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Jinrun Jiang

Emory NBB Major 2024

Honors Student 


Venezia Roshko

Emory NBB Major 2024


Nicklas Gose

Emory NBB Major 2024

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Ann Clemens

University of Edinburgh

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Richmond Thompson

Oxford College of

Emory  University

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Ashley Seifert

University of Kentucky

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Zoe Donaldson

University of Colorado at Boulder

Postdoctoral and Graduate Alumni
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Kelly J. Wallace, Ph.D.
-  In Kelly Lab from 2021-2023 as an NSF PRFB postdoctoral fellow
-  Currently Assistant Professor at Amherst College
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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


Jose Gonzalez Abreu

Research Specialist 2020-22

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Zia Huballah

Emory NBB BS + French BA 2022


Solanch Dupeyron

Emory NBB BS + Spanish BA 2023

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Nicholas Lee

Emory NBB BS 2022

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Mark Li

Emory NBB BS + Japanese BA 2023

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Jeanne Powell

Emory Psych MS 2021

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Mikala Dowling

Emory NBB Major 2025

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