Meet the Team

Principal Investigator

Travis E. Baker, PhD

Assistant Professor
Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience
Rutgers University
Room: 307D
Tel: 973-353-35485


Research Interests: The overarching goal of Dr. Baker’s research program is to understand the neurobiological mechanisms that underlie cognitive control and memory, how to empirically identify and characterize these functions in the brain, and how these functions are disrupted in clinical populations (e.g. addictions, ADHD, affective disorders, neurodegenerative disorders). He has adopted a variety of empirical approaches to investigate these functions, including genetics, electroencephalography, event-related brain potentials, functional magnetic resonance imaging, diffusion magnetic resonance imaging, and transcranial magnetic stimulation. Ultimately, Dr. Baker hopes that his research will converge to help improve psychiatric care.

Background: Born in Canada, Travis Baker earned his PhD in 2012 from the University of Victoria in the Brain and Cognitive Science program under the supervision of Dr. Clay Holroyd. He also holds a Masters of Science degree in Experimental Neuropsychology (University of Victoria) and received a B.A. (with distinction: Psychology) from Vancouver Island University. Prior to joining Rutgers University faculty, he worked as a post-doctoral fellow at the Montreal Neurological Institute in the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery under the supervision of Dr. Alain Dagher, and at CHE Sainte-Justine Children’s Hospital Research Center under the supervision of Dr. Patricia Conrod.


Name: Kathryn Biernacki, PhD
Affiliation: Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience, Rutgers University
Room: 206
Tel.: 973-353-3509


Research interests: My research interests include cognition and emotional processing in substance users, with a particular focus on opiate use and decision-making. My aim is to understand the mechanisms for impaired decision-making, using a range of behavioral, psychophysiological and computational techniques, to better characterize the impairment, which may ultimately lead to improved treatment outcomes for addiction. 

Selected Publications:
Biernacki, K., McLennan, S. N., Terrett, G., Labuschagne, I., & Rendell, P. G. (2016). Decision-making ability in current and past users of opiates: A meta-analysis. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 71, 342-351.
Biernacki, K., Terrett, G., McLennan, S. N., Labuschagne, I., Morton, P., & Rendell, P. G. (2018). Decision-making, somatic markers and emotion processing  in opiate users. Psychopharmacology, 235(1), 223-232.

Name: Mei-heng Lin, PhD
Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience, Rutgers University
Room: 206
Tel.: 973-353-3509


Research interests:
  My research interest focuses on understanding the neural processes underlying cognitive functions (e.g. response monitoring, attention, and executive control) and how they influence goal-directed behaviors in neurotypical individuals and individuals with neurological disorders. I received my bachelor’s degree in Occupational Therapy in Taiwan, and joined the event-related potentials (ERPs) lab for my master’s degree. I completed my doctoral degree in the Occupation and Rehabilitation Science program working with Dr. Patricia Davies and Dr. Bill Gavin in the Brainwaves Research Lab at Colorado State University.

Selected Publications:
Gavin, W. J., Lin, M., Davies, P. L. (2019). Developmental trends of performance monitoring measures in 7‐ to 25‐year‐olds: Unraveling the complex nature of brain measures. Psychophysiology, 2019;e13365.
Lin, M., Gavin, W. J., & Davies, P. L. (2015). Developmental trend of error-related negativity (ERN) in 7-to 25-year-olds after adjusting for trial-to-trial variability. Psychophysiology, 52, S86.


PhD students

Name: Malte Güth, M.Sc.
Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience, Rutgers University
Room: 206
Tel.: 973-353-3509


Research interests: In my PhD I’m aiming to (1) map the neural circuitry and oscillatory signatures of spatial navigation using simultaneous EEG-fMRI, DWI, and multimodal data fusion. (2) Next, I’m combining robot-assisted, MRI-informed TMS with real-time closed loop EEG phase-locked stimulation to target these correlates for potential use in treating drug addiction (click here for latest project repo).


Selected Publications:
Garcia Alanis, J. A., Gueth, M. R., & Peper, M. (in prep). Fronto-parietal oscillations reflect distinct proactive and reactive cognitive control mechanisms in the human brain
Gueth, M. R., Garcia Alanis, J. A., & Peper, M. (in prep). Keep calm and carry on – attenuated electrocortical correlates of cognitive control during emotion regulation in subjects with psychopathic traits.

Code, open lab notebooks, jupyter notebooks

Popular science books:

Name: Galit Karpov, B.Sc.
Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience, Rutgers University
Room: 206
Tel.: 973-353-3509

Research Interests: To use an RDoC approach to better understand cross-diagnostic symptoms of mental illness through their neural signatures and mechanisms. Currently developing an approach-avoidance task in virtual reality to see if individual differences in behaviors can be characterized using EEG.



Research Assistants

Name: Pavlina Coleska
Rutgers University undergraduate, Research Assistant 
Research Interest: Learning how to apply and interpret neuroimaging studies to help understand the neural and neurochemical basis of behaviors. 



Name: Gray Garrard
Affiliation: New York University, research intern
Research Interest: Understanding the theta rhythms underlying spatial navigation and applying Hasselmo’s model for persistent spiking.





Name: Daniel Rynerson
Affiliation: Montclair State University, research intern
Research Interest: Particular focus on psycho-physical function, using neuroanatomical data to find correlations in behavioral, biological, and cognitive capacities.





Name: Mr. Roboto 
Affiliation: research assistant in Dr. Baker’s lab.
Research Interests: Holding things precisely. I like to use MRI images to set brain stimulation targets, and then continuously track and adapt to the movements of the cranium in real-time. My goal is to guarantee a precise mm coil to target position for Dr. Baker’s experiments. This is far better than my last job in the culinary world. click here



Rotating PhD students

Name: Carrisa Cocuzza
Affiliation: Graduate student in the Cole Neurocognition Lab,  Centre for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience, Rutgers University.
Research interests: Learning, cognitive control, computational models, and clinical application.
Background: B.A. from Pace University in Biological/Psychology, and a M.A. from New York University in Psychology.

Selected Publications:  Cocuzza, C., Cavanagh, J., Cole, M., Baker, T. (2018). Identifying inter-relations between genetic polymorphisms and reinforcement learning: multivariate insights from behavior and computational modeling. Cognitive Neuroscience Society, Poster presentation.

Name: Shira Lupkin
Affiliation: Graduate student in the McGinty Lab for Systems Neuroscience and Neuroeconomics (, Centre for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience, Rutgers University.
Research interests: Value-based decision making, systems neuroscience, computational modeling, translational research, clinical applications.
Background: B.A. in Psychology from Barnard College, Columbia University




Andrew Reid, PhD

Vince McGinty, PhD

Mike Cole, PhD

Drew Headley, PhD

Omer Liran, MD


Visiting Scholars

Name: José C. G. Alanis from Philipps Universität Marburg, Germany

Name: Andrew Reid, Phd from University of Nottingham, UK. 


Previous Students

Name: Martin Hochheimer B.Sc.
Affiliation (Sept 2017): visiting student from the University of Würzburg, Germany. Martin will go on to pursue a Master’s degree in Translational Neuroscience and Clinical Psychology.



Name: Fernanda Juarez, BA. (research assistant 2017-2018)
Affiliation:  Now a research assistant at the National Institute of Health.




Name: Seema Parikh 
Affiliation: second-year Biology major at NJIT, part of the 7-year Accelerated BA/MD program with New Jersey Medical School.

Selected Publication: Parikh, S., Baker, TE. (2018) Altering reward-specific electrophysiological signals in humans using robot-assisted theta-burst transcranial magnetic stimulation. Society for Psychophysiological Research.


Name: Neeta Bauer
Post Bacc Research Assistant
Research Interest: Learning about neuroimaging and neuromodulation techniques, and clinical applications.



Name: Juan Cadavid
Affiliation: Rutgers Alumni, Research Assistant 
Research Interest: Learning about neuroimaging and its clinical applications, more specifically to study the effects of chronic alcohol consumption on adolescent brains. 


Name: Peter Shafeek
Affiliation: Rutgers University, Research Assistant
Research Interest: Learning about the experimental application and analysis of EEG and fMRI to study the brain mechanisms that underly complex behaviors found in healthy and clinical populations. 





Team Meetings & Lab Life