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Drew Kiraly, MD, PhD

Principal Investigator
Assistant Professor, Psychiatry & Neuroscience
Attending Physician, Mount Sinai Hospital

Drew received his MD and PhD degrees from the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. He performed his doctoral thesis work in the laboratory of Dr. Betty Eipper studying dendritic spine dynamics, behavioral response to drugs of abuse, and cell-surface receptor trafficking in relation to the post-synaptic Rho-GEF Kalirin-7. From this work, Drew published numerous manuscripts, and was awarded a prestigious F30 NRSA Fellowship from NIDA to support his research efforts. During his clinical clerkships Drew received the Bloomberg Award for medical student excellence in psychiatry. 

Drew enrolled in the Psychiatry Residency at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and in addition to being Chief Resident for the final two years of his training, he also completed a research fellowship in the lab of Dr. Eric Nestler. During his time in the lab he developed his own research program examining the role of neuroimmune interactions and the gut microbiome in addiction, autism spectrum disorder and depression. In addition to multiple first and senior-author publications he was awarded an ACNP Memorial Travel Award, was selected to the NIMH Outstanding Resident Award Program, was chosen as a Leon Levy Fellow in Neuroscience, and a Seaver Family Foundation Fellow. 

In addition to running the lab, Drew works as a physician in the emergency room of Mount Sinai Hospital, and sees a very limited number of patients in private practice.

Contact Drew:
email: drew.kiraly@mssm.edu     twitter: @KiralyLab

Rebecca Hofford, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow
NARSAD Young Investigator

Rebecca Hofford got her PhD from Texas A&M in 2012 where she studied the effects of social environment on adolescent sensitivity to morphine. She continued her career as a postdoc at the University of Kentucky studying the mechanisms underlying the attenuation of drug reinforcement caused by environmental enrichment. She has continued her academic journey across the United States to end up here at Mount Sinai where she expects to learn some awesome neuroscience. In her spare time, she enjoys free yoga classes, reading “non-science” things, binge watching Netflix, hiking, skiing, and fully embracing her inner cat lady.
Contact Becca: rebecca.hofford@mssm.edu


Katherine Meckel
Graduate Student

Baltimore native Katherine Meckel completed a Bachelor's of Music in Voice Performance and a Bachelor's of Arts in Biochemistry, Psychology and Neuroscience at Lawrence University; under Dr. Bruce Hetzler, she researched the effects of methylphenidate on visual evoked potentials and behavior. After graduation, she joined the Pekow lab in the Section of Gastroenterology at the University of Chicago, where she developed an interest in brain-gut-microbiome interactions. In her spare time, Katherine enjoys playing board games, singing opera and musical theatre at the top of her lungs, watching copious amount of Star Trek, learning about dinosaurs, and feasting on blue crabs.
Contact Katherine: katherine.meckel@icahn.mssm.edu

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Aya Osman, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow
Seaver Foundation Fellow

London bred Aya completed a Master’s degree in Toxicology in 2010 from the University of Surrey in the UK, where she first began to develop an interest in addiction research after studying the role of adenosine and metabotropic glutamate receptor interaction in cocaine addiction. Upon completing her master’s, she worked for the governmental body Public Health England as a toxicologist for the next 2 years. In 2013 she returned to the University of Surrey to embark on a PhD program where her research focused on the effect of prolonged exposure to milk derived casomorphine on the normal development of opioid receptors in the brain as well as the effect on the gut microbiome. In her spare time, Aya enjoys traveling to weird and wonderful places around the world, trying out exciting cuisines, reading and watching  movies ( anything but action!).
Contact Aya: aya.osman@mssm.edu


Kelsey Lucerne
Graduate Student

Kelsey graduated from Temple University in May 2018 with a B.S. in Neuroscience. At Temple, she spent 3 years working in Dr. Lisa Briand’s Behavioral Neurophysiology lab, where she explored the neuroadaptations that accompany stress and addiction. Though a true Philadelphian at heart, Kelsey has embraced her life in New York city as a PhD student in the Neuroscience department at Mount Sinai. In her spare time, Kelsey loves doing touristy activities around the city, reading, running, and petting dogs.
Contact Aya: kelsey.lucerne@icahn.mssm.edu Twitter: @kelseylucerne