Postdoctoral Fellows

Elizabeth Avegno, Ph.D.

Degree:  Ph.D., Columbia University, Pharmacology and Molecular Signaling
Advisors: Nicholas Gilpin, Ph.D.
Research:Relationship between the ventral tegmental area and central amygdala in rodent model of alcohol dependence


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My long-term research interest is to understand the individual variability in alcohol responsiveness and vulnerability to addiction. I am interested in the neural circuitry involved in the initial response to alcohol, as well as the neuroadaptations that occur following repeated alcohol use.


Anthony A. Duplanty, Ph.D.

Degree:  Ph.D., University of North Texas August 2015
Advisors: Patricia Molina, M.D., Ph.D.
Research:Muscle Physiology and metabolic dysregulation in SIV/HIV


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Anthony Duplanty Photo

My long-term research interest is to study the effects of alcohol ingestion on muscle physiology. I am currently involved in projects relating to alcohol and metabolic dysregulation in SIV/HIV


Elizabeth A Fucich, Ph.D.

Degree: Ph.D., Pharmacology, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
Advisor: Patricia Molina, Ph.D.
Research: Traumatic brain injury and alcohol use
Department: Physiology


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E Fucich2

My research addresses the neural mechanisms underlying the interaction between traumatic brain injury and alcohol use. I am also interested in how stress interacts with this relationship as well as identifying ways to improve negative outcomes of these concurrent conditions.


Amanda R. Pahng, Ph.D.

Degree: Ph.D., Neuroscience Program, Tulane University October 2015
Advisors: Scott Edwards, Ph.D.
Research:Neurobiological mechanisms of altered cognitive behavior and relapse propensity in alcohol dependence
Department: Physiology


  • Research Society on Alcoholism (RSA) 39th Annual Scientific Meeting Junior Investigator Award
  • 4th International Congress on Alcoholism and Stress held in Volterra, Italy NIH Travel Award
  • 2017 Outstanding Young Scientist Travel Award from the Association for Women in Science-Southern Louisiana (AWIS-SL) Chapter

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My long-term research interest is to determine how specific cellular changes influence cognitive deficits and relapse propensity in alcohol-dependent animals. In addition, I am interested in investigating cognitive mechanisms affected by chronic pain in rodents as well as altered signaling in reward-, pain-, and cognition-related circuitry in non-human primate models of HIV/alcohol comorbidity.


Former Post-Doctoral Fellows

Matthew Auten, M.D., Ph.D.

Degree: : Ph.D. in Clinical Microbiology, Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Parasitology, LSUHSC-New Orleans

Degree: M.D. from LSUHSC May 2016

Advisor: Patricia Molina, MD, Ph.D. 



Currently a first year Pathology resident at West Virginia University School of Medicine


Emily A. Roltsch Helland, Ph.D.

Degree: Ph.D., Texas A&M University
Advisors: Nicholas Gilpin, Ph.D.





Currently working as a postdoctoral fellow int he lab of Dr. Jun Wang at Texas A&M University School of Medicine in the Department fo Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics.


Megan L. Armstrong, Ph.D.

Degree: : Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, University of Florida

Advisors: Patricia Molina, MD, Ph.D. and Gregory Bagby, Ph.D.


Currently in private Practice


Tracy Y. Dodd, Ph.D.

Degree:  Ph.D., Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of South Alabama

Advisors: Patricia Molina, Ph.D.



Curretnly  a first year medical student  at LSUHSC.


Paige S. Katz, Ph.D.

Degree: Ph.D., Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center

Advisors: Patricia Molina, M.D., Ph.D.



Currently working in industry.


Christy A. Itoga, Ph.D.

Degree:  Ph.D., University of Michigan

Advisors: Nicholas Gilpin, Ph.D.


Currently  at the University of California, Irvine in the Department of Neuropsychology, Biological Psychology and Physiology.


Annie Whitaker, Ph.D.

Degree: Ph.D. Department of Physiology  Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center

Advisors: Nicholas Gilpin, Ph.D.



Currently teaching at the High School level.


Karina Villalba, MPH, Ph.D.

Degree:  PhD., Roberto Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work, Florida International University

Advisors: Patricia Molina, M.D., Ph.D.


Currently working at Florida Internationa University.