Meet our Members

Avi Adhikari,

Assistant Professor of Psychology (K99 and R01 grants from the National Institutes of Health, NARSAD, Berry and Hellman Foundations awardee). 

Avi completed his Bachelor in Science degree at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, majoring in chemistry and biochemistry and won the Antoine Lavoisier award for highest grades in the graduating class. He then obtained his Ph.D at Columbia University with Profs. Josh Gordon and Rene Hen in 2011, and then worked as a postdoctoral researcher with Prof. Karl Deisseroth at Stanford University until 2016. Avi joined the Department of Psychology at UCLA in 2016 to study how the brain controls fear. Avi’s hobbies include playing guitar, eating seafood and painting.

Fernando M. C. V. Reis,

Postdoctoral Researcher (NARSAD award winner).

After obtaining his PhD at the University of São Paulo (USP) in Ribeirão Preto, Brazil, in 2015, he joined Prof. Newton Canteras’ Lab (USP, São Paulo) as a postdoc with the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) scholarship. He is presently a postdoc in Dr. Adhikari´s Lab at UCLA studying the neural systems and mechanisms underlying fear and defensive responses. He likes to play guitar during his free time.

Peter J. Schuette,

PhD Student (NSF GRFP awardee)

Peter obtained a B.A. in visual arts at Columbia University (2002), and then transitioned to neuroscience. He initially researched neuromodulation and memory with Dr. Nanthia Suthana. Under joint mentorship of Drs. Adhikari and Kao, he is  investigating the neural dynamics underlying threat-induced behaviors. Outside the lab, he enjoys reading pre-teen fiction to his two sons.

Mimi La-Vu,

PhD Student (F31 awardee)

 Mimi received her B.A. in Psychology with an emphasis on Cognitive Science from UCLA in 2015. She worked as a technician in Dr. Alcino Silva’s lab to further the development of Miniscope technology and to study the temporal relationships of contextual memories. She joined the Adhikari lab to elucidate circuits mediating panic and fear. In her free time she enjoys traveling and taking her rescued husky, Charlie, to the park!

Anita Torossian,

PhD Student

Anita received her B.A. in neuroscience and psychology from CUNY Queens College in 2017. Afterwards, she conducted post-baccalaureate research at the NIH where she examined brain protein synthesis in mouse models of autism-like disorders. In the Adhikari Lab, she is investigating the neural circuits underlying fear, anxiety, and other defensive responses. In her free time, Anita enjoys playing piano and eating anything sweet.

Ekayana Sethi,

Staff Research Assistant

Ekayana obtained her B.S. in Psychobiology from UCLA in 2020. She joined the Adhikari Lab to dissect neural circuits mediating stress, fear, and anxiety-related behavior through animal models. Through further studies, she hopes to apply this research to advance potential therapeutics for anxiety disorders. In her free time, Ekayana enjoys dancing, hiking, and eating new desserts!

Emily Iniguez,

Staff Research Assistant 

Emily is a recent UCLA graduate who obtained a  Psychobiology major and Cognitive Science minor. She has always been fascinated by the inner workings of cognitive cerebral processing and aspires to become a Pediatric Psychiatrist due to her passions for developmental psychology and neurocognitive processes. In joining Avi’s lab, Emily has explored and solidified her passions for behavioral neuroscience. During her free time, she enjoys going to coffee shops, reading a good book, catching up on sleep and designing websites which includes this one!

Faith Yuan,

Undergraduate Research Volunteer 

Faith is a current undergraduate student at UCLA pursuing Computational and Systems Biology with a concentration in neurosystems. She joined Dr. Adhikari’s lab to pursue research in therapeutic outcomes for fear and anxious neural behaviors through neural circuits. In her free time, she enjoys going out to eat with friends, thrifting and fashion, and playing video games.

Darren Nguyen,

Undergraduate Research Volunteer 

Darren is currently pursuing his B.S in Psychobiology at UCLA. He joined the Adhikari lab to explore the neural circuits that guide behavior, through methods such as optogenetics, electrophysiology and fiber photometry. He spends his time outside of the lab playing Valorant and volleyball.