The Team

Dan J. Christoffel, PhD

Assistant Professor

Behavioral and Integrative Neuroscience Program

Psychology and Neuroscience

University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill

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Abrianna Mihalkovic, M.A.

Research Associate 

Abby is the 1st  lab member! She earned her MA in Psychology (Beh. Neuro.) from the University at Buffalo. Her prior research involved preclinical and clinical investigations of addiction, examining genetic and psychosocial risk factors of substance abuse. She is currently working on projects related to mesolimbic circuit regulation of hedonic feeding.

Chase Carter


Chase is a Psychology major and is interested in neuroscience's ability to explain the mysteries of the human mind.  Through the billions of neurons in the nervous system, thoughts and consciousness are created.  Neuroscience has the ability to explain the underpinnings of these processes.  As we map and learn more about the mind, neuroscience is the path to novel solutions to the many illnesses of the brain.


He volunteers in the lab because our research has the potential to determine the neural processes behind addiction.  This could aid the millions that face addiction in their daily lives. Experiencing the consequences of addiction firsthand, motivates him to seek solutions to help people in their battles. 

Samhi Pudipeddi


Samhi is interested in understanding the complex interplay between nature and nurture in brain development, with a specific focus on investigating how these factors contribute to the development of both psychiatric and neurological illnesses. She hopes to explore and develop effective treatments for conditions such as addiction, with the goal of improving the lives of those affected by them.

Lab Alumni

Brianna Cullins, B.S., B.A.

Research Collaborator 

Brianna graduated from UNC Charlotte in May 2019 with a B.S in Psychology and a B.A. in Spanish. Prior to joining the lab in fall 2021, she worked at a behavioral health inpatient hospital where she became broadly interested in how external factors can cause changes in the brain that may lead to psychiatric disorders. She plans to earn a Ph.D. in Psychology and pursue a career in academia and research.


Interested in investigating "How too much of a "good thing" alters neural circuits and affects future behavior?"

We are actively recruiting graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

Come work on projects investigating 1) how experience-dependent plasticity in the nucleus accumbens regulates reward processing, with a focus on the consumption of palatable foods and stress modulation of food intake, and 2) examine the regulatory role of neuromodulators in hedonic feeding. 

If interested, please email Dr. Christoffel with the subject line: "Postdoc Applicant " or "Ph.D. applicant" with a brief description of your goals and experience, CV, and 2-3 references (name and email). 

For interested undergraduates, please email with subject “Undergrad Research Interest” to Abby Mihalkovic and cc Dr. Christoffel with the following information: (1) availability (hrs/week), (2) previous related experience, (3) a short description of why you are interested in this lab and (4) specify if you are seeking course credit for your time in the lab.