August 2021

Congratulations to Dr. Jessica Caballero on her dissertation defense and PhD. We wish her luck in her new position at Genentech.

A small fraction of the audience at Jessica’s post-defense presentation

May 2021

Postdoc position available to work on frontal cortex circuits and behavior. Check out “Join the Lab” for more info.

January/February 2021

New people news – Tyler Carey begins as a new research assistant in the lab, joining Nadia Alexandrou-Majaj (who started last summer, but never got an announcement). Welcome to these outstanding junior scientists!

Alumni news – Dr. Beata Kaminska has started her new position at Dicerna

Funding news – the Moorman Lab was awarded an R21 from NIMH to study medial prefrontal cortex neural circuits in action control. New hiring listings coming soon.

Publication news – new review on prefrontal encoding of value and action with Dr. Beata Kaminska and Jessica Caballero. This was a chapter in an amazing book organized by Amarante, Brockett, Laubach, and Roesch. Check it out here

August 2020

More big lab news! Congratulations to Dr. Beata Kaminska, PhD @Beata_Kamins, on her successful dissertation defense, first-ever outdoors socially-distanced thesis defense talk (at least that we’ve ever seen), and amazing data – coming soon to multiple papers near you!

Kaminska defense talk
Beata’s socially-distanced dissertation talk!

July 2020

John’s paper is online at eNeuro! And check out this neat article about our work.

Also, Rosalind Carney at eNeuro has written an awesome Research Highlight about Jessica’s paper from last year.

June 2020

New publications (updates on publication page to come. Congrats to all of the hard-working authors!):

Hernandez, Rahman, Tarantino, and Moorman – Orbitofrontal cortex inactivation decreases cue-induced reinstatement for ethanol and sucrose. Accepted at Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research

den Hartog, Blandino, Nash, Sjogren, Grampetro, Moorman, and Vazey – Noradrenergic tone mediates marble burying behavior after chronic stress and ethanol.  Accepted at Psychopharmacology

New funding:

UMass College of Natural Sciences Seed Grant

February 2020

New publications:

Arinze and Moorman 2020 – Selective Impact of Lateral Orbitofrontal Cortex Inactivation on Reinstatement of Alcohol Seeking in Male Long-Evans Rats (

Hernandez and Moorman 2020 – Orbitofrontal cortex encodes preference for alcohol. Accepted at eNeuro

New funding:

NSF #1942176 – CAREER: Frontal cortical ensemble regulation of response execution and inhibition

See details here

We are recruiting new lab members to participate in this exciting new line of work

October 2019

Come see presentations by Moorman lab members at the 2019 Society for Neuroscience Conference:

Monday – Oct. 21, 2019, 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
414.17 – Prefrontal and orbitofrontal cortex neurons are differentially activated during passive and active alcohol acquisition: Influences of individual preference and chronic exposure
Tuesday – Oct. 22, 2019, 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM
494.20 – Role of rat secondary motor cortex in complex movements and decision making
Tuesday – Oct. 22, 2019, 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM
504.11 – Characterization of prefrontal-subcortical circuitry in execution and inhibition of reward seeking behaviors

August 2019

More exciting lab news: Congratulations to Jessica Caballero on her recently-accepted paper in eNeuro!

More champagne (and sparkling apple juice)!

BIG LAB NEWS!  Congratulations to our first PhD Alum Dr. John Hernandez!  John successfully defended his dissertation and is off to do his postdoc in the lab of Dr. Karla Kaun at Brown University.  Well done Dr. Hernandez!

July 2019

Jessica Caballero was awarded a Dissertation Grant from the National Center for Responsible Gaming.  She will use this award to further her studies on the role of the prefrontal cortex in action control.  Congratulations Jessica!

October 2018

Come see presentations by members of the Moorman lab (and Moorman/Vazey lab) at the 2018 Society for Neuroscience conference:

Beata Kaminska

Sunday, November 4, 2018, 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Session 163 – Animal Cognition and Behavior: Executive Function: Learning and Memory I
163.15 / DDD14 – Do medial prefrontal neurons encode predicted value of a cue or the action elicited by a cue during classical conditioning?!/4649/presentation/34079

Jessica Caballero

Sunday, November 4, 2018, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Session 242 – Animal Cognition and Behavior: Executive Function: Inhibitory Control
242.13 / DDD8 – Influence of medial prefrontal subregion inactivation on action control using a variable ratio go/no-go task!/4649/presentation/6235

Carol den Hartog

Tuesday, November 6, 2018, 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Session 601 – Drugs of Abuse and Addiction: Alcohol: Neural Mechanisms II
601.20 / GGG16 – Effects of chronic ethanol and stress on spontaneous and sensory-evoked responses of locus coeruleus noradrenergic neurons!/4649/presentation/26829

Christopher Perk

Wednesday, November 7, 2018, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Session 782 – Subcortical Mechanisms in Motivated Behaviors and Physiological States
782.18 / GGG19 – Target-specific effects of hypocretin/orexin neuron activation on seeking-taking behavior in the rat!/4649/presentation/29295


September 2018

New publication in collaboration with Elena Vazey and Gary Aston-Jones in PNAS!

In other great news, the Moorman lab was awarded a Neural and Cognitive Systems grant from NSF, in collaboration with Guangyu Xu and Genglin Li, from UMass Amherst, and Ethan Meyers from Hampshire College.  Very excited about this collaborative work


August 2018

POSTDOC POSITION AVAILABLE.  Please see “Join the lab” for details.

It is with great pride and sadness that we bid a fond farewell to Samantha Rios, who is leaving us to begin her graduate career in neuroscience at OHSU. We also say goodbye to Ellen Rodberg, from the Vazey Lab (a onetime Moorman Lab member), who is starting graduate school in neuroscience at the University of Michigan.

Fortunately, we have found an excellent new lab-manager/research assistant in Maddy Berkowitz-Cerasano, who joins us as a recent alum of Mount Holyoke College.  Maddy is already off to an incredible start getting the lab in shape and making progress on some of our orbitofrontal cortex studies.  Welcome Maddy!

As always, David is behind in updating the Lab Members page, but promises that he’ll get to it ASAP.


New reviews from the Moorman and Vazey Labs out now – all related to alcohol use and the orbitofrontal cortex, the hypocretin/orexin and dynorphin systems, and the locus coeruleus noradrenergic system.  Up next – get ready for some awesome papers from Jessica and John from the Moorman Lab and a collaboration with the Vazey Lab (coming soon!).

Congratulations to our graduating seniors – Sherry Ye, who will be starting the Neuroscience Graduate Program at Emory this fall, and Stephanie Fedorchak, who will be starting the Neuroscience Graduate Program at UTHSCSA.  Sherry will be joined at Emory by Vazey Lab alum Michael Kelberman.  So much neuro-greatness! We are looking forward to having these future neuroscientists as colleagues in the coming years.  Congrats also to Myeongseong Jong who is off to medical school in Singapore!

We also welcome Ariel Burman, a graduate student in Neuroscience at the Engineering School in University of Buenos Aires,  Argentina, under the direction of Dr. Sergio Lew and Dr. Silvano Zanutto.  Ariel is joining us for the summer/fall on a Fulbright Scholarship.  He will be working on neurophysiological studies of motor control and decision making.  We are very happy he is joining us!

More info coming soon, including updates on this year’s SfN presentations from the Moorman Lab.


Come see the Moorman Lab at SfN in Washington DC:

  • On Saturday, 11/11  John Hernandez will present his results on DREADD inactivation of OFC neurons during alcohol seeking and Samantha Rios will present her data on individual differences in alcohol taste reactivity.

  • On Sunday, 11/12 Jessica Caballero will present her study of dorsal vs. ventral mPFC inactivation and reward seeking.

  • On Monday, 11/13 Beata Kaminska will present her findings involving mPFC neuronal activity during appetitive and aversive conditioning.

  • Finally, on Tuesday, 11/14, come see the minisymposium on the Functional Diversity of Prefrontal Cortical Regions and Networks, chaired by David (who will present, too).


New publications!  First, check out an update on where we are now RE: orexin/hypocretin and addiction, with Morgan James, Steve Mahler, David Moorman, and Gary Aston-Jones.

Next, see our new collaborative work on alcohol, stress, and cognition with the Vazey lab and the Becker lab.  Congrats Ellen Rodberg and Carol den Hartog!



The Moorman Lab welcomes our newest member – Dr. Christopher Perk who is starting as a postdoctoral fellow to study the role of the hypocretin/orexin system in motivation and addiction.  Chris joins us from the University of Otago where  he received his PhD in the Department of Anatomy.

In addition, we re-welcome Samantha Rios, who started as an undergraduate researcher in the lab and is now joining us as a SPUR/PREP student for 2017-2018.  Sam will be working as part of the prefrontal/orbitofrontal alcohol team and has already made some substantial contributions to this project.

Finally, big welcome to our newest undergraduate members: Stephanie Fedorchak and Owen Jordan – working on the INIA Stress projects and Sophie Jackson – working on prefrontal cortex studies with Jessica.

It’s shaping up to be an awesome summer.  More to come (and updated bios soon – promise!).



This is potentially pretty exiting – (very) preliminary new results from the Moorman Lab Miniscope team (Kathy Tran and Peter Chiknas).  Watch this space…



No updates for a while (lab has been busy!), but some recent news:

First, big congrats to Carlos Johnson-Cruz and Annalise Binette on their graduate program acceptance success.  Carlos will be starting at UCSF in the fall, and Annalise is starting at Texas A&M.  We’re looking forward to great work from both of them in the future!

Second, the Moorman lab is excited to start a new collaboration with the Vazey lab on a new project as part of the INIA Stress consortium.   More details can be found at the NIH Reporter page.  We’re very excited to be part of this outstanding research community and appreciate the opportunity to further our investigations into the neural circuitry of alcohol, stress, and cognition.



New manuscript accepted on the role of the orexin/hypocretin system in motivation for alcohol (another one!): “Orexin/hypocretin-1 receptor antagonism reduces ethanol self-administration and reinstatement selectively in highly-motivated rats,” in Brain Research.  Congratulations to Morgan James, Elisabeth Kilroy and Gary Aston-Jones!



New funding news!  The Moorman lab was awarded a NARSAD Young Investigator grant to study hypothalamic circuits involved in motivation, stress, and depression.  Many thanks to the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation for supporting our efforts to identify mechanisms of, and potential treatments for, mental illness. 



The Moorman lab is looking for postdocs to work on projects related to the neuroscience of drug and alcohol abuse.  Please see details at



First some good news.  The Moorman lab has received research support from the NIH for our work on drug and alcohol abuse and addiction.  Please see “Funding” for details.  We are grateful for the funding and excited about the research it will support.

Also some bittersweet news.  After 2+ years of outstanding research, management, and camaraderie, we bid a fond farewell to Ifeyinwa Arinze.  We are extremely sad to see her go, but are thrilled that she will be starting a new position in the lab of Jill Becker at the University of Michigan.  We are expecting great things from her.  Good luck Ify!



New manuscript accepted on the role of the orexin/hypocretin system in motivation for alcohol: “The highly selective orexin/hypocretin 1 receptor antagonist GSK1059865 potently reduces ethanol drinking in ethanol dependent mice,” in Brain Research.  Congrats Marcelo Lopez, Gary Aston-Jones, and Howard Becker!



Happy New Year!  We are pleased to start off the year with a newly-accepted publication: “Orexin/hypocretin neuron activation is correlated with alcohol seeking and preference in a topographically specific manner,” in EJN.  Nice work, Morgan James, Elisabeth Kilroy and Gary Aston-Jones.



Congrats to Bo Zhou, Babak Shahbaba, Hernando Ombao, and Sam Behseta of the Statistical & Computational Research in Neuroscience team on our new publication, “A Dynamic Bayesian Model for Characterizing Cross Neuronal Interactions During Decision Making”  in JASA!



New publication online –  Neurons in both dorsal (prelimbic) and ventral (infralimbic) prefrontal cortex are modulated during both reward seeking AND extinction.  Want to know why?  Wonder what this might have to do with adaptive behavior and encoding of context?  Read the paper at PNAS.



No updates for a while – mostly because we’ve been mourning the absence of first alums: Kyra Schapiro (who has moved on to UPenn) and Julie Factor (who has moved on to NIDA).  However, we have some great new additions to the team coming in this summer and fall – watch this space!

Also, we are pleased to announce a new publication – David had the good fortune to get to work with some of the leading figures in the world of decision neuroscience on a review on neural systems in animal models of risky decision-making.  The paper is now online at Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews.  Check it out!



New publication – Our review on the role(s) of the prefrontal cortex in drug/reward seeking has just come out in Brain Research.  In it we consider the hypothesis that neuronal networks within prefrontal areas differentially regulate these behaviors.  Discuss!



New publication – Have a look at the Aston-Jones lab’s proposal for a unified orexin/hypocretin function over at Nature Neuroscience.



Off to a great start:  Congratulations to Rachel Siegal and Kerrin Bersani for being selected to receive Commonwealth Honors College Research Assistant Fellowships!



A new semester begins!  We bid a fond farewell (hopefully temporary!) to Olivia and welcome our new member: UMass undergraduate Kerrin Bersani!  We’ll have her info up on the lab members page soon.



David is interviewed by the New York Times and The Takeaway (NPR) about using optogenetics to manipulate the emotional content of memories (demonstrated by Redondo et al., 2014). Have a look and listen by clicking on the links.



Jessica Caballero presents her poster at the SPUR summer research day.  Check out a photo of her presenting some preliminary data on the lab photos page.



New lab photos up – meet our new members and see some action photos from the early stages of the lab!



New Manuscript Accepted for Publication!  “Orbitofrontal cortical neurons encode expectation-driven initiation of reward-seeking” coming soon to Journal of Neuroscience!



Welcome to Peter Chiknas – a recent graduate of UMass Amherst!  Peter will be volunteering in the lab part-time this summer while he studies for the MCATs.



Welcome to Jessica Callabero-Feliciano who just graduated from The University of Puerto Rico, Mayag├╝ez !  Jessica was accepted into the UMass SPUR/PREP program and will be joining us for the summer and (hopefully!) the following year.



Welcome to Kyra Schapiro from Amherst College!  Kyra will be spending the summer with us and then staying on to do her senior thesis research in the lab next year.



Welcome to our Summer Student from Smith College – Olivia Mallari!  We’ll be updating the “People” page once the rest of the summer crowd rolls in…



Congratulations to Ifeyinwa Arinze on graduating from Mt. Holyoke College!  We’re all very proud of Ify and we’re expecting great things…



Welcome to our first graduate student – John Hernandez has joined the lab!  You can read more about John on the “People” page.