Meet the Team



Katalin Gothard, M.D./Ph.D., Principal Investigator

Katalin (Kati) Gothard obtained her M.D. in Romania followed by postgraduate training in neurosurgery. In 1996 she obtained her Ph.D. in Neuroscience in the laboratory of Bruce L. McNaughton, and continued her training with postdoctoral work at UC Davis in the laboratory of David G. Amaral. In 2002 she established her lab at the College of Medicine at the University of Arizona. Her lab has pioneered monitoring cellular brain activity and autonomic responses in the context of natural social behaviors. Kati's lab includes senior staff, postdocs, graduate students and undergraduate students who work on a variety of behavioral and neurophysiological projects centered on role of the primate amygdala in emotion and social behavior. She serves as faculty in the departments of Neurology and Neuroscience at the University of Arizona and in the Center for Translational Social Neuroscience at Emory University.


Derek O’Neill, Lab Manager

Derek is certified as an LATG through AALAS and has a BS in zoology. When he joined Dr. Gothard's lab in 2019 he had 15 years of experience working in a neuro-electrophysiology lab and 20 years of experience working with animals in a research setting. When he's not in the lab, he enjoys outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, kayaking, skiing and geocaching. He loves to travel as much as work will allow, has been to six continents and camped on five of them. He keeps reptiles as pets and breeds Russian tortoises.

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Anne Martin, Ph.D., Data Analyst

Anne Martin earned B.S. degrees in Chemistry and Computer Science from Harvey Mudd College and the University of Arizona, and an M.A in Biochemistry from UC Santa Barbara. She received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the Johns Hopkins University under the mentorship of Rudiger von der Heydt at the Zanvyl Krieger Mind-Brain Institute. After a postdoctoral appointment with Sabine Kastner at Princeton University, and a post as Research Scientist at Caltech working with Doris Tsao, she returned home to Tucson to join the Gothard Lab in 2019. In addition to teaching High School Science, Dr. Martin has also enjoyed her opportunities to teach undergraduates and graduate students. Dr. Martin is an avid gamer, and her current favorites include online RPGs, base-building sandbox games, and table-top cooperative board games. She is very lucky to be able to play these frequently with her beloved nieces and nephews, brother and sister, 2 cats, and loving, patient husband.

Rose Andersen, Medical Student

Rose graduated from the University of Arizona in 2014 in Biomedical Engineering & Physiology. While working as a scribe in a pain management clinic, she became very interested in the workings of the brain and nervous system. She joined the Gothard Lab in July 2018 and has been studying how the amygdala processes and integrates touch sensation to extract social significance, with particular emphasis on the autonomic aspects of touch. Rose is currently a first year medical student at the University of Arizona, avidly pursuing a career as a neurosurgeon. Outside of school, Rose enjoys boxing, rollerblading, hiking, and playing the piano.

Seunghyun (Gabe) Lee, Graduate Associate

SeungHyun earned his B.S. in Electrical Engineering and M.S. in Electronics Engineering from Kookmin University in Seoul, South Korea. He is now a Ph.D. student in Electrical & Computer Engineering minoring in Neuroscience at the University of Arizona. His research is covering interdisciplinary perspectives such as analysis of social behavior & neural data and system modeling with computer vision, with a focus on identifying the brain area involved in the production of emotional facial expression. He has been been a member of the lab since 2017 and conducts the “Social Status & Facial Expression” project. SeungHyun loves playing and watching baseball and golf, so you can easily find him at the several baseball fields and golf courses around the Tucson area.

Lizzie Hillier, Research Specialist

Lizzie graduated from the University of Arizona in 2018 in Physiology with a minor in Biochemistry. After two and a half years of public health research, she became a member of the Gothard Lab in April 2019 and has been primarily involved in the “Social Status & Facial Expression” and “From Sensing to Feeling” projects. Lizzie is currently working towards attending medical school in the future, hoping to practice internal medicine in the geriatric community. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, baking, dancing, going to concerts, and spending time with her niece and nephews.

Gowri Somasekhar, Graduate Research Assistant

Gowri is a graduate student in the GIDP Neuroscience program. She received her Bachelors in Chemistry, Zoology, Environment from Bangalore, India and her Masters in Medical Physiology from Manipal, India. Gowri has three years of research experience in neurophysiology with Dr. Supratim Ray from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and one year with Dr. David Leopold at the National Institute of Mental Health, Washington DC. Outside of research, Gowri is interested in science policy and communication, and she enjoys reading, hiking, offseason backpacking and spending time with animals.

Blake Seaton, Graduate Research assistant

Blake received his Bachelors of Science in Chemistry from Appalachian State University in 2017 and is now a Ph.D. candidate in Analytical Chemistry here at the University of Arizona. He joined the Gothard Lab in 2019 and leads the chemical analysis of biological samples (e.g. CSF) that are collected from the NHPs. Outside of the lab, Blake enjoys weightlifting, collecting vinyl records, and playing with his cat named Turtle.

Tess Champ, Laboratory Aide

Tess is a Junior majoring in Physiology here at the University of Arizona. She joined the Gothard Lab in August 2018 and works on the “Social Status & Facial Expressions” project. Tess has plans of either attending medical school or getting her PhD in Neurophysiology after graduation. Outside of school and the lab, Tess enjoys backpacking, going on road trips, and being with her family.

Natalia Jacobson, Research Assistant

Natalia is a sophomore majoring in Neuroscience & Cognitive Science and minoring in Computer Science. Before joining the Gothard Lab in 2018, she performed research on honey bees for two years. Seeing how small gut pathogens altered the bees’ behaviors inspired her to pursue neuroscience and further explore the mind and body connection. Natalia is involved in the “Social Status & Facial Expressions”, “From Sensing to Feeling”, and “Oxytocin and Social Behavior” projects here in the lab. Her future aspirations include getting a Ph.D. and continuing research within single cell neurophysiology. In her free time, Natalia enjoys

Michael Cardenas, Research Assistant

Michael is a senior with a double major in Neuroscience and Physiology. He became a member of the lab in June 2019 and currently works primarily on our “From Sensing to Feeling” project. Michael is in the process of applying for graduate school with the hope of coming back as a graduate student. In his free time, Michael enjoys exploring local breweries and playing video games.






Haiyin Chen

Kristof Laszlo

James Drew Solyst

Sebastien Ballesta


Kelly Brooks

JJ Morrow

Jeno Szep

Kevin Spitler

Christopher Laine

Clayton Mosher

Philip Putnam

Research Technicians

Emily Franklin

Kennya Garcia

Prisca Zimmerman


Kaitlin Bianchi

Farid Ghamsari

Daniel Carrera

Cole Hoffer

Travis Wilder

Christine Tang

Alisa Ryan

Kevin Wood

Michelle Mangana-Mendoza

Deke Cisco

Dan Hill

Robert Gibboni

JohnMichael Jurgensen

Matt Stib

Kevan Farshad

Miranda Anderson

Jermey Oulton

Natalie Brill

Susma Ghimire

Gabby Lacy

Lorenzo Chavez

Jorge Arturo Bradic

Angela Tulk

Haley Moore

Keturah Ragland

Savannah Threatt