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Lab Members

Dr. Tiffany Wills


Throughout my career I have been deeply invested in understanding the neurological underpinnings of alcohol dependence. I have used each stage of my training (from undergraduate to postdoc) to build complementary sets of technical skills and areas of study within the alcohol field. Some of the major themes of this work have focused on the developmental impacts of alcohol use.  As an undergraduate at IUPUI, I began by evaluating the consequences of fetal alcohol exposure on addictive behaviors in adults. During my graduate training in the laboratory of Dr. Breese at UNC, I used behavioral pharmacology to determine the circuitry and mechanisms involved in the negative affect associated during alcohol withdrawal. It was also during this time that I began to evaluate the consequences of adolescent alcohol exposure on these withdrawal related behaviors. As a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Winder at Vanderbilt University, I continued this investigation into the neurocircuitry and molecular contributors of withdrawal induced negative affect.  I found that alcohol regulation of NMDA receptor signaling was a critical for these effects. My current K99/R00 Career Development Award evaluates GluN2B-NMDA receptor signaling mechanisms and how they are impacted by adolescent alcohol exposure. 

Dr. Wills' CV

Mollie lerner - Research Assistant

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Mollie is from Fort Lauderdale, FL. She attended Tulane University in New Orleans, LA to pursue a degree in Neuroscience with a minor in psychology. Mollie's interest in Neuroscience began in middle school after reading the autobiography, Gifted Hands, written by a pediatric neurosurgeon, Dr. Ben Carson, who faces many challenges throughout his life. Upon graduation from Tulane in May 2016, Mollie began her 1-year masters program in Anatomy at Tulane School of Medicine. During the second semester of her program, Mollie began working with Dr. Wills at LSUHSC. In Mollie's free time, she enjoys traveling, listening to podcasts, running, and knitting.



chelsea kasten - postdoctoral fellow

Chelsea was born and raised outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She started alcohol research in her junior year at Gettysburg College under the guidance of Dr. Steve Siviy. Following graduation, she moved to Indianapolis, IN to join the Boehm Lab at IUPUI. She graduated from the Addiction Neuroscience program with her PhD in August, 2017 with a strong background in behavioral neuroscience. Chelsea joined the Wills Lab as a postdoctoral fellow to pursue how adolescent alcohol exposure affects neural signaling and correlated behaviors, whether these effects are sex-dependent, and potential pharmacology interventions. In her spare time, Chelsea enjoys reading, biking, and spending time with her guinea pigs.  


katie carzoli- postdoctoral fellow

Eleanor holmgren-graduate student


Eleanor is a native of Nashville, Tennessee home of the coveted hot chicken.  She attended Centre College in Danville, Kentucky and majored in Behavioral Neuroscience. Her love of neuroscience comes from her fascination in the crossover between psychology and biology. After graduation, Eleanor moved to Louisville, Kentucky to work as a patient care coordinator for home based primary care.  Interested in pursuing a life of research, Eleanor moved to New Orleans to obtain her PhD from LSUHSC. She is excited to assist Dr. Wills' efforts in understanding the effect alcohol has on neural plasticity. In her spare time, she enjoys water skiing, vocal performance in NOVA Chorale, and watching Blue Bloods.