Murugan Lab


Malavika Murugan

Assistant Professor

Malu received her Ph.D. in Neurobiology from Dr. Rich Mooney's lab at Duke University. She subsequently completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Dr. Ilana Witten‘s lab at Princeton University. 

Selected Awards:

2017 - Allison J. Doupe Fellowship, McKnight Foundation.

2016-2019 - Simons Collaboration on the Global Brain Postdoctoral Fellowship, Simons Foundation.

2010-2011 - Broad Research Award, Ruth Broad Foundation.


Maha Rashid

Graduate student

Maha received her B.A. in Neuroscience at The College of Wooster in Ohio. In lab, she is interested in studying the neural correlates that underly familiarity and social recognition using tracing, optogenetic and in vivo imaging tools. Outside of lab you can find her exploring Atlanta, usually at a park, hole-in-the-wall food spot, or a local brewery.


Jennifer Isaac

M.D./Ph.D Graduate student

Jenni received her B.S. in Neuroscience for Davidson College in Charlotte, NC. She then worked as a research assistant in the Glickfeld Lab at Duke University. After three years of medical school, she started her Neuroscience PhD. In lab, she is interested in investigating the anatomical and functional changes in lateral septal connectivity in neurodegenerative mouse models. Outside of lab, Jenni enjoys running marathons, playing soccer and strolling on the Beltline.

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Sonia Karkare

Undergraduate student

Sonia is an undergraduate student majoring in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology at Emory College. In the lab, she is working with graduate students to understand the effects of oxytocin on social behavior. During her downtime, Sonia likes to watch Netflix with her cats.


Sarah Thomas

Undergraduate student

Sarah is an undergraduate pre-medical student at Emory College and an Oxford contiuee majoring in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology. She is currently working with graduate students in investigating the neural circuits underlying social recognition. In her free time, she enjoys skateboarding and binge-watching anime.

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Manish Bhatta

Undergraduate student

Manish is an undergraduate pre-medical student at Emory College and Oxford continuee majoring in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology. In the lab, he is currently working on studying factors that affect social decision-making behavior. During his free time, he enjoys working out and hanging out with friends.


Nick Schappaugh 

Research Technician

Nick is a research technician interested in studying animal social behavior. He graduated in 2016 from Georgia Tech where he conducted research on the genetics of cichlid fish aggression. Since that time, he has been working as a technician to branch out into the field of neuroscience. His current research interests involve determining the factors that lead to individual variation in social decision-making behavior. Outside of research, Nick is an avid board game collector and tabletop enthusiast, and has also been learning to play the piano.


Yesenia Garcia

Rotation student

Yesenia graduated from Vassar College in 2020 where they majored in neuroscience. They previously researched the neuroprotective role of steroids following injury in zebra finches, and also investigated cannabinoid-opioid interactions in the context of withdrawal in mice. Their current interests lie in the intersections of neuroendocrinology and social behavioral neuroscience. Outside of lab, Yesenia is enthusiastic about interior design and cake-decorating.