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University of Pennsylvania Lab Members

Jay Gottfried

Dr. Gottfried obtained MD and PhD degrees from New York University, and subsequently completed a neurology residency at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2001 he received a Physician-Postdoctoral Fellowship Grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, giving him an opportunity to work with Prof. Ray Dolan at University College London, where he launched his work on the neural organization of human olfaction. Between 2004 and 2017 Dr. Gottfried was a faculty member in the Department of Neurology at Northwestern University, continuing his research program on odor information processing in the human brain. In July 2017 he moved to the University of Pennsylvania, as the Arthur H. Rubenstein Professor of Neurology and Psychology and a Penn Integrates Knowledge (PIK) University Professor. His current research program spans a multidisciplinary range of approaches, including olfactory functional imaging in human and mouse subjects, intracranial EEG recordings in epilepsy patients, and immunohistochemical characterization of the human olfactory system. His favorite smell is shiso leaf and his favorite superhero is Plastic Man.

Contact: jaygottf[aT]

Gulce Nazli Dikecligil (Naz)

Naz received her undergraduate degrees in Biomedical Engineering and Applied Mathematics. For her doctoral work, she studied the laminar and cell type specific functional properties of gustatory cortex neurons using extracellular recordings under the mentorship of Dr. Alfredo Fontanini at Stony Brook University. She joined Gottfried lab at UPenn as a post-doctoral researcher in the summer of 2017. She is interested in context-dependent olfactory perception and studying the neural mechanisms that mediate such dynamic interpretation of olfactory stimuli. She will be using multisite intracranial EEG recordings in human subjects as well as electrophysiological and pharmacological approaches in rodent models to address these questions. Her favorite superhero is Mary Poppins and her favorite scent is that of her grandmother’s detergent.

Contact: nazdikec[aT]

Sarah Cormiea

Sarah received her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry and Psychology from Northeastern University. After college, she worked as a research assistant at the Harvard Vision Sciences Laboratory studying working memory and action perception with Dr. George Alvarez and Dr. Ken Nakayama. She earned her PhD from Johns Hopkins University in the lab of Dr. Jason Fischer researching how people perceive, describe, and mentally represent real-world odors. She spends a lot of time thinking about how we extract a coherent impression of the world from an ever-changing sensory landscape. Our experience of odors unfolds over time, often interacting with our other senses as well as higher-level cognitive abilities. As a postdoc in the Gottfried Lab, her work will use intracranial EEG recordings from human subjects to understand the neural underpinnings of our dynamic olfactory experience. Her favorite smell is pear and her favorite superhero is Bender the robot from Futurama.

Contact: sarah.cormiea[aT]

Brianne Linne

Brianne received her undergraduate degree in Neuroscience from the University of Rochester. She then completed a Master’s degree in Food Science and Technology (with a sensory science focus) under Dr. Chris Simons at Ohio State, during which she studied oral texture perception. Following this, she spent time as a graduate research intern at Coca-Cola where she worked on flavor related projects in Global R&D leading her to develop an interest in flavor chemistry and a desire to strengthen her understanding within this space. In 2018, she returned to the Ohio State Food Science department to pursue a PhD with joint focus in flavor chemistry and sensory perception co-advised by Dr. Simons and Dr. Devin Peterson and completed her dissertation on characterizing chemical compounds contributing to coffee mouthfeel. After spending time focused on the chemistry side of flavor, she is excited to now complement this learning by conducting research on the cognitive aspects of flavor and olfaction during her post-doc in the Gottfried lab. Her two favorite smells are the smell of freshly cut grass and the smell of fall.

Contact: Brianne.Linne[aT]

Sarah Kwon

Sarah obtained her Bachelor of Science degree from Stony Brook University, studying Psychology and Biology with concentrations in physics and chemistry. Under the mentorship of Dr. Patricia Whitaker, she investigated psychological and neural characteristics of neurodevelopmental disorders, particularly Autism Spectrum Disorders. She worked on the Low Maternal Progesterone Model of Autism, then went on to examine behavioral and morphological consequences of perinatal SSRI exposure in rodents for her honors thesis. Currently, Sarah is working on profiling the expression and distribution of human odorant receptor genes throughout the olfactory epithelium and bulb. Beyond academia, Sarah enjoys winter sports and longboarding. Her favorite scent is that of coffee and her favorite superhero is Sherlock Holmes.

Contact: sarah.kwon[aT]

Lulu Tsai Korsak

Lulu majored in biochemistry and minored in chemistry and Chinese at the University of Rochester. She earned her PhD studying critical periods in the developing olfactory system with Dr. Gilad Barnea at Brown University. As a postdoc at Drexel University, she studied local protein translation in the axons of olfactory neurons and pressure-dependent cell migration with Drs. Michael Akins, Ryan Petrie, and Denise Garcia. Currently she studies the anatomy and wiring of the human olfactory system. Her favorite smell is decanal and her favorite superhero is Ozymandias (the Watchmen version).

Contact: lkorsak[aT]


Clara Raithel

Clara earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology from Marburg University, Germany. During her undergraduate studies, she visited Dr. Dana Small’s lab where she investigated the effects of artificial sweeteners on the brain's response to sweet taste. To follow up on her interest in the chemical senses, and to learn more about neuroimaging methods, she completed a Research Masters in Cognitive Neuroscience at Maastricht University, The Netherlands. Under the supervision of Dr. Anne Roefs, she wrote her master’s thesis on the effects of calorie expectations on nutrient metabolism and brain activity. In August 2018, Clara joined the Gottfried lab to pursue her PhD, during which she will investigate human olfaction using fMRI. Her favorite smell is that of home, and her favorite superhero is Disney’s Mulan.

Contact: raithelc[aT]

Ludwig Zhao

Ludwig received his Bachelor of Science degree from UCLA in electrical engineering, with specializations in both computer and biomedical engineering. During his undergraduate studies, he explored a wide array of research interests, including MRI studies for multiple sclerosis at Cedar Sinai with Dr. Nancy Sicotte and the development of self-assembly nanoparticles for novel semiconductor devices with Prof. Paul Weiss. Intrigued by all these past experiences, he is interested in bridging the engineering field with neuroscience in clinical settings. After obtaining his undergraduate study, Ludwig pursued his graduate degree at Columbia University to research aptamer-based nanobiosensors for single neurotransmitter molecule tracing in the brain. In May 2020, Ludwig Joined the Gottfried lab to continue his Ph.D. study, where he will primarily investigate the olfactory system using different MRI methods. His favorite scent is that of lavender. His favorite fictional superhero is Wonder Woman, but in reality, that would be his parents.

Contact: ludwigz[aT]

Sam Lyons

Sam received his BA in psychology from George Washington University with minors in statistics and Spanish. His undergraduate research examined the interactions among culture, emotion, and health. After graduating, he joined the lab of Drs. Lisa Feldman Barrett and Karen Quigley, where he used neuroimaging and psychophysiology to study the fundamental nature of human emotion. During this time, Sam also developed a deep passion for wine and obtained a 4-year WSET Diploma. This led to his current interest in the neuroscience of human olfaction, and he joined the Gottfried lab in May 2021 to pursue his PhD. Sam is particularly interested in developing an embodied active-inference approach to olfactory categorization using fMRI and psychophysiology. His favorite smell is free wine, and his favorite superhero is Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh.

Contact: samlyons[aT]

Violet Tu

Violet obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania in Biophysics and Neuroscience. During her undergraduate years, Violet spanned research interests across cancer immunology, psychology, and neuroscience. In working with Dr. Roddy O'Connor at Penn, she worked on improving CAR-T Cell therapy techniques against neuroblastoma models. Concurrently with this project, Violet engages her interests in education/mentorship by studying the dyadic relationships of Penn students with West Philadelphia high school students. Presently, Violet hopes to further her understanding of sensory systems by studying auditory-olfactory integration. She hopes in the future to combine education, medicine, and research in her career. Her favorite superhero is (Wally West) Flash, and her favorite smell is lavender.

Contact: yitaotu[aT]



Minhtrinh Cao (Trinh)

Trinh majors in biology with a minor in Spanish at the University of Pennsylvania. Her interest in working with the human brain led her to the Gottfried lab where she studies anatomy and gene expression profiles in human olfactory tissue. In her spare time Trinh enjoys drawing and painting. Her favorite smell is fabric softener and her favorite superhero is Red Hood. 


Contact: trnh[aT]


Future Members:

This could be you! Postdoc positions open at UPenn!

Lab Alumni

Sepideh Cheheltani

Andrew Yang

Pei-Ching Chang

Kyle Mabry

Koichiro Iwai

Ashley Ahn

Aline Roberts

Agnes (Xiaojun) Bao

Daria Boratyn Porter

Isabel Hutchison

Heidi Jiang

Laura Shanahan

Peter Kirk

Nisha Sanghani

Shruti Ramachandra

Jasper de Groot

Olga Lacki (Emeritus Research Specialist)

Jia Li

Eva Gjorgieva

Ava Weibman

Lisa Qu

Jaimie Spahr

Shayna Rose Levine

James Howard

Christina Zelano

Joanna (Keng Nei) Wu

Sydni Cole

Nick Bowman

Mathieu d'Acremont

Katherina Hauner

Jonas Olofsson

Wen Li

Appu Mohanty

Connie Choi

Ritu Chouhan

Katherine Khatibi

Katie Phillips