CCB Graduate Student Program

About the CCB Graduate Student Program

The Center on Compulsive Behaviors (CCB) is delighted to announce the CCB Graduate Fellowship 2024, designed to support outstanding graduate students enrolled in the NIH Graduate Partnership Programs (GPP) who are passionate about research related to compulsive behaviors. This fellowship aims to provide financial assistance, mentorship, and opportunities for professional development.


Applications for Fellowship

  • Applications for the current cycle are now closed. Please sign up for the listserv to receive news about the next application cycle.


  • Award Amount: $15,000 per year, renewable annually for up to three years.
  • Travel Grant: 10% of the award (up to $1,500) dedicated to covering travel expenses for the Fellow to attend a scientific conference.
  • Application Period: Submissions open around November and close in January.


First Year Fellows

Hannah Goldbach (NIMH/NEI)

CCB graduate student fellow

As a Ph.D. student in the Brown University – NIH Graduate Partnership Program, Hannah is completing her doctoral research in the labs of Dr. Veronica Alvarez (NIMH) and Dr. Richard Krauzlis (NEI). Her research combines ex vivo slice physiology methods with modern in vivo methods to explore the temporal and spatial development of striatal dopamine signals during visual learning, as well as the pathways through which these signals are generated.

Hannah completed her B.S. in Neuroscience at American University, in Washington, DC. She then completed a Post-Baccalaureate IRTA Fellowship with Dr. Mark Histed (NIMH) before beginning her Ph.D. As a post-bac, Hannah studied the contributions of mouse secondary visual areas to basic visual decision-making. 








Sofia Shirley (NIMH)

CCB graduate student fellow

Sofia is a PhD student in the Johns Hopkins graduate partnership program co-mentored by Dr. Hugo Tejeda and Dr. Mario Penzo. Her research focuses on endogenous opioid signaling within the paraventricular nucleus of the thalamus and uses a combination of electrophysiological and behavioral techniques to investigate the cellular and circuit mechanisms of this opioid signaling and the behaviors it modulates.

Sofia completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Washington where she performed research under Dr. Michael Bruchas studying kappa opioid receptor modulation of action-outcome behaviors in the dorsal striatum. In her free time, Sofia likes playing soccer, hiking, and traveling.











Anna Vlachos (NICHD)

Anna is a CCB graduate student fellow in the NIH-Brown GPP and is pursuing her PhD in the lab of Dr. Chris McBain (NICHD). Her project focuses on the cross-species characterization of a septal-projecting hippocampal inhibitory interneuron subtype and its role in network rhythms across the septo-hippocampal axis that underlie processes such as learning, memory, fear, and anxiety.

Anna received her BS in Neuroscience from American University where she trained in the psychopharmacology lab of Dr. Anthony Riley studying the aversive effects of synthetic cathinones in rats. Following the completion of her undergraduate degree, she took a postbac position in the lab of Dr. Chris McBain, studying inhibitory interneurons and their role in orchestrating network rhythms in the hippocampus across species.



Lacey Greer (NIDA)

CCB graduate student fellow

Lacey is a predoctoral fellow in the Cellular Stress and Inflammation Section led by Dr. Brandon Harvey at the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Lacey’s research interests include understanding the role of the ER/Golgi protein, KDEL receptor, in trafficking the dopamine transporter and its overall impact on dopaminergic neuron function. Her CCB project will combine molecular techniques with voltammetry to understand how altering KDEL receptors change dopamine transporter surface expression and dopamine signaling with and without the presence of amphetamines.

Lacey received her B.S. in Biology and Psychology from the University of Alabama. After graduation, she worked under the guidance of Dr. Brandon Harvey as a postbaccalaureate fellow at NIDA, studying isoform specific differences in KDEL receptors. She attends graduate school at the University of Maryland Baltimore, Program in Neuroscience and has continued in the Harvey lab for her dissertation work. Outside the lab, she enjoys rock climbing and spending time with friends.










Graduate Student Program Contacts

To stay up to date with the application cycle, sign up for the listserv or send an email with a signup request to Sebastian Peña-Vargas.

Mario Penzo, PhD
Senior Investigator, NIMH

Amy Janes, PhD
Investigator, NIDA

Michael Krashes, PhD
Senior Investigator, NIDDK

Sebastian Peña-Vargas
CCB Program Analyst