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and treatment of mental illnesses.

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Unit on Computational Decision Neuroscience (CDN)

Meet the Team

Silvia Lopez-Guzman, M.D., Ph.D.| Principal Investigator

Silvia Lopez-Guzman headshot

Dr. Lopez-Guzman received her M.D. from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia and completed her Ph.D. in Neuroscience at New York University’s Center for Neural Science. She joined NIMH as Chief of the Unit on Computational Decision Neuroscience and became a NIH Distinguished Scholar in 2021. Dr. Lopez-Guzman also holds a joint appointment with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), where she is part of the Translational Addiction Medicine Branch.



Mandy Renfro, Ph.D. | Postdoctoral Fellow

Mandy Renfro headshot

Dr. Amanda Renfro is a cognitive neuroscientist serving as a postdoctoral fellow in the Computational Decision Neuroscience Laboratory at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) under Dr. Silvia Lopez-Guzman. Dr. Renfro earned a B.S. in Psychology and terminal M.S. in Experimental Psychology from Eastern Kentucky University, then went on to receive a non-terminal M.S. in Psychology and her Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuroscience from Florida International University under the mentorship of Dr. Aaron Mattfeld. Her research interests focus primarily on cognitive processes which influence decision-making, as well as the neurobiological mechanisms which give rise to these phenomena. In her doctoral studies, Dr. Renfro used functional neuroimaging techniques to investigate prospective memory-guided decision-making and is now interested in how value may also influence choice for both clinical and non-clinical populations.

Morkeh Blay-Tofey, M.D., M.B.A. | Clinical Fellow 

Morkeh Blay-Tofey headshot

Dr. Blay-Tofey is a Clinical Fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Before joining NIMH, he completed three-years of Psychiatry Residency at Baylor Scott and White Medical Center. He holds a B.A. in History of Science and Medicine from Yale College and a dual M.D./M.B.A. degree from Texas Tech Health Sciences Center School of Medicine. Dr. Blay-Tofey's interests lie in the neural mechanisms of decision-making and learning, particularly when affected by psychopathology, and the development of digital interventions to enhance mental health accessibility and quality.


Cassie Raymond, B.A.| Postbaccalaureate Fellow

Cassie Raymond headshot

Cassie graduated from Wake Forest University in 2022 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, along with minors in Statistics and Neuroscience. Throughout her academic journey, her research interests have primarily revolved around understanding the cognitive processes that underlie mental disorders. Cassie’s aspiration is to utilize this knowledge to develop and implement more targeted and effective treatments in her future career. After her time at CDN, she plans to pursue a doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology. In her free time, she enjoys running, spending time with friends and family, and discovering new places in Washington, D.C.


Clara Haeffner, B.S. | Postbaccalaureate Fellow

Clara Haeffner headshot

Clara graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with Comprehensive Honors in Neurobiology in 2023. There, she studied interactions among affective chronometry, neuroscience, and well-being. Her undergraduate work culminated in an honors thesis analyzing associations between lifetime stress history, hippocampal and amygdala volumes, and cortisol responses to acute psychosocial stress. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. to further investigate the intersection of affective and decision neuroscience, especially pertaining to how these processes interact with individual differences in life experience and psychopathology. Outside of the lab, Clara spends her time doing yoga, hiking, and finding live music.



Daniel Pine, M.D., Ph.D. | Chief, Section on Development and Affective Neuroscience, NIMH

Lauren Atlas, Ph.D. | Chief, Section on Affective Neuroscience and Pain, NCCIH

Amy Janes, Ph.D. | Chief, Cognitive and Pharmacological Neuroimaging Unit, NIDA

Nora Volkow, M.D. | Director, Laboratory of Neuroimaging, NIDA

Melissa Brotman, Ph.D. | Chief, Neuroscience and Novel Therapeutics Unit, NIMH

Elizabeth Ballard, Ph.D. | Staff Scientist, Experimental Therapeutics and Pathophysiology Branch, NIMH

Kareem Zaghloul, M.D., Ph.D. | Senior Investigator, Functional Neurosurgery Section, NINDS

Kathleen Merikangas, Ph.D. | Chief, Genetic Epidemiology Research Branch, NIMH

Corey Ziemba, Ph.D. | Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Texas-Austin



Ricardo Pizzaro, Ph.D. | Data Scientist

Santiago Guardo-Maya | Visiting Fellow 

Miryam Kiderman, Psy.D. | Staff Clinician 

Savana Agyemang | Postbaccalaureate Fellow 

Dhruv Govil | Postbaccalaureate Fellow 

Ben Gorman | Summer Student