Meet the Team

Emily Bernstein, PhD

Rita Z. Goldstein, PhD, Chief

Dr. Goldstein is the Mount Sinai Professor in Neuroimaging and Addiction at the Department of Psychiatry with a secondary appointment at the Department of Neuroscience/Friedman Brain Institute (FBI) in the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS). Dr. Goldstein directs the Neuroimaging of Addictions and Related Conditions (NARC) Research Program, and previously the Brain Imaging Center (BIC) at ISMMS, both internationally recognized for their use and development of innovative multimodality neuroimaging methods (including MRI, PET, EEG/ERP) for the translational study of brain morphology and function.

Nationally and internationally known for her neuroimaging and neuropsychological studies in drug addiction, Dr. Goldstein formulated a theoretical model known as Impaired Response Inhibition and Salience Attribution (iRISA). Multiple neuroimaging modalities—including MRI, EEG/ERP, PET—and neuropsychological tests are used to explore the neurobiological underpinnings of iRISA in drug addiction and related conditions. This model has drawn considerable scientific attention (exceeding 3,000 citations for a review published in the Am J Psychiatry in 2002 and 2,000 for another review published in Nature Reviews Neuroscience in 2011). An important application of Dr. Goldstein’s research is to facilitate the development of intervention modalities that would improve cognitive and emotional function, leading to better treatment outcomes, in drug addiction and other chronically relapsing disorders of self-regulation.

Dr. Goldstein is a recognized leader in the neuroimaging study of the cognitive and emotional processes underlying human drug addiction. Her research interests include the elucidation of the role of dopamine and prefrontal cortical deficits in iRISA (Impairments in Response Inhibition and Salience Attribution or the compromised ability to change ongoing willed-behavior in response to an emotionally salient feedback) in drug addiction and other disorders of self-control. Dr. Goldstein's interests also include pharmacological fMRI, real-time neurofeedback using Brain Computer Interface, and brain stimulation (e.g., with tDCS). She has also been exploring the contribution of individual differences, including recency of drug use (across both stimulants and opiates), sex differences and polymorphisms in monoaminergic genes, to addiction and aggression, with a focus on the neural mechanisms underlying real-life/naturalistic brain function/behavior, reinforcement learning, risk-taking and extinction, choice and decision-making, and self-awareness and insight into severity of illness. Read more.

Emily Bernstein, PhD

Nelly Alia-Klein, PhD, Co-Chief

Dr. Nelly Alia-Klein is an Associate Professor at the Medical School. Dr. Alia-Klein received her PhD in Clinical Psychology from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Columbia University, New York City, in 2002 followed by an internship at Hillside Hospital in adult psychology. She completed a three-year post-doctorate in neuroimaging of addiction at Brookhaven National Laboratory T32 training program. Dr. Alia-Klein’s research interests concentrate on gene-brain-behavior mechanisms underlying violent behaviors and drug addiction. She has both the expertise and clinical experience to conduct innovative and integrated basic and clinical translational research studies that aim to elucidate complex psychopathology.


Eduardo Butelman, PhD, MS

Eduardo is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He received his Doctorate in Psychology in Psychology from University College London, followed by training in behavioral pharmacology at the University of Michigan School of Medicine. He then joined the Research Faculty in the Laboratory on the Biology of Addictive Diseases at the Rockefeller University.

Eduardo’s initial work focused on the behavioral, analgesic and respiratory effects of drugs of abuse such as opioids, in preclinical models. He has also worked extensively in peripheral biomarker studies, both in clinical and preclinical studies. More recently he has also characterized major stages in the trajectory of opioid and cocaine use disorders in clinical studies, and their relationship to gender and early adolescent exposure.

Emily Bernstein, PhD

Ahmet Ceceli, PhD

Dr. Ceceli is a postdoctoral fellow at NARC. He received his master’s degree in New York University (PI: Dr. Elizabeth Phelps), where he studied the psychophysiological bases of emotional learning. He completed his PhD in psychology, specializing in cognitive neuroscience, at Rutgers University-Newark (PI: Dr. Elizabeth Tricomi), investigating the neurobehavioral mechanisms underlying habits in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Broadly, Dr.Ceceli is interested in the neural signature of cognitive control in drug addiction. His work at the NARC lab focuses on the structural and functional brain substrates of cognitive and habitual control in cocaine and heroin addiction. The goals of Dr. Ceceli’s research include 1) better understanding how salient drug cues affect self-control in individuals with substance use disorders, 2) revealing common and distinct cognitive control markers across substance classes to identify precise biomarkers, and 3) improving addiction treatment outcomes via ecologically valid estimates of drug-biased processing. Dr. Ceceli is supported by a National Institute on Drug Abuse T32 Training Grant in Substance Use Disorders.

Emily Bernstein, PhD

Greg Kronberg, PhD

Greg completed his PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the City College of New York, where he worked in Lucas C. Parra’s group. His graduate work in neural engineering focused on optimizing non-invasive brain stimulation technologies. He used computational models in vitro experiments to understand how weak electromagnetic fields can be used to alter synaptic plasticity. Greg joined the NARC lab as a postdoc in 2020. He is interested in using tools from engineering, machine learning, and computational neuroscience to subtype individuals with substance use disorders and help predict treatment outcomes. He is currently characterizing the dynamics of brain networks in fMRI responses to naturalistic stimuli to identify addiction and recovery related brain states.

Emily Bernstein, PhD

Yuefeng Huang, PhD

Yuefeng Huang received his Ph.D. degree from the University of Texas at Dallas after completing training in the Cognition and Neuroscience program under the supervision of Dr. Sven Vanneste. His graduate work focuses on using non-invasive brain stimulation (e.g., tDCS) and neuroimaging methods (e.g., fMRI, EEG) to study human memory functions. After graduated, he joined the Neuroimaging of Addictions and Related Conditions (NARC) lab as a postdoctoral fellow in 2020. In the NARC lab, he is interested in studying the neuromechanism of addiction and aiming to identify neuromarkers for therapeutic Interventions. He will also focus on studying sex differences in addiction and how sex hormones modulate the impaired response inhibition and salience attribution (iRISA) model in addiction.

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Pierre-Olivier Gaudreault, PhD

Pierre-Olivier is a postdoctoral fellow at the NARC laboratory. He completed his PhD in clinical neuropsychology at the Université de Montréal, Canada under the supervision of Dr. Julie Carrier and Dr Nadia Gosselin. His research focused on the implication of the brain anatomical connectivity, measured through diffusion MRI, in the electrophysiological characteristics of sleep spindles. The goal of Dr. Gaudreault’s current research is to better understand how brain networks are implicated in drug addiction and its recovery using multimodal techniques (e.g., EEG, diffusion MRI, transcranial Direct Current Stimulation, sleep actigraphy). In the NARC lab, he specifically focuses on the use of tDCS to modulate drug craving in cocaine-addicted individuals and the use of diffusion MRI to establish the relationship between the white matter anatomical connectivity and recovery measures in individuals with heroin use disorder. Dr. Gaudreault is also heavily involved in teaching and community outreach, having been invited to present in multiple events on sleep and health as well as to teach numerous university courses on sleep, cognition, and psychopharmacology at the undergraduate and graduate level. Dr. Gaudreault is now combining his clinical interests and research expertise to explore how brain abnormalities and disrupted sleep/wake cycle contribute to the symptomatology of addiction. he is the recipient of a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Postdoctoral Fellowship.

Emily Bernstein, PhD

Sarah King

Sarah is a PhD student in the Neuroscience graduate program at Mount Sinai. She previously completed a post-baccalaureate under the mentorship of Dr. Carlo Pierpaoli in the Quantitative Medical Imaging Section at the NIH, where she studied the neuropathology of mild traumatic brain injury using diffusion MRI and tissue histology. Her current research in the NARC research program aims to leverage advanced neuroimaging methods to understand how drug addiction alters the connectivity of brain regions, especially the prefrontal cortex and habenula. She is also interested in understanding social factors of addiction through naturalistic speech.


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Jack Gray

Jack oversees technical operations for the NARC lab. Jack obtained his degree in electrical and computer engineering, with a minor in neuroscience from Auburn University. He now manages data for the lab.





Emily Bernstein, PhD

Natalie McClain

Natalie is a clinical research coordinator at the NARC lab. She graduated from Barnard College with a degree in Cellular Neuroscience and Mathematics in 2022. Before joining the NARC lab, Natalie worked in the Losonczy Lab at the Zuckerman Institute under Adrian Negrean investigating in vivo place-cell tuning and the electrophysiological mechanisms of memory retrieval. Natalie intends to pursue a doctoral degree in neuroscience with hopes of specializing in addiction. This is motivated by her desire to both advance our understanding of the addicted brain and to contribute to the development of therapeutic interventions for individuals suffering from addiction.


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Maggie Boros

Maggie is a clinical research coordinator at the NARC lab. She graduated from Fordham University in 2023 with a degree in neuroscience and philosophy, where she was a part of the Memory and Aging Lab under Dr. Karen Siedlecki. There, she studied the impact of COVID-19 infection on ACE2 receptors in olfactory neuroepithelium. Prior to the NARC lab, Maggie was a volunteer researcher at the Joyner Lab of Memorial Sloan Kettering where she studied the impact of Sonic hedgehog protein on the cerebellar development of mice. Maggie plans to continue in clinical research and take part in developing more efficacious treatments for people who struggle with addiction.


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Chloe Wong

Chloe is a clinical research coordinator at the NARC lab. She graduated from New York University in 2022 with a double major in Neuroscience and Psychology. Prior to joining the lab, Chloe worked in the Perception and Brain Dynamics Lab at NYU Langone where she worked on an fMRI study investigating the neural correlates of cross-modal conscious perception. Chloe is interested in exploring the neural mechanisms of psychiatric disorders with the ultimate goal of improving treatment efficacy through existing and novel interventions and intends to pursue a doctoral degree in clinical psychology.


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Rachel Drury

Rachel joined the NARC lab as a clinical research coordinator. She graduated from Northwestern University with a double major in psychology and opera performance. Following her undergraduate studies, Rachel was a research assistant and paraeducator at the International Institute for the Brain, where her team investigated the cognitive effects of novel music therapy treatments in children with severe traumatic brain injuries. Rachel is interested in studying how the neurobiological underpinnings of substance use disorders can shape novel treatments such as mindfulness-based interventions and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). She aspires to continue pursuing addiction research as a clinical psychologist.


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Lucy Bao

Lucy is a volunteer at the NARC Lab. She is currently an undergraduate student at Macaulay Honors College at Hunter where she studies Biology with a focus in Behavioral Neurobiology. Prior to joining the NARC Lab, Lucy interned in the Hurd Lab at the Icahn School of Medicine under Yasmin Hurd investigating the interplay of genes and the environment to the development of addictive disorders. In the future, Lucy intends on pursuing a medical degree.




image of lesley tan

Lesley Tan

Lesley is a volunteer at the NARC lab. She is currently an undergraduate student at New York University studying Psychology. Lesley is also involved in the Motivation Lab in the NYU Psychology department under Gabriele Oettingen and Peter Gollwitzer investigating the effects of a self-regulation strategy known as mental contrasting to support flow, a mental state when one is immersed in an activity. Lesley is interested in exploring the extent to which an individual has agency over their own wellbeing while recognizing the social and neurological boundaries of wellness. She intends on pursuing a medical degree in psychiatry.



Image of Alan Charles

Alan Charles

Alan Charles joined the NARC Lab in early 2021. He is a recovering addict and author of Walking Out The Other Side, a riveting account of his journey from the throes of addiction to the miracle of sobriety. He speaks openly about his ordeal to a wide spectrum of audiences to bring his message of hope and healing. He previously hosted The Alan Charles Show - a weekly live show where he had a real, constructive conversation about addiction that helped to lead his listeners to prevention, treatment and recovery services. Alan's raw honesty and courageous heart breaks the stigma of addiction and offers a unique perspective into the mind of an addict. He shed light on a dark world and brought his listeners to a true understanding of the grip of addiction. Alan is an important part of the NARC team's subject recruitment efforts. Some of his work includes communicating clearly to people with addiction about our studies and their relevance to their struggles.
Alan grew up in Yonkers, NY and graduated from The University of Tampa. As a former professional baseball player and former harness racing driver and trainer, he has proven himself to be a unique and ambitious individual who goes after his dreams. Alan's most important dream-sobriety-has finally come true, and he's passionate about showing others how to achieve this dream as well.

Lab Alumni


In addition to our core team, we collaborate with the following investigators:


We are looking for volunteers to participate in our research efforts. We need the following:

Study Participants. We seek current or past cocaine/crack users or individuals addicted to heroin between the ages of 18 and 60 as well as people with difficulties controlling anger (ages 18 to 45). We need people who are in good health. Confidentiality maintained. Please contact or 347-443-2395 for more information.

Volunteer Research Assistant. We are looking for current undergraduates or recent graduates to fill volunteer research assistant positions. We need motivated, detail-oriented people with strong communication skills. Candidates must be available a minimum of 16 hours a week during weekdays, regular working hours, for a full year. Research Assistants help with all aspects of the research process including performing neuroimaging and neuropsychological procedures, conducting data analysis and management, and recruiting participants. Please send your resume, transcript, semester and summer availability, and earliest start date to or Dr. Goldstein at If we are able to match your interest with a current research opportunity, we will contact you for an interview. We require letters of recommendation before conducting interviews.