Principal Investigator

Luis Martinez, Ph.D.

I received my B.S. in Psychology (2006) from the University at Buffalo in Buffalo, NY, and my M.S. (2011) and Ph.D. (2013) in Neuroscience from Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA. My dissertation work in the labs of Dr. Aras Petrulis and Dr. Elliott Albers focused on the role of oxytocin in regulating sexual solicitation in female Syrian hamsters. In 2013, I joined the lab of Dr. Paul Mermelstein at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, MN as a postdoctoral fellow. My work in the Mermelstein lab focused on the intracellular signaling mechanisms mediating the effects of estrogen on behavioral responses to drugs of abuse in female rats. Over the course of my pre- and postdoctoral training, I learned how to perform surgeries (stereotaxic, IV cannulation, gonadectomy), histology, imaging, and behavioral analyses. I now employ these techniques to study sex differences in drug addiction in my current position (2016-) as an Assistant Professor of Neuroscience at Trinity College in Hartford, CT. When not in the lab, I enjoy biking as well as exploring what’s new to eat and drink in the Hartford area with my wife, Jennifer.


Office: 204 Life Sciences Center

Curriculum Vitae

Current Students


Cesira Barrett ’23


I am from Westminster, Massachusetts and in my junior year. While pursuing a neuroscience degree, I am researching the effect of gestational exposure of the ketogenic diet when applied to a mouse model of Autism. Outside of the lab, I love petting dogs, working on cars, and exploring nature!


Luz Cumpa Gomez ’24


My name is Luz Cumpa Gomez and I am a junior from Lima, Peru. I’m majoring in Clinical/Cognitive Neuroscience. On campus, I work at the Women and Gender Resource Action Center leading the subgroup “Students Expecting Consent.” I also conduct clinical research at Hartford Hospital on the sociocultural barriers faced by minority patients and work as a Teaching Assistant for the Chemistry Department. In Dr. Martinez’s lab, I study the effect of prenatal exposure to the ketogenic diet on cognitive functioning and sociability. After Trinity, I’m interested in becoming a physician and working to make healthcare more accessible as well as advocating for reproductive rights.


Miriam Kirylo ’24


My name is Miriam Kirylo, and I was born and raised in New York City. I am a neuroscience major pursuing the cellular/molecular concentration here at Trinity College, and my research interests include neuroendocrinological approaches in preventative treatments for neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders. In my spare time, I enjoy playing the violin, hiking, and trying new cuisines!


Sarah Mathew ’23

My name is Sarah Mathew, and I am from Southington, Connecticut. I am a junior neuroscience major with a minor in biology. I have been researching the effects of a ketogenic diet on the reinforcing properties of various doses of cocaine in rats. In my free time, I love to read, dance, and travel!


Ingrid Schoenborn ’24

My name is Ingrid Schoenborn and I am from Newington, Connecticut. I am a junior clinical/cognitive neuroscience and psychology major. I keep myself busy with the Women’s Rowing Team and working at Hartford Hospital on a Medicine/Surgery unit.

Former Students

Kylie Brandt ’22

I grew up just about 40 minutes from Trinity in North Haven, CT. I am a neuroscience major with minors in biology and history. I also work as a TA on campus and at Peter B’s in the library! In Dr. Martinez’s lab I have conducted research focusing on the effects of the ketogenic diet on mice and rat’s sociability and drug-seeking behaviors. After Trinity, I hope to attend medical school and eventually become a physician.


Gracie Chouinard ’22

My name is Gracie Chouinard and I am a senior from Natick, Massachusetts majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in Biology and Hispanic Studies. Outside of the lab I am a captain of the Women’s Swimming and Diving Team and I am interested in researching the effects of drugs of abuse, specifically cocaine, on the sociability behaviors of rats.


Kiera Flynn ’21

I’m from the Greater Hartford Area in Connecticut. I plan to major in Neuroscience with a minor in African studies. I have been researching the ways oxytocin is expressed in the brain as an effect of gestational exposure to the ketogenic diet. When I am not in the lab I enjoy spending time with my friends and family, teaching pre-school students at a daycare, and immersing myself into the fashion world.


Meg Huston ’20

I grew up in Newton, Massachusetts. I am a senior Neuroscience major and English minor. My research focuses on the effect of the ketogenic diet on the reward properties of cocaine in rats. In my free time, I like to hang out with friends, cook, and get outdoors! During my junior year, I went abroad to Copenhagen which has furthered my interest in traveling!


Eve Larkin ’21

Hello! My name is Eve Larkin and I am a chemistry major from Salt Lake City, Utah.  I am interested in neurochemistry and medicine, and after graduation I hope to go to medical school in Utah. When I’m not researching, I love to read, run, and geek out with medical articles.


Samantha McStocker ’21

My name is Samantha McStocker and I am from Weston, Connecticut. I am currently a Junior and I am majoring in Neuroscience. I am interested in researching the effects that post-natal exposure to the ketogenic diet has on drug seeking behaviors. When I am not in lab I enjoy swimming, reading, and spending times with my friends.


Joli Smith ’22

I was born and raised on the east side of Atlanta, Georgia to two Jamaican parents. I am majoring in Neuroscience with a concentration in Clinical & Cognitive Neuroscience.  My research in this lab will deal with the differences in drug addiction among males and females. On campus I am a Resident Assistant for first-year students, co-organizer of Trinity’s International Hip-Hop Festival, and Secretary of Trinity’s African Student Association.


Nina Tzianabos ’20

I grew up in Reading, Massachusetts and I am a junior at Trinity College majoring in Neuroscience with a Spanish minor. I will be doing research on systems and behavioral neuroscience. In my free time I like to read and hang out with my friends.

Amr Arqoub ’18

I grew up in Ramallah, Palestine. I am a senior double majoring in neuroscience and language and culture studies: French and Arabic. I am doing research on the behavioral effects of prenatal exposure to the ketogenic diet. In my free time, I like to read French literature and travel.



Meghan Lees ’18

I’m from Summit, New Jersey and a senior at Trinity College. I am a Neuroscience major with a German minor, and have been researching the ketogenic diet’s effects on behavioral responses to cocaine in rats. I love research, but also enjoy snowboarding, painting, and spending time with friends in my free time.