James Lab 

Rutgers University

Robert Wood Johnson  Medical School

Department of Psychiatry

& Brain Health Institute

Our mission is to better understand the neural basis of psychiatric illnesses and to guide the development of more effective treatments for these devastating conditions.


We are particularly interested in studying illnesses characterized by aberrant motivation, including substance use disorders, depression, and eating disorders.


Lab Updates

August 2020: We are looking for enthusiastic and motivated people at all levels to join our team! See here for details on how to apply.

August 2020: It's official. The James lab is up and running! We are very excited to join the vibrant (and still growing) neuroscience community here at Rutgers, which includes an outstanding addiction research program. Looking forward to getting started - safely and socially-distanced, of course. We even joined Twitter!

  • Twitter

July 2020: A HUGE congratulations to Jackie Mehr and Orion Yedidia for being named prizewinners at the New Jersey Academy of Science Virtual Research Competition. Jackie tied for first place (!) in the Microbiology Division, and Orion earned an honorable mention. Much deserved! More details available here.

May 2020: Congratulations to Mohita, Orion, and Noah for successfully defending their senior theses and graduating! Mohita is off to medical school at NJMS, Noah is preparing for dental school, and Orion is continuing on as a postbac in the James lab before applying for Medical School. A special mention to Orion who received several awards for his thesis, including the Cognitive Neuroscience Award, Henry Rutgers Award, and a Paul Robeson pin. Congratulations to you all - especially given the additional challenges that were thrown at you thanks to COVID-19. Thank you also to Drs. Aston-Jones, Fragale and Bowrey for their co-mentorship. 

March 2020: Check out our special issue (editors Drs. James and Aston-Jones) recently published at Brain Research, featuring 19 articles focused on the orexin system as a potential target for new therapeutics designed to treat substance use disorder and other related diseases. Thanks to all of the contributors!