DIBS Administration

Geraldine Dawson, PhD


Geraldine Dawson is William Clelland Professor, Departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Pediatrics, and Psychology and Neuroscience, and Director of the Duke Center for Autism and Brain Development at Duke University, North Carolina. Dawson is Past President of the International Society for Autism Research. She serves as a member of the NIH Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) which develops the federal strategic plan for autism research, services, and policy. Dawson is a licensed practicing clinical psychologist and scientist, having published extensively on early detection and treatment of autism and brain development. She previously served as Chair of the DIBS Faculty Governance Committee.


Nicole Schramm-Sapyta, Ph.D.

Associate Director

(919) 684-5187

Dr. Schramm-Sapyta earned her bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from N.C. State University and her doctoral degree in Pharmacology from Vanderbilt University.  She has a long-standing interest in the neurobiology of drug addiction, using rodent models to investigate adolescent vulnerability to addiction. Her scientific expertise in this area supports her professional interests in bringing together the insight from basic scientists and clinical practitioners to inform public policy and education about the brain sciences in general.  She is a member of the Society for Neuroscience and the College on Problems of Drug Dependence.  Prior to serving as the DIBS Chief Operating Officer, she was Assistant Director of the Addiction Division, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and Associate Director, Bass Connections Brain and Society Theme. 


Leonard E. White, Ph.D.

Associate Director 

(919) 613-5028

Dr. White facilitates the development and implementation of the educational mission at DIBS. He has a faculty appointment in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Physical Therapy Division and the Department of Neurobiology, and he is a senior fellow in the Duke Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development. Dr. White received his Ph.D. in neural biology from Washington University where he studied the functional anatomy of neural circuitry in the ‘limbic’ forebrain. He then came to Duke and received postdoctoral training in the Department of Neurobiology where he studied lateral asymmetry in the human sensorimotor system and the organization of neural circuits in the visual cortex for pattern and motion discrimination. Dr. White's research interests encompass the development of functional neural circuits in the cerebral cortex and the impact of sensory experience and neurological disease on brain structure and function.


R. Alison Adcock, MD, PhD

Associate Director

Alison Adcock is Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Director of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience in the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences. She received her undergraduate degree in psychology from Emory University and her MD and PhD in Neurobiology from Yale University. She completed her psychiatry residency training at Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute at UC-San Francisco and did neurosciences research as a postdoctoral fellow at UC-SF, the San Francisco VA Medical Center, and Stanford before joining the Duke faculty in 2007.

Shuntoya Lee

Assistant Director for Administration

(919) 613-5012

Shuntoya Lee manages finance and operations for DIBS. She operates as the business manager for DIBS and oversees day-to-day financial responsibilities, sponsored research activity, personnel management, and facilities associated with the Institute and its constituent centers. Before coming to DIBS, Shuntoya served as the assistant director of operations and recruiting for Duke’s Fuqua School of Business in the Career Management Center. 


Andrew Ballard

Computer Technician III

(919) 613-5000

Andrew Ballard assists in the support of computer software and hardware used by DIBS and CCN.  He is responsible for the installation, diagnosis, repair and maintenance of all components in the DIBS computer network.  Before coming to DIBS, Andrew worked as a clinical technician for Point of Care Testing in the Duke University Health System.


Colleen Bauer

Program Coordinator

(919) 684-3422

Colleen Bauer supports the Cognitive Neuroscience Acceptance Program (CNAP) through recruiting, onboarding and administrative program support and serves as Program Coordinator for a variety of DIBS events, including graduate student activities. She has over 10 years of experience in education administration from Juniata College, Harvard Business School and Middlesex School.


Cindy Clements

Undergraduate Education & Alumni Relations

(919) 684-9671

Coordinating undergraduate neuroscience education and alumni relations, Cindy Sherwood manages many aspects of the neuroscience major such as course management, student, advising, and other initiatives such as Neurohumanities in Paris. Cindy brings with her many years of experience in higher education from Colgate University in NY.


Robin Knott

Financial Analyst

(919) 684-1226

Robin provides financial and accounting support for the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences, including the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience. She is DIBS’ Buy@Duke representative and also provides financial analysis and statistical reporting for the Institute.


Tyler Lee

Undergraduate Student Services

(919) 613-5025

Tyler Lee provides undergraduate student services for DIBS' Undergraduate Studies in Neuroscience. She is responsible for coordinating independent studies and graduation with distinction applications, as well as assisting in Summer Neuroscience Program (SNP) at Duke. She is also the primary point of contact for all current and prospective neuroscience undergraduates. In addition to assisting in the neuroscience major, she is Brain and Society's theme administrator for Bass Connections.


Diane Masters

Research Development

(919) 681-9554

Diane Masters is the lead grants administrator for the DIBS and its constituent centers. She administers the grant portfolios of DIBS, the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience and the Duke Center for Interdisciplinary Decision Sciences faculty, postdocs and graduate students. She helps to identify funding opportunities, prepare competitive proposals and manage awards.


Ed McLaurin

Information Technology User Support

(919) 613-5000

Edward provides desktop and AV support to DIBS.  He first started working at Duke in research but decided to transition to IT. He hopes to use his experience as a former researcher to provide a unique source of knowledge regarding security and compliance to the researchers of DIBS.  Edward earned his bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.



Andrew M. Michael, Ph.D.

(919) 613-5020

Director of Imaging Analytics and Informatics

Dr. Michael is a scientist, administrator, and educator with a unique set of experiences acquired in the academic, research and hospital environments. He works closely with researchers to ensure cutting edge MR technology and advanced analytic methodologies are utilized in brain imaging studies. Dr. Michael supports Duke research groups in study design, quality control, pre- and post-processing, and analyzing brain data through both conventional statistical methods and machine learning protocols. Dr. Michael’s research interests are in computational neuroscience, a multidisciplinary field at the intersection of brain imaging, neuroscience, and data science. Dr. Michael is an electrical engineer with a Ph.D. in Imaging Science from the Chester F. Carlson Center at Rochester Institute of Technology. Before joining Duke, Dr. Michael was an assistant professor and director of the brain imaging laboratory at Geisinger Health System. 


 Kathy Neal portrait

Kathy Neal

Director of Communications

(919) 613-5014

Kathy is an accredited public relations professional with extensive experience working with health, science and public policy researchers to communicate their work to key audiences. She has done so at Duke, UNC-Chapel Hill and Stanford University, her alma mater. At DIBS, she manages communications activities, including publicity and the website. She is a native of Durham, the eldest daughter of two Yankees who met at Duke and stayed.


Thomas Newpher, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of the Practice

Director, Summer Neuroscience Program

(919) 613-5027

Dr. Newpher teaches and advises for Duke's Undergraduate Studies in Neuroscience program and directs the Summer Neuroscience Program. He earned his Ph.D. in molecular biology from Case Western Reserve University. He then came to Duke for postdoctoral training in the Neurobiology Department, where his research focused on identifying key molecular mechanisms that underlie learning-related synaptic plasticity.

Trina Rodriguez


Program Coordinator

(919) 668-2512

Trina Rodriguez is a program coordinator for DIBS. She works closely with research centers and programs for DIBS, such as the Center on Addiction and Behavior Change, the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience and the Neuroimmunology & Glia Group. Trina has worked in academia for more than 20 years at Duke University and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Lynnette Thacker

Grants & Contracts

(919) 681-9713

Lynnette Thacker is the post-award grants administrator for DIBS and its constituent centers. She administers the post-award portfolios for DIBS and the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience.

Jill Watkins

Human Resources

(919) 681-0658

Jill manages and coordinates all hiring, terminating and HR issues within the DIBS Department. She also manages all job classifications/reclassifications, performance management, compensation and complex payroll duties for DIBS and CCN. Jill has over 13 years of Duke HR experience with 12 years managing HR within the Duke Health System.


Yimin Wei, Ph.D.

Information Technology Strategy & Management

(919) 613-5000

Dr. Wei provides help desk support, desktop support and server support for DIBS and has also served as a liaison between end users and OIT and DHTS. Dr. Wei received his Ph.D. in Engineering from North Carolina State University. 



Learn more about DIBS

The Duke Institute for Brain Sciences is a scientific institute with a collaborative spirit and a commitment to education, service and knowledge across disciplines. We encourage creativity, taking risks, sharing ideas and working together.


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