LC Melón, PhD

assistant professor , biology

Dr. Melón earned her BA in Neuroscience as a Posse Scholar at Middlebury College. At Midd, Dr. Melón developed her scholarly interests as a researcher in Dr. Kim Cronise’s behavioral neuroscience laboratory and research assistant for Feminist Scholar Dr. Sujata Moorti.  For her graduate work, she trained with Dr. Stephen Boehm, earning her MA from Binghamton University and PhD in Addiction Neuroscience from Purdue University, as an NIH funded predoctoral fellow in IUPUI’s Genetic Aspects of Alcoholism training program. For postdoctoral training, she joined Dr. Jamie Maguire’s lab as an NIH-IRACDA funded postdoctoral fellow at Tufts University School of Medicine.

At Wesleyan University, the overarching goal of the Melón lab is to discover neurobiological mechanisms that drive sex differences in the development of disorders associated with alcohol exposure.


Outside of the lab, Dr. M likes listening to loud music, cooking+eating spicy food and occupying scientific spaces that recognize 

Full list of Dr. Melón's Citations here.


Bilge Buyukdemirtas, MS

graduate student researcher

Bilge is a PhD student in the Department of Biology. She is interested in neurobiology, addiction, and neurological disorders. She received her Bachelor of Science (Honors) in Molecular Biology and Genetics in 2016 from Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey. After graduation, she spent three years obtaining her Master of Science from University of Cologne in Cologne, Germany. Her research was on the properties of a common zebrafish olfactory co-receptor, OlfCc1.


Bilge was born and raised in a small town near Istanbul, Turkey. She spent most of her life near the seacoast and moved to Ankara, where there is no sea, for her bachelor’s degree and kept moving to cities with no seacoast. She is determined to live near the seacoast again someday. When she is not in the lab, she enjoys reading science fiction and fantasy books, watching overly dramatic TV series, and solving puzzles.

Milán Benn, BS

laboratory coordinator

Born and raised in Pasadena, CA, Milán attended Howard University in Washington, D.C., where she graduated magna cum laude with her Bachelor of Science in psychology and a minor in painting. Milán aspires to become a university professor after earning both a PhD in clinical neuropsychology and a Master of Fine Arts. She is primarily interested in researching mental health spectrum disorders, such as anxiety, major depressive, obsessive compulsive, and post-traumatic stress disorders. She is increasingly interested in examining the neurological relationship between mental health spectrum disorders and mixed media art expression/perception from a psychotherapeutic perspective.


When she's not in the lab, Milán grows her portfolio as a mixed media artist, as she's currently stepping away from contemporary realism to explore abstractionism. She also continues her search for adequate sushi and Mexican food (her favorite West Coast foods) on the East Coast.

Ana Finnerty-Haggerty, '21

undergraduate research assistant

Ana is an undergraduate at Wesleyan University pursing a BA/MA in neuroscience. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and has always looked up to her big sister, who is also pursuing science. Ana hopes to earn her Ph.D. and possibly become a college level professor. This is the first lab Ana has worked in, but she's loving her experience working in Dr. Melón’s Lab. Ana enjoys working with mice models because she likes working with animals. She has even worked at a dairy farm for an entire summer and is on the Equestrian Club Team!


Ana is also a club leader of Wesleyan’s neuroscience club, the Basal Gang. She works closely with other club leaders to plan events, such as student panels, theater performances, and film viewings and discussions. The club focuses on raising awareness and discussions of mental health illnesses on campus. Being part of this lab helps Ana gain even more insight into this very important topic. Ana is also a highly critical thinker who succeeds in organization and creative problem solving.

Ange Zuniga-Aleman, '22

McNair Scholar

WesMass Scholar

undergraduate research assistant

Ange is a proud Latina born of Puerto Rican and Honduran descent and reared in Boston, MA. She is a prospective Neuroscience & Behavior major with a minor in College of East Asian Studies.


In combining her areas of interest, Ange hopes to pursue a PhD in clinical or behavioral neuroscience with specialized research in understanding the ways in which trauma/chronic stress affects dysfunctions in subcortical circuits that are related to anhedonia-like symptoms. Specifically, Ange is concerned with the way in which this casual link is manifested in countries in East Asia with disproportionately high suicide rates. Her objective is to understand the neurological circuities with the goal to provide both structural interventions for treatment, direct care to protect vulnerable populations, and prevent growing numbers of those affected. Eventually Ange aspires to be an academic researcher, where she's able to both share and expand her knowledge and love for neuroscience.


Furthermore, Ange enjoys learning about various cultures by having vibrant conversations and thrilling experiences with others. Though she is not a big animal lover, horses and "little fishies" will always have her heart.

Hwi Yeo, '22

WesMASS Scholar

undergraduate research assistant

Hwi (she/her/hers) is a proud immigrant from Jeju City, South Korea and a proud DMV resident of Bethesda, MD. At Wesleyan, she majors in Neuroscience & Behavior, Science in Society, and studies in the College of East Asian Studies. She is interested in studying issues that affect marginalized communities, such as substance abuse and domestic violence. Hwi hopes her undergraduate education will help her be better equipped to tackle these problems in the real world, as well as break their respective stigmas in different social spheres. After Wes, Hwi wants to pursue an MPH and carry on with research centered on addiction and mental health. On campus, Hwi advocates for FGLI students as part of our First Class Coalition and QuestBridge chapter. She is also a WesMaSS scholar and currently works as a Resident Advisor. Hwi loves meeting new people and learning more about the world, and she is incredibly excited to be a part of the Melón lab!

Fun fact: Hwi can understand 3.5 languages! (and she's related to an ex-k-pop star!)

Allie Damren, '20

undergraduate research assistant

Allie is a senior, double major in Biology and Neuroscience and Behavior, while on a Pre-Veterinary track hailing from Westwood, MA. She is currently interested in the phenomenon of sensitization through drug use in humans as well as animals. At Wesleyan, Allie is a member of the Varsity Women’s Ice Hockey and Lacrosse teams, a founder of the Wesleyan Pre- Veterinary Medicine Club, and member of Students Demand Action, which mobilizes Wesleyan students against gun violence. In her free time, you can find Allie surrounded by loads of animals, eating ice cream, or binge-watching Grey’s Anatomy!

Simi Dalyop, '22

WesMASS Scholar

undergraduate research assistant

Simi is a sophomore at Wesleyan University. She was born and Raised in Jos, Nigeria, but she now calls Newton, MA home. She graduated from Newton North High School and dove straight ahead to Wes to study Neuroscience and Pre-Med. She is interested in community services, interacting with people, working out, listening to music and singing. In Dr. Melon’s lab, she works on the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder (FASD) project, which she particularly loves and enjoys because she envisions a life after Wesleyan as a researcher and Medical Doctor.

Jake Kwon, '21

WesMASS Scholar

undergraduate research assistant

Jake is currently a junior at Wesleyan University. He is double majoring in English and Biology, and plans to minor in Chemistry. Jake is an aspiring physician who wants to practice narrative medicine, which emphasizes the stories of patients as an integral aspect of the healing process. Outside of classes, Jake is a senator sitting on the student government, the Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA), a member of the Wesleyan KPOP Dance Crew, and a volunteer at the Middlesex Hospital Hospice and Palliative Care Program. Jake loves to try new foods, go hiking, and sing his heart out at karaoke with his twin brother, Jack.

Imani-Ashleigh Watkis, '21

undergraduate research assistant

Imani-Ashleigh is a rising senior at Wesleyan University. She is currently majoring in Neuroscience and Behaviour with a minor in East Asian Studies. Imani-Ashleigh is a Hartford, Connecticut native and a proud Jamaican with a strong passion for immigrant rights and empowering immigrant youth. Until recently, she worked as the College Access Organizer for Connecticut Students for DREAM, by assisting immigrant students with their post-high school plans. She now works as a facilitator, training educators across Connecticut on ways to build an inclusive and supportive environment for immigrant students. In her spare time, Imani-Ashleigh enjoys partaking in outdoor activities with family and friends and binge-watching the latest Korean drama. During her time with Dr. Melón, she hopes to expand her knowledge on the relationship between drugs and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and gain valuable skills that will aid her throughout her academic journey to become a Physician Assistant. 

Corinne Olson, '21

undergraduate research assistant

Corinne is in her junior year at Wesleyan, and is majoring in neuroscience while following the pre-medical course track. Corinne expects to graduate in 2021, where she then will pursue a career in medicine. Although she is not certain which specialty she will go into, Corinne has become interested in pain management because of its role in aiding chronic illness in long term patient care. Corinne grew up in Seattle, WA, where she loves to escape to the mountains to go backpacking and mountaineering!

Claire Glickman, '21

undergraduate research assistant

Claire is a junior double majoring in Neuroscience and Music and minoring in Chemistry. She currently plays in the Wesleyan Orchestra and has a secret album on Spotify. In the Melón Lab, Claire works on the binge drinking and dopamine signaling project. Claire also works with Charlotte to understand estrous cycle and its impact in decision making in rats. In her free time, which is rare, Claire loves to cook and bake!

Xiaohan Zhan, '21

undergraduate research assistant

Xiaohan is from Memphis, TN and is in the graduating class of 2021. At Wesleyan, Xiaohan is involved in the Chinese Music Ensemble and KPop Dance Group. Her hobbies are reading, practicing martial arts, and playing music. Xiaohan is very interested in pursuing a career in the medical field. In the lab, Xiaohan is working to understand how fetal alcohol exposure alters developing inhibitory systems and the impact that has on olfactory processing. In addition to a lot of confocal and widefield epifluorescent microscopy, Xiaohan is also learning to process mouse neuroimaging data 

Tess Brunner, '21

undergraduate research assistant

Tess joined us after study abroad in fall 2019. In the lab, Tess is investigating the relationship between sensitization to rewards and changes in stress reactivity. She is also involved in the newest project to understand GABA(A) receptor's role in breast to brain metastasis of triple negative breast cancers.