Alexander Herman is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Minnesota Medical School and a member of the Medical Discovery Team on Addiction. He obtained his M.D. and Ph.D. in Bioengineering from the University of California, San Francisco as part of the prestigious NIH Medical Scientist Training Program. Prior to that, he studied complex systems at the Santa Fe Institute. He obtained his B.A. in Physics with High Honors from Wesleyan University. Dr. Herman's human neuroscience lab studies neural mechanisms of decision making that are impaired in addiction and amenable to treatment with neuromodulation. His lab combines invasive and non-invasive methods including intracranial electrophysiology, direct brain stimulation, magnetoencephalography and transcranial magnetic stimulation.



Dr. David Darrow is a Chief Resident of the department of Neurosurgery at the University of Minnesota and is the principal investigator (PI) for the E-STAND clinical trial and Co-PI on the Mood and Cognition study at the University of Minnesota. He received bachelor’s degrees in Physics and Mathematics at Texas A&M University, and then completed medical school at University of Texas Medical Branch, in addition to a master’s degree in public health with a focus on biostatistics. His interest in combining his background in mathematics and engineering with reducing human suffering led him to the University of Minnesota.



Isabela Peña Pino was born in Honduras and moved to Costa Rica at a young age. She obtained her medical degree from the Universidad de Ciencias Médicas (UCIMED) in San Jose, Costa Rica in the spring of 2019. Since then, she moved to Minneapolis to be a part of the Herman Darrow Lab as well as the Biomedical Engineering team in the ESTAND trial to research neurosurgical approaches for modulating cognition and pain as well as improving function in spinal cord injury in the hopes of one day becoming a neurosurgeon. Personal interests include independent films, live music, knitting and practicing yoga.


PHD / Researcher

Dameon earned his BS and Mechanical Engineering from MIT and his PhD from the University of Connecticut. He dislikes puppies and long walks on the beach. Rainbows are tolerable.


PHD / Research

None for now


Lab Manager / Coordinator / Researcher

Jeanie Pebbles joins the Herman-Darrow lab from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the Bay Area. Her background is in genetics and neural implant nanoengineering. She will be working on both invasive and non-invasive neuromodulation research with an interdisciplinary team in a clinical setting to study behavior, cognition, and neuroeconomics.


MD/PHD Student

Roberto earned a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz.


2nd year Medical School Student

Erika Kaske is a second-year medical student at the University of Minnesota Medical School. Prior to beginning medical school, she received her bachelor’s degree in Neurobiology and Psychology from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and spent two years conducting cognitive and social neuroscience research at the University of Chicago.


1st Year Medical School Student

Stuart Lien is a medical student at the University of Minnesota Medical School. Prior to beginning medical school, he spent two years working as a medical scribe at Children’s Minnesota within the emergency department. He studied architecture at Syracuse University prior to making the decision to complete his B.S. at Iowa State University and pursue a career in medicine.


2nd Year Medical School Student

Matt McMillan earned a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is now a medical student at the University of Minnesota interested in Psychiatry and Neurology.


Undergraduate Student

Emily is a neuroscience major and a public health minor. Her areas of interest are the cognitive effects of addiction, depression, and anxiety. Outside of research she volunteers at North Memorial Hospital and is on the CBS Student Board.

Kate Dembny

MD/PHD Undergraduate Student

Kate Dembny is a first year student in the Medical Scientist Training Program at the University of Minnesota. Prior to starting at the University of Minnesota she earned bachelor's degrees in Neurobiology and Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of Texas at Austin and spent three years doing post-baccalaureate research at the National Institutes of Health.


Undergraduate Student

Fah Sysavanh was accepted into the 2020 Neural Systems Engineering REU Program hosted by the University of Minnesota and is currently working in the Herman-Darrow Human Neuroscience Lab. She is a junior at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville majoring in biomedical engineering and minoring in computer science.


BA/MD Undergraduate Student

Flora Yang is currently a senior at the Blake School in Minneapolis. Next year, she will be joining the University of Minnesota community as a part of the 7-year BA/MD Joint Admissions Scholars Program, majoring in Human Physiology.

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