People of I-LABS
Vibrant, super-smart and caring: these are just a few of the qualities that describe the dozens of interdisciplinary researchers at I-LABS. Their innovative ideas and technological savviness help drive the Institute’s reputation as a world leader in child development and brain science.
And their kindness, professionalism and sense of humor greet all of the hundreds of families that volunteer each year for studies at I-LABS.
In the “People of I-LABS” series, we get to know the research scientists, post-doctoral fellows and other researchers who make up the elite team at I-LABS.
Please tell us a little about yourself. Where do you come from? What are you doing at I-LABS?
I was born in Sydney, Australia, but grew up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. I went to undergrad at the University of Pittsburgh and graduated in 2013. In 2015 I joined Dr. Andrea Stocco and the Cognition and Cortical Dynamics Lab! My research concerns neural correlates of reinforcement learning, and how these structures support learning and behavior.
Why did you decide to become a researcher?
I have always enjoyed learning, exploring, discovering, and sharing my knowledge – research seemed like a natural fit!
What big questions to you hope to answer with your research?
How can we capitalize on our knowledge of learning mechanisms to develop materials, therapies, and technologies that can aid those with learning disabilities?
What research questions are you working on now?
What is the anterior cingulate cortex’s role in learning and behavior? Does it support model-based learning, model-free learning, or bridge between the two? Can manipulating ACC activity result in a change in learning and behavior?
What inspired you to study this topic?
Enjoying learning makes me curious about how we actually learn!
What’s your most significant career accomplishment so far?
Being awarded a training grant by the Computational Neuroscience department!
What’s your favorite part of working at I-LABS?
The opportunity to work with the great people of I-LABS!
What is your most exciting memory from being in the lab?
Carving pumpkins with the CCDL last Halloween!
What’s something we might not know about you? (something fun! Secret talents? Cool travels? Adorable pets?)
I’ve got the coolest cat in or out of this world – he’s my best bud!