Mentors for REU: MB3 are aligned with at least one of research areas (Cognitive & Computational Science [CCS], Clinical Science [CS], Behavioral & Systems Neuroscience [BSN], Developmental Science [DS]) and include:


Rohan Palmer (MB3 Director; Research Areas: BSN, CCS, CS) is a behavioral geneticist who studies genetic and environmental mediation of drug effects on the human brain and behavior using multi-omic and cross-species methods. Students that are matched to PI Palmer will conduct research in the Behavioral Genetics of Addiction Laboratory. Students in the PIs lab can partake in a variety of projects, such as consilience research on how genes expressed in a mouse model of binge drinking recapitulates protein expression in the brains of human alcoholics. Similarly, a student could spend their summer studying how genetic effects of conscientiousness, a personality trait, are associated with cannabis use. Research in the Behavioral Genetics of Addiction lab will lead to knowledge in core areas: Big Data analysis, imputation of genetic data, genome-wide association studies, polygenic risk scores, and twin models. 

Dr. Patricia Bauer (MB3 Co-Director; CCS, DS) directs the Bauer Memory at Emory Laboratory and is engaged in research on the development of knowledge. Creating a knowledge base is one of the most important tasks of development. The accumulation of knowledge is aided both by the integration of separate episodes of learning into combined knowledge representations (building a semantic network) and by productive processes that allow learners to go beyond the given through inference. Students are involved in research on these processes including projects in which we test their development in children and relate them to educational outcomes. Students will develop knowledge in core areas of data collection with children and adults, using both experimental and standardized measures; data reduction; data analysis; and interpretation of findings.  

Dr. Patricia Brennan (CS, DS) employs longitudinal and biosocial research methods to examine developmental psychopathology. One of her primary research foci is the examination of stress and its impacts on children from prenatal phases of development onward. Her current research examines biological mechanisms—including the composition of the microbiome, immune functioning, and disruptions of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis—linking prenatal exposures to child cognitive and behavioral outcomes. Her currently funded projects examine intergenerational risk for psychopathology in African American families. Students working in her lab will have the opportunity to participate in ongoing longitudinal studies which involve outreach to African American families, neurodevelopmental testing, biospecimen collection, and offline behavioral coding of maternal and child behaviors. Students will develop knowledge in core areas of longitudinal cohort research, biosocial theories of development, and interdisciplinary science. 

Dr. Alexandra Cohen (CCS) is a developmental cognitive neuroscientist and directs the Learning, Memory, Understanding, & Neurodevelopment (LUMeN) Lab at Emory. Research in the LUMeN lab aims to shed light on how motivation and emotion influence learning, memory, and brain function across development. This work may ultimately inform strategies that leverage adaptive developmental changes in motivated learning and memory mechanisms to improve learning, decision-making, and outcomes for young people. Research assistants play a crucial role in all stages of the research process. Responsibilities may include recruiting and testing study participants (children, adolescents, and adults), helping prepare experimental stimuli or scripts, and helping to analyze and interpret the data that are collected. Research assistants are expected to engage intellectually with the research and to work on gaining an array of skills (e.g., working with human participants, coding, computational modeling, analyzing behavioral and neuroimaging data, reading and thinking about scientific literature, etc.).

Dr. Eugene Emory (DS, CS) studies the psychological and physical effects stress has on pregnant women, especially women who live in urban, low-resourced environments. The lab conducts its research with the help of maternal and infant serum and salivary samples. Students will have access to the aforementioned biological materials during their research and will be trained in how to analyze them. Students will be able to pursue projects that examine topics such as: 1) the relationship between maternal stressors and the postpartum period as well as child developmental outcomes in diverse racial and ethnic groups, and 2) the association between self-reported perceived stress and cortisol levels during pregnancy. 

Dr. Robert Hampton (BSN, CCS, DS) is the director of the Laboratory of Comparative Primate Cognition that conducts comparative studies of memory and cognition that inform our understanding of cognitive evolution in primates and birds. Students will help others with their ongoing projects on learning and memory in monkeys using computerized operant training techniques. Students are responsible for programming experiments and participating in the daily training of monkeys and for the collection of data, with supervision from the PI and/or lab staff. Students are guided in the analysis of the data and summarize their findings in a scientific format paper. Students will develop knowledge in core areas of memory and cognition, computer programming, experimental design, data analysis, and scientific writing. 

Dr. Peter Hitchcock (CS, CCS) directs the Translational Lab, which focuses on how learning and decision-making goes awry in depression and anxiety disorders and on developing powerful translational interventions. A mainstay of the lab’s research is carefully designed behavioral tasks conducted online or in the laboratory. The data from these tasks are analyzed via computational models. These models allow us to dissect learning and decision-making into their constituent components. Such dissection, in turn, may help us to pinpoint what goes amiss in psychiatric disorders. It may also help us to optimize learning and decision-making in psychological treatments—thereby making these interventions more potent and enabling them to reach more people. Research in the Translation Lab will lead to knowledge in core areas of experimental design, computational modeling, and the learning and behavioral foundations of psychotherapy,

Dr. Aubrey Kelly (BSN, DS) is a behavioral neuroscientist who studies the evolution of the mechanisms underlying social behavior. Research in the Kelly Lab aims to elucidate the mechanisms underlying variation in animal behavior, with a particular emphasis on examining the role of the nonapeptides, vasopressin, and oxytocin, in social behavior. Students visiting the lab will obtain training in conducting behavioral studies on 2 species of rodents (Mongolian gerbils and African spiny mice) to gain experience using a comparative approach to studying behavior. They may participate in projects mapping neural circuits underlying prosocial behavior in adults or projects examining the development of the social brain. Students will develop knowledge in core areas of behavioral ecology, neuroendocrinology, and systems neuroscience to study neural mechanisms underlying behavior. 

Dr. Joseph Manns (Research Mentor: CCS, BSN) studies memory in humans and rats, though summer opportunities for students would focus on our research with human participants. In particular, we study the type of everyday memory for facts and events that is often called declarative memory.  Our recent research with humans has explored why a memory test is often a great way to strengthen subsequent retention of the tested information, a phenomenon called the testing effect or the retrieval practice effect. An example would be quizzing oneself rather than rereading course material in preparation for a final exam. Typically, quizzing oneself leads to better final exam performance. Our recent and ongoing experiments have tried to understand better the cognitive processes behind this phenomenon. Summer students will have opportunities to gain knowledge in the science of memory and to gain exposure to hypothesis generation, experimental design, data analysis, hypothesis testing, and science communication.

James Rilling (CS) use functional MRI to investigate the neural bases of human social behavior, including parental caregiving and cooperation, with a current focus on the biology of fatherhood. The laboratory also uses non-invasive brain imaging techniques to compare brain structure and function in monkeys, apes and humans, with the goal of identifying human brain specializations and informing our knowledge of human brain evolution.

Dr. Hillary Rodman (BSN, DN) studies the development, plasticity, and evolution of brain systems, particularly but not exclusively the visual system. Students have the opportunity to study structural and neurochemical changes in the diverse regions and neuronal cell populations affected by early-life challenges imposed by both direct brain damage and environmental alterations and to be involved in behavioral studies testing rodents or humans. One focus in the lab is the reorganization of the brain after early-life damage to the primary visual cortex or the hippocampus. Another focus is the interaction between lighting, activity pattern, and visual/ affective behavior. These studies are pertinent to current concerns about the effects of mistimed and extended exposure to light on circadian rhythms, cognition, and mood, especially during development. Research in the Rodman lab will lead to knowledge in core areas of neuroanatomy, design of studies of brain-behavior relationships, immunohistochemistry, light microscopy, and analysis of anatomical and behavioral data. 

Dr. Michael Treadway (BSN, CCS, CS) studies the pathophysiology of impaired motivation and decision-making in humans. The focus of Dr. Treadway’s research program is to advance our understanding of the neural circuitry underlying motivation and effort-based decision-making, and how alterations in these circuits may give rise to the maladaptive choices commonly found among individuals experiencing symptoms of avolition, apathy, and anhedonia. Primary research activities emanating from this overarching goal include three core areas: i) characterizing motivational and decision-making deficits in clinical populations, ii) elucidating the neurobiology of motivation, reinforcement learning, and decision-making, and iii) testing the validity of a possible transdiagnostic ‘inflammatory sub-type’ for motivational impairments that may arise from abnormal brain-immune interactions. Students will contribute to this research through data collection of laboratory-based and online behavioral studies of decision-making, assisting with fMRI scans, data cleaning, and data analysis. 

Dr. Irwin Waldman (CS, DS) is a behavioral geneticist who studies developmental psychopathology and developmental genetics. Dr. Waldman’s research aims to understand the causes, classification, and development of childhood disruptive disorders and externalizing behavior problems, as well as related personality and temperament traits, social cognitive mechanisms, and neurocognitive executive functions. For example, students might work on a project examining the covariation of childhood externalizing and internalizing disorders, and the covariation of these disorders with temperament and personality traits or a genome-wide association studies of ADHD, Conduct Disorder, aggression, and psychopathic traits. Research in the Waldman lab will lead to knowledge in core areas: developmental psychopathology, imputation, genome-wide and candidate gene studies, and twin models. 

Dr. Benjamin Wilson (BSN) is a comparative neuroscientist who studies cognitive abilities and neural systems that support language learning and communication, in both nonhuman and human primates. In the lab, students will have the opportunity to work on projects assessing statistical and implicit learning in both human participants and Rhesus macaque monkeys. Students may work with groups with language difficulties (e.g., dyslexia, developmental language disorder). Students may also take the opportunity to be involved in neuroimaging (i.e., fMRI) experiments. While some aspects of this work will require close supervision (animal work, neuroimaging), other areas can be undertaken more independently, providing the students both with unique research experience as well as an opportunity to develop their independence. Students will develop knowledge in core areas of: language, learning, and cognition; primate models; neuroimaging; experimental design, and data analysis. 

Dr. Brianna L. Yamasaki is a cognitive and developmental neuroscientist who studies how one’s external environment and experiences and internal cognitive and biological factors drive individual differences in language and reading development. Most of our work focuses on populations for which language and reading development may be challenging. For example, for linguistically diverse individuals (e.g., bilinguals) and for individuals with learning and developmental disabilities. In the Brain, Behavior, and Broader Learning (BaBL) lab, students will have the opportunity to work on projects investigating questions like: (1) what predicts successful English reading development in young children entering the US school system as English learners (i.e., those not yet proficient in English) and how does the brain changes over the course of that kindergarten year to support reading development and (2) how does bilingual language experience influence cognitive and linguistic development in those with autism, from both a behavioral and neural perspective. Research in BaBL lab will lead to knowledge in core areas of language, literacy, and cognitive development and behavioral- and neuroimaging-based experimental design and analysis. 


Ms. Imani Bunn is a second year student in the Neuroscience & Animal Behavior Doctoral Program. Imani’s research is being conducted in the laboratory of Prof. Joseph Manns. Ms. Bunn will be teaching the 2024 spring and fall workshops of REU-MB3.

Ms. Jocelyn Stanfield is a second year student in the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program. Jocelyn conducts her research in the laboratory of Prof. Patricia Brennan. Ms. Stanfield will be a part of REU-MB3’s graduate student mentor team in summer 2024.

Mr. Ryno Kruger is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in the Developmental Psychology Doctoral Program. Ryno is conducting research on social cognition using visual perception across development. His research is being conducted in the laboratory of Dr. Stella Lourenco. Mr. Kruger will be a part of REU-MB3’s graduate student mentor team in the summer of 2024

  • Recent Posts

    • Recent Comments

      No comments to show.
    • banner displaying emory, airforce, nsf logo