Laboratory Research

Understanding prosocial, cooperative, and social bonding behaviors in rodents, non-human primates, and humans
✔️ Overview

Over my academic career, I conducted independent research from ideation to completion as well as significantly contributed to various other labs. This is a showcase of some of the studies I have been involved in to demonstrate my research process and variety of skills.
⏰ Role & Duration

Graduate Researcher
FMRI, EEG, Survey Design, Participant Screening, Data Cleaning, Data Analysis, Experiment Design, Recruiting, Rodent Surgery, Primate Handling

6 years

Love, Monkeys, and Hormones

Is oxytocin really the "love hormone"? What's age got to do with monogamy?

❤️ Comparative Neurobiology Lab
Studied neuropeptides arginine vasopressin and oxytocin as neuromodulators for affiliative and pair-bonding behaviors, administered exogenous intranasal oxytocin to titi monkeys, collected direct samples, and searched for socially implicated neural circuitry and brain regions such as nucleus accumbens, amygdala, and prefrontal cortex. Authored honors thesis on reproduction and age in female titi monkeys.

Why is red a sexy color to humans (and possibly other primates)?

💉 Behavioral Biology Laboratory
Researched the role of testosterone in sexual selection, attraction, and mate choice in rhesus macaques from the Cayo Santiago Research Facility in Puerto Rico. Investigated the evolution of a preference for red in primates, and hormone-modulated characteristics. Translated social neuroendocrinology research on primate models to human participants by learning techniques such as TSST. Authored master’s thesis on hormones and attraction in adolescent female rhesus macaques.

What is the interaction between sex hormones and circadian rhythms?

⏰ Chronobiology and Neuroimmunology Lab

Investigated sex-hormone mediated effects on circadian rhythms in Per2 gene knock-out mice, genotyping by polymerase chain reactions, analyzing clock data, bleeding mice to measure cortisol, and assisting in surgeries. Studying the role of superchiasmatic nucleus in hormone release, and reproduction.

How do reward seeking behaviors change over the menstrual cycle?

💊 Behavioral Psychopharmacology
Examined the role of hormones across the human menstrual cycle in impulsive and reward seeking behaviors, running participants in fMRI, TMS, and administering hormones/drugs.

What are the hallmark characteristics of us (the primates)?

🐒 South African Vervet Monkey Alarm Calls Project
Coded vervet monkey alarm calls specific to leopard appearances to further examine whether the primate hallmark characteristics evolved due to predator pressures early in their life histories.

Skillbuilding and Tools

👃 Olfaction Neuroscience Lab

Surgically implanted fiber optics in rats, assisted in intracranial surgery, and ran behavioral experiments on rats to look at the effects of exciting/inhibiting neural circuitry implicated in olfaction.

🧠 Experience and Cognition Lab
Analyzed semantic gestures about time, coded experimental videos, and spliced sentences to untangle how experience and cognition are interrelated.

💾 Center for Neuroscience Memory Lab
Employed DREADD virus procedures, performed intracranial surgeries, perfusions, genotyping, sliced brains, stained slices with GFP, and evaluated results using electron microscopy to narrow down specific
functions of CA1 and CA2 hippocampus region in fear learning.

💾 Dynamic Memory Lab
Carried out behavioral experiments to study curiosity and its’ effect on memory in human participants, used MatLab to create tasks, and collect and analyze data.

👶 Neurodevelopmental Disorders Lab
Conducted famous ESDM autism treatment on young children, maintained equipment, and analyzed data to determine its efficacy in comparison with traditional treatments like ABA.