Congratulations to Our Newest PhDs!

The Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences is proud to announce nine graduates who successfully completed the PhD program and defended their dissertations in the 2021-2022 academic year.



Dr. Kenneth A. Amaya

Dissertation: "Assessing the Balance Between Flexible and Rigid Behaviors and their Neural Bases"
Adviser: Kyle Smith

Program: Psychological and Brain Sciences

What's next: Postdoc at Tufts University SOM with Dr. Jamie Maguire, supported by a K00 from NIMH. Dr. Amaya will be studying valence processing in the basolateral amygdala.




Dr. Vassiki S. Chauhan

Dissertation: "Encoding dynamic information in the face responsive cortex"
Adviser: James Haxby

Program: Cognitive Neuroscience

What's next: Postdoc in Barnard College at Columbia University, in the Barnard Vision Lab with Alex White






Dr. Alex W. daSilva

Dissertation: "Objective Social Connection and its Dynamic Relation to Mental Health in College Students"
Adviser: Meghan Meyer

Program: Psychological and Brain Sciences

What's next: Quantitative scientist for Merck






Dr. Patrick A. LaChance

Dissertation: "Spatial Representation in Postrhinal Cortex"
Adviser: Jeffrey Taube

Program: Psychological and Brain Sciences

What's next: Postdoc in Michael Hasselmo's lab at Boston University







Dr. Mehran Moradi Spitmann

Dissertation: "Effects of Volatility on Prefrontal Neural Dynamics and Possible Underlying Neural Mechanisms"
Adviser: Alireza Soltani

Program: Psychological and Brain Sciences

What's next: Postdoc at NYU with Dr. Dora Angelaki. Dr. Spitmaan will be studying the neural basis of causal inference as well as spatial and decision dynamics across hippocampal, parietal, and frontal cortices.





Dr. Lucy L.W. Owen

Dissertation: "Modeling the Fast-Timescale Network Dynamics that Underlie Complex Thought"
Adviser: Jeremy Manning

Program: Psychological and Brain Sciences

What's next: Postdoctoral fellow at Brown's Carney Institute of Brain Science, working for Dr. Frederike Petzschner






Dr. Mohsen Rakhshan

Dissertation: "Beyond Homogenous Decision-Making Models: Role of Brain Areas Interaction and Heterogeneity"
Adviser: Alireza Soltani

Program: Cognitive Neuroscience

What's next: Biomedical Engineering Distinguished Fellow at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Rakhshan will do research on sensory integration for brain-to-machine and machine-to-brain interfaces. 






Dr. Sophie E. Wohltjen

Dissertation: "Examining Coupled Attention from Individual Differences to Dynamic Interactions"
Adviser: Thalia Wheatley

Program: Psychological and Brain Sciences

What's next: A postdoctoral position at UW Madison with Paula Niedenthal.





Dr. Kirsten Ziman

Dissertation: "Attending and Remembering the External World"
Adviser: Jeremy Manning

Program: Cognitive Neuroscience

What's next: A postdoctoral position in the lab of Michael Graziano at Princeton.