Professional ​

I am a Senior Research Associate in Dr. Warren Bickel's laboratory at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute.  Being both a neuroscientist and dancer, I am fascinated by the brain's capacity for plasticity and the body's ability to change the brain.  My research centers around understanding how physical activity affects the brain both functionally and morphologically.  Having been an integral part of successfully starting up both a rodent and human exercise laboratory, I plan to one day run my own laboratory asking parallel questions in rodents and humans regarding the effects of exercise on the brain. 

Rutgers University
Newark, NJ

​September 2007 - November 2012


Degree:  Doctor of Philosophy, Behavioral and Neural Science

GPA:  3.75

Honors:  Presidential Fellowship, Rutgers University

Doctoral Thesis:  Investigation of the behavioral processes and neurobiological substrates involved in the motivation for voluntary wheel running in the rat



Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT

​February 2001 - February 2005


Degree:  Bachelor of Arts

Double Major:  Neuroscience and Dance

GPA:  3.75; Magna Cum Laude

Honors:  College Scholar; Psychology National Honor Society; 2002 CRC Press Freshman Chemistry Achievement Award; 2000 George Washington University Excellence in Science and Math Award; 2000 Foundation for Educational Opportunity Scholarship; 2000 Haddonfield New Jersey Lions Club Achievement Award

Undergraduate thesis: The relationship of yoga and smoking to respiratory function and mood



Vibhuti Yoga School, Inc.
Newton, NJ

​February 2011 - January 2012


Degree:  Certified Yoga Teacher, 200 hour



Stereotaxic surgery

Intracranial infusions

High performance liquid


Brain slicing and punching

Conditioned place preference

Elevated plus maze

Open field

Animal handling and husbandry



Neuropsychological assessment and    



Exercise physiology testing

Creation of neuropsychological tasks    

   using Unity 3d, including rendering of

   virtual environments

Subject recruitment


Senior Research Associate
Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise, Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute

August 2018 - present

Under the mentorship of Dr. Warren Bickel, I am examining how episodic future thinking affects health behaviors in patient populations with errors in decision making such as those with addiction disorders, obesity, and diabetes.

Visiting Assistant Professor
Department of Neuroscience, Middlebury College

January 2018 - May 2018

During the January term, I taught a course I developed called, How Movement Affects Mind: The Effects of Physical Activity on Brain Physiology and Function. During the spring semester, I taught both the lecture and laboratory components of Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience.

Post-doctoral Fellow
Center for Neural Science, New York University

​December 2012 - December 2017 


Under the mentorship of Dr. Wendy A. Suzuki, I investigated the effects of both acute and long-term aerobic exercise on mood, motivation, and cognitive functioning using neuropsychological testing and electroencephalography (EEG).

Science Writer

December 2014 - present

I write content for this online health science journal that focuses on how exercise supports health and wellness for adults and their families.

Statistical Consultant
Brain Thrive
August 2016 - present

Analyze large data sets for this start-up business, led by Dr. Wendy Suzuki,  focused on how we can use exercise in our daily lives to influence our mood states and cognitive processes.

Graduate Fellow
Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience, Rutgers University

​September 2007 - December 2012


Under the mentorship of Dr. Joan I. Morrell, I investigated the motivation for physical activity in a rodent model using a behavioral, neurochemical and systems-level approach.  We found that voluntary wheel running is rewarding for male and female rats both during the acquisition and habitual phases of this behavior.  Additionally, we identified distinct brain regions within the reward circuitry of the brain that mediate the motivation for voluntary wheel running in the rat.   

Clinical Research Specialist
Department of Family and Community Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University

​July 2005 - June 2007


Served as lab manager for Dr. Majorie E. Marenberg for her work regarding the relationship between vascular disease and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) as well as for the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI).

Counseling Staff
The Counseling Services of Addison County, Inc.

​February 2005 - June 2005


Supervised individuals with developmental disabilities and various mental health issues in group homes and community settings.

Research Assistant
Central Nervous System Research Institute (CRI) Worldwide, Inc.

June 2000 - January 2001; Summer 2001


Served as research assistant on a variety of ongoing clinical trials.


Mentoring Experience:


As part of my post-doctoral experience, I enjoyed mentoring approximately 5 to 10 students per semester.  I led this team of undergraduates  in studying the effects of exercise on the brain.  Under my lead, 5 of my undergraduate students have completed their thesis projects in the laboratory.  Additionally, I have led 6 students through the Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) at New York University.  I have also mentored students in our laboratory from Harvard University, Duke University, Dartmouth College, Wesleyan University, Middlebury College, and the University of Vermont.


Teaching Experience:


Brain and Behavior

Undergraduate course at New York University

Spring 2017

Served as teaching assistant for this introductory neuroscience course examining topics ranging from cells and synapses, to perception and action, to learning, memory, emotion, and sleep. Responsibilities included teaching all lab sections, creating examinations, and conducting grading of all coursework. 

Exercise and the Brain

Undergraduate course for Middlebury College

January 2015


Taught a month-long intensive on exercise and the brain for a Winter Term class for Middlebury College hosted at New York University.  Course work included lectures and practical application of neuropsychological testing and electroencephalography as well as involvement in lectures around the NYU campus and outings to other laboratories and science outreach programs.  

Science of Technology 

Undergraduate course at New York University

Fall 2013


Taught a series of classes regarding electrical recordings of the central nervous system, and in particular electroencephalography (EEG) . This involved both lectures and practical in-classroom experiments with the students utilizing EEG devices.

Introduction to Clinical Psychology

Undergraduate course at Rutgers University

Spring 2012


Served as a teaching assistant for this course on clinical psychology, helping to answer any questions students had througout the course of the semester and administer and score all testing materials.



Undergraduate course at Rutgers University

Fall 2011


Led students through a writing-intensive program for this semster-long class on neurobiology.  I also taught a lecture on motivation, reward and addiction, highlighting my work on the motivated behavior of voluntary wheel running in the rat.



Critical Thinking

Graduate course at Rutgers University

Spring 2009


Edited and graded all essays for this graduate-level class on critical thinking in neuroscience.

New York University

April 2016

Examining the effects of long-term exercise on hippocampal functioning

Learning and Memory Conference (Park City, UT)

January 2016

A single bout of exercise improves prefrontal but not hippocampal functioning

Middlebury College

​December 2015

Exercise and the brain: a bi-directional relationship

New York University

April 2014

The effects of 8 weeks of aerobic exercise with affirmations on learning, memory, cognition and mood in individuals with traumatic brain injury

Volunteered at the 138th Easter Egg Roll at the White House with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), sharing the science of fitness with over 35,000 guests at this event.
Collaborated with The Leading Strand whose mission is to, "highlight important research by translating it through visual experiences that communicate its nuance and underscore its significance".  Worked with product designer, Kelsey Hunter, to design Exley, a chat bot that communicates with you on a daily basis to track mood, sleep, eating habits, and cognitive functioning all as it relates to your exercise habits.
Collaborated with students at the Interactive Telecommunication Program (ITP) in the Tisch School of the Arts to create Neuron Leap, an interactive exhibit to display how exercise affects brain function.
Member of braiNY, the Greater New York City Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience.  As part of this work, I have taught interactive classes where we practice yoga and then learn about its effects on brain physiology and function.
Organizer for the DANA Foundation's Brain Awareness Week, "a global campaign to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research".