Interview with New Assistant Professor Evelyn Mercado

evelyn mercadoWhat are some of the steps you took in life or influences that brought
you to your current area of research?

Well, the first step was probably to attend college. I was the first person in my family to have the opportunity to pursue higher education. During my undergraduate tenure I took the time to seek different research experiences, which helped me solidify what area of research I was truly passionate about. I worked in a social psychology lab looking at perceptions of the environment in school aged children, then I switched to a behavioral neuroscience lab where I convinced the PI to allow me to run experiments on adolescent rodents rather than adults, to look at the developmental consequences of drugs of abuse like Ketamine and Morphine. After those two experiences I came to the realization that I wanted to a) work with humans, and b) study individuals in the context of their relationships.  In my graduate work I was able to refine the specific relationship processes I was interested in, and during my postdoc at UCLA I had the opportunity to apply a cultural lens to my work.

Faculty and students join forces, sharing their knowledge of teaching

faculty discuss teaching concepts in classroomTop right, l-r: Faculty members Lori Astheimer, Erik CHeries, Tammy Rahhal, Luke Remage-Healey, and Lisa Sanders.
Bottom left: Richard Halgin shares his techniques for engaging students in large lectures.

PBS holds “Okteacherfest”

The month of October was filled with great opportunities for us to learn from one another. Through seminars and “open classroom” days, the department’s supportive community of educators came together to learn what practices are enhancing student success.

Confronting the Side Effects of a Common Anti-Cancer Treatment

human head made up of puzzle pieces

UMass Amherst researchers studied origins of adverse effects

Results of a new study by neuroscientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst suggest that a new treatment approach is needed – and how this may be possible – to address adverse effects of aromatase inhibitors, drugs commonly prescribed to both men and women to prevent recurrence of estrogen-positive breast cancer.

UMass Neuroscience Club reaches 10 years as RSO

club members at student fair with sam the minuteman
Pictured l-r: Cohavit Gil, Sebastien Rauch, and Rebecca Davison

This year, the UMass Neuroscience Club (UMNC) has reached its 10-year mark as being a registered student organization on campus! To introduce ourselves for those who are unfamiliar with the UMNC, we are a group of undergraduate students passionate about exploring the field neuroscience. In the interdisciplinary spirit of neuroscience, all majors are welcome to join. We are an “open-source” resource on campus—we do not have membership dues. The only requirement for joining is a curiosity for neuroscience!

Fernanda Ferreira '88 PhD elected 2019 Fellow of the Cognitive Science Society

fernanda ferreiraFernanda Ferreira '88PhD, a psycholinguist and professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, has been elected a 2019 Fellow of the Cognitive Science Society. Fellows of this society are individuals whose research has exhibited sustained excellence and had sustained impact on the Cognitive Science community.

Aazam Najeebi ’19 honored with Rising Researcher Award

Aazam NajeebiAazam Najeebi ’19 is one of eight students from UMass Amherst honored with the Rising Researcher Award in recognition of their demonstrated leadership and impact in their chosen field of study.

What makes some people better learners than others? Commonwealth Honors College student Aazam Najeebi intends to find out. The psychological and brain sciences major has been working in Professor Rebecca Spencer’s lab on a project using MRI to understand how sleep changes memory representations and how this changes with aging. He became interested in what was unique about those participants who learn more quickly than others, young or old.

Natasha de la Rosa receives 2018 Edna M. Dahlquist Scholarship

Natasha de la RosaThe Department of Psychological and Brain Science's Graduate Studies Committee has selected Natasha de la Rosa to receive a 2018 Edna M. Dahlquist Scholarship. The Dahlquist Scholarship, offered annually, rewards the unique challenges and hardships that a student overcame to enroll in their graduate program, providing $2,000 per student to complement other sources of funding (e.g., assistantships, fellowships). These funds may be used to support research and/or help with general living costs.   

Rebecca Ready featured on Connecting Point, discussing her research on concussions

One of Rebecca Ready’s research specialties is sports-related concussions, which can cause Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. More commonly known as CTE, the degenerative brain disease was first discovered in football players. But, CTE can affect anyone with a history of repetitive brain trauma, like hockey players and military veterans. Dr. Ready joined Carrie Saldo to discuss her research.

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