I grew up in Maryland, just outside of Washington, D.C., before moving to Baltimore in 2003 to pursue my undergraduate degree at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Although I originally aspired to a career in clinical psychology, my interests shifted to social neuroscience after volunteering in several psychology research labs and taking courses in neuroscience, moral philosophy, and cultural anthropology. After finishing my undergraduate degree, I looked for opportunities to develop skills that would aid me in pursuing a career in social neuroscience, particularly experience acquiring and analyzing neuroimaging data.
I was fortunate to join Professor Gwenn Smith’s laboratory studying major depressive disorder with PET and MRI and considered how I might translate my interests into clinically relevant questions about the neurobiological bases of social behaviour. I found inspiration in research being conducted by Dr. Roland Zahn and Professor Rebecca Elliott on moral and social behavior and its disruption in mood disorders and was awarded a Ph.D. in Medicine from the University of Manchester in February 2016 under their supervision. In March 2016, I began as a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Chicago in the Social Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory headed by Professor Jean Decety. We are now collaborating on projects to investigate the neurobiological basis of support for political violence.
Since July 2018, I have been a postdoctoral scholar in the Penn Center for Neuroaesthetics at the University of Pennsylvania – more specifically, in Professor Anjan Chatterjee’s ChatLab – where I am examining the neural basis of interactions between aesthetic evaluation and moral psychology.
When I’m not working, I am typically chasing my two lovely cats, Craig (black and white) and Junie (redhead), around the apartment we share with Dr. Stacey Humphries. She’s a cognitive scientist and (“the more senior”) postdoc in the ChatLab – we tied the knot in 2018 (see below) and so now we share both our lives and a PI. She studies the neural basis of sensorimotor representation and of higher-level cognitive processes such as decision-making about works of art. She’s the smartest person I know so you should make haste and check out her work here: https://staceyahumphries.com.