Cassandra earned her B.A. in Psychology with a concentration in biological psychology from CSUSB in 2021. She spent the last year of her undergrad in the honors program where she began working in the Amodeo lab investigating the neural mechanisms that govern the ability to flexibly learn and adapt to changing environments, and how this is often impaired in neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
After graduating with her B.A, she pursued a masters degree at CSUSB in the psychological sciences program with a concentration in behavioral neuroscience. She is currently investigating the effects of a 5-HT1A agonist, 8-OH-DPAT, through an autistic mouse model. More specifically, if this serotonergic target can attenuate behaviors of inflexibility in ASD known as restricted repetitive behaviors (RRBs) through employing a behavioral paradigm known as reversal learning.
Cassandra is grateful to build upon her experience in research as a SOMA summer fellow in the Sharpe lab, where she will be using optogenetics and employing Pavlovian learning to investigate the neural circuit that may be responsible for learning about cues that predict rewarding outcomes, including specific brain areas such as lateral hypothalamus and the ventral tegmental area.
Outside of lab, Cassandra enjoys going on adventures with her goldendoodle, Maze, traveling, and enjoying quality time with friends and family.