Miriam earned a B.A. with highest honors in Psychology, a minor in Educational Psychology, and a certificate in Children and Health from the University of Texas at Austin in 2021.
Beginning her second semester at UT, Miriam spent 2.5 years as a research assistant in Dr. Jessica Church-Lang’s lab. Here, Miriam ran behavioral visits and assisted with fMRI visits for a study examining executive function in children and adolescents with control disorders (ADHD, Tourette’s, and OCD), as well as for a study on summer slide (learning loss) phenomena in school youth.
Concurrently, Miriam collaborated with Dr. Nicole Varga in Dr. Alison Preston’s lab on a behavioral study examining divided attention and associative episodic memory in adults. She also helped with fMRI scans as part of another study on the role of the HPC-PFC circuit on memory integration in an associative inference paradigm.
Through coursework, Miriam developed an interest in behavioral neuroscience and animal studies, which motivated her to join Dr. Marie Monfils’ lab. For her honors thesis, Miriam examined the role of the sign-tracker and goal-tracker phenotypes (attentional response styles) in the social learning of an appetitive association in rats. Through her engagement in the scientific process as a research assistant and her thesis work in particular, Miriam was driven to continue studying reinforcement learning in rodent models.
Miriam joined Dr. Melissa Sharpe’s lab and began her PhD in Psychology in the behavioral neuroscience area at UCLA in fall 2022. In the Sharpe Lab, she is most interested in studying reward-seeking and cue-motivated behaviors, especially as related to decision-making in drug use and addiction. Miriam hopes to improve our understanding and treatment of substance use disorders through her research.
Outside of lab, Miriam enjoys hanging out with her silly cat, exploring LA, going to shows, and spending time in nature!