Dr. Lisa Oakes, Principal Investigator
Dr. Oakes received her Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in 1991 and was a faculty member in the Department of Psychology at the University of Iowa from 1991 to 2006. She joined the University of California Davis community in 2006 and is a Professor of Psychology.
Katie Pomaranski, Graduate Student
Katie graduated from the University of Michigan-Dearborn in 2015 with a B.A. in Psychology. She received the Chancellor's Medallion, an award bestowed on the top two students of the University's College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters for demonstrating excellence in scholarship, leadership, and service.
She developed her passion for research through her involvement in multiple psychology and biology labs on campus. Namely, she worked as a research assistant and lab manager in Dr. Clark-Foos' Human Learning & Creativity lab where she studied the automaticity of emotional memories. In addition, she studied embodied cognition in Dr. Sethuraman's Cognitive Development lab. Finally, she worked as a research assistant in Dr. Morris' Neuroscience lab where she investigated the neurobiological mechanisms for the association between heart disease and depression. Together, these experiences allowed Katie to fully explore research from its beginning stages of developing a research question all the way to analyzing the results. In the end, she was inspired to continue being part of the intellectual discussion and pursued graduate school.
She joined Dr. Lisa Oakes' Infant Cognition lab in September 2015. There she hopes to explore the development of visual search in infancy.
Aaron Beckner, Graduate Student
Aaron earned his B.A. in Psychology from California State University Sacramento, graduating Summa cum Laude in 2015. During his time there, he became involved in research investigating the neurobiology of emotional learning and memory as a member of Dr. Sharon Furtak’s laboratory, where he employed Pavlovian fear conditioning in rodents to study the neural mechanisms that underlie both how we learn to fear and how we learn that something we previously feared no longer signals a threat. More specifically, Aaron was involved in research investigating how features of a visual stimulus, such as its temporal continuity, affect the way in which it is processed in the medial temporal lobe memory system when that stimulus also predicts an aversive experience. It was at this time that Aaron became very interested in the ways in which environmental context can influence brain function. In particular, he began to discover a passion for research investigating the role that early experience plays in brain development. As a first year graduate student, he was involved in research investigating the process by which early sensory experience alters brain development through epigenetic mechanisms. Currently, he studies the development of visual short-term memory and attention in infants. Aaron joined the infant Cognition Lab in June of 2016.
Michaela DeBolt, Graduate Student
Michaela graduated from the University of Minnesota in December 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. While at the University of Minnesota, she was a Research Assistant in the Attention, Memory, and Cognition lab with Dr. Yuhong Jiang. There she studied attention as it relates to autism and was involved in a year-long project examining long term memory capacity and fidelity in children with high-functioning autism. This experience sparked a strong interest in developmental cognitive studies, specifically how visual attention develops and changes over the first months of life. After graduating, Michaela joined the Infant Cognition Lab as a Lab Manager and Junior Specialist in June 2015 and has since become a graduate student in the Spring of 2017. She is particularly passionate about early nutritional factors that effect brain and cognitive development in the first year of life, and has been involved in the infantMiND Study examining this topic.
Nour al-Zaghloul (Naz), Jr Specialist & Lab Manager
Naz graduated from the University of California, Davis in June 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. In their professional career, Naz has studied progressively smaller and smaller humans. They started out working at the elementary school level with special education children in Yolo, Solano, and Sacramento Counties. In these schools Naz focused their efforts on cognitive and emotional development testing and analysis. Meanwhile, at UC Davis, they worked as a Research Assistant at the Center for Memory and Development with Dr. Simona Ghetti. There they studied the development of cognition and metacognition in 2 to 3 year old children. This opportunity revitalized their zeal for research and now Naz finds themselves as a Lab manager and Junior Specialist in Dr. Lisa Oakes' Infant Cognition Lab. Outside of the lab, Naz spends most of their time cooking and hiking around California.