Charlotte Freeland PhD’21: I am pursuing my PhD in Biology with a concentration in Neurobiology & Behavior, starting in the fall of 2016. My primary research focus examines the underlying mechanisms of risky decision-making, particularly what happens when these mechanisms go awry to cause excessive desire and motivation to pursue risky choices, as seen in drug and gambling addiction. I graduated from the University of Connecticut Honors Program with a B.S. in Physiology and Neurobiology and then came to Wesleyan University as the Lab Manger in the Robinson Lab. As the first graduate student in the Robinson Lab, I grateful and thrilled for the opportunity to shape the direction of our research projects, cultivate scientific curiosity in our undergraduate researchers, and (hopefully) inspire future generations of female scientists.
Anna Knes ’19: I’m currently a junior double majoring in Neuroscience & Behavior and Psychology. In high school, I worked in a neurobiology lab researching the effect of subunit Nicastrin in Alzheimer’s Disease. At the Robinson Lab, I look forward to learning more about motivation, reward, and its relationship to addiction. I also play on the Women’s Varsity Squash Team, and, in my free time, I enjoy making visual art, teaching myself photography, and volunteering as a math tutor for second graders.
John Cote ’19: I’m a senior here at Wesleyan and grew up in Syracuse, NY. I’m majoring in Neuroscience and Behavior and minoring in Data Analysis. My current research focuses on the link between uncertainty and incentive value in rats, and I am excited to keep learning more about motivation and reward, and how it can effect behavior. I’m also on the Varsity Men’s Lacrosse Team, and for fun I love to read and learn about literature and poetry.
Callie Clibanoff ’19: I am currently a senior from Lower Merion (home to Kobe Bryant), Pennsylvania, and I am majoring in Neuroscience and Behavior. My research is looking at how uncertainty effects incentive versus predictive value of cues in relation to gambling. Outside of lab, I am very involved with dance on campus, as well as tutoring local Middletown children. I am also a kickboxing instructor at a studio in Middletown and love to exercise in my free time! After graduation I hope to do more research and go to medical school to become a neonatologist!
Maryyam Mian ’20: I am a rising junior from Long Island, NY and I am planning to major in Neuroscience and Behavior while completing the pre-med track. On campus, I tutor young children and volunteer in local Middletown elementary schools to teach an after school science club. I am also a member of Wesleyan’s South Asian student group. In my free time I enjoy traveling with my family and reading. This summer I spent an amazing two months being introduced to the Robinson lab, and I look forward to learning more about how motivation and reward underlie risky decision making!
Danielle Vaamonde ’20: I am currently a junior from New York City planning to double major in Neuroscience and Behavior and Science in Society. As I am a new member, I look forward to learning more about motivation and reward in risky decision making. Outside of the lab, I like to figure skate, as I’ve been a competitive figure skater since the age of 8. I also enjoy dancing, cooking, and traveling around the world with my family.
Nita Rome ’20: I’m currently a junior from Lower Merion (same place as Callie ^) and I am ALSO planning on majoring in Neuroscience and Behavior. On campus, I am a biology tutor, member of Science Hall, and a staff photographer for the school newspaper. Running, film photography, and drinking coffee are my primary hobbies. I am so excited to be joining the Robinson lab this year, and look forward to staying for the summer!
Students conducting research in the laboratory will be investigating questions related to:
- The role of uncertainty in reward and motivation and its relation to gambling
- The impact of high-fat diets on generating excessive motivation for food related cues
- The role of motivation circuits in generating intense attraction and craving for natural and drug rewards.