Welcome to my web site!

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My Professional Background

I am an Assistant Professor in the Program in Neuroscience at Bates College. My lab investigates how people learn and maintain motor skills. I completed my postdoctoral training in the Intelligent Performance and Adaptation Laboratory at Princeton University, and I earned my PhD in the BlinkLab at Baylor College of Medicine.

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What Do I Study?

I am interested in the neural systems and the psychological processes that move us. The brain is exquisitely tuned to our motor systems, allowing many of us to effortlessly write our name or take a sip of water. How are our explicit goals translated into motor plans? How does our experience inform our expectations and help us learn to move more accurately or gracefully?

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I like to do handicrafts, cook, and go outside. I also have a cat named Dante. Click here for more.

Recent Publications

Exploring the role of task success in implicit motor adaptation

The brain is constantly attempting to account for all regularities in the environment. But can pressure to maximize task success undermine our implicit tendancy to adapt to consistent but goal-irrelevant errors? To address this question, I collaborated with Naser Al-Fawakhiri, Ambri Ma, and Prof. Jordan Taylor of the IPA Lab at Princeton University. Our results show that, even without thinking about it, we are sensitive to differences in visual indicators of task success: complete success appears to affect learning more than partial success. These findings support a body of work indicating that implicit learning systems are sensitive to multiple measures of success and accuracy, rather than obeying a unitary error-basaed learning regime.

Motor learning without movement

We are always learning from our mistakes, since the brain is constantly monitoring the world for any surprises, A.K.A. Prediction Errors. For this project, I collaborated with Alex Forrence and Prof. Sam McDougle of the ACT Lab at Yale University to demonstrate that the brain predicts the consequences of planned movements, computes prediction errors, and updates future movements, even if we subsequently decide not to move at all. Thus, the brain can learn to update movements that are not performed, representing a mechanism for learning based only on movement planning and sensory expectation. These findings also provide further support for the role of prediction in motor control.

The inferior olive teaches the cerebellum

When something we expect to happen does not come to pass, we experience a Negative Prediction Error. During my PhD, I worked with Prof. Shogo Ohmae and Prof. Javier Medina at Baylor College of Medicine to demonstrate that the inferior olive encodes negative prediction error signals during motor learning, and triggers extinction in the cerebellum.


Hobbies and things I think are neat

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This is Dante. He was born July 4, 2007 or 2008, and I have had him since then ❤.

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Tofu Katsu Curry

Fried tofu cutlet over Japanese curry and rice! Yum! Love this dish. I definitely recommend draining and freezing the tofu beforehand (as described in the recipe by WoonHeng) -- makes for a really nice texture.

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I've been crocheting off-and-on for about 15 years, but want to get more into cross stich, embroidery, and sewing. This is a photo of my current work-in-progress.

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Osage Orange

This is an Osage Orange (Maclura pomifera, hedge apple) -- the inedible (latex, woody) fruit of these large bushes that grow in the area where I live. You can see a lot of them in the fall.

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Chocolate Raspberry Cake

This cake came out really tasty -- the raspberries were a little expensive, but the chocolate/raspberry combo was a nice treat.

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Brood X Locust

I don't know a lot about insects, but I think they're neat. This is one of the Brood X Locusts -- they emerge once every 17 years in the Princeton area and have been observed since the 1700s. These locusts didn't mind people very much, and there were so many of them that it was a bit overwhelming... Here's a fun article about them.