Current Fellows

About the Fellows

The Neukom Fellows Program launched in 2012. Fellows have two-year appointments with the option for a third year and for their interdisciplinary work which has a computational theme, are co-sponsored and mentored by faculty in at least two departments or programs. Fellows teach one course in each year of their residency. The current Neukom Fellows with their Ph.D. granting institutions and departmental affiliations are given below, along with descriptions from the Fellows of their research plans.

Aman Aberra

Biology and Psychosocial & Brian Sciences; Mentors- Michael Hoppa, Matt van der Meer, and Geoffrey Luke

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Aman Aberra

Aman is a biomedical engineer interested in bioelectrical phenomena of the nervous system and how electromagnetic fields can be used to modulate neural activity and treat disorders. In his doctoral work, Aman developed multi-scale computational models of the neural response to noninvasive brain stimulation methods, including a technique called transcranial magnetic stimulation, which provided mechanistic explanations for experimental observations that were previously not well understood. As a Neukom fellow, Aman will use novel genetic and optical tools to characterize the dynamic molecular and electrical properties of axons and synapses during normal brain function, as well as during stimulation with applied electromagnetic fields.

Laura Chapot

German Studies; Mentors – Petra McGillen and Jed Dobson

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Laura Chapot

Laura's research brings together comparative literature, modern languages, cultural history and computation to study the ways in which different representational practices shape how we perceive, interpret and act in the world. As a Neukom fellow, Laura plans to investigate the intersections between literature and computation as complementary cultural practices of representation. Considering literature and computation in relation to the notion of representation highlights the respective possibilities and implications of literature and computation as formal languages that encode, process and distribute cultural knowledge and experiences. She grounds her investigations in comparative analyses of developments in conceptions and practices of representation in the late nineteenth century in Germany and Sweden.

Olivia Chu

Mathematics and Sociology; Mentors - Feng Fu and Kimberly Rogers

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Olivia Chu

Olivia's research focuses on the dynamics of human behavior and in particular, the effects that heterogeneous population structures have on these dynamics. Her thesis work focuses broadly on group-structured populations and the interplay between behavior, group memberships, and interactions. Olivia has incorporated data collection and empirical evidence into her models in collaboration with social scientists from psychology and political science. As a Neukom Fellow, Olivia will explore problems such as: why we often see more cooperation in small groups; how personality types impact how well individuals are able to integrate into new environments; and how we can take advantage of small-scale, interpersonal interactions to avoid large-scale polarization in an increasingly divided world. Olivia aims to gain insight into how we might be able to make our world (or at least our own social networks) more cooperative, kind, and fair.

Joanmarie Del Vecchio

Earth Sciences, Geography, and Thayer; Mentor – Marisa Palucis, Jonathan Chipman, Colin Meyer, and Caitlin Pries

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JM

Joanmarie is a geoscientist who investigates how climate change has shaped the landscape, both past and present. In her doctoral work, she used field sampling, isotopic analyses, geophysical imaging, remote sensing and numerical models to determine how permafrost thaw in Appalachia and Alaska altered the pace and pattern of landscape change. As a Neukom Fellow, Joanmarie will use topographic, climate and vegetation data from high latitudes to find signatures of permafrost processes and thaw on the landscape and consequences for sediment and carbon release.

Corey Lesk

Geography & Biology; Mentors- Justin Mankin, Jonathan Winters, and Matt Ayres

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Corey Lesk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Corey is an environmental scientist interested in climate change and its impacts on people and nature. During his PhD, he studied how weather has affected food crops historically, drawing lessons to help adapt agriculture to a more extreme climate. He also assessed the greenhouse gas emissions likely to result from the climate transition. As a Neukom Fellow, Corey is investigating how rising atmospheric carbon dioxide may change how crops and plants in general interact with climate extremes. In his research, he integrates diverse observational data with biophysical and statistical models. Corey is also an enthusiastic environmental and climate educator.

Tess McNulty

Film and Media Studies & English; Mentors – Jacqueline Wernimont and Jed Dobson

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Tes McNulty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tess's research, most narrowly, focuses on the ways in which contemporary literature and culture respond to the emergence of viral "content": short, digital ephemera designed for rapid circulation on social media, like listicles or hot takes. More broadly, it aims to bring humanistic and art-critical tools—both analog and digital—to bear on our understanding of new digital pop-cultural forms. How do these forms differ from their precursors? And what are their cultural effects? As a Neukom Fellow, Tess uses a mixture of art-critical, computational, and social scientific tools to address those questions.

Luisa Rivera

Anthropology & Geisel Medical School; Mentors Zane Thayer and Brock Christensen

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Luisa Rivera

Luisa studies the transgenerational transmission of trauma and adversity in communities experiencing chronic and acute stressors. Her research focuses on the ways in which historical trauma and structural violence are lived out through caregiving, examining the cultural and biological pathways that may buffer stress and augment resilience in communities of color. As a Neukom scholar, she will work with Dr. Zaneta Thayer and Dr. Brock Christensen to develop novel epigenomic menstruation-based biomarkers with associated computational and analytic techniques as a new methodology for articulating the links between reproductive health and stress.

 

Adam Steel

Psychological and Brain Sciences & Computer Science; Mentors - Caroline Robertson and Andrew Campbell (Ph.D. 2019)

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Adam Steel

Adam Steel is a neuroscientist investigating how humans navigate through the world. Specifically, he seeks to understand how vision (what we see) and memory (what we know) interact dynamically to support spatial cognition. During his doctoral work, Adam identified a new network in the brain that appears to support spatial memory in humans. As a Neukom Fellow, Adam will focus on elucidating how memories of new places are formed, stored, and recalled in this network of brain regions, as well as what algorithms the brain uses to implement these processes. 

To conduct this research, Adam uses a combination of immersive virtual reality, functional magnetic resonance imaging, mobile sleep and GIS tracking, and neural network models. Before joining the Neukom Institute, Adam received his PhD from the University of Oxford as a National Institutes of Health/Oxford-Cambridge Scholar in 2019.