Our People

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Dr. Eliza Bliss-Moreau / lab leadeR

Eliza Bliss-Moreau is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology and a Core Scientist at the California National Primate Research Center at the University of California, Davis. She completed her undergraduate (S.B. in biology and psychology) and graduate training (Ph.D. in psychology) at Boston College and postdoctoral training in nonhuman primate neuroscience, primatology, and systems science at UC Davis.  Prior to joining Psychology, she was a faculty member in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. She is a member of the Psychology Graduate Group (which offers a Ph.D.), the Animal Behavior Graduate Group (which offers a Ph.D.), the Neuroscience Graduate Group (which offers a Ph.D.), and the Animal Biology Graduate Group (which offers a M.S. and a Ph.D).

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Jeffery Bennett / Brain Lab Leader

Jeff brings more than 20 years of experience in neuroanatomy, histology, imaging, and surgery to the lab. Jeff will be heading the neuroanatomy side of the lab. His current anatomical obsession is the claustrum.


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Olivia Fiske / Research Technician

Olivia is broadly interested in comparing the development of complex cognitive processes in human and nonhuman species across both evolution and the lifespan. She received her B.S. in Psychology from Northeastern University, where she worked in Dr. John Coley’s lab on conceptual reasoning and intuitive knowledge in social and scientific domains. Most recently Olivia completed work at Harvard University in Dr. Elizabeth Spelke’s lab, which focused on enhancing young children’s understanding of mathematical concepts.


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Alyssa Maness / Ph.d. Student (Psychology)

Alyssa is a graduate student broadly interested in non-human animal affect, emotion, and welfare. Her research will be focused on better understanding the affective experiences of goats and sheep and how we can use this knowledge to improve captive welfare and management. Alyssa graduated from UC Davis in 2014 with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Wildlife Biology. Since then, she has worked as a laboratory assistant on projects exploring naturally occurring low-sociability in rhesus macaques as a model for core social deficits observed in humans with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and how social networks and dominance interactions relate to individual health outcomes.


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Gilda Moadab / Behavior Lab Leader; Lab MAnager

Lab Manager. Right-hand man. Left-hand man. Assistant. Aide. She who gets hot water for tea. Reminder-in-chief. Muy importante. Interested in the evolution of psychological processes. 


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Ashley Murphy / Research Technician

Ashley joined the lab in March 2017 after working 4 years at the NICHD’s Laboratory of Comparative Ethology. Her background and primary interests are in rhesus macaque infant development and maternal investment, but the fun thing about being a technician is that you get to do everything! Since joining the BML she has expanded her interests to include multi-species comparisons of socio-affective behavior and the effects of Zika virus on development, just to name a few.


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Delaney Roth / Research Technician

Delaney earned her B.S. in Evolutionary Anthropology from UC Davis. At Davis, she studied the consequences of early infant stress and maternal care on juvenile behavior in rhesus monkeys with Dr. Erin Kinnally. She then spent a year as a part of the Barrett-Henzi lab studying how vervet monkeys in the Karoo respond to ecological problems in a social context. Since returning to Davis she has joined the Bliss-Moreau lab as a Junior Specialist to help study the Zika virus on rhesus development.


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Anthony Santistevan / Ph.D. Student (Psychology)

Anthony is a graduate student broadly interested in the neurobiological underpinnings of socioaffective behavior. He is interested in how these behaviors develop within an individual and change over time. Anthony earned his B.S. in Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior from UC Davis. There, he studied the effects of ibotenic acid lesions of the amygdala, hippocampus, or anterior cingulate cortex on socioaffective behavior in rhesus monkeys with Dr. Bliss-Moreau. He then earned his M.S. in Biostatistics from Columbia University and subsequently worked for several years as a data scientist at two start-up companies. Because he is a masochist, he then left NYC for Davis in 2017 and returned to Dr. Bliss-Moreau’s laboratory to pursue a PhD. 


 

Former Lab Members

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Dr. Brittany aguilar / Former post doctoral Scholar

Brittany completed a Ph.D. in Neuroscience at Georgetown University under the advisement of Drs. Patrick Forcelli and Ludise Malkova in the Department of Pharmacology. Her dissertation work was broad and included a comparative study of sensorimotor gating mechanisms between rodents and non-human primates and an analysis of anxiety-like behaviors in the genetically epilepsy prone rat model (GEPR-3s). Brittany received her B.S. from UC Irvine in Biology and worked in the UCI MIND Institute tissue repository collecting, storing, and distributing human brains for use in research. She is interested in promoting public awareness of scientific advancements and encouraging stewardship of science within academia and pursuing a career in that vein.


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Alice Chou / Former Undergraduate Research Assistant

Alice is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, studying the neuroanatomy of mantis shrimps with Dr. Thomas W. Cronin. Alice is deeply interested in the neural interface between sensory systems and behavioral output, especially in the context of state changes. Although now wildly infatuated with invertebrates, Alice’s scientific story began when she interviewed for an undergraduate position with Eliza her freshman year at UC Davis. Over the course of three years, she contributed to a variety of socioaffective behavioral and histological studies in rhesus macaques. Prior to completing her B.S. in Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior at UC Davis, Alice also studied at the Bodega Marine Laboratory with Dr. Ernie Chang. You can find her on twitter gushing about her microdissection kit and neuroethology in weird animals. 


 

Dr. Kelly Finn / Ph.D. 2019, Animal Behavior UC Davis

Kelly computed her PhD on complexity in animal behavior under the advisement of Major Professor Dr. Brenda McCowan. One chapter of her dissertation was carried out in the Bliss-Moreau Lab. You can read it here. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Dartmouth University.


 

Victoria Heng / M.S. 2017, Radboud Univeristy

Victoria completed her MS research in the Bliss-Moreau Lab investigating sex differences in rhesus monkeys’ affective processing.


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Dr. Adele Seelke / Former Assistant Project Scientist

Adele received her Ph.D. from the University of Iowa, studying sleep development with Dr. Mark Blumberg. She then came to UC Davis and completed a postdoc with Dr. Leah Krubitzer studying the evolution and development of the mammalian neocortex. Adele’s work in the lab was focused on how Zika infection during gestation affects brain organization and anatomy.  She is now an Assistant Project Scientist in the laboratories of Dr. Karen Bales and Dr. John Morrison.


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Chongyang Wu / Intern

Wu earned his B.S. in Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior from UC Davis in 2018. He has a broad interest in neurobiology and neurology and is right now taking a gap year while applying to medical schools. He is currently responsible for MRI image segmentation of rhesus monkey brains. Before he joined the lab in August 2018, he worked as a research assistant for a major cognitive impairment study in Beijing, and volunteered as an undergrad intern studying rapid focal cooling strategy in seizure control in primate epilepsy model. Wu is currently a graduate student at Harvard University.


 

Affiliated Lab Members (Past and Present)

 

Dr. Krishna Balasubramaniam / Former Postdoctoral Scholar

Krishna was a postdoc under the primary advisement of Dr. Brenda McCowan. He coordinated field sites as part of a National Science Foundation funded team studying human-monkey conflict. He is currently a Research Associate and Assistant Project Scientists at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.


 

Dr. Stefano Kaburu / former postdoctoral Scholar

Stefano was a postdoc under the primary advisement of Dr. Brenda McCowan. He ran the field site in Shimla, India which was part of a National Science Foundation funded team studying human-monkey conflict. He is currently a lecturer at the University of Wolverhampton.


 

Dr. Pascal Marty / Postdoctoral Scholar

Pascal is a postdoc under the primary advisement of Dr. Brenda McCowan. He ran the field site in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia which was part of a National Science Foundation funded team studying human-monkey conflict.


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Shubhangi Srivastava / M.Phil. 2018, University of Delhi

Current: Ph.D. Student, School of Natural Sciences and Engineering in National Institute of Advanced Studies

Shubhangi received her M.Phil. from the University of Delhi during which she worked with Eliza as part of the National Science Foundation-funded team evaluating human perspectives on the origins of human-macaque conflict in Northern India (Shimla). Her thesis focused on understanding the attitudes and perceptions of local people and tourists about the conflict. She is now a Ph.D. student working on a European Research Council-funded project evaluating the urban ecologies of dogs in India. She is interested in studying human-animal relations in urban spaces and the cultural/spatial differences in such interactions.