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Kathryn W

- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at Yale University


Neuroscience, Psychology, Psychiatry, Biology, Addiction, Substance Use, Anxiety, Depression, Mood Disorders, Trauma, EEG, MRI, Neural development, Maternal Development, Child Development, Developmental Disorders, Pregnancy, Postpartum


I fell in love with neuroscience in high school when I signed up for a neuroscience class. The course ended up being a pivotal experience for me and I became passionate about the subject. I have since completed a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience at Union College, Master of Science in Biology at Southern Connecticut State University, a Master of Art in Psychology at American Public University, and a Master of Philosophy in Neuroscience at Yale University. I am now a 4th year PhD student at Yale University pursuing a career in neuroscience. Within neuroscience I am specifically interested in looking at how substance use and mental health impact the child and adult brain. My current research uses EEG and MRI to look at how mothers using substances respond to their infants and how this impacts child development. Beyond my current work I have also previously been involved in additional research efforts. For example, my undergraduate thesis looked at how exercise can slow the cognitive decline in dementia patient, my MS thesis evaluated impacts of prenatal marijuana use on child cognitive development, and my MA thesis assessed who is most vulnerable to develop PTSD and why. In sum, I am broadly interested in mental health, substance use, and development through neuroscience, psychology, biology, and psychiatry lens. I have directly mentored over 10 high school students through polygence and other mentorship programs and plan to pursue a career in student research mentorship. Beyond academia I am passionate about animals! I have three dogs, a german shepherd, a black lab, and a golden retriever. I also have ducks, chickens, and guinea fowl! I can't wait to work with you!

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Review of how drugs of abuse impact the brain

A review paper integrating current research on how different drugs of abuse impact the brain. You could think about this from a behavioral perspective (how does cocaine vs marijuana make a person act), from a psychological perspective (how does cocaine change the mental abilities of a person vs how marijuana changes mental abilities), or a biological perspective (what chemicals does cocaine change in the brain vs what chemicals does marijuana change).

Teaching experience

I served as a teaching fellow for a bioethics in neuroscience graduate student course for two semesters. I also have mentored other PhD students, masters students, undergraduate students, postgraduate research assistants, and summer interns in the lab.


Work experience

National Institutes of Health (2016 - 2016)
Summer Intern
Yale University (2018 - 2020)
Research Assistant
Neural Stem Cell Institute (2017 - 2017)
Summer Intern
New York State Department of Health (2014 - 2015)
Undergraduate Research Assistant


Union College
BS Bachelor of Science (2018)
Southern Connecticut State University
MS Master of Science (2020)
American Public University System
MA Master of Arts (2021)
Yale University
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate

Completed Projects

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