Sofia Beas, PhD

Principal Investigator 

Dr. Beas grew up in El Paso, TX. She obtained her Bachelor’s in Science from the University of Texas at El Paso. 

She attained a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Florida in 2015, where she used rodent models to study age-related cognitive decline. 

Dr. Beas then joined the National Institute of Mental Health as a postdoctoral fellow in the Unit of the Neurobiology of Affective Memory. Her postdoctoral work focused on investigating the cellular and circuit mechanisms by which exteroceptive and interoceptive signals affect PVT neurocircuitry and drive adaptive behavior. 

Currently, Dr. Beas is an Assistant Professor in the Neurobiology Department at the University of Alabama, Birmingham.  

Hobbies: Artisanal Chocolates, Coffee, Non-Fiction books, Learning new things, Thinking about life's big questions

Postdoctoral Fellows

Carine Lampert, Ph.D. 

Carine is originally from Anta Gorda, Brazil.  She first obtained a bachelor's in Pharmacy from the Centro Universitário Metodista IPA. Then, she obtained her Master's degree, and Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS). For her graduate work, she used a combination of approaches, including behavioral, biochemical, and electrophysiology (patch-clamp) techniques, to study motivated behavior and addiction. Carine then worked for two years as a postdoctoral fellow in the Psychology Department at UFRGS and a year as a postdoctoral fellow in the Neuropharmacology Department at Universidade Federal de Ciências da Saúde de Porto Alegre (UFCSPA ). During this time, she also had the opportunity to work as a Lecturer for Biomedical courses at Cesuca/Cruzeiro do Sul.

Hobbies: She is a lover of music/dance, and she also likes to go hiking and play soccer.

Sierra Miller

Sierra is from Canyon, Texas and received her BS in Chemistry in 2016 with double minors in Mathematics and Biology from West Texas A&M University. After graduation, Sierra worked for a year and a half for the United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service identifying bacterial populations driving gas production in feedyards. In 2023, she received her PhD from the Human Pathophysiology and Translational Medicine Program at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas. Her graduate work focused on the role of Neuromedin U and its receptor in the medial prefrontal cortex in feeding and anxiety-like behaviors. At UAB, Sierra is part of the Mentored Experiences in Research, Instruction, and Teaching (MERIT) program.  

 Hobbies: cooking, crocheting, playing with her dog, and reading.

Graduate Students

Briana Machen

Briana is an Alabama native and an alumna of The University of Alabama at Birmingham with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering. She is currently a second-year Ph.D. student in the Genetics, Genomics, and Bioinformatics Program. Her research interests include behavioral neuroscience and bioinformatics, and she is currently studying the long-term effects of chemotherapeutic agents on cognition and motivated behaviors.  

 Hobbies: reading, puzzles, cooking, and spending time with friends and family. 

 Undergraduate Students

 Lauren Assaf

Lauren grew up in Madison, Alabama. She is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in neuroscience at The University of Alabama at Birmingham. After finishing her undergrad, she aspires to attend medical school and specialize in surgery. 

Hobbies: she enjoys playing the flute, and piano, as well as lacrosse, reading, and listening to podcasts. 

 Morris Jackson

Morris Jackson is an undergraduate student at The University of Alabama at Birmingham majoring in psychology and philosophy. 

Hobbies: He is interested in the philosophy of mind, the meaning of life, spirituality, and the natural world.  

 Julia Tucker

Julia Tucker is from Birmingham, Alabama and currently attends the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She is studying neuroscience and working towards her masters in multidisciplinary biomedical sciences. After graduation, she plans to continue on to medical school with a passion to work in pediatrics.

Hobbies: Traveling, Exercise, Sports, Outdoor activities, Trying new restaurants, and Spending time with friends and family