Research Assistants

We’re lucky to work with many great research assistants!

Meet them here!

Christine Board
Christine is an intended Molecular and Cellular or Integrative Biology major with a minor in Native American studies. She aspires to be a healthcare provider in communities of low socioeconomic backgrounds and is interested in Molecular Biology and Psychology Research. Prior to Berkeley, Christine had a research fellowship at UC Davis in the Animal Science Department within the Hovey Lab. The lab’s primary focus lied along the molecular and endocrine interaction in mammary gland proliferation and breast cancer. There, Christine investigated gene specific genetic expression in mammary gland tissue with relation to varied hormone exposures. Her research findings were presented to the larger Davis community via research symposium and paper. Here, Christine’s interests lie in cognitive development and the role of genetic methylation in organismic development but overall are still being widened and explored.

Zofia Burr
Zoe received her B.S. in Marine Biology for the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2010. As an undergraduate, Zoe began working sporadically with the Jacobs Lab to assist with squirrel caching studies. Since graduation Zoe has been exploring the fields of zoology and environmental education, but her interest in animal behavior and cognition brought her back to the lab to study spatial cognition in Mongolian Gerbils.

Amber Engle
Amber EngleAmber Engle is a UCB alumna in Molecular Environmental Biology. She worked with the lab as a research assistant for squirrels and gerbils and as the lab manager. She is interested in wildlife conservation and rehabilitation and pretty much anything else involving animals. Currently employed with the Department of Fish & Game, she still enjoys coming to the lab to hang out with the squirrels. She is also an avid cook and bartender.


Courtney Hand Coming soon!

Michelle Huang
Michelle Huang
Michelle is an undergraduate student majoring in Cognitive Science with a minor in Global Poverty and Practice. She has been with the Jacobs Lab since Fall 2011. She is currently working on the squirrel projects, running experiments as well as coding field videos.


Chloe Hunt Coming soon!

Jiwandeep Kohli
Jiwandeep KohliI am currently a sophomore undergraduate student at UC Berkeley pursuing a degree in Psychology. I joined the lab in January of 2012, before which my research dealt mainly with cognition in childhood education. My work consisted specifically of coding and analysis of childrens’ alternative conceptions of the mechanism of the biological process of evolution. After acquiring my undergraduate degree, I plan to pursue a career in medicine, most likely in the field of psychiatry.


Vincent La
Vincent is an intended Public Health and Molecular Cell Biology. Vincent is interested in squirrel behavior regarding economic decisions of caching food. He is also interested in research of human anatomy, specifically the human eyes. Vincent enjoys taking pictures and videos as a hobby. He is also a community service enthusiast, volunteering whenever he gets the chance to through clubs. He is very tech-savvy and enjoys using electronics.

Eileen Leung
Eileen LeungEileen graduated from UC Berkeley in 2012 with a B.A. in Integrative Biology and Environmental Economics and Policy. After graduation, she hopes to enter a conservation or environmental science related field, and plans to pursue a masters in the future. Eileen started working in the Jacobs Lab spring of 2011, mainly assisting with the squirrel work on campus. During her time at Cal, she has also worked in Dr. Eileen Lacey’s Tuco Lab.

Sophie Liu
I’m a Molecular Environmental Biology major and an education minor. I’m particularly interested in the relationship between animal emotions (especially stress and frustration) and their effects on learning and behavior. In particular, I am interested in how our understandings of animal emotions help us to modify problematic behavior.


Molly Nicholas
Molly Nicholas Molly is currently an undergraduate student at UC Berkeley, double-majoring in Cognitive Science and Computer Science. Before her time was devoured by her academic pursuits, she used to act as Lab Manager for the Jacobs lab, as well as run the Parallel Map Theory experiments. Previously, Molly was in training to become a professional Circus performer. Her favorite performances include “clown” in Pratfalls and Rising Stars, “March” in the Naked Clown Calendar and especially “goose head” in Chicken Stock by Lunatique Fantastique. She continues to train at the San Francisco Circus Center.


Karissa Nishmura
Karissa Nishmura
Karissa is an undergraduate at UC Berkeley majoring in Molecular Environmental Biology with a concentration in Animal Health and Behavior. She has been with the lab since August 2011 and has worked on projects entailing caching behavior in Eastern Fox Squirrels and flexible cue use in gerbils.


Daniel Petrie
Coming soon!

Nozomi Sakai

Nozomi Sakai is an undergraduate at UC Berkeley, majoring in Molecular Environmental Biology with a concentration in Environmental and Human Health. She has been working in the Jacobs lab since Fall 2011, and is interested in pursuing either veterinary or human medicine. Outside of the lab, Nozomi is also involved with Eggster, a club focused on promoting higher education in Bay Area youth, and OASES, an after school tutoring organization in Oakland Chinatown. She enjoys traveling, cooking, and running.


Avry Schellenbach
Coming soon!

Patrick Slattery
Coming soon!

Caray Slaughter
Caray Slaughter I am a junior at UC Berkeley pursuing my BA in Psychology. After undergrad, I plan on attending graduate school to earn my Doctorate degree in Psychology. I’m interested in a range of topics including clinical psychology, social psychology and animal behavior. I have been a research assistant in the Jacob’s Lab since spring 2011 when I first joined through the undergraduate research apprenticeship program. Within the lab I am primarily involved in the data collection, coding and analysis for two separate research studies. I work first with free-ranging campus fox squirrels on a number of experiments designed to test their cognition and caching behavior. I additionally assist in the friendship styles study, exploring the question of how friendships are formed and maintained in regards to one’s personality type and friendship preference. Prior to my membership in the Jacob’s Lab, I was a research assistant at the UC Berkeley Field Station for the Study of Behavior, Ecology, and Reproduction. At that time, I trained and tested captive spotted hyenas on their cognition and vocal communication capabilities. Lastly, I am a peer counselor through an on campus organization called Supporting Peers in Laid-back Listening (SPILL), in which I provides counseling and mental health resources to college students seeking
help via a peer-based support group.


Grace Vaziri
Grace Vaziri Grace Vaziri is a senior studying Molecular Environmental Biology with a focus in ecology. She has been involved with the Jacobs lab since the Spring semester of 2012. Grace is interested in studying animal behavior and ecology and aspires to be a veterinarian. Outside of the lab she enjoys taking care of her hamster, Gordita, as well as playing soccer, racing triathlons, eating and cooking!



Alex Vu
Alex Vu Alex Vu received his B.A. in Molecular and Cell Biology with an emphasis on Neurobiology and with a minor in Music. In addition to being on the research team in Jacobs Lab, he has also been involved with Hasilo Nepal, a research and service oral health project in Nepal. Also, he has also volunteered in the Stratmann Lab at UCSF’s Department of Anesthesia, assessing the potential harm that anesthesia can have when applied during mammalian development. Having graduated from UC Berkeley, he is now a Medical Assistant in a doctor’s office in San Francisco’s Financial District, and hopes to apply to medical school to matriculate in Fall 2013.


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