Current Lab Members
Lucia Jacobs trained in animal behavior (1978 B.S., Neurobiology & Behavior, Cornell; 1987 Ph.D., Biology, Princeton). She studied animal cognition and behavioral neuroscience as a postdoc with David Sherry (University of Toronto), Martin Daly and Margo Wilson (McMaster University), Steve Gaulin (University of Pittsburgh) and Sheri Mizumori (University of Utah). She joined Berkeley in 1993, where she is now Professor of Psychology and the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute.
Graduate StudentGraduate: UC Berkeley 2010 – 2017 (anticipated), Department of Psychology, Cognition area Undergraduate: CSU East Bay 2010 – B.A. Psychology / minor Statistics Mikel Maria Delgado is a NSF GRFP Fellow whose dissertation research examines the decisions that fox squirrels make when storing food, and the interplay between cache protection strategies, pilfering, and cognition. Her other research interests include the relationships between people and their pets, and how companion and wild animals can promote public interest in science. Mikel is a recipient of the National Science Foundation’s Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant, as well as the UC Berkeley Chancellor’s Fellowship. She writes about science and animal behavior at her blog, catsandsquirrels.com and for the Berkeley Science Review. Mikel is also a cat behavior consultant and co-owner of Feline Minds, a business that helps pet owners solve behavior problems with their cats. When she’s not wearing her scientist hat, Mikel is a DJ at UC Berkeley’s radio station, KALX, and obsesses over her cats, reading dystopian novels, baseball, vegetarian food, and her bicycle.
Graduate: UC Berkeley began Fall 2013 – Department of Psychology, area of Behavioral Neuroscience
Undergraduate: University of Michigan 2012 – B.S. in Ecology & Evolution Biology and Brain, Behavior, & Cognitive Sciences
Judy Jinn is a NSF GRFP fellow who is interested in spatial cognition and biomechanics, specifically how they interact and influence optimal moving strategies in a complex environment. She incorporates cognitive studies with the fields of biomechanics and engineering by collaborating with Dr. Robert Full’s lab in the department of Integrative Biology. To study this, Judy is investigating how wild fox squirrels (Sciurus niger) choose paths on experimental apparatuses which maximize their rewards given these constraints. Such measures of biomechanical costs (e.g. path difficulty) have rarely, if at all, been studied in an optimal foraging context. For example, Judy predicts that individuals may be more likely to attempt to cross a difficult, but short path to reach a reward. In collaboration with the Theoretical Ecology Group at the Universititet i Bergen, Judy is also introducing simple motor learning schemes to an individual based model of animal evolution to study the emergence of foraging behaviors, effects on caching, and home ranges.
Alexander Reben is an artist and roboticist whose work explores the ideas of human-machine relationships, artificial philosophy and robot ethics. While he was studying at MIT Media Lab, he developed Boxie, a tiny robot with a video camera who used the power of cuteness to encourage passers-by to tell their stories. His work and research has been shown and published internationally, and he consults with major companies who want to make their products more attractive to humans.
Undergraduate Honors StudentAmanda Robin is a senior Psychology major. After graduation she plans to continue research in animal behavior while pursuing a PhD. Amanda joined the lab in January of 2015, and she is currently working on an Honors thesis exploring delayed discounting in the decision making of the campus fox squirrels. Outside of the lab, Amanda competes for the Cal Equestrian team and loves spending time with her two cats.
Undergraduate Honors StudentMichelle Ramey is a senior Psychology major, and has been working with the Jacobs lab since Spring 2014. She is pursuing a research career to study cognitive neuroscience, particularly to explore how lifestyle factors affect memory, psychiatric disorders, and age-related cognitive decline. In addition to her love of squirrels, Michelle enjoys doing freelance photography, vegan cooking and blogging, writing fiction, lifting weights, and running!
Undergraduate Honors StudentAllison Payne is a senior Cognitive Science major who has been working in the Jacobs lab since January 2015. She loves exploring animal cognition, and is particularly interested in social interactions and space use. Allison is excited about all kinds of animal field research, but her dream is to be on a research vessel studying toothed whales. In her free time she enjoys backpacking, sailing, scuba diving, and playing the ukelele.
Undergraduate Independent Study StudentKatherine Okpara is a senior Psychology major who joined the Jacobs lab in the summer of 2014. She focuses her studies on neurological function of the human brain, primarily in neurodegenerative disorders. Katherine is interested in future research in cognitive neuroscience and working with the elderly. She enjoys writing poetry, studying language, listening to Doo Wop, and people-watching in her free time.
Undergraduate Research AssistantAlyssa Alvarez is a third year Cognitive Science major and Computer Science minor at UC Berkeley. After graduation, she hopes to either work in the tech industry or pursue higher education. Outside of the lab, Alyssa is also involved in the Nikkei Student Union (NSU), a Japanese-American interest club on campus. In her free time, she enjoys dancing, watching movies, eating, and riding roller coasters!
Undergraduate Research AssistantI’m a second year psychology student with an LGBT studies minor. I joined the Jacobs Lab in January 2015, and I am also a research assistant at the Gopnik lab where I am studying causal reasoning in children and teens. When I’m not at school or labs I enjoy hanging out at my Coop, reading, hiking, running, swimming, and watching Netlflix. I am considering a career related to animals or people or something else (AKA I’m still figuring it out!).
Undergraduate Research AssistantAslan Brown is a recent UCB graduate who majored in Molecular Environmental Biology with a concentration in animal health and behavior. He enjoys frolicking with the squirrels, especially when obtaining hair samples, and conducting genetic experiments. He hopes to attend graduate school in the next year and someday have his own lab where he can conduct field research on animal behavior! Aslan joined the Jacobs Lab in the summer of 2014.
Undergraduate Research AssistantPeter Buto is a Junior Public Health major. He has been a research assistant in the Jacobs lab since the Summer of 2015, comparing squirrels’ home ranges and caching areas. Outside of the lab, Peter volunteers at a local clinic, works for the Environmental Health Sciences program at the School of Public Health, and does community outreach in his home town. After graduating, Peter hopes to volunteer in the Peace Corps and attend medical school.
Undergraduate Research AssistantSimon Campo is a junior Integrative Biology major and Philosophy minor. He has been working in the Jacobs lab since the summer of 2015, mainly assisting with squirrel marking and tracking. He is really interested in the interplay between biology and philosophy and plans to pursue a Master’s degree that combines the two. Outside of the Jacobs lab Simon is part of the UC Berkeley Triathlon Team, a volunteer at the Berkeley Humane Society, and a member of the Brashares lab.
Undergraduate Research AssistantSylvia Chen is a sophomore pursuing a double major in Business Administration and Environmental Economics and Policy. She hopes to follow a career in finance, but her interest in wildlife conservation and squirrel watching has led her to work with the Jacobs Lab. In her free time, she also enjoys trying new restaurants, going to the gym and hiking the Fire Trails.
Undergraduate Research AssistantEsther has been a part of the Jacobs Lab since summer of 2013. She is a senior at UC Berkeley studying Integrative Biology, and is hoping to pursue a career in veterinary medicine. Esther finds studies related to decision-making in squirrels to be most fascinating. Although Esther loves all our subject squirrels, her favorite is Flame because she does not wander off into locations where it is difficult to take GPS points.
Undergraduate Research AssistantMarisa Fong is a junior Integrative Biology major with a focus on human biology and health sciences and a Global Poverty and Practice minor. After graduation, she hopes to go into a global medicine or public health field abroad to study different ways public health issues are addressed around the world before pursuing a Master’s degree. She just joined the Jacobs Lab this semester, but has been tracking down squirrels around campus since her freshmen year. Outside of the lab, Marisa enjoys playing volleyball, hiking, exploring the Bay Area, and volunteering at the local animal shelter.
Undergraduate Research AssistantEmani Harris is a senior majoring in Molecular Environmental Biology with a concentration in Animal Health and Behavior. She’s interested in pursuing a career in wildlife research focusing on animal behavior and communication. New to the Jacobs lab, Emani works with the campus Fox Squirrels. When she’s not out chasing squirrels, she spends her free time as an amateur photographer and guitarist. She is also Co-President of the Wildlife Society’s UC Berkeley Chapter.
Undergraduate Research AssistantAmy Hsueh is a third year Molecular Environmental Biology major with a concentration in Animal Health and Behavior. In addition to working in the Jacobs Lab, Amy works in the Animal Discovery Room at the Lawrence Hall of Science. She is interested in the medical field for either animals or humans, and her future goals would of course not be complete without a canine companion by her side. When not in class or the lab, Amy likes to complain much about television, be bad at video games, and see new places.
Undergraduate Research AssistantPaul Kim is a junior Integrative Biology major with a minor in music. He has been working with squirrels in the Jacobs Lab since Fall 2015 and is interested in pursuing higher education after graduating. When not in the lab, Paul enjoys playing tennis, teaching piano to children, exploring the Bay Area, and baking cookies and brownies.
Undergraduate Research Assistant
Undergraduate Research AssistantStephanie Kuo graduated from UC Berkeley in 2015 with a B.S. in Molecular Environmental Biology with a concentration in Animal Health and Behavior. She has been working in the Jacobs Lab since spring of 2013, and is pursuing a career in veterinary medicine. Stephanie is currently working as an assistant at a pet hospital as well as tutoring high school kids in Biology.
Undergraduate Research AssistantBreana Martinez is a junior Cognitive Science major and a Conservation and Resource Study minor. She joined the Jacobs lab in Fall of 2015. She is interested in studying animal cognition and behavior. Breana is also a Resident Assistant in one of the resident halls on campus and dances as part of AFX, UC Berkeley’s hip-hop dance team. She hopes to attend law school, become a lawyer, and work on public policy.
Undergraduate Research AssistantJihoon is a third year Cognitive Science major and Creative Writing minor. After graduation, Jihoon plans to either study organizational psychology in graduate school, or start working for the government to put tax payers’ money to good use. Outside of lab and classes, Jihoon likes to hike, listen to classical music, and write bad poetry.
Research AssistantDaniel graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Psychology in 2013. He worked in the Jacobs Lab in 2012-2013, and was a co-author of our 2014 paper, “Fox squirrels match food assessment and cache effort to value and scarcity.” Daniel is currently co-owner of a local coffee business, and is getting back into research!
Undergraduate Research AssistantI’m interested in learning as much as I can to make sense of the world around us. I enjoy observing and chasing after the particularly lively squirrels. I’m an Integrated Biology major with an emphasis on Ecology. I really like hiking and playing music during my free time!
Undergraduate Research AssistantLuke is a sophomore computer science major, and he has been working in the Jacobs lab since the beginning of 2016, helping with data collection for squirrel experiments. He is very passionate about cognitive sciences and hopes to later pursue research in artificial intelligence. In his free time Luke loves hiking, swimming, and playing basketball.
Undergraduate Research Assistant
Undergraduate Research AssistantKristin Witte is a senior studying Integrative Biology with a concentration in human biology. She started working in the Jacobs Lab Fall semester of 2015. After graduation, Kristin plans on pursuing a masters in human-animal interactions and is also interested in veterinary medicine. Outside of the lab, she enjoys traveling, exploring the California coast, and enjoying her morning cup of coffee.
Undergraduate Research AssistantAlan Xu is a 4th-year at UC Berkeley, studying Integrative Biology, focusing on health biology and zoology. He is interested in neuropsychology, wildlife biology, and disease biology. He hopes to attend medical school and practice psychiatry or neurology, but plans to eventually return to academia and pursue non-human biology again, preferably marine biology or otherwise wildlife. Besides the Jacobs lab, he also works at the Tang Center and Berkeley Animal Care Services. His hobbies include playing the piano and violin, reading and writing poetry, tarot, cooking, people-watching, and experiencing nature. He lives with his hamster, Pistachio.
Past Lab Members
Xiaoqian Jenny Chai
Past Undergraduate Lab Members
Jiwandeep Singh Kohli
Undergraduate Research Assistant