John’s research project is focused on examining the neural basis behind individuality in drug (e.g., alcohol and opiate) and natural reward (e.g., sugar) preference. In particular, I am interested in the neural mechanisms that allows an animal to sample drug rewards and that leads to an escalation of drug self-administration vs. the neural mechanisms that leads to an animal abstaining from drug rewards after sampling.

1 Are you an early bird or night owl?

Night Owl

2 Are you pro- or anti-pun?


3 Do you have any pets?


4 Do you have any science-themed home decor?

Yes! A protest sign I made for the science protest in Boston!

5 Do you prefer cooking or baking?


6 Do you prefer sweet or savory?


7 Do you speak any other languages?

Spanish and Sign Language

8 If you could switch professions, what would you do?

I would definitely become a chef!

9 If you could switch science fields, what field would you want to work in?

I would definitely be a marine biologist focused on conservation.

10 If you got a plane ticket right now, where would it go?

Costa de Sol

11 If you had one superpower, what would it be?

I would definitely want my power to be telekinesis. Would make science easier and more fun.

12 Is there anything you strongly recommend we watch and/or read and/or listen to?

Synaptic self, Why zebras don’t have ulcers and do zombies dream of undead sheep. All great neuroscience-oriented books

13 It’s your day off. What do you want to do?

I want to go hiking!

14 What are three things you can’t live without?

Food (literally), chocolate and music

15 What beverage gives you life?

Water you specifically asking for? (worst pun ever)

16 What book did you read in school that positively shaped you?

Bless Me Ultima

17 What did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a singer/pop-star.

18 What drives you and keeps you going?

Realizing that my outreach and my research can positively impact others. The knowledge I have obtained through years of training I can disseminate to students of all ages.

19 What got you excited in science?

I’m ADHD. When I finally realized as an adult in college that my brain was different, I got extremely interested in why. This spurred my interest in neuroscience.

20 What excites you about science now?

The idea that research has more translatability to medical applications and mental health interventions. For me, it’s important thinking about how our work can inform others on their own biology and motivations.

21 What is a guilty pleasure of yours?

I LOVE iphone games. They’re the worst and so am I.

22 What is a secret talent of yours?

I was a gymnast when I was younger so tumbling and flexibility are my secret talents.

23 What is your favorite game?

Monster Hunter World

24 What is the last book you read?

Gender and Our Brains by Gina Rippon

25 What is one of the best pieces of advice you’ve received?

Always reflect positively on the work you have done. In life, it’s commonplace to receive critiques, but you are one of the only people that lift yourself up and others.

26 What is something you’ve always wanted to try but you’ve been too scared to do?


27 What is the best advice for your 18 year old self?

Be yourself, don’t try to change who you are to impress everyone else.

28 What is the best way to de-stress?


29 What is the last thing you watched?

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

30 What is the weirdest thing you’ve had in your bag?

Snacks, always and forever.

31 What is your favorite animal?

Crows, they’re so intelligent and they make me think about how Dinosaurs behaved.

32 What is your favorite book?

Stephen King’s Pet Semetary

33 What is your favorite comfort food?

Nachos with creamy cheese, beans, shredded chicken, lettuce, tomatoes and salsa!

34 What is your favorite day of the year?

That’s a tough one (haha). I’d have to say April 25, because it’s not too hot and not too cold. All you need is a light jacket.

35 What is your favorite plant?

I am fascinated by weeping willows.

36 What is your favorite science fact?

That memories are labile, anytime a memory is recalled it can be edited permanently. The flexibility of a memory is fascinating to me.

37 What is your favorite season?


38 What is your favorite smell?


39 What is your favorite sound?

The Sound of Silence.

40 What is your favorite thing about yourself?

I think I’m upbeat and positive in demeanor!

41 What is your favorite word (in any language)?

Mantequilla. Butter in spanish.

42 What is your proudest moment?

When I received my Ph.D. 🙂

43 What kind of tree would you be?

Saucer Magnolia

44 What’s the best thing about where you live?

I can walk to work and to an ocean-side park in the same day.

45 Tell us something we probably don’t know.

Estrogens, considered “female hormones”, actually are broken down from Testosterone and estrogens can be re-made into Testosterone.

46 Who would you like to see 46 Questions interview next?