My Research

Over the years I've done research in a number of fields pursuing questions I thought were interesting while trying to acquire a diverse education. Below you'll find a brief description of the major projects I've worked on that led to publications and/or public software releases. Please feel free to take a look at my publications or My CV, and don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or comments!

Computational Neuroscience

I completed my Ph.D. in computational neuroscience at The University of Chicago under the guidance of David Freedman. There, I focused my research on the function of the posterior parietal cortex (PPC). While the role of the PPC in spatial processing has been known for some time, its role in cognition is a more recent discovery and is less well understood. My work sought to examine the relationship and relative strength of these two signals, with the underlying goal of determining whether cognitive function may be a cardinal role of the PPC. This is particularly important because the traditional view of cognitive processing has primarily implicated other brain areas such as the prefrontal cortex, and could suggest that cognitive signals in the PPC instead originate elsewhere, and thus are non-essential to behavior. In short, my results demonstrated that both signals are simultaneously yet independently encoded with similar strength, emphasizing the importance of non-spatial cognitive processing in the PPC. The results of my work were published in Neuron and featured in the Chicago Tribune. Additionally, I presented my work at 2 annual meetings of the Society for Neuroscience. My dissertation was also recognized as the best PhD thesis in Computational Neuroscience in 2012-2013.

Computer Science / Archival Informatics

While studying computer science as an undergrad at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, I was approached by Scott Schwartz and Chris Prom about the lack of digital archiving systems that were easy for archivists to manage, and which made archival materials and related digital content easily accessible to the public via the web. After developing a successful prototype for use at The University of Illinois, the Archon project was born. The project's goal was to create a free open-source content management system built on widely available platforms (PHP, any of several SQL systems) that could be implemented by archives of any size, funding level, and technical expertise to internally catalog their materials and make them widely available online. After several years of development and 3 major revisions, Archon has been deployed by numerous institutions, published in several papers and a book chapter, and presented at an annual meeting for the Society of American Archivists as well as The Smithsonian Institution. It was also awarded a $100,000 Mellon Award for Technology Collaboration and has subsequently served as one of the two foundational platforms for the next-generation archival management system ArchivesSpace.