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Principal Investigator

Dr. Sydney Trask


After completing her undergraduate degree at Kent State University, Sydney earned her PhD at the University of Vermont and conducted her postdoctoral work at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Outside of lab, she likes to spend time outside with her family and dog, and can usually be found running or listening to Taylor Swift. Sydney is currently the Executive Director of Women in Learning, and serves on the Executive Committee for the Pavlovian Society.

Sydney is currently a Faculty Associate with:

The Purdue Institute for Integrative Neuroscience

The Purdue Center on Aging and the Life Course

The Purdue Center for Research on Brain, Behavior, and Neurorehabilitation

The Purdue University Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Program (PULSe)

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Graduate Research Assistants

Erisa Met-Hoxha


Erisa received her BS in Psychology from the University of Houston, where she was a member of the Brain Health and Plasticity Lab studying the competing effects of alcohol and exercise on the brain. In the Trask lab, Erisa is looking forward to exploring the learning and memory circuitry in the aging brain. 


When she is not in the lab, Erisa enjoys running, hiking, and spending time with her family. 

Payton Robinson


Payton earned her bachelor's in Psychology at Purdue Fort Wayne where she was also a member of their women's track and field team. Her work in the Trask Lab investigates age-related changes in memory and learning processes that coincide with changes in neural function produced by aging. In her free time, she likes to hang out with her husband and fur baby, think about working out, and finding new shows to watch.

Undergraduate Research Assistants

Emma Bennett

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Emma is a senior in Brain and Behavioral Sciences, and she plans to pursue a graduate degree in Occupational Therapy. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, yoga, running, and trying new coffee shops.

Jaden Brooks

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Jaden is a Junior majoring in Cellular, Molecular, and Developmental Biology and minoring in Psychology. They plan to go on to graduate school and get a PhD. In Jaden's free time, they like to hang out with their cat, crochet, and listen to audiobooks.

Kaitlyn Greer

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Kaitlyn is a senior double majoring in Psychology and Spanish and minoring in Drawing & Illustration. She enjoys reading, traveling, and being a mother to one energetic pup and three slightly less energetic hermit crabs.

Destine Williams

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Destine is a senior in Psychology on the pre-med track. She spends her free time watching Netflix and finding new music to enjoy.

Honorary Trask Lab Members

Dr. Nicole Ferrara

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Nicole completed her undergraduate work at Albion College before earning her PhD at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Nicole is currently an Assistant Professor in the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science Discipline of Physiology and Biophysics within the Center for Neurobiology of Stress Resilience and Psychiatric Disorders.

In her lab, Dr. Ferrara and her trainees study the impact of environment on innate and learned fear and social behaviors as well as the neural mechanisms that underlie these changes.

Ellie Bonanno

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Ellie received her BS at Purdue University in 2020 where she studied Brain and Behavioral Sciences with a minor in Computer Science. She continued at Purdue University joining Susie Swithers's lab in the Neuroscience and Behavior area of the Psychological Sciences department. She earned her MS in 2022 for her work investigating dietary and health correlates of sweetened beverage intake in humans. Ellie is currently working on a collaboration exploring learning and memory circuitry in the aging brain as well as the impact of a westernized diet in these areas in young and adult brains. She is currently working on her Ph.D. dissertation and plans to graduate in December 2024.

Lab Photos

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