We use theory and methods from neuroscience (e.g., fMRI), psychology (e.g., psychophysiology), and anthropology (e.g., evolutionary theories) to explore how humans acquire cultural beliefs and practices, how these beliefs and practices shape psychology and brain function, and how both processes impact human health and health care. The main focus of our current work is investigating how sociocultural factors (e.g. doctor-patient relationship, demographics, and language) influence the pain experience and its underlying neural correlates. This work is funded in part by a new five-year award from The National Institute of Drug Abuse aimed at using functional MRI and medical simulations to explore psychological and neural mechanisms underlying demographic biases in opioid and non-opioid pain treatment. Our other main line of work focuses on the psychological and neural mechanisms underlying cultural acquisition. We are also open to exploring other research questions exploring the interactions between culture, brain and health. In our work we emphasize increasing the ecological validity of paradigms used to study sociocultural phenomena and using advanced neuroimaging analysis techniques such as machine learning and fMRI based mediation analyses to try and uncover tighter links between brain mechanisms and behaviors of interest. You can find out more about the lab by exploring the rest of the site.
Prospective graduate students should apply through the University of Miami Department of Psychology. Applicant should have a Bachelor’s degree or higher in psychology, neuroscience, or a related field and have substantive psychology or neuroscience research experience. Applicants interested in pursuing a non-clinical degree should apply to either the Psychological Science Program in either Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience or Behavioral Medicine depending on their interests. Applicants interested in pursuing a clinical degree should apply through the Clinical Psychology Program in Health Clinical. The application deadline is December 1st, 2019. All applicants are encouraged to contact Dr. Losin to express interest in the lab and include their C.V., an unofficial transcript and a sample of their scientific writing. Applicants must also mention interest in working with Dr. Losin in their application materials. Graduate student funding is available via a Research Assistantship.
Facilities and Resources
The SCN lab is housed in the Cox Neuroscience Annex (left) a new interdisciplinary neuroscience building on campus. The Neuroscience Annex includes state-of-the art neuroimaging facilities, with a research dedicated 3T MRI scanner and adjacent participant testing, office and laboratory space. The SCN Lab has a dyadic psychophysiology lab in which we study the dynamics of real world social interactions to complement our work in the scanner. We also have established an online participant recruitment and screening database and relationships with departments at the University of Miami Miller school of Medicine, which facilitate our research efforts.
Department and Training
The Department of Psychology at the University of Miami is the University's largest and most highly funded department, with 49 full time faculty and about 95 graduate students. The Psychology department has a particular strength in Behavioral Medicine and also has a group focused on evolutionary psychology and behavior. The Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience Division within the department includes a diverse and collaborative group of neuroimaging faculty and graduate students. Faculty in the Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience Division have expertise in a range of cognitive domains including social behavior and culture, development, affect and mood disorders, and mindfulness and attention. Brain Imaging faculty also have methodological expertise in multivariate and connectivity analyses of fMRI data and EEG. Graduate training in the Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience Program includes training in the fundamentals of psychology and neuroimaging as well as the option to take coursework behavioral medicine and evolution and behavior depending on the student’s interests.
Miami is a vibrant multicultural city with a thriving culinary and arts scene and abundant natural beauty. The University of Miami is located in Coral Gables, one of the most beautiful areas of the city. Miami’s cultural, socioeconomic, and age diversity not only makes Miami an exciting place to live but also makes it an ideal place to investigate research questions about the interplay between culture, brain and health.