Neurobiological processes linking Racial Discrimination and Chronic Stress to Health

Supervising Faculty: Gabriella Alvarez, Ph.D.

Contact: Dr. Alvarez, 

Description of Research: Join our dynamic neuroscience research lab focused on understanding how experiencing social inequality may be related to changes in neurobiology and ultimately health. We investigate how different brain networks influence energy utilization and aging processes, with a particular focus on how racial discrimination affects brain function and health among Black and Latino individuals. This new line of research delves into understanding how chronic experiences of race-related stress and socioeconomic disadvantage affect aging and the risk for illness. Our lab values teamwork, equity, enthusiasm, and a growth mindset.

Duties of Students: We are seeking highly organized, motivated, and community-oriented undergraduate students to join our team as Research Assistants. Responsibilities may include information gathering, conducting literature reviews, designing websites, recruiting participants, collecting data, and engaging in various administrative tasks. Successful candidates will have the opportunity to learn a range of methods, including fMRI data collection and analysis, blood serum collection and analysis for peripheral physiology measurements, and coding skills. Successful candidates will also be expected to be available for at least 2 (partial) days per week, with a total time commitment of approximately 9 hours for 3 credits.


  • Overall GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • 12 credits of Psychology (including current term)
  • Strong motivation to learn about psychological research, particularly on racial discrimination
  • Dependability, ability to work collaboratively, and independently 
  • Two-semester commitment required 


  • Gain knowledge in human neuroscience and stress effects on the brain and body, with a focus on racial discrimination research 
  • Develop organization and time management skills 
  • Enhance research and critical thinking abilities 
  • Learn about the inner workings of building up a new lab

Application: To apply, please email expressing your interest. You will receive a link to the application, and we ask that you notify us once you have submitted the application. We will conduct in-person interviews with applicants demonstrating the strongest fit with research interest, needs, and skills. 

Deadline: We will begin reviewing applications on 1/8 and conclude recruitment on 1/15. 

Number of Students: 3-5