New Social Sciences Faculty (Part Two)

By Tanzeen R. Doha - In the second of two features, we introduce some of the newest members of the social sciences faculty at UC Davis.

Eliza Bliss-Moreau

Assistant Professor of Psychology

Dr. Eliza Bliss-Moreau is a core scientist at the California National Primate Research Center. She is also a member of both the Neuroscience and the Animal Behavior Graduate Groups.  Dr. Bliss-Moreau started her career as a social psychologist studying humans, receiving a Ph.D. in psychology in 2008 from Boston College. She completed postdoctoral training at UC Davis in nonhuman primate neuroscience, primatology, and systems science. She was an Academic Federation faculty member in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine prior to joining the Department of Psychology.

Dr. Bliss-Moreau’s multi-method, multi-level, multi-disciplinary, multi-species research program is focused on understanding the biological mechanisms that generate healthy and unhealthy emotions and social behavior, with the goal of developing new effective treatments and interventions for emotion-related psychopathology. She has received substantial funding as PI and Co-I from both the NIH and NSF and received national recognition for her innovative research, including being named as one of the Association for Psychological Science’s “Rising Stars” and as a Kavli Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Bliss-Moreau will begin teaching during Winter Quarter 2017 with an upper division seminar course – PSC 190: Comparative Affective Science. In Spring 2017, she will teach PSC 121: Physiological Psychology.

Erie Boorman

Assistant Professor of Psychology

Erie Boorman recently moved from the FMRIB (Functional MRI of the Brain) Centre at the University of Oxford to UC Davis. A core faculty member at the Center for Mind and Brain, he investigates the computational and neural architecture of reinforcement learning and decision-making. Erie Boorman is a member of the Society for Neuroscience, the Society for Neuroeconomics, and the Organization of Human Brain Mapping. Current research topics include causal learning, structure learning, domain generality of prediction and selection systems, and behavioral adaptation.

Lindsay C. Bowman

Assistant Professor of Psychology

Lindsay C. Bowman received her Ph.D. in developmental psychology from the University of Michigan. With experience as a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Maryland Child Development Lab and as a research fellow in the Labs of Cognitive Neuroscience at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital, her work brings together unique perspectives on neuroscience, cognition, and social understanding in the developmental context. She uses a combination of neuroscientific and behavioral methods to illuminate developing cognition and pathways to adaptive and maladaptive social behavior across infancy and childhood.

Dr. Bowman is a member of professional organizations including the Society for Research in Child Development, the Cognitive Development Society, the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, and the International Congress on Infant Studies. She has received awards from the Canadian Psychological Association, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the University of Michigan, and Queen’s University.

Dr. Bowman is also the Principle Investigator of the Brain and Social Cognition (BASC) Lab in the Center for Mind and Brain at UC Davis. She welcomes participation from undergraduate and graduate students who have interests that overlap with her research focus.

Gerardo Con Díaz

Assistant Professor of Science and Technology Studies

Dr. Gerardo Con Díaz joins UC Davis this fall from Yale University, where he completed a Ph.D. in History (History of Science and Medicine). A historian of software law, he is at work on his first book, Intangible Inventions: A History of Software Patenting in the United States. Dr. Con Díaz’s broader interests address the relationships among science and technology, business, and law from the nineteenth century to the present day. 

This fall, Dr. Con Díaz is teaching STS 20: Methods in Science Studies. In Winter Quarter 2017, he will teach STS 180: Topics in HPS, with the special topic of “Computing, Data, and Law.” 

Paul Eastwick

Associate Professor of Psychology

Paul Eastwick serves as the principal investigator for the Attraction and Relationships research laboratory. Through his research, he has sought to build connections between attraction/close relationships research, evolutionary psychology, social psychological perspectives on person perception and implicit social cognition.

Eastwick is currently an associate editor at Psychological Bulletin, and he serves on the editorial boards of The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Social Psychological and Personality Science, The Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, and The Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation.

Andrew Fox

Assistant Professor of Psychology

Andrew Fox is a member the California National Primate Research Center (CNPRC), as well as of a number of organizations including the Society for Neuroscience and the Society of Biological Psychiatry.

"In The Fox Lab for Translational Affective Neuroscience, we want to understand the neurobiology of “affective style”. We want to understand why some people are afraid to leave the house, while others enjoy the feeling of danger. We want to understand why some people callously abuse, while others become overwhelmed with empathy. We hope that understanding the biology of affective style will lead us to a better understand humanity and help people make choices about who they want to be.

Much of our research aims to understand the biology that underlies dispositional anxiety. This kind of understanding could allow for specific interventions to ameliorate anxiety disorders and reduce the suffering of anxious individuals. To do this, we use varied tools to study humans and nonhuman primates, including: high-throughput computing, neuroimaging, RNA-sequencing, cellphone-based experience sampling, and designer receptors exclusively activated by designer drugs."

Omar Garcia-Ponce

Assistant Professor of Political Science

Dr. Garcia-Ponce specializes in comparative politics, political behavior, and political economy of development. He has two main lines of ongoing research. One examines how violent conflict affects behavioral outcomes and the development of institutions. The second is on the political economy of organized crime, with a regional focus on the U.S.-Mexico drug trade.

From a methodological perspective, his expertise is in quantitative approaches to causal inference, survey methodology, and field experiments. His work has been published or is forthcoming in the American Political Science Review, Electoral Studies, and the Journal of the European Economic Association. 

Camelia Hostinar

Assistant Professor of Psychology

Camelia Hostinar is a developmental psychologist who studies how the social environment shapes health, with a focus on the activity of the stress-response and immune systems. She is probing the pathways linking early-life stress to later risk for disease and investigating protective processes that could short-circuit these adverse trajectories.

Dr. Hostinar operates the Social Environment and Stress (SES) Lab, in which she welcomes the participation of graduate students with interest in this area of study. She also is affiliated with the UC Davis Center for Poverty Research.

Dr. Hostinar investigates the ways in which childhood poverty and other forms of early-life adversity influence later development and health. She has particular interest in protective factors that may buffer children and adolescents from chronic stress and subsequent physical or mental health problems. Her work examines developmental processes at multiple levels of analysis, incorporating endocrine and immune biomarkers, electrophysiological data, genetic assays, and behavioral measures. She seeks to improve understanding of the role of early-life stress in shaping self-regulatory skills, and to illuminate how stress-buffering processes such as supportive social relationships exert their effects 

Ryan Hubert

Assistant Professor of Political Science 

Dr. Hubert’s research uses game theory, machine learning and text analysis to study U.S. political institutions.

Before pursuing a Ph.D. in political science at University of California, Berkeley, he earned an M.P.A. from Columbia University and a B.A. in politics and economics from Brandeis University. He also worked in the corporate practice at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP in New York, and interned at the U.S. Embassy in Norway.

Philippe Rast

Associate Professor of Psychology

Philippe Rast is working on the development and application of statistical models for estimating the way that developmental change occurs and how individuals differ in this change. His research lies at the intersection of advanced quantitative methodology, psychometrics, and the empirical study of lifespan development and aging. He is on the editorial board of The Journal of Gerontopsychology and Geriatric Psychiatry and he is a member of several professional organizations including the American Statistical Association (ASA), the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Gerontological Society of America (GSA). For the 2016 American Psychological Association conference, he was co-chair for the Division 5 “Evaluation, Measurement and Statistics” program.

Philippe Rast integrates methods for simultaneously examining intra-individual variability (change at the individual level) and inter-individual differences in such changes while relating such examination to cognitive processes. His research also includes the development of longitudinal study designs. Here, his focus is on the identification of optimal features such as number of measurement occasions, time interval between occasions, or sample size to maximize statistical power (ability to detect desired effects) and quality of parameter estimation. Professor Rast applies and evaluates this methodology in the area of cognitive development, particularly in adult populations, where he examines how cognitive aging is related to health, affect, and well-being.

Lindsay Reid

Assistant Professor of Political Science

Dr. Lindsay Reid joins UC Davis this fall after completing her doctorate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Reid's research interests lie in the study of civil war resolution, with a specific focus on examining how peace agreements and peace processes influence both the durability and the quality of peace following civil wars. In particular, Dr. Reid researches the mechanisms of women's empowerment and inclusivity in the wake of civil war.

This quarter, Dr. Reid is teaching POL 121: Scientific Study of War.

Mijke Rhemtulla

Assistant Professor of Psychology

Mijke Rhemtulla recently joined UC Davis from the Psychological Methods group at the University of Amsterdam. She received her doctorate in psychology from the University of British Columbia, where she studied early language and concept development. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Research Methods and Data Analysis at the University of Kansas before becoming an assistant professor at the University of Amsterdam.

Dr. Rhemtulla develops and studies methods and models within the SEM (structural equation modeling) framework, focusing on practical issues such as how to fit models to ordinal and incomplete data, how to optimize planned missing data designs for SEM models, and how to use item parcels to minimize bias. She also studies theoretical problems, such as how to interpret latent variable representations of psychological constructs, and what theoretical implications arise from competing (e.g., network) models of psychological constructs.