Priyanka Mehta

Ph.D. 2021

PhD Thesis:

Environmental contributions to value computations and population dynamics in ventromedial prefrontal cortex.

Current Position:

Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin Superior

Undergraduate Institution and Major:

University of California – Los Angeles, B.S. in Cognitive Science, 2016

Graduate Advisor:

Ben Hayden, Ph.D., Department of Neuroscience

Description of Graduate Research:

I am looking for neural correlates of foraging and economic decision-making using single-cell recording and fMRI.

Graduate Publications:

  • Mehta PS, Tu JC, LoConte GA, Pesce MC, Hayden BY. Ventromedial prefrontal cortex tracks multiple environmental variables during search. J Neurosci. 2019;39(27):5336-5350.

Graduate Abstracts:

  • Mehta P, Sleezer BJ, Pesce MC, LoConte GA, Hayden BY. Effects of cocaine exposure on neural coding of different offer dimensions in a gambling task. Society for Neuroscience, 2018.
  • Mehta P, LoConte GA, Pesce MC, Hayden BY. Beyond value encoding: Broad contributions of ventromedial prefrontal cortex to foraging behavior in a search task. Society for Neuroscience, 2017.

Graduate Awards:

Sping and Ying-Ngoh Lin Award  2019

Thesis Committee Members:

Geoffrey Ghose, Ph.D., Department of Neuroscience (Chair)
Benjamin Hayden, Ph.D., Department of Neuroscience 
Iris Vilares, Ph.D., Department of Department of Psychology
Jan Zimmerman, Ph.D., Department of Neuroscience
Benjamin Saunders, M.D. Ph.D., Department of Neuroscience

Research Categories:

  • Behaviorial and Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Computational Neuroscience

Undergraduate or Post-Bac Research:

I worked for two and a half years in Patricia Cheng’s at UCLA studying causal reasoning and decision making, two years in Jesse Rissman’s studying memory in virtual reality, and one year in Uri Maoz’s lab studying human electrophysiological data from produced during decision making tasks. I also participated in research with UCLA’s Criminal Justice Research Group. 

What Got You Interested In Research?

Wandering around in the public library picking random books to read, I learned that I liked the books about brains even though they were non-fiction. I thought brain science was the coolest thing ever, so I continued! 

Why Did You Choose MN?

I transferred here with my PhD mentor, but I am super happy to be here! The fMRI resources are mindblowing, and the department seems fantastic. I like it as it has a great environment for all kinds of neuroscience.  

Priyanka Mehta