๐–๐ž ๐œ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ซ๐ž๐ง๐ญ๐ฅ๐ฒ ๐ก๐š๐ฏ๐ž ๐š๐ง ๐จ๐ฉ๐ž๐ง ๐๐ก๐ƒ ๐ฉ๐จ๐ฌ๐ข๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง ๐ข๐ง ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฅ๐š๐›. ๐ˆ๐ง๐ญ๐ž๐ซ๐ž๐ฌ๐ญ๐ž๐? ๐‚๐ฅ๐ข๐œ๐ค ๐œ๐จ๐ง๐ญ๐š๐œ๐ญ ๐ญ๐จ ๐ ๐ž๐ญ ๐ฌ๐ญ๐š๐ซ๐ญ๐ž๐.
๐–๐ž ๐œ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ซ๐ž๐ง๐ญ๐ฅ๐ฒ ๐ก๐š๐ฏ๐ž ๐š๐ง ๐จ๐ฉ๐ž๐ง ๐๐ก๐ƒ ๐ฉ๐จ๐ฌ๐ข๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง ๐ข๐ง ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฅ๐š๐›. ๐ˆ๐ง๐ญ๐ž๐ซ๐ž๐ฌ๐ญ๐ž๐? ๐‚๐ฅ๐ข๐œ๐ค ๐œ๐จ๐ง๐ญ๐š๐œ๐ญ ๐ญ๐จ ๐ ๐ž๐ญ ๐ฌ๐ญ๐š๐ซ๐ญ๐ž๐.
Itamar Lerner

Itamar Lerner, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator

Dr. Itamar Lerner is a cognitive and computational neuroscientist and the Principal Investigator of the Sleep and Memory Computational Lab. His research interests include the effects of sleep on learning, hippocampal-dependent memory and its involvement in pattern recognition and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), the brain mechanisms behind creativity and insight, associative processes in semantic memory in healthy and schizophrenic individuals, and language acquisition. Visit itamarlerner.com for additional information.

Graduate Researchers

Emerson Larios, B.S., M.S.

Emerson is a second-year student at University of Texas in San Antonio studying for his masterโ€™s in psychology. Emerson is from Tegucigalpa, Honduras. He attended University of Mobile, where he received a Bachelorโ€™s degree in Biology with a minor in Organic Chemistry. In addition, he received a Master of Science in Biology from Auburn University. Emerson is interested in understanding the biological mechanisms involved in the role sleep plays in the development of stress and trauma, along with subsequent disorders that may arise, such as PTSD.

Undergraduate Researchers

Sabrina Sanchez

Sabrina is a freshman majoring in neuroscience and is on track to graduation in the Spring of 2025. After graduating she hopes to get her MD at a Texas Medical school. Sabrina is a new research assistant and is very excited to be given the opportunity to be a part of innovative and exciting research.

Caroline Muniz

Caroline is an honors freshman majoring in Psychology and is a new research assistant in Dr. Lerners Lab as of Spring 2022. Caroline is really passionate about the field of psychology and medicine. After graduating in 2025, she wants to attend medical school in Texas. She recently got certified as an EMT and loves to help in emergency situations. She is very excited to learn more about sleep and the effects it has on memory, as well as gaining valuable experience in psychology research.

Kendell Lyssy

Kendell is a new research assistant starting in the Fall of 2022 semester and is excited to learn more about the research process in the sleep lab. She is a second-year undergraduate student who is majoring in psychology. After graduating, Kendell plans to pursue a masterโ€™s with the intention of getting more knowledge and experience in the field.

Hannah Velez-Barjak

Hannah graduated from UTSA in the spring of 2022 with her BA in psychology. She is a new research assistant who is interested in getting more experience with research and learning more about how sleep affects the mind. In the near future, she plans on getting into a graduate program to earn a Psy.D. in clinical psychology.

Nathan Zuniga

Nathan is a first-year student in the Honors College majoring in Computer Science with plans to minor in Mathematics. He is interested in writing scripts for tasks and is fascinated by the work being done in The Sleep and Memory Computational Lab. Nathan is Security+ certified and hopes to obtain more certifications along his path to graduation in Spring 2026. After graduating, Nathan plans to pursue a career in Ethical Hacking.

Stephen Zajac

Stephen is a first-year student at the University of Texas in San Antonio studying for a bachelor’s in psychology. Stephen is a double major in psychology and philosophy and is studying to become a relationships therapist with a focus on borderline personality disorder and chemical dependency.

Alexandra Lerma

Alexandra Lerma is an honors junior majoring in Neuroscience, currently serving as a research assistant in Dr. Lerner’s Lab since the spring of 2023. With an interest in dentistry, she has her sights set on applying to dental school upon graduating in 2025. Alexandra is deeply enthusiastic about delving into the realm of sleep research!

Joann Phelps

Joann Phelps is a new research assistant joining in the Summer of 2023 with the desire to deepen her understanding of sleep, improve research abilities in human studies, and gain new coding experiences. She is a fourth-year undergraduate student majoring in Neuroscience, with the hopes of getting a Ph.D. and D.D.S. from UT Health in San Antonio after graduation. Joann wants to dedicate her life to sleep medicine dentistry and conducting research in early interventions for neurodegenerative disease by addressing facial maldevelopment.

Oscar Menchaca

Oscar is a third-year honors student at UTSA majoring in psychology. After his undergraduate Oscar looks to work towards his master’s and Ph.D. in Clinical Neuropsychology. As a research assistant in Dr. Lerner’s sleep and memory computational lab, he has gained research skills In understanding the neurophysiology of sleep. He is a highly motivated undergraduate student who seeks to understand how research is conducted and presented.

Vina Manouchehri

Vina is a new research assistant starting in the Fall of 2023.She is very excited to be given the opportunity to learn more about the research process in the Sleep and Memory Computational Lab. She is a first-year undergraduate majoring in Biology. After finishing her Bachelorโ€™s degree, she plans to go to medical school and pursue a career in the medical field.

Alexa Pena

Alexa Pena is a 3rd year undergrad student at UTSA majoring in neuroscience with a concentration behavioral neuroscience and a minor in psychology. After graduating with her BS in neuroscience she plans to go back to school to further her education and get a masterโ€™s degree in neuroscience. Her plans for the future are to work in the research field studying the neuroscience of sleep and sleep disorders in a lab. As a research assistant at the Sleep and Memory Computational Lab she looks forward to gaining experience working in a lab conducting research and collecting data as well as working with peers with similar passions.

Justique Woolridge

Justique is a third-year undergraduate student who plans to pursue a doctoral degree and a career in psychological research. She has a strong interest in Cognitive Psychology and the role cognitive functions play in sleep, memory, and psychological well-being. She is a new research assistant who is excited to gain research experience and learn about the different facets of human mental processes.

Alumni

Beverly Vickrey

Beverly joined The Sleep and Memory Computational Lab in the Spring of 2022 and is a second year master’s student as of Fall 2022. She previously completed her bachelor’s degree in biology in 2012 through WGU and decided to change focus, earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology at UTSA before continuing to a master’s program. Her research interests involve memory consolidation during sleep and the external influences which may hinder or bolster the consolidation process. She plans to continue a Ph.D. program after finishing her master’s at UTSA.

Emily Wood

Emily has been an undergraduate Research Assistant in The Sleep and Memory Computational Lab since September of 2020. After completing her bachelorโ€™s degree in Psychology, she plans to pursue her MD. During her time as a Research Assistant she was given the opportunity to help set up the lab, review grant proposals and train incoming Research Assistants. Under Dr. Lernerโ€™s leadership she has gained a deeper understanding of sleep and its function, as well as deepening her passion for research.

James Westphal, B.A.

James is currently a second-year student in the Psychology MS program at UTSA. He first began working with Dr. Lerner as an undergraduate in February 2020. During this time span, he has experienced coding in Python and JavaScript using PsychoPy to write experiments, used in his own research as well as other masterโ€™s students. He has also had the opportunity to help develop lab protocols that will be used in the labโ€™s research with PSG and EEG-based experiments. In addition, James has also gained experience with applying for grant proposals and has had a firsthand education on sleep and sleep research.