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Ask Me Anything with Jean King, Angela Rodriguez & Erin Solovey

Thursday, January 14, 2021
6:30 pm


What You Need to Know about the Science of Stress

We are constantly multitasking, moving quickly, and being overstimulated, so it’s no wonder stress has become more prevalent than ever. And in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic brought about new types and higher levels of stress for many across the globe.

It is widely known that stress can result in psychological issues like depression and anxiety, but do you also know that chronic stress can lead to a host of physiological conditions including heart disease, weight gain or loss, and immune suppression, to name a few?

In this Ask Me Anything event, Peterson Family Dean of Arts & Sciences Jean King and professors Angela Rodriguez and Erin Solovey will discuss how WPI research teams are observing stress and how it operates in the body, examining emotions and thoughts, and providing insight into how we can mitigate stress’s harmful side effects.

Drs. King, Rodriguez, and Solovey will also provide a peek inside WPI’s Neurotechnology Suite, an experimental hub that provides the potential for effective collaboration among researchers and across departments to accelerate experimental design, data collection, analysis, and interpretation, therefore enhancing our understanding of neural mechanisms, biomarkers, pathologies, and interventions.

Date: Thursday, January 14, 2021

Time: 6:30 PM ET

Location: Virtual on Zoom

Zoom account is needed to attend this event. Registrants will be emailed the Zoom event URL to attend the event at the time of registration.


About Jean King

A widely respected neuroscientist, Jean King joined the WPI community as the Peterson Family Dean of Arts and Sciences in 2017. In addition to her duties as dean, she is a professor in the Department of Biology and Biotechnology.

Dr. King’s research uses functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to identify and monitor neuronal plasticity associated with addiction, ADHD, depression, fearfulness, anxiety, autism and neurological disorders (PD and TBI) in animal models with the hope of finding clues to help us understand these conditions in humans. In recent years, her laboratory has shifted to a more translational approach and incorporated a clinical research component to most of its animal studies. The long-term goal of Dr. King’s research is to provide an understanding of the unique features of central mechanisms that regulate emotion and cognition in both resilient and vulnerable populations.

Dr. King has published over 60 original scientific papers in highly respected international scientific journals, over 10 chapters in books and review articles in major neurophysiology journals, and is an editor of New York Academy of Sciences Publication-Roots of Mental Illness in Children. She has been a scientific consultant for the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health as well as the Veterans Administration. Prior to joining WPI, she was vice provost for biomedical research at the University of Massachusetts Medical School; a tenured professor of psychiatry, radiology, and neurology; and director of the university’s Center for Comparative Neuroimaging.

Dr. King earned her BS in Biology at St. Francis College, her MS in Cell Biology at City University of New York (CUNY), and her PhD in Neuroscience at New York University (NYU).


About Angela Rodriguez

Angela Incollingo Rodriguez is an assistant professor of psychology in the Department of Social Science and Policy Studies. She is also a faculty member with the Neuroscience Initiative, a director of the Global Public Health minor program, and an affiliated faculty member in the WPI Healthcare Delivery Institute.

Her research program uses a biopsychosocial approach to study health and health behaviors. She conducts research at the intersection of social phenomena (such as weight stigma), biomarkers (such as the stress hormone cortisol), and psychological factors (such as perceived stress and pain-related distress). Her work follows two core arcs investigating (1) biopsychosocial predictors and consequences of eating, not eating (i.e. dieting), and obesity; and (2) weight stigma and its consequences for physical and mental health, which she is currently extending into the novel context of pregnancy and postpartum health.

Dr. Rodriguez is dedicated to teaching and mentoring students. She instructs Social Psychology, Health Psychology, and Psychophysiology. She also is eager to engage students in her research and encourages them to contact her about opportunities to work, volunteer, or conduct projects in the Stigma, Eating, and Endocrinology Dynamics (SEED) Lab.

Dr. Rodriguez has a BA in Psychology & Spanish from Rutgers University, and both an MA in Health Psychology and a PhD in Health Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).


About Erin Solovey

Erin Solovey’s research is in human-computer interaction. One focus of her research is on next-generation interaction techniques, such as brain-computer interfaces, physiological computing, and reality-based interaction. She designs, builds, and evaluates interactive computing systems that use machine learning approaches to adapt and support a user’s changing cognitive state and context. Dr. Solovey also investigates novel paradigms for designing with accessibility in mind, particularly for the deaf community. Much of Dr. Solovey’s work also explores effective human interaction with complex and autonomous systems and vehicles. Her work has applications in areas such as education, transportation, medicine, creativity support, gaming, and complex decision making.

Dr. Solovey has an AB in Computer Science from Harvard College, and has both an MS and a PhD in Computer from Science Tufts University. She also did postdoc work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

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