Degree: Ph.D. in Psychology
College: School of Integrated Science and Humanity at the College of Arts, Sciences & Education
Katherine Bottenhorn knew she wanted to be a scientist after her first chemistry lab experience in middle school. After graduating high school in 2011, she attended Auburn University, where she studied psychology and chemistry and where she first took part in neuroimaging research.
During her search for graduate schools, Katherine’s research interests and geographical preferences led her to FIU. It was the perfect opportunity for Katherine to further her undergraduate research and trade the cold, muggy Alabama winters for warm, sunny Christmases in Florida close to family.
Under the mentorship of Angie Laird, Katherine conducted research in the Neuroinformatics and Brain Connectivity Lab at FIU — which uses magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study brain function in the context of substance use, adolescent development and educational learning.
Katherine’s research focuses on developing new computational approaches to imaging research and applying these to gain new insight into brain function. At FIU, she worked as a Research Assistant for the National Institutes of Health-funded Adolescent Brain and Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study — the largest long-term study of brain development and child health in the United States. Katherine used some of the same neuroimaging, behavioral and biological data collection methods as the ABCD Study to investigate how changes in the brains of premenopausal women are related to hormones, sleep, stress and exercise over the menstrual cycle. She is determined to expand knowledge on issues specific to women’s health.
As one of the first graduates for FIU’s Cognitive Neuroscience doctoral program, Katherine is the first in her family to earn a Ph.D. — a journey guided by strong women colleagues and mentors representing snapshots of the woman and scientist she wants to be.
After graduation, Katherine will be working as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Southern California in sunny Los Angeles.
By Ayleen Barbel Fattal
College of Arts, Sciences & Education