Laboratory Director

Mel_Faculty_Portrait88Melanie Stollstorff, PhD

Dr. Stollstorff is an Assistant Professor in the Psychology Department in the Cognitive Neuroscience Area at Florida International University (FIU).
Phone: 305-348-7961

Laboratory Manager

Gloria Aguirre

Phone: 305-348-3375

Graduate Students

Ben photoBen Sheler

My primary research interest involves trying to better understand conscious experience from the perspective that it is an interaction between voluntary and automatic influences on attention. Through use of brain imaging techniques, such as fMRI, I work to objectively parse apart what characterizes circumstances when attention is more voluntarily influenced versus automatically and vice versa.  I am also interested in practical applications of these research findings in regards to personal life improvement.




Brianna PankeyBrianna Pankey

While working as a research assistant at Howard University, I became interested in cognitive neuroscience and better understanding how the brain works and how it relates to daily function. I am interested in research involving executive function and emotion. I find it fascinating to understand how the brain supports human function in social and emotional contexts. I am eager to be a part of research that will further advance the understanding of executive function of the human brain.

Research Assistants

headshot_hassanHassan Akram

I am currently in my senior year pursuing my Bachelor’s degree in Biological Science, under the pre-med track. Psychology, especially the brain processes, has always intrigued me which is why I became a part of this field. My ultimate career goal is to become a Pediatric Surgeon specializing in neuroscience. My primary interest in the research is the application of neurobiology (such as neurotransmitters, genes, transporter proteins etc.) to something as simple as thinking and emotion and the relation with disorders like ADHD. I hope to incorporate my learning from this research into my career in order to serve my community.

valeriafagundoValeria Fagundo

I was born and raised in Havana, Cuba. I am currently working on a bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences and a minor in Chemistry. My goal is to apply to medical school this upcoming summer and graduate in the Fall of 2017. A few personal and academic experiences have given rise to my interest in cognitive neuroscience and my decision on a future career as a neurologist. I decided to join the research at the Stollstorff Lab not only to enhance my knowledge as a future doctor but also to be part of a positive impact in my community.


roxanna-floresRoxanna Flores

I am originally from Puerto Rico, currently enjoying my undergraduate studies in Miami. I’m a Senior at the FIU Honors College pursuing a Bachelor’s in Psychology, with a minor in Biology. My life experiences have rooted in me a great desire to help others, especially children, by combining psychology with the natural sciences. I want to serve the community around me by helping improve lifestyles and health, while dealing with mental illnesses. This is why I aspire to one day become a Clinical Neuropsychologist. In my free time, I like to sing, watch TV shows, and have adventures with loved ones. I enjoy working in the Stollstorff Lab and look forward to gaining a remarkable research experience!

Kristen_HeadshotKristen Fox

I recently graduated from FIU with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in chemistry. This is my second semester working in Dr. Stollstorff’s lab, and I am very excited to be a part of such a great research project. I have been a child life volunteer at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital for over a year, and I am the Medical Mission Trip Coordinator for the American Medical Student Association at FIU. I hope to attend medical school, and one day become a pediatrician specializing in oncology and hematology.

Lily Kaufmann

I am a Canadian and I moved to Miami three years ago in order to attend FIorida International University and train with the FIU Swimming and Diving Team. During my time here I have had the opportunity to learn from great professors who have inspired me to pursue research. I will be graduating in spring 2017 with my Bachelors degree in Psychology, and I am planning on obtaining a post-graduate degree in Physical Therapy. With a background in both Psychology and Physical Therapy I aim to study the interaction between the physical and mental aspects of the human experience. Specifically, I am interested in studying the relationships between changes in brain anatomy, psychological disorders, and the corresponding physical symptoms.


e-malave Emmanuel Malave

I am currently in my senior year pursuing my Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. After I finish my studies, I plan on building a career as a Software Engineer. Before I became interested in programming I had a huge passion for neuroscience and even planned on studying it as an undergraduate. My plans changed but the passion never died out. I was extremely excited after finding out that lab was looking for a Computer Science student to help them with E-Programming, web development and other tasks for their research. To be able to join both of my passions into this position seems like a dream come true. I look forward to learning as much as I can and  also on being part of this great team here in Stollstorff Lab.


sheyla-molinerSheyla Moliner

I recently graduated from FIU with a Bachelors degree in Psychology, and plan on pursing graduate studies in cognitive neuroscience. As a mentor, in Big Brothers Big Sister Miami I mentor at-risk youth, which has further ignited my interest in pursing research, particularly how experiences in childhood affect brain development. I am excited to be a part of the Stollstorff Lab where I can not only expand my knowledge in the field of cognitive neuroscience, but also be a part of research that promotes the wellbeing and success of children and adults.

IMG_9337 (1)Alexandra Moor

I am  a junior at Florida International University obtaining my Bachelors in Psychology.  My main goal in this field is to become a researcher, to be able to define, predict, and prevent certain neurological disorders, from Alzheimer’s Disease to more common disorders like anxiety. I am also interested in reducing the margin of error in logical thinking by seeing what genetics influence our thought processes through emotions. I was introduced to this line of research in my high school years and have been enamored ever since. I am incredibly excited to be part of Dr. Stollstorff’s team and start working toward that goal.


Alejandro HermidaHeadshot

Alejandro Hermida, former StollstorffLab Manager, has left the Stollstorff Lab to pursue a medical education at the University of Miami.




Former Stollstorff Lab Members

Manuel Contreras

Giselle Haitz

Richie Hou, PhD

Ana Piñon

Brittany Manso

Camille Morales

Claudia Batista

Dominique Espinoza

Jasmine Dukes

Nelson Lorenzo

Stefanie McLaney