Monica Kieff

Program Coordinator (Head Brain)

Monica is a third year student at the University of Chicago majoring in biology and minoring in molecular engineering and French.  She is also on the Varsity diving team.  In her free time, she helps coordinate The Think Tank's operations, volunteers at the hospital, and hangs out with her friends. 



Amritpal Singh


Amrit graduated from St. John's College in 2015, having completed the Great Books Program. He currently works as the lab manager for Dr. Daniel Casasanto's Experience and Cognition Lab. Outside of his interests in cognitive science and philosophy, Amrit is also passionate about shape note singing, learning new languages, and poetry.


Marianna Zhang

Events Manager

Marianna Zhang is a third-year studying psychology and philosophy. She works as a research assistant at the Experience and Cognition Lab, where she is interested in how our categories and concepts interact with language. She is also an avid rock climber, Sufjan Stevens enthusiast, and purveyor of high-fives.



Jillian Bowman

Community Partnership Manager

Jillian is a first year at the University of Chicago, and a proud Chicago native! She is a pre-med student majoring in Neuroscience and considering a minor in French. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, listening to music, playing Ultimate, talking about how incredibly cool brains are, and (trying) to practice guitar. 



Yifan Mao

Community Partnership Manager

Yifan is a first-year pre-med student at The University of Chicago majoring in biology with a specialization in neuroscience. She is also on the Varsity swim team. In her free time, she enjoys playing piano, volunteering at La Rabida Children's hospital, baking, and watching movies



Sumer Vaid

Fundraising Specialist/Events Manager

Sumer is a 3rd year pursuing a psychology major with a minor in computational neuroscience. His research interests include numerical cognition and embodied cognition. He has been a research assistant at Prof Casasanto's lab for about a year. Sumer hopes to pursue graduate school in the neurosciences after college. He is an avid fan of Coldplay and electronic music. In his free time, Sumer likes to keep fit and write fiction. He also has a passion for writing grant proposals!



Emily Shen

Events Manager

Emily is a second-year in the College studying Biology and Neuroscience. She currently works at the University of Chicago Hospitals as a clinical research assistant, and on campus she is involved in the University Symphony, NEURO, and the Taiwanese American Students Association. In her free time, she enjoys checking out overly-hyped cafes and restaurants, hitting up CSO concerts, and daydreaming about her next travel destination!


Jean Dai


Jean is a first-year pre-med student at The University of Chicago majoring in biology. She is also on the Varsity swim team. In her free time, she enjoys painting, playing the piano and violin, shopping, and working with kids.


Amritha Sriram

[TT]Team Builder

Amritha is a second year neuroscience major at the University of Chicago, from San Francisco, California. She is a member of the school’s club crew team, and in her free time she enjoys painting, listening to music, watching movies, and hanging out with her friends.


Emily Garcia

Media Guru/Science Educator

Emily is a third year pre-med student majoring in Neuroscience. She works at a sleep lab in the hospital, as well as in a neurobiology lab where she raises baby octopuses. This neurobiology lab (the Ragsdale Lab) recently won an Emmy for their short video on their sequencing of the octopus genome, meaning Emily has indirectly won an Emmy, making her the coolest Braniac ever.


Elias Blinkoff

Media Guru/Science Educator

Elias is a long distance operative for the Think Tank and a fourth-year student at Swarthmore College, where he is majoring in Psychology and Educational Studies with a minor in Cognitive Science. He is especially interested in how language acquisition research can be used to inform educational policy and practice for English-Language learners. At Swarthmore, he conducts research on language processing in the EEG/ERP Lab and works as a peer writing tutor. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, skiing, and running.



Daron Bedian


Daron Bedian is a third year at the University of Chicago, studying Linguistics, Math and Near Eastern History. In his free time, he enjoys playing and listening to music, soccer, and all things Armenian. He is a cellist in the Middle East Music Ensemble at the University. After a stint doing research at the Casasanto Experience and Cognition Lab, he is now working with Fred Ciesla and Sebastiaan Krijt on modeling the early formation of star systems.


Josh Oberman

Tech Manager, Neuro-artist in Residence

Josh Oberman is a computer musician, sound artist, and recent graduate of UChicago, with a degree in philosophy and cognitive science. He has focused much of his artistic practice on the use of biosensing technologies. With support from UChicago's Music Department, he has programed work with the Emotiv EPOC EEG headset for solo performers and acoustic/synthetic duets, including performances and installations at UChicago Computer Music Studio, the Logan Center for the Arts, and Elastic Arts Foundation. Josh has also collaborated with composers and biologists to create the Chromochord: the world’s first musical instrument driven by nano-sized proteins.