My name is Maddie Ray, and I am a proud cat mom and neuroscientist originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma. I did my undergraduate at Kansas State University where I majored in Psychology. While at K-State, I fell in love with neuroscience through a course on drugs and behavior. This course propelled me to join a behavioral neuroscience research lab where I had the opportunity to conduct research as an undergraduate. In this lab, I studied the neural mechanisms involved in goal directed learning, and the effects of alcohol consumption on this type of learning. It was this first research experience in college that made me realize my passion for research, which ultimately shaped me into the neuroscientist I am today.
I am currently a fourth year PhD student at Boston College, where I study the role of the nucleus accumbens core in rapid, accurate scaling of fear. I received my M.A. from Boston College in 2018. My thesis work focused on the roles of the orbitofrontal cortex and nucleus accumbens core in rapid fear discrimination. My current work uses a variety of techniques including in-vivo electrophysiology and optogenetics to examine the nucleus accumbens core and its involvement in adaptive scaling of fear to various threat probabilities. Outside of the lab, I enjoy sciart, boxing, and being a cat mom to two cats, Emmy and Basal Ganglia. For more insight into my life as a cat-loving scientist, you can follow me on twitter @maddiehray.