Peter J. Vento, PhD
Dr. Vento received his Ph.D. in Behavioral Neuroscience from the University at Buffalo in the lab of Dr. Derek Daniels, where he investigated neural regulation of body fluid homeostasis. Dr. Vento conducted his postdoctoral training under the mentorship of Dr. Thomas Jhou in the Department of Neuroscience at the Medical University of South Carolina, where he began his work in the neural circuitry of punishment learning and drug seeking. He is now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology, Cognitive and Neural Sciences Program, at the University of South Carolina.
Jacob R. Watson, BA
Jacob received his Bachelor’s in Psychology (minor in Biology) from California State University, Bakersfield. While at CSUB, he worked under Dr. Amy Gancarz-Kausch studying addiction. He was awarded the MARC U*STAR Biomedical Research Fellowship funded by NIH, Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Scholarship, CSUB Student Research Scholarship, and the Outstanding Student award for the CSUB Department of Psychology. Jake is now working toward his Ph.D. in Cognitive and Neural Sciences and was recently awarded the Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) grant from the National Science Foundation.
Anna "Caroline" Toburen
Caroline is a former Cum Laude graduate of the University of South Carolina with her bachelor's in Experimental Psychology. After graduating, she took a gap year working in a behavioral health hospital in attempt at better understanding the connection between behavior and underlying mechanisms of psychiatric disorders. She is now working towards her Ph.D. in Cognitive and Neural Sciences in the Vento Lab, as well as doing rotations in the Behavioral-Biomedical Interface Program here at USC.
Emma L. Carlson
Emma received her bachelor's degree from SUNY Geneseo where she studied neurotoxicology. After graduating, Emma entered the NIH post baccalaureate research education program (PREP) to further her training at the University of South Carolina. Emma began the Psychology PhD in Cognitive and Neural Sciences in fall 2023 and has been investigating the role of the prefrontal cortex and RMTg in learning from environmental cues and reinstatement of drug seeking.
Moira Lopez De Leon
Maddy is a Pre-med student with a major in Biology and minor in Neuroscience, and a member of the UofSC Honors College. Maddy is currently conducting an independent study on the role of aversive learning circuits on conditioned flavor preference. To support her research in the 2022-23 academic year, Maddy was awarded funding through the College of Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Research Enhancement Program.
Former Members of the Vento Lab
Murphy Miller, BA
Murphy first entered the lab as an undergraduate Researcher before transitioning to a full-time Research Specialist I after his graduation from UofSC. Murphy is now pursuing a Medical Degree at USC Greenville.
Caroline Limbaker, BA
Caroline worked as an undergraduate researcher in the lab for two semesters before graduating USC with her BA in Psychology. Caroline is now working as a Research Technician at the Medical University of South Carolina while she applies to graduate programs in neuroscience.
Charlotte Grover, BA
Charlotte performed an independent study over two semesters working in the lab. Charlotte graduated USC with her BA in Psychology and is now pursuing a Masters in Social Work. at Boston College.
Grace Joyner, BS
Grace is a former undergraduate researcher in the Vento Lab and Magellan Scholar. Grace graduated with her degree in Biological Sciences and is now a Research Technician at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Bella Dinu, BS
Bella is a former undergraduate researcher in the Vento Lab who graduated with her degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Bella is currently working as a Research Specialist at UNC Chapel Hill.