People

Akram Bakkour

Akram Bakkour

Assistant Professor & Lab Director

Akram founded the Bakkour Memory and Decision lab in 2020. He received a BS in Neuroscience from Brown University and a PhD in Neuroscience from The University of Texas at Austin. Akram then completed his postdoctoral training at Columbia University before moving to Chicago. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at The University of Chicago.

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Abby Shivers

Abby Shivers

Lab Manager

Abby graduated from the University of Chicago in 2023 with a double-major in Neuroscience and Psychology with Honors. She is broadly interested in how various facets of our internal and external environment can alter how we remember and make decisions about the world around us. For example, how do internal environmental factors like neurotransmitter and hormone levels or external environmental factors like stressors or financial risks alter how we remember and make decisions about our world? She is growingly interested in how this knowledge could be implemented in many areas of society, such as clinical work and consumer psychology. In her free time, she enjoys baking, walking/biking along the lakefront path, traveling, and trying new coffee places!

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Sammi Weiss

Sammi Weiss

Study Coordinator

Sammi Weiss graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2023 with a degree in Neuroscience, and she joined the Bakkour lab in 2024 as a Study Coordinator. She is interested in the intersection of neurocognitive and sociocultural factors that influence behavior and affect treatment response in patients with eating disorders and other mental illnesses. She is also interested in research related to the dissemination and implementation of research findings into clinical practice. In the future, she plans to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology and a career in eating disorders research. Outside of lab, Sammi enjoys hiking, doing yoga, and spending time with friends and family.

Euan Prentis

Euan Prentis

Ph.D. Student

Euan is a doctoral student in the Cognitive Psychology Program. He received his B.A. in Psychology from New York University, before working as a Research Specialist at the University of Pennsylvania for two years. He is broadly interested in how structured information about the world is encoded in memory, and how this knowledge is used to facilitate flexible decision-making. Outside the lab, Euan spends his time playing the guitar, watching live music, and exploring Chicago with his camera.

Xinyue Li

Xinyue Li

Ph.D. Student

Xinyue is a doctoral student in the Cognitive Psychology Program. She previously completed the MA Program in the Social Sciences (MAPSS) at the University of Chicago and conducted her thesis research in the lab. As an undergraduate student at the University of California, San Diego, she double majored in Psychology and Communication. She is broadly interested in the cognitive mechanisms of episodic memory and decision-making, and the interactions between them. During her free time, Xinyue enjoys anime, video games, films and traveling.

Seoyoung Lee

Seoyoung Lee

Ph.D. Student

Seoyoung is a doctoral student in the Computational Cognitive Neuroscience program. She received her B.A. in Psychology from New York University Abu Dhabi and her M.Sc. in Cognitive Science from the Center for Mind/Brain Sciences at the University of Trento, Italy. Seoyoung is broadly interested in understanding the neural mechanisms underlying the interaction between memory and decision-making. In her spare time, she likes to play the violin, piano, bake, and watch random videos that are recommended by the algorithm.

Sam Cong

Sam Cong

MACSS Student

Sam is a master’s student in the MACSS program. He received his B.S. in Applied Psychology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen. He is interested in leveraging computational approaches to better understand potential cognitive deficits of people with mental disorder and develop effective interventions. During his spare time, Sam loves playing basketball, doing street photography, and watching TV-series.

Rain Liu

Rain Liu

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Rain is a fourth year in the College double majoring in Cognitive Science and Computer Science. She is interested in exploring memory and decision-making as well as neurolinguistics through programming. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, painting, traveling and Chinese television.

Maya Goldkorn

Maya Goldkorn

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Maya is a third-year undergraduate student majoring in Neuroscience at UChicago. She is particularly interested in the psychological and neural factors underlying decision making and behavior. In her spare time, she enjoys drawing, listening to jazz, and playing tennis.

Carolyn Zhang

Carolyn Zhang

High School Research Assistant

Carolyn is a junior at the Illinois Math and Science Academy (IMSA) interested in psychology and cognitive neuroscience research. She is particularly interested in studying human memory processes. In her free time, she loves running, reading, and playing music!

Lab Alumni

Lab Managers: Hayoung Ahn (currently Medical Student at UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine)

MAPSS Students: Xinyue Li (currently PhD student in the Bakkour Memory & Decision Lab); Yuye (Flory) Huang (currently PhD student at Johns Hopkins University); Adeline Wang

Undergraduate Honors Students: Defne Buyukyazgan (currently PhD student at Brown University), Abby Shivers (currently Lab Manager of the Bakkour Memory & Decision Lab); Nicholas Chiang

Undergraduate Research Assistants: Daniella Conner, Omar Fernandez, Emanuele Guidi, Aidan Grogan, Margarita Hovsepyan (summer), Lucas Mantovani, Naryna Azizpour