Santiago Morales completed his postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Maryland College Park with Nathan Fox. In the fall of 2021, he moved to the University of Southern California’s Department of Psychology in a tenure-track assistant professor position. Santi is currently a co-investigator on two funded grants and is on two additional grants currently under review for funding. He had five first-authored publications this year, for a total of 16 first-authored publications.
During his postdoctoral work at the Child Development Lab, University of Maryland College Park, Santi studied the role of attention and motor activity in the emergence of social cognition. He was the Principal Investigator on a diversity supplement on a larger NIMH funded study and a co-investigator on a grant funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation from 12/1/18 – 2/1/20. In 2017, Santi successfully defended his dissertation, “Anxiety and Attention Bias Towards Threat: A Developmental and Multi-Method Approach,” and graduated from Penn State’s Developmental Psychology PhD program. His primary mentors were Dr. Kristin Buss and Dr. Koraly Pérez-Edgar. As a graduate student, his research focused on the development of emotion, emotion regulation, and temperament. He was particularly interested in the physiological and neurobiological methods used to study and characterize temperament and affect. He also examined a second component of emotion regulation, namely, attention bias towards threat. In collaboration with Dr. Jose Soto, Santi began a pilot study assessing attention bias towards threat using eye-tracking technology in undergraduates screened for high levels of anxiety. Santi’s Master’s thesis examined how temperamental risk may potentially be moderated by emotion regulation. He received his B.A. summa cum laude in Neuroscience from Hiram College in 2011.
Santi believes the Strumpf Scholar Award provided him with time for further research, allowed him the ability to present his research findings at conferences, provided the support needed to write and submit manuscripts for publication, and helped to fund his pilot study, which served as the foundation for his dissertation research.