Santiago Morales continues his postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Maryland College Park with Dr. Nathan Fox and Dr. Elizabeth Redcay. In his postdoctoral work at the Child Development Lab, Santi studies the role of attention and motor activity in the emergence of social cognition. Santi is currently the Principal Investigator on a diversity supplement on a larger NIMH funded study. He was a co-investigator on a grant funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation from 12/1/18 – 2/1/20. To date, he has eleven first-authored publications. Santiago accepted a position as Assistant Professor at the University of Southern California and will be starting there in August 2021.
In 2017, Santiago 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, Santiago began a pilot study assessing attention bias towards threat using eye-tracking technology in undergraduates screened for high levels of anxiety. Santiago’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.
Santiago 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.