Rochelle van der Merwe ’21

  • Post-BA Research Assistant


  • BA, Oberlin College, 2021


After graduating from Oberlin College in spring of 2021 with a degree in neuroscience and minor in English, I was appointed as a post-BA research assistant in Professor Christopher Howard’s lab to continue the research I was doing as an undergrad. My particular research interests include behavioral flexibility, neurodegeneration, and basal ganglia circuitry, which I study using the techniques of optogenetics, fiber photometry, and immunohistochemistry. The project I am focusing on in my current position investigates the role of dopamine projections across different striatal subregions in reversal learning, and I am also involved in other projects in the lab that include investigating how CBD affects behavioral flexibility, and characterizing how the brain processes interval timing. In addition to doing research, my position includes training new lab members on behavioral techniques, and helping to manage technical aspects of the lab.

  • van der Merwe, R.K., Nadel, J.A., Copes-Finke, D., Pawelko, S., Scott, J.S., Fox, M, Morehouse, C., Ghanem, M., McLaughlin, R. Maddox, C., Malaki, G., Howard, C.D. Characterization of striatal dopamine projections across striatal subregions in behavioral flexibility. In submission. European Journal of Neuroscience. 2021. Preprint available at BioRxiv.
  • Nazari H.K., Karimaghaei C., van der Merwe R., Taglialatela G., Vargas G., Zhang W., Motamedi M. Age-dependence of retinal vascular plexus attenuation in the triple transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer’s Disease. In Submission. Experimental Eye Research. 2021.
  • Nadel J.A., Pawelko S.P., Scott J.R., McLaughlin R.M., Fox M., Ghanem, M., van der Merwe, R., Hollon N.G., Ramsson, E. S., Howard C.D. Optogenetic stimulation of striatal patches modifies habit formation and inhibits dopamine release. In Submission. Scientific Reports. 2020.