Hornaday Postdoctoral Fellows

Though the GGSC's fellowship program mainly supports the work of graduate and undergraduate researchers at UC Berkeley, it has awarded one postdoctoral fellowship: to Sarina Rodrigues, who conducted trailblazing research on compassion and empathy as a GGSC fellow.

Past Postdoctoral Fellows

  • Sarina Rodrigues

    Sarina Rodrigues


    Dr. Sarina Rodrigues is a neuroscientist whose expertise centers on emotional processing in the brain. In her undergraduate studies at the University of Oregon, she completed an honors thesis with Michael Posner, an eminent researcher in the field of attention. She received her Ph.D. from New York University under the mentorship of Joseph LeDoux, a pioneer in the field of emotion. Her dissertation focused on molecular, cellular, and behavioral studies of the amygdala, the key brain structure for emotional processing. She then studied as a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford University under the guidance of Robert Sapolsky.

    Following her work at Stanford, Sarina served as the GGSC’s first postdoctoral fellow from 2007-2009, working with Dacher Keltner. Her research investigated the neurobiology of positive emotions, producing groundbreaking findings on the roots and development of social well-being.

    You can read about the trailblazing work Sarina did on the genetics of empathy as a GGSC postdoctoral fellow in this New York Times article.

    She is now an assistant professor in the department of psychology at Oregon State University.

    The GGSC has also supported the research of two other postdoctoral scientists at UC Berkeley: Emily Impett, who studies relationships and health, and Emiliana Simon-Thomas, who studies nervous system activation and processing related to discrete positive emotions, with an emphasis on characterizing prosocial emotions like compassion, awe, and love.

Current & Other Past Fellows