Valerie Sydnor

Neuroscience PhD Student


Brown University

Valerie (she/her) obtained her degree in Health and Human Biology in 2015 from Brown University. Passionate about improving treatment outcomes for individuals with mental illness, Valerie conducted her undergrad research on psychotropic polypharmacy in an inpatient hospital (Psychosocial Research Department, Butler Hospital, Brown University) and her post-grad research on mood disorder etiology and mechanisms of ketamine treatment (Psychiatry Neuroimaging Lab, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard University). Now a Gritty-loving Philadelphian and an excited member of PennLINC, Valerie is studying relationships between reward circuit connectivity, function, and neurochemistry within the context of both healthy brain development and developmental psychopathology. Thus far at Penn, Valerie has published two first author papers with close collaborator David Roalf, and has been a recipient of a Jameson-Hurvich Travel Award, a Hearst Foundation Fellowship, and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

Outside of the lab, Valerie spends her time marathon training on the Schuylkill (Skoogy) River, playing Tapper at Barcade, frequenting the Bakeshop on 20th, and trying to fall down rabbit holes to recreate Alice in Wonderland.

Fun Facts

    Valerie's dream job is to be a Ravenclaw Prefect.

    Valerie reached her academic peak in seventh grade when she memorized 280 digits of pi.

    Valerie eagerly began her stint as the lab social chair immediately prior to March 2020.