UMA Lab Director

Sharda Umanath is an assistant professor of psychology at Claremont McKenna College and the director of CMC’s Memory and Aging Lab (UMA Lab). She earned her Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from Duke University and did her postdoctoral work at Washington University in St. Louis. Her research focuses on how knowledge works in memory and explores related issues involving cognitive aging, autobiographical memory, collective memory, false memories, and education. She fell in love with the field of memory as an undergraduate at Washington University in St. Louis through her philosophy-neuroscience-psychology major. Outside the lab and classroom, she spends her time painting, reading sci-fi/fantasy, traveling, and climbing at Joshua Tree National Park.


Lab Members


Juan (Johnny) Castillo, a Chicago native, is a senior dual majoring in neuroscience and psychology. His interest in psychology lies in the complex relationships between transportation into narrative worlds, false memories, misinformation, and prior knowledge/beliefs. Following graduation, Johnny wishes to attend medical school after a brief gap year in which he plans to gain his first real experience in the medical field as an emergency medical technician (EMT). When Johnny is not working in the UMA Lab, he can be found volunteering at the hospital, enjoying tea, or conducting additional research on the interactions between red blood cells and brain endothelial cells at the Keck Graduate Institute.


Lauren Clubb is a senior biochemistry major from McLean, Virginia. Her interest in psychology began in high school and was revived in college after taking Sharda Umanath’s course on autobiographical memory. She finds studying the interactions between aging and memory exciting because we get to witness the profound effects that the natural process of aging has on how people view and recall the world around them. Following graduation, she plans to work in a neuroscience or biomedical lab before heading on to graduate school. Outside the lab, Lauren plays on the CMS lacrosse team and cannot wait to start her senior season!


Grant Gilchrist is a senior from Cleveland, Ohio, majoring in economics and is especially interested in behavioral economics. Besides having the opportunity to work with an incredible team at the UMA Lab, his favorite part of research is examining the nuanced differences in how individuals remember their own experiences across ages and international cultures. Following graduation, Grant plans on attending graduate school and pursuing a career in international business. When he is not studying or working in the lab, Grant is out on the pitch playing for the CMS Stags Soccer team. 


Audrey Liu is a senior psychology major and serves as the president of Psi Chi at the College. Originally from Singapore, she went to school and spent most of her life in Shanghai before coming to California. She began working in the lab through an independent research project that investigates the relationship between attention, implicit memory, and creative ability. She has since become especially interested in how individual differences in executive function affect memory. Audrey’s favorite aspects of memory research are designing experiments that access implicit memory and studying the literature on collective memory. She is currently applying to Ph.D. programs in cognitive psychology and neuroscience and aims to start graduate school next fall. In her free time, she enjoys reading, exploring LA’s food places, and snorkeling.


Francois Ries is a junior graduating in economics and engineering. Originally from Versailles, France, he spent most of his life growing up in Switzerland. His favorite topic in memory is H.M.’s anterograde amnesia. When not working in the lab, he can be found working out or reading about international affairs. After his junior year, François will be transferring to Columbia University to finish his engineering bachelor’s in operation research. For the future, he is hoping to return to Europe to work at a tech company.




Jessica Selig is a sophomore from McLean, Virginia, dual majoring in psychology and economics. Taking Sharda Umanath’s “Autobiographical Memory” course really sparked her interest in memory and her desire to delve deeper into memory research by working in the lab. She is fascinated by the fallible nature of memory, how memory is reconstructed, and the ways that memory changes across the lifespan. After her time at CMC, Jessica hopes to go to graduate school for neuro- or behavioral economics. Outside of the lab, Jessica tutors at a local elementary school, runs, hikes, and explores nearby beaches and the city of L.A.


Alicia Tsai is a junior from Taichung, Taiwan, and is dual majoring in psychology and biology. Her favorite part of memory research is discovering how fallible our memories actually are and examining the role that culture plays in individuals’ memories as well as collective memory. Post graduation, she is planning on attending medical school. Outside the lab, Alicia is typically armed with her camera at all sorts of events and photo shoots, cheering on the Dodgers and Lakers, engaged in some sort of physical activity such as hiking or pickup basketball, or petting her friends’ dogs.


Main Collaborators

Magdalena Abel, University of Regensburg
Dorthe Berntsen, University of Aarhus
Andrew C. Butler, Washington University in St. Louis
Jen Coane, Colby College
Samantha A. Deffler, York College of Pennsylvania
Mark J. Huff, University of Southern Mississippi
Elizabeth J. Marsh, Duke University
Mark A. McDaniel, Washington University in St. Louis
Henry L. Roediger III, Washington University in St. Louis
David C. Rubin, Duke University