Allie Ponzio began her doctoral studies at the USC Davis School of Gerontology in 2011. Allie’s research is grounded in psychology, neuroscience and aging, especially on the impact of emotion on memory in younger and older adults. Under the direction of Dr. Mara Mather and as a part of the Emotion and Cognition lab, Allie and others are investigating why emotion sometimes enhances and sometimes impairs memory. She is specifically interested in pattern separation, a memory process controlled by the hippocampus that helps us differentiate between similar experiences, and whether or not it can be impacted by emotion in younger and older people. Her research also incorporates magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), to investigate structural changes in the hippocampus and functional changes in pattern separation abilities. Allie is the current recipient of a University of Southern California Provost’s Ph.D. Fellowship and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.