Meet the BPM Research Team

Principal Investigator

Erica Knowles, PhD

Dr. Knowles is an assistant professor in the Liberal Arts Department at Berklee College of Music. She received her B.S. in Historical Musicology at Hofstra University, her M.S. in Experimental Psychology from Seton Hall University, and her PhD in Cognitive Science from Northwestern University.

Dr. Knowles is interested in how we acquire and understand musical structure. She is particularly interested: 1) How non-musicians learn this information without musical training and 2) how musical training can influence how we use this knowledge.

Outside of teaching and research, Dr. Knowles enjoys playing cello, running and yoga, and spending time with her family and friends.

Undergraduate Research Assistants

Sierra Coe-Frisco

Sierra is in her fourth year of undergraduate studies at Berklee College of Music, majoring in music therapy. She is a drum set principal, but also studies on the guitar, piano, and voice. The music therapy major acts as a strong foundation for music cognition research due to the field experience provided as well as the diversity of populations students work with. Her interest in research stems from her desire to support others through the use of music. She plans to continue her education and pursue a career with music related research.


Andrew Levine

Andrew is a third year undergraduate student at Berklee College of Music majoring in music therapy. He is a cello principal with secondary instrumental studies in piano, voice, and guitar. A recipient of the Berklee Scholarship Award in Research, he aims to further bridge the gap between clinical and experimental psychology through the ever-growing field of music cognition research. In addition to his clinical music therapy studies, he has research experience in assisting the development of an evidence-based school music curriculum for students with learning disabilities, and has worked on a longitudinal dyslexia study examining the neural correlates between music aptitude and language development. He is highly interested in the field of Neurologic Music Therapy and is passionate about deepening our understanding of music’s relationship with the brain.


Alexandra Grace

Alexandra is a fourth year undergraduate student at Berklee College of Music majoring in songwriting with a minor in psychology. She is a voice principal, but also studies on the piano and guitar. She desires to support and heal others through music and songwriting, which inspired her interest in research. She plans on continuing her education, focusing on mental health counseling and finding new ways to incorporate music into the practice. 


Holly Jurca

Holly is a second-year undergraduate student at Berklee College of Music majoring in music therapy. Formerly a classical pianist, she is a piano principal with secondary instrumental studies in guitar and voice. As a research assistant for Berklee’s Music and Health Institute, she had the privilege of being a part of the first-of-its-kind music and health hackathon hosted by Berklee and MIT Hacking Medicine. She pitched an idea related to ways that VR and music could improve the quality of life of older adults. Her team, EvrHome, was chosen to be a finalist and went on to present at HUBweek 2019, “Greater Boston’s festival for the future.” After this experience, she realized her great interest for the unique blend of creativity and detail required in research, as well as its dynamic nature. She plans on furthering the EvrHome idea, as well as continuing her education in clinical psychology.