Meet the BPM Research Team

Erica Knowles, PhD – Lab Director

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 spending time with her family and friends.

Holly Jurca – Lab Manager

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.

Claire Zhang – Research Assistant

Claire is in her third and final year of her undergraduate studies majoring in Electronic Production and Design, and Music Business at Berklee College of Music. Having been interested in psychology as long as she could remember, Claire’s increasing knowledge and understanding in psychology from her classes and her own reading have inspired her to formally pursue her passion. She has applied and been accepted to multiple psychology master’s courses in the UK to build towards a research career in psychology. “To see the growth of our understanding in psychology is to see humans being increasingly understood as humans.” Claire hopes that she could contribute to changing our modern society for the better using psychological knowledge and discoveries.

Sheena Odabashian – Research Assistant

Sheena is a fourth-year undergraduate student at Berklee College of Music completing a double major in music therapy and music business, with a minor in music technology. She has an interest in exploring how music affects cognitive function and development. Sheena is also passionate about making mindfulness and medicine more accessible in underserved communities, and believes music to be an essential therapy. Sheena plans to one day introduce community health and well-being centers throughout the states that act as an intersection between music therapy, music technology, medicine and research.


Lab Alumni

Sierra Coe-Frisco
Andrew Levine
Alexandra Grace