Meet the BPM Research Team

Erica Knowles, PhD – Lab Director

Dr. Knowles is an associate professor in the Liberal Arts and Sciences Department at Berklee College of Music. She received her B.S. in Historical Musicology from 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 in: 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.

Sheena Odabashian – Research Assistant

Sheena is an 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.

Mateo Larrea – Research Assistant

Mateo Larrea is an Ecuadorian interdisciplinary artist and researcher at the Berklee College of Music. His work is primarily focused on the development and exploration of Extended Reality (XR), Computer Music, Psychoacoustics, and Creative Coding. Driven by his passion for sound, perception, and software, Mateo has been a member of the Harvard Innovation Labs (2020), finalist of the Boston Children’s Hospital Hackathon (2021), and a student at two MIT classes involving Virtual Reality (2019) and Hyperinstruments (2021). He currently works as a research assistant at the Berklee Psychology of Music Lab where he studies memory in Absolute and Relative Pitch possessors. Furthermore, Mateo is a software developer at the CsoundUnity collective, where he contributes to the seamless integration of the Csound programming language in functional Virtual Reality applications. In his spare time, he writes, produces, and performs songs under the name ‘Juancho Lagartos’.

Lab Alumni

Sierra Coe-Frisco
Andrew Levine
Alexandra Grace
Claire Zhang