Mélise Edwards

Welcome to my website!

I am a second year PhD student in the UMass Amherst Neuroscience & Behavior program.


My path to neuroscience was anything but linear. In addition to dropping out of college after my freshman year, I experienced many challenges which made me feel ill fitted for higher education. It took years to gain a confidence that would match my passion for science in addition to exploring different fields to find one that perfectly suited my interests: the study of the brain and behavior. I believe in sharing my story so that other students–particularly underrepresented students–are able to see themselves reflected and know that a less ideal GPA, a nonlinear path or a change in career are okay; this does not mean we cannot still thrive and become scientists and doctors.

It took over a decade in research before I was able to see someone who looked like me in my intended career path: a principal investigator of a neuroscience lab. In my immediate environment, there is only one Black female professor in neuroscience and she is still the only one I have ever seen in person. I believe that a lack of representation makes science infinitely harder for underrepresented students–those who belong to groups which are represented at a percentage lower than their national population due to historical and current day oppression, inequality and discrimination.

My goal throughout my PhD is to investigate the relationship between sex hormones, cognitive performance and age-related disease pathology in the brain, particularly the neuroprotectives effects of brain derived estradiol on learning and memory. I am also interested in lookinig at sex differences in disease trajectories through an evolutionary and ecologically-informed lens. In addition, I hope to contribute to initiatives aiming to diversify STEM fields and provide more representation and mentorship to those who do not readily see themselves reflected in STEM fields.


I am a second year PhD student in the Neuroscience and Behavior program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. To learn more about my current research, click the image or text above.

Interviews & Features

I am an athlete for Organic Climbing, BeastFingers Climbing & ABK Company. To see media features, interviews and athletic mentions please click the image or text above.


To read my thoughts on science, animals in research, politics, intersectionality, diversity and more please click the text or image above.

To learn more about M.U.S.E. and request a mentor, click the link below.