My name is Amritha Harikumar and I am an aspiring clinical neuropsychologist, specifically interested in functional neuroimaging, mood disorder / psychosis research. I am interested in becoming a hybrid clinician-scientist.

My ideal research career would involve understanding the brains of individuals with schizophrenia/psychosis or depression, and trying to see how their brains change over time, what aspects of social cognition are affected (such as their ability to think, empathize with others, and socialize), and what brain regions are associated with any deficits related to impaired social behaviors. I would love to see patients, perform neuropsychological testing, and also scan their brains!

I read “The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat” by Oliver Sacks in AP Psychology during my high school years and was fascinated by the brain. I started working in a neuropsychology lab while in undergrad, which sparked my interest in depression research. After working as an intern at the Laureate Institute for Brain Research in Tulsa, OK, I went to complete my master’s in cognitive neuroscience in San Diego, and completed a research coordinator position at Mass General Hospital (MGH) in Boston.

I am currently at Rice University in Houston, TX in a memory and cognition lab studying aging and depression in young and older adults, working as a lab manager. All of these diverse yet rewarding experiences sparked my passion in pursuing clinical psychology, specifically neuropsychology. 

After my undergrad internship and master’s, I knew I wanted to get some more imaging experience which is why I headed to MGH and eventually, Rice. All of these experiences working with patients, scanning, coordinating, and analyzing data helped me grow into the person I am today – very excited and curious about this growing field! I am very excited to be applying this cycle to clinical psychology Ph.D. programs!


My parents immigrated from Kerala, India in the 1980s, and raised me in the United States. As a result, I have a strong bond between family in India and people in the U.S. I am extremely passionate about promoting intercultural ties, and hope that I can give back to both communities. I learned my mother tongue, Malayalam, as a young girl, and am very proud to keep in touch with my Indian roots. I am proud to be a second-generation Malayali American in STEM!

South Indians tend to be overlooked in popular culture, and I would love to create more awareness and encourage other young scientists who may be a similar background to pursue their dreams!

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