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Principal Investigtor
James A Waltz, IDRIS Lab

Principal Investigator - Associate Professor

Dr. Waltz was born and raised in Northeast Ohio. He received his BA in Psychology from Yale University in 1994​ and his PhD in Experimental Psychology (Cognitive Neuroscience) from UCLA in 1999, where his focus was on the consequences of prefrontal cortical dysfunction for learning and memory. Following his PhD, Dr. Waltz obtained a postdoctoral fellowship to investigate the neurophysiology of memory in humans and nonhuman primates, under Wolf Singer, at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research, in Frankfurt, Germany where he used EEG (in human subjects) and extracellular recording with multiple microelectrodes (in macaque monkeys) to examine the neural correlations of memory encoding, retention, and retrieval.


Dr. Waltz Moved to the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center (MPRC) in 1994 to investigate the contribution of the brain's reward systems to impairments in learning in schizophrenia with James M Gold. He was initially supported by a T32 training grant and subsequently received a K12 Multidisciplinary Clinical Research Career Development Award from the University of Maryland and the NIH, transitioning to Assistant Professor position in the Department of Psychiatry. The studies he has done at the MPRC involve the use of behavioral paradigms from the experimental literature, computational modeling techniques, and functional MRI.  The purpose of these studies has been to develop a better understanding of which aspects of reward processing are impaired in schizophrenia, and which might be preserved. Dr. Waltz's lab is currently funded by an NIH R01 grant to investigate relationships between neural correlates of learning and decision variables and the symptoms of schizophrenia.​



Assistant Professor

(410) 402-6898

Research Assistants

Research Assistants

Jacob L. Nudelman, B.S.


Senior Clinical Research Assistant

(410) 402-6100

(443) 840-9087

Elie Holzel, B.A.

Clinical Research Assistant

(410) 402-6888

(443) 247-3749

Safa Riaz, B.A.

Clinical Research Assistant

(410) 402-7726

(202) 630-5614

Undergradute Students

Undergraduate Students

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Lab Alumni

Gabrielle Pakravan
Psychology Major at the University of Maryland, College Park

Undergraduate Research Assistant

(240) 283-5801

Olivia Hutchinson
Psychology Major at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County


Undergraduate Research Assistant

(443) 840-9616

Eric Neutzling
Psychology Major at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County


Undergraduate Research Assistant

(443) 840-9075

Lab Alumni

Elliot C. Brown, Ph.D.

Dennis M.J. Hernaus, Ph.D.

Zuzana Kasanova, Ph.D.

Adriann Lai, BA

  • Graduate Student in Clinical Psychology, College of Science and Mathematics, Rowan University Glassboro, New Jersey

Sayaka Koga, BS

  • Graduate Student in Counseling Psychology, The Graduate School at Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois 

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