Our (Human) Team

Aaron Blaisdell, PhD

UCLA Professor of Psychology

     Dr. Aaron Blaisdell is a UCLA Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience where he directs the Comparative Cognition Lab. Dr. Blaisdell is a member of the UCLA Brain Research Institute, the UCLA Integrative Center for Learning & Memory, and the UCLA Evolutionary Medicine program. He received a BA in Anthropology (SUNY Stony Brook), an MS in Anthropology (Kent State University), a Ph.D. in Behavioral Neuroscience (SUNY Binghamton), and had 2 years of postdoctoral training (Tufts University).
      His interests include animal cognition and behavior, ancestral health, and arts and science fiction. His work addresses research questions at the interface between associative and cognitive processes. Dr. Blaisdell is the primary investigator of the Pigeon Art Project.


Valeria González, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar

      Psychology Dr. Valeria González is a postdoctoral scholar and a UC Chancellor Fellow, working with Professor Aaron Blaisdell and Professor Alicia Izquierdo at the Psychology Department at UCLA. Dr. González received a B.S in Psychology from the University of Chile in Santiago, Chile; and a Ph.D. in basic psychology from the University of Minho in Braga, Portugal. She is active in various programs mentoring undergraduate students and Chair of the executive board of the Postdoctoral association at UCLA, focusing on promoting and advancing for diversity and inclusion in STEM. Dr. González's research focus is on understanding the behavior and neurobiological basis of decision making and animal cognition.

Cyrus Kirkman

Graduate Student

     Cyrus is a graduate student in Behavioral Neuroscience at UCLA. His research interests include behavioral economics and comparative cognition (especially extensions into plant behavior). Cyrus has recently been enticed by the experimental and analytical potential of computational thinking, and has been learning to apply computer science across the various facets of behavioral science. These projects have included teaching pigeons to play Pac-Man and generate artwork. Cyrus works to make the software and hardware behind our pigeon art completely open source in order to enable future collaborations and extensions across labs and species.


Kayley Ozimac

Graduate Student

      Kayley is a first-year graduate student in Behavioral Neuroscience at UCLA in Dr. Blaisdell’s lab. Her previous research experience has extended from animal cognition and behavior in the pigeon model to neuroanatomy in leopard geckos. She plans to continue studying the relationship between the brain and behavior. Her particular interests in the art project include the intrinsic motivation that underly the creation of the art, as well as the different art styles that are specific to each bird.


Robert Tsai


     Robert is an undergraduate student at UCLA, majoring in Cognitive Science with a Specialization in Computing. He works in the Comparative Cognition Lab as an Research Assistant, running experiments with the birds and learning about research within the cognitive space. His specific research interests include perception and memory, particularly in the mechanisms and molecular bases behind long-term memory. Robert is currently involved in streamlining the production and broadcast of Pigeon Art and other related projects.


Head of Content Curation

     Meet Olivia, a dynamic professional with a rich blend of experiences.


As a dance instructor, Olivia mastered the art of customer service, creating fun and engaging lessons. In retail, she consistently achieved sales targets and fostered lasting customer relationships. In her role as a consultant, Olivia specialized in enhancing operations for tech startups, deploying effective strategies like AGILE and SCRUM.


With a Philosophy degree emphasizing Marketing and Communication, plus a STEM certification in Mathematics, Olivia is well-equipped for a variety of challenges. She's excited to continue to go down the rabbit hole into the realm of web3 and cutting-edge technology. With her unique problem-solving skills and a flair for content creation, Olivia is ready to continue her freelance writing and copywriting work for the Pigeon Art project as she crafts compelling narratives to help the birds sell out their works of art.