National Science Foundation
Dr. Thiels earned a PhD in Psychology from Indiana University and undertook postdoctoral training in Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to joining the National Science Foundation (NSF) as program director in the Directorate for Biological Sciences, she conducted research at the Institute of Theoretical Biology in Angers, France, and was on the faculty of the Department of Neurobiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, where she remains an adjunct associate professor. Her research interests focus on how animals acquire information from the environment and use that information to guide behavior. Her laboratory studied bidirectional plasticity at hippocampal synapses and experience-dependent alterations in brain circuits involved in reward learning and addiction. At the NSF, she leads the Modulation Program, which supports research on the neural mechanisms that mediate organism-environment interactions, and is involved in several NSF activities under the BRAIN Initiative, including the NeuroNex and the Collaborative Research in Computational Neuroscience programs.