People – Post-Doctoral Fellows

Current Post-Doctoral Fellows

Connor Wood

Postdoctoral Fellow, 2016-2018
Lindamood Fellow, 2010-2015

Connor Wood recently earned his PhD from the Graduate Division of Religious Studies at Boston University. His research interests include religion and health, human ethology, signaling theory, ritual studies, shamanism, evolutionary theory, cultural evolution, cognitive styles, and the public understanding of issues in science and religion. He is currently working on the Modeling Religion Project. Connor can be contacted at

Joel C. Daniels

Postdoctoral Fellow, 2015-2017
Lindamood Fellow, 2010-2014
Doctoral Fellow, 2009-2010

Joel Daniels (PhD, Boston University) edits the IBCSR Research Review. He is also Assistant Editor for Religion, Brain & Behavior. Visit his BU webpage here.

Stephanie N. Arel

Postdoctoral Fellow, 2015-2017

Dr. Stephanie N. Arel completed a PhD from Boston University’s School of Theology and is currently training in trauma modalities for clinical treatment at the New York Institute for the Psychotherapies. Her work on IBCSR’s Sex Differences and Religion Project probes questions about the constitution of material and spiritual bodies, as well as how both interdepend on sexual reproduction. She is also interested in the ontogeny of shame and the role of violence in spiritual formation, especially as these relate to sex and gender.

Justin E. Lane

Postdoctoral Fellow, 2015-2018

Dr. Justin Lane completed a doctoral at Oxford University and is working in the Institute’s Modeling Religion Project.

Yair Lior

Postdoctoral Fellow, 2015-2017

Dr. Yair Lior completed his doctoral studies at Boston University. His research at IBCSR is in the Comparative Cultural Systems Project, where he focuses on systems and information approaches to comparative religion. He is particularly interested in highlighting parallels between the Chinese and Jewish traditions as a showcase for the instrumentality of new comparative methodologies. His academic training is in Chinese philosophy, religion, and Song dynasty intellectual history, especially Neo-Confucian thought.

Former Post-Doctoral Fellows

Nathaniel Barrett

Postdoctoral Fellow, 2007-2013

Dr. Nat Barrett is a post-doctoral researcher specializing in cognitive science and philosophy. He was Project Coordinator for the Religion, Psychology, and Well-Being Project of the Danielsen Institute at Boston University. His IBCSR-related research involves working with Wesley Wildman on the philosophical and neuro-cognitive basis for interpreting some types of religious experience as forms of perception, and in particular contesting the claim of cognitive reliability that some philosophers of religion advance on behalf of religious experience on the basis of this association with perception.

Luke J. Matthews

Postdoctoral Fellow, 2008-2012

Dr. Luke Matthews is an Anthropologist for the Rand Corporation. Formerly, he was Senior Scientific Director at Activate Networks Inc., a startup social network analysis company, and prior to that a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University. He holds a PhD and MA in Anthropology from New York University, and bachelor’s degrees in Anthropology and Biology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Matthews has studied biocultural inheritance in systems ranging from social networks of capuchin monkeys, to ancient human migrations and extant human cultural variation. His research has been featured in New Scientist, The Washington Post, The New York Times and other venues. His primary research interests include network and phylogenetic analysis, cultural dynamics, personality genetics, and applied social science. He has worked on IBCSR’s Religious Violence Project and is currently working on the Sex Differences and Religion Project. Find out more about Luke here.

Brandon Daniel-Hughes

Postdoctoral Fellow, 2008-2009

Dr. Brandon Daniel-Hughes teaches religious studies at John Abbott College in Montreal, Quebec. His research interests focus on contemporary interpretations of traditional religious symbols and doctrines. He is particularly interested in the ways in which religious communities sustain supernatural worldviews even while selectively embracing contemporary technologies and ideals. He also studies the contributions of the intellectual traditions of American naturalism, evangelicalism, and pragmatism, as well as the founder of Pragmatism, Charles Sanders Peirce. As a post-doctoral researcher at IBCSR, his research involves working with Wesley Wildman on the cognitive psychology of religious moderates, as compared with people holding extreme religious beliefs. The focus of his research efforts is the Ideological Spectrums Project, which studies the reasons people adopt the political, religious, and moral views they do. More information about Brandon is available here.

Edward Modestino

Postdoctoral Fellow, 2013-2015

Dr. Modestino was raised in a Zen Buddhist environment and educated as a mainstream neuroscientist. At this point in his life, he is trying to bridge the divide between the two. His career in neuroscience has focused on using neuroimaging (fMRI) and electrophysiology (i.e., EEG, SC, and plethysmography) as tools to study cognition, attention and perception, with a particular interest in altered states of consciousness and religious experiences. He worked on IBCSR’s Neuroscience and Religious Cognition Project as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Functional Neuroimaging and the Scientific Study of Religion.

Aimee Radom

Postdoctoral Fellow, 2011-2015

Dr. Aimee Self Radom has a PhD in Counseling Psychology and Religion from Boston University and is working at the New York Psychoanalytic Institute. She is also a postdoctoral fellow working on the Spectrums Project, which is an empirical investigation of religious ideology. Aimee’s particular interest is in the interaction between religious ideology and personality.

Ravi Iyer

Postdoctoral Fellow, 2012-2015

Ravi Iyer, Ph.D., is an active researcher at the University of Southern California and a data scientist at Ranker. Ravi loves to use data to study intangible things such as values, ideology, and happiness. He blogs regularly at and is a director of CivilPolitics.Org. Ravi is working on the Spectrums Project within the Institute. For more information about Ravi, see Google Scholar.

Erica Harris

Postdoctoral Fellow, 2013-2015
Doctoral Fellow, 2007-2011

Erica Harris is currently a research psychologist in the medical service corps for the United States Navy, working on sleep studies. When first working with IBCSR, she was a PhD student in Boston University Medical School, specializing in behavioral neurosciences. She was heavily involved in IBCSR-related research in the laboratory of Patrick McNamara, and her research focus was on the evolution of religious behaviors, beliefs, and experiences. She has since rejoined us as a consultant on the Neuroscience and Religious Cognition Project.

P. Monroe Butler

Postdoctoral Fellow, 2013-2015
Doctoral Fellow, 2009-2011

Paul Butler graduated in 2012 with an MD-PhD at Boston University School of Medicine, and is currently in a neurology residency at Tufts Medical. He is working on IBCSR’s Neuroscience and Religious Cognition project, researching aspects of neurocognition in patients with Parkinson’s disease under the direction of Dr. Patrick McNamara.