AAAS Fellows in front of the U.S. Capitol building

NSF AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellows


Photo of Dr. Nicole Barger
Credit: National Science Foundation

Dr. Nicole Barger
AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow
Directorate for Biological Sciences
Division of Environmental Biology

Class of 2022–2023

Dr. Nicole Barger is a biological anthropologist with expertise in evolutionary and developmental neurobiology and mental health. Her research has focused on understanding how our early experiences could influence the development of our slow growing and highly plastic human brains, particularly vis-à-vis immune function. She received a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of California, San Diego, and bachelor's degrees in both anthropology and psychology from the University of Chicago. She has undertaken research at the University of California, Davis, Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders (MIND) Institute, the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences, and the George Washington University Center for the Advanced Study of Human Paleobiology. Barger's work has been consistently funded by major federal and private granting agencies, including the U.S. National Science Foundation. She most recently served as project manager for an NSF-funded anatomical outreach program based at the Howard University School of Medicine designed to increase accessibility for groups underrepresented in STEM careers. Barger is excited to draw on these diverse experiences to work across directorates in the Mid-Career Advancement program, endeavoring not only to make science more equitable but also to foster positive mental health among its practitioners.