LaunchU 2019 – 1step2life

Professional Development

Over the course of January 2019, Max participated in LaunchU, Oberlin College and Conservatory’s startup incubator. Forming a team with Dr. Nancy Darling, Emma Marcus, and Charlie Maddox, 1step2life set out to turn psychological research and computational models into a business with the end goal of helping the 5% of US teens in chronic pain take back their lives.

The team developed a web app,, that combined an educational database aimed at adolescents with a computational model based planner and a logging system. They also received education in business strategy, marketing, customer relations, business law, and finance. After the 12hr/day 10-day incubator, they are preparing for a pitch competition over the next 2 months with a grand prize of $20,000

Honors Research – The Beginning

Honors Project

Recently, I learned of my eligibility for honors research in the psychology department at Oberlin. I have decided to finally merge my interests in cognition, statistical modeling, and computer science by taking a machine learning and neural network approach to modeling chronic pain. The first step in this process is to create a network model that models the function of neurons in an area of cortex, which will be implemented in R utilizing Eugene Izhikevich’s Model of Spiking Neurons.



OUPRC Conference 2018

Pain Project

I recently had the pleasure of representing Oberlin College and Conservatory at the 2018 Ohio Undergraduate Psychology Research Conference. I presented on my current research in dynamic systems modeling and chronic pain with a presentation entitled “A New View of Pain: Dynamic Systems Modeling and Chronic Pain”.

The presentation can be downloaded below

A New View of Pain


Presenting A New View of Pain


Oberlin College Researchers at OUPRC 2018

Various Iterations of the Pain Model

Pain Project

This gallery serves to show the growth of the pain model over the course of its development during my winter term project.

BIO: Max Kramer – Oberlin College Class of 2020


Max began his studies in Psychology at the beginning of his freshman year at Oberlin College. After taking an introductory course and declaring a psychology major, he began to take a specific interest in merging his interests in computer interfaces and psychology, delving into articles on such subjects as cognitive science, psychometrics, and human computer interaction. In the fall of 2017, he was added to an undergraduate research project at Oberlin run by Professor Nancy Darling. It was at this point, under professor Darling’s mentor ship that Max began his studies in dynamic systems modeling as the project aimed to develop a model of chronic pain to help educate the public in systems thinking and the nature of pain and functionality.

By his third year, Max had begun his own research into computational modeling, mixing together dynamic systems and neural network approaches to tackle more complex modeling scenarios. His undergraduate research project blossomed into 1step2life, a startup born at LaunchU 2019 (Oberlin’s own startup incubator) with the goal of helping the 5% of US teens with chronic pain take back their lives. He continues his research under Nancy Darling, with additional mentorship from Keith Downing and Paul Thibodeau.