DCNL

PEOPLE

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Faculty

Chandan J. Vaidya, Ph.D.

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Chandan is Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology, Georgetown University and an investigator at the Children's Research Institute, Children's National Medical Center, Washington, DC. Her graduate training is in Developmental Psychology from Syracuse University and her post-doctoral training is in Cognitive Neuroscience from Stanford University.

Dr. Vaidya's research program is focused upon characterizing the functional neural architecture of adaptive mechanisms during the life span. Adaptive mechanisms promote goal-directed behaviors that allow us to adjust effectively to our environment. Her research focuses on two types of adaptive mechanisms - 1) Processes that require little effort such as learning from environmental regularities without intention or conscious awareness (termed implicit memory and learning); and 2) Processes that are effortful such as voluntary control over thoughts and actions (termed executive control). Her studies investigate how these adaptive mechanisms differ across individuals. Sources of variance under investigation include but are not limited to, genetic functional polymorphisms of catecholamines (e.g., DAT, SERT), metabolic differences (e.g., obesity and its intervention), and psychiatric diagnoses (e.g., Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Schizophrenia).

Dr. Vaidya's research involves multidisciplinary methods, comprising behavioral, neuropsychological, and structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging in children and adult populations.

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Xiaozhen You, Ph.D.

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Xiaozhen is currently a research assistant professor in Children's National Hospital System appointed at George Washington University. She is a biomedical engineer with postdoc training in brain imaging methods in the cognitive neuroscience with Dr. Vaidya in Georgetown University.  Her doctoral research focused on analysis of fMRI activation patterns in language neural networks reorganization in pediatric epilepsy, using data-driven methods. 

Her research interest had focused on development and application of functional connectivity methods for examination of functional networks in the resting-state and task-evoked paradigms in pediatric populations with developmental disorders such as Autism, ADHD, and children and adolescents with Epilepsy. 

She is the computational neuroscientist at Children's National Health System under the IDDRC Imaging Core. She brings signal & image processing and computational expertise to support research, covering behavioral data analysis and neuroimaging data analysis. She is centrally involved in several projects using advanced/novel data driven and interdisciplinary methods, such as graph theory in Epilepsy, ASD, and Obesity.

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Graduate Students

Kevin M. Cook, M.A.

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Kevin graduated from Skidmore College in 2010 with a B.A. in psychology, after which he went on to attended the University of Hartford where he obtained his M.A. in clinical psychology. He then spent the next 4 years working as a researcher in Yale’s department of psychiatry investigating symptom profiles in autism and schizophrenia. In 2016 he joined the interdisciplinary program in neuroscience at Georgetown University as a PhD student. His interests are in medial temporal lobe structure and function in autism and it's implications for differences in learning and memory.

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Laya Rajan, B.S.

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Laya graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2014 with a B.S. in Brain and Cognitive Sciences. While at MIT, she worked in Dr. Ann Graybiel's lab, studying striatal circuits involved in cost-benefit decision-making. After graduation, she spent a year at Mount Sinai School of Medicine studying interactions between metabolic dysfunction and tumor growth with Dr. Derek Leroith. Laya entered the M.D./Ph.D. program at Georgetown in 2015 and joined the Vaidya lab in 2017 as a first year Ph.D. student in the Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience (IPN). Laya's research interests include the brain in the context of obesity, metabolic dysfunction, and inflammation. Her dissertation work will focus on neurocognitive deficits in pediatric obesity and associated structural and functional changes in the brain.

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Undergraduate Students

Meredith Nally

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Meredith Nally is a senior from Reading, Pennsylvania majoring in psychology with minors in English & disability studies. She joined DCNL during the fall of 2019 where she is currently working on research examining interoceptive function as it relates to pediatric obesity. Outside of the lab, Meredith serves as a captain on the club swim team and is involved with Psi Chi. After graduation, she plans to pursue a doctoral degree in either clinical or counseling psychology.

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Anna Missner

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Tessa Gulley

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Anna Missner is a sophomore majoring in psychology and minoring in the center for Jewish civilization from Potomac, Maryland. She joined DCNL during the spring of 2019 and assists with research regarding learning mechanisms in children with ASD. At Georgetown, Anna plays on the club tennis team and is a part of Project Lighthouse.

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Tessa Gulley is a sophomore psychology major and government minor from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She joined the DCNL in the Fall of 2019 after taking Cognitive Neuroscience with Dr. Vaidya. She is currently working on a project looking at learning mechanisms in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. On campus, Tessa is also a part of the club lacrosse team. She is unsure of where life will take her after college, but is hoping to attend law school.

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Staff

Kathryn Flaharty, B.A.

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Katie graduated from Williams College in June 2018 with a double major in Psychology and Biology. While at Williams she was a member of the Implicit Cognition and Evaluation Lab where she completed her senior thesis examining changes in attitudes in person perception. She is broadly interested in using brain imaging to enhance our understanding of developmental neuroscience. Specifically she has interests in developmental clinical psychology, and how we can understand obesity through cognition. Katie plans to attend medical school and continue to pursue neuroscience research. Outside of the lab Katie enjoys running and playing soccer. 

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Alumni

Graduate Students

Charles J. Lynch, Ph.D. - Received Ph.D. in 2018, currently a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at Cornell University
Alaina Pearce, Ph.D. - Received Ph.D. in 2017, currently a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Pennsylvania State University
Frank Fishburn, Ph.D. - Received Ph.D. in 2017, currently a Post-Doctoral Research Associate at the University of Pittsburgh
Andrew Breeden, Ph.D. - Received Ph.D. in 2016, currently a Health Program Specialist at National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Eric Murphy, Ph.D. - Received Ph.D. in 2014, currently a Program Chief at National Institute of Mental Health
Evan Gordon, Ph.D. - Received Ph.D. in 2012, currently a Staff Scientist at the Department of Veterans Affairs
Ericka Burgos-Ruiz, Ph.D. - Received Ph.D. in 2012, currently an Instructor at Johns Hopkins University in Rockville, MD
Melanie Stollstorff, Ph.D. - Received Ph.D. in 2010, currently a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Kelly Barnes, Ph.D. - Received Ph.D. in 2008, completed a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at Washington University, St. Louis, currently at the National Institutes for Health in Bethesda, Maryland.

Undergraduate Students

Kaitlin Ballenger, Undergraduate Honors Thesis Student, 2018-2019 Alice Beneke, Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2017-2019 Gabe Santos, Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2017-2019 Maciej Kietlinski, Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2013-2014
Joshua Loewenstern, Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2012-2014
Stephanie Crockett, Undergraduate Research Assistant
Deeksha Taneja, Undergraduate Research Assistant
Maxim Wheatley, Undergraduate Research Assistant
Rose Seidman, Undergraduate Research Assistant, Summer 2012
Michael Balsan, Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2011-2012
Anila D'Mello, Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2010-2012
Adam Fine, Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2010-2011
Daniel Bercik, Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2009-2011
Brisas Flores, Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2010-2011
Helen Burton, Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2009-2011
Andrew Malzberg, Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2009-2010
Jane Dewire, Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2008-2010
Nick Parrott, Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2008-2009
Lindsay Anderson, Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2008-2009
Stephanie Bean, Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2006-2009
Michael Billington, Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2006-2008
Colin Brody, Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2006-2008
Joshua Henderson, Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2006-2008
Brett Robinson, Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2006-2008
Meg Benner, Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2004-2006
Leslie Claracay, Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2004-2005
Jonathan Gardner, Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2004-2005
Julie Balzano, Undergraduate Honors Thesis Student, 2003-2004
Marianne Huger, Undergraduate Research Assistant
Casey Hoffman, Undergraduate Research Assistant
Vanessa Rakaczky, Undergraduate Research Assistant
Rosie Gomez-Lobo, Undergraduate Research Assistant

Rotation Students

Breana Downey, Rotating IPN Student, 2016
Benson Stevens, Rotating IPN Student, 2014
Valerie Darcey, Rotating IPN Student, 2012
Andrew Breeden, Rotating IPN Student, 2011
Frank Fishburn, Rotating IPN Student, 2010
Lauren Pepe, Rotating IPN Student, 2010
Laurie Glezer, Rotating IPN Student, 2004
Elizabeth Lacey, Rotating IPN Student, 2004
Sylvie Song, Rotating IPN Student, 2004

Post-Doctoral Fellows

Ben Yerys, Ph.D. - Currently Assistant Professor at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Philip Lee, M.D., Ph.D. - Currently Director of Epilepsy Surgery at Allegheny Health Network

Staff

Junaid Merchant, Research Associate, 2016-2018; currently pursuing a neuroscience PhD. at the University of Maryland
Brad Cherry, Lab Manager, 2015-2018
Ruth Ludlum, Lab Manager, 2013-2015; went on to get an MBS at Rutgers University
Megan Norr, Lab Manager, 2011-2013; went on to get a PhD. in psychology from UC Berkeley
Stephanie Bean, Lab Manager, 2009-2011; went on to get an MBA/MPH at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Devon Shook, Lab Manager and Research Assistant, 2006-2010
Jen Foss-Feig, Lab Manager, 2004-2006
Lauren Kaplan, Lab Manager, 2003-2004
Sarah Noonan, Lab Manager, 2001-2003