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Principal Investigators

Jessica_Cohen

Dr. Jessica R. Cohen (she/her) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at UNC Chapel Hill. She is a member of the Cognitive Psychology program and the Human Neuroimaging Group. She is also affiliated with the Biomedical Research Imaging Center, the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities, the Neurobiology Curriculum, and the Center for Developmental Science. Dr. Cohen received her A.B. in Psychology from Harvard University, her Ph.D. in Psychology from UCLA, and postdoctoral training in Neuroscience at both UC Berkeley and Kennedy Krieger Institute/Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Email: jrcohen@unc.edu

 

Dr. Nicholas Fogleman (he/him) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at UNC School of Medicine and Director of the UNC ADHD Program. He is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience and has an appointment at the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities. Dr. Fogleman completed his B.S. in Psychology at Loyola University Chicago, Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at University of Louisville, Clinical Psychology Internship at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, and Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities.

Email: nicholas.fogleman@med.unc.edu

 


Postdoctoral Fellows

Dr. Sikoya M. Ashburn (she/her) completed her B.S. in Neuroscience at Duke University and her Ph.D. in Neuroscience at Georgetown University. As a post-doctoral researcher, she is a D-SPAN (Diversity Specialized Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Advancement in Neuroscience) fellow, an NIH award. Sikoya’s research uses neuroimaging analyses to explore the cerebellum’s role in cognition and neurodevelopmental disorders. Her interests also encompass neuroanatomy, development, and aging.

Email: s.ashburn.phd@unc.edu

 

 

Dr. Hope Peterson-Sockwell (she/her) completed her B.A. in Psychology, M.S. in Biomedical Sciences, and Ph.D. in Neuroscience at Wake Forest University. She is a recipient of the Diversity Specialized Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Advancement in Neuroscience (D-SPAN) Award, an F99/K00 NIH grant. Hope’s graduate and postdoctoral research explores the role of the Default Mode Network in cognitive processes in typical and disordered populations using networks and dynamic connectivity analyses.

Email: hps@unc.edu

 


Graduate Students

Arianna Cascone (she/her) is is a PhD student in the Neuroscience Curriculum in the School of Medicine. She graduated from Vassar College in May 2019 with a BA in Neuroscience and Behavior. Arianna is broadly interested in studying the neural substrates of neuropsychiatric disorders using neuroimaging techniques.

Email: acascone@live.unc.edu  

 

 

Image of Mackenzie MitchellMackenzie Mitchell (she/her) is a graduate student in the Cognitive Psychology PhD program in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience. She graduated with B.S. degrees in Neuroscience and Human Development from the University of Texas at Austin in 2017. After graduation, Mackenzie worked as lab manager for Jessica Church-Lang’s Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Lab. At UNC, Mackenzie has focused her research on how functional brain network organization shifts across contexts (e.g., resting vs. exerting self-control) in children. She is also interested in how brain network development between childhood and adolescence relates to changes in executive function and psychopathology. Mackenzie received her M.A. in Cognitive Psychology at UNC in 2022.

                                                      Email: memitchell@unc.edu  

Monica Lyons (she/her) is a graduate student in the Developmental Psychology PhD Program in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience and MD/PhD candidate in the MD/PhD Program. She graduated from Tufts University with a B.S. in Cognitive and Brain Sciences and Biology, with a minor in Computer Science. After graduation, she worked as a research assistant in the Psychiatry Neuroimaging Lab at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Monica is interested in how applications of neuroimaging methods like graph theory can help us better understand psychopathology, particularly in pediatric populations. She enjoys running, biking, and playing with her cat Kiki.

Email: monica_lyons@med.unc.edu

Yuyao Zhao (she/her) is a graduate student in the Cognitive Psychology PhD program in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience. She graduated from Beijing Normal University with BS and MS degrees in Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience. Yuyao is interested in the functional organization and network interplay underlying cognitive control in different contexts and their typical and atypical neurodevelopment from infancy to adulthood. Outside of her studies, Yuyao enjoys drawing, hiking, and biking.

Email: yuyzhao@unc.edu

 

Katie Garrisi (she/her) is a graduate student in the Developmental Psychology PhD Program in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience. She graduated with a B.A. in Psychology and Minor in Creative Writing from Cornell University in 2019. After graduation, she worked as a Clinical Research Assistant at the Gaab Lab at Boston Children’s Hospital and the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and then as the Data Analyst in Dr. Margaret Sheridan’s Child Imaging Research on Cognition and Life Experiences Lab at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Katie is interested in understanding how brain network development throughout childhood and adolescence relates to the emergence of psychopathology in clinical populations, and how this could inform future interventions.

Email: kathryn.garrisi@unc.edu

 


Research Staff

Ellie Birdsong (she/her) is the lab manager for the Cohen Lab, lead project coordinator for the BrainMAP study, and a member of the CogMAP study team. She graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a B.S. in Neuroscience and completed her undergraduate honors thesis on biological variation within neural progenitor cell populations. Ellie is interested in the neural processes underlying cognition.

Email: elliehf@email.unc.edu  

 

Tehya Drummond (she/her) is a project coordinator for the BrainMAP study and the Decision Making and Motor Control study. She completed a B.S. in Behavioral and Social Sciences from North Carolina Central University. Prior to joining the Cohen Lab, she worked in a variety of research settings throughout UNC including the department of Psychiatry and the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. Her research interests include social cognition and psychophysiology. In her free time, Tehya enjoys making quilts, playing pickleball, and hanging out with her two pet guinea pigs.

Email: tehya.drummond@unc.edu

 


Undergraduate Students

Shriya Pokala (she/her) is majoring in Neuroscience and on the pre-med track. She is interested in learning about childhood brain development. In her free time, she enjoys reading books, playing the piano, traveling, and hiking.

 

 

 

Samuel Hendrix (he/him) is majoring in Neuroscience with a double minor in chemistry and biology on a pre-med track. He is interested in learning about how mental disorders impact child brain development. Outside of school he enjoys hiking, board games, visiting national parks, and cooking.

 

 

Foluwa Agbebi (he/him) is a Neuroscience major with a minor in computer science. He is interested in learning about how glial cells influence neuronal activity. In his free time, Foluwa enjoys reading, playing Wordle, and playing in the UNC marching and pep bands.

 

 

 

Brenna Curtis (she/her) is a psychology major with a minor in neuroscience. She is interested in the influence of environment on brain development. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, reading, and playing the double bass.

 

 

 

Dana Chau (she/her) is double majoring in Biology and Psychology with a Chemistry minor and is on the pre-med track. She is interested in learning about children’s brain networks during different stages of development. In her free time, she enjoys playing games, reading, watching movies, and spending time with her friends and family.

 

 

Gracie Tharin (she/her) is majoring in Psychology and Human Development and Family Science (HDFS). She is interested in learning about the differences between neurotypical and neurodivergent brain development and how these developmental patterns coincide with mental health. Outside of school, she enjoys reading, going to the gym, and spending time with friends.

 

 

Andrea Myer (she/her) is majoring in neuroscience with biology and chemistry minors on the pre-med track. She is interested in studying cortical development and degeneration and the factors that impact both. Outside of school, she enjoys running, playing the flute, and spending time with friends.

 

 

Mariana Chavez (she/her) is a sophomore double majoring in Psychology and Human Development and Family Studies with a minor in Education. She is interested in social and cognitive changes in child development and how they influence school performance. In her free time, Mariana loves playing piano, watching movies, and building escape rooms through UNC’s Chapel Thrill Escapes.

 

 

Grace Mallo (she/her) is majoring in neuroscience with a minor in chemistry, and is on the pre-med track. She is interested in learning about learning disorders and how they affect childhood brain development. In her free time she enjoys dancing, running, and baking.

 

 

Haiden Berton is a double-major in Chemistry and Neuroscience. He is currently on the pre-med track, with aspirations of becoming a pediatric neurologist in the future. Haiden is also a passionate advocate for special needs and mental health. Through his platform, he aims to raise awareness and provide resources to those in need. In his downtime, Haiden finds joy in his artistic pursuits, whether that be playing guitar or sketching. He also enjoys spending time with his baby sisters.

 

 

Pavitra Madala (she/her) is majoring in neuroscience on the pre-med track. She is interested in understanding the effects of childhood experiences and genetic factors on childhood-onset neurological diseases. In her free time, she enjoys watching movies and spending time with family and friends.

 

 

 

Katelyn Bradshaw (she/her) is a Psychology major with a minor in Neuroscience and Studio Art. She is interested in developmental neurodivergence and psychopathology. In her free time, she enjoys dancing, painting, hiking, and spending time with her friends and family.

 

 

 

Trey Thurman (he/him) is a Psychology major with a minor in Music. He is interested in learning about social and cognitive changes in development and how they can affect interpersonal relationships. Also, how social perception affects social development and behavior. In his free time, Trey loves making music, rock climbing, Latin dancing, and hanging out with his friends.

 

 


Lab Alumni

Former Postdoctoral Fellows and Graduate Students

Teague R. Henry, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, School of Data Science & Department of Psychology, University of Virginia

Shana A. Hall, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University School of Medicine

Marc Rudolph, Ph.D., Postdoc, Wake Forest Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center

Dr. Tehila Nugiel, Ph.D, Assistant Professor, Florida State University

Dr. Mac Woodburn, Ph.D, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Pennsylvania

 

Research Staff

Sophie Bittner, Research Assistant, Department of Allied Health Sciences, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Alexa D. Monachino, Research Associate, Department of Psychology, Northeastern University

Cheyenne L. Bricken, Medical Student, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Cleanthis Michael, Ph.D. Student in Clinical Science, Department of Psychology, University of Michigan

Kelly A. Duffy, Ph.D. Student in Quantitative/Psychometric Methods, Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota

Kelly H. Eom, J.D./Ph.D Student, Department of Psychology, Drexel University

 

Undergraduate Research Assistants

Charlotte Seymour, Neuroscience and Economics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2023

Ananyaa Sundar, Neuroscience, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2023

Jennifer Martinez-Mejia, Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2022

Jeremy Chen, Neuroscience and Computer Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2024

Shreya Ramineni, Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2023

Sammie Kim, Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2022

Kattia Mata, B.S. in Neuroscience, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2022

Aparna Sudhakar, B.S. in Neuroscience, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2022

Erica Fager, B.A. in Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2022

Maya Arora, B.S. in Neuroscience, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2024

Katie Holt, B.S. in Biology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2021

Jordan Roberts, B.S. in Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2023

Anna Covington, B.S. in Neuroscience, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2021

Caroline Hoch, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2020

Deepak Melwani, B.S. in Biology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2020

Kaeley Jenkins, B.A. in Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2020

Chunni (Zoe) Ji, B.S. in Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2020

Darius Johnson, B.S.P.H. in Health Policy and Management, B.S. in Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2020

Mauli Saini, B.S. in Psychology and Neuroscience, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2017

Mikaela Bauer, B.S. in Biology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2022

Niveditha Jagadesh, B.S. in Psychology and Neuroscience, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2018

Rachel Slover, B.A. in Mathematics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2021

Safiyyah Nawaz, B.A. in Chemistry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2018

Shruti Gopalswamy, B.S. in Statistics and Computer Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2021