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NIMH-UCL Graduate Neuroscience Program

UCL-NIMH Joint Doctoral Training Program in Neuroscience

Student Profiles

Current Students

Emily Mantaro headshot

Emily Mantaro - 2023

I joined the UCL-NIMH Joint Doctoral Training Program in Neuroscience in 2023 after completing my M.S. in Neuroscience and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. During this two-year M.S. program, I joined three labs at Columbia University that used electroencephalography (EEG) and eye-tracking, where I worked on projects related to event-related potentials during word processing in children (Neurocognition of Language Lab) and adults (Language and Cognitive Neuroscience Lab), as well as visual perception (Cognitive Neuropsychology Lab). I also completed an intensive fMRI workshop at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging and then chose to conduct my M.S. thesis research on resting state functional connectivity in adolescents with depression, compared to healthy adolescents, using data from the Boston Adolescent Neuroimaging of Depression and Anxiety dataset with the guidance of Dr. Karen Froud (Columbia University) and Dr. Peter Molfese (NIH). Prior to beginning my Master’s, I graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2021, with a major in History and a minor in Education. While earning my undergraduate degree, I worked and volunteered for multiple education-related projects and completed education and developmental psychology coursework, which led me to develop my initial interest in the development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and early interventions for PTSD.

Currently, I am co-mentored by Prof. Sunjeev Kamboj at the Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit at UCL and Dr. Ashura W. Buckley at the Sleep and Neurodevelopment Service at the NIMH. My doctoral research will involve investigating the neural activity during sleep prior to trauma that may predict developing PTSD symptoms after trauma exposure, as well as studying the efficacy and mechanisms of yoga nidra meditation as an early intervention for PTSD.


Hannah Mager headshot

Hannah Mager - 2023

In May of 2021, I graduated from Northeastern University in Boston, MA with a B.S. in Behavioral Neuroscience. While at Northeastern, I participated in the co-op program which supports students interested in completing multiple internships as part of their undergraduate degree. Through this program, I was able to gain exposure wet lab research at Compass Therapeutics, Amgen, and Vor Biopharma.

While at Compass, my primary project was to immunophenotype T cells upon treatment with antibodies targeting molecules implicated in autoimmune disease. While learning about multiple sclerosis, I gained a particular interest in neuroimmune disorders and shortly changed my degree to Behavioral Neuroscience. After a study abroad opportunity in Dublin, I joined Amgen’s Neuroinflammation group for my second co-op. Here I characterized downstream signaling of CD33 as an orthogonal approach to measure microglial activation through this molecule upon treatment with immunotherapies.

Following CD33 to a different indication, I landed at Vor Bio for my third and final co-op (and ultimately my full-time job). Vor’s approach to treating hematological malignancies involves the modification of antigens on hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) surface via gene engineering to mitigate the high toxicity of targeting leukemic cells. At Vor, I initiated early discovery efforts of one antigen in the context of AML, and initiated project efforts for two rare disease indications that involved gene correction in HSCs.

Through the NIMH-UCL program, I am able to combine my love for neuroimmunology and hematopoiesis. With my PIs Dr. Christopher Bartley, of NIH, and Prof. Jennifer Pocock, of UCL, my project involves the characterization of iPSC-derived microglia from patients with Down Syndrome with and without Regression Disorder (DSRD/DSWR, respectively). This will allow us to better understand how trisomy 21 influences microglial development, and gain insight to potential differences between DSRD and DSWR development. 


Headshot of Ryan Oakeson

Ryan Oakeson - 2022

As a tried-and-true Wisconsinite, I graduated with a BA from UW-La Crosse where I majored in psychology and minored in creative writing. This unique track led me to several courses related to the study of psycholinguistics, consciousness, and cognitive neuroscience. From Wisconsin, I moved to London and graduated from UCL with my MSc in Language Sciences where I specialized in linguistics with neuroscience. At UCL and under the supervision of Outi Tuomainen and Valerie Hazan, my master’s thesis was based on using experience sampling methodology to explore how non-native English speakers experienced listening effort during ecological speech-in-noise situations.

Eventually I was led to the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at UCL where I met with director, Dr. Sophie Scott to whom I proposed my project; she introduced me to the UCL-NIMH program which then led me to Dr. Allison Nugent—the director of the MEG Core Facility at the NIMH. Under their supervision, my project aims to use magnetoencephalography (MEG) to elucidate the neural mechanisms of listening effort while utilizing pupillometry to measure pupil dilation, i.e. a physiological marker of cognitive effort. In addition to studying the brains of healthy controls, a clinical population with autism spectrum disorder will be included for group comparison via the help of Dr. Audrey Thurm, director of the Neurodevelopmental and Behavioral Phenotyping Service.


Fady Guirguis

Fady Guirguis - 2020

I graduated from the Kellogg Honors College at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, where I received my Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology with a minor in Chemistry. During my undergraduate career, I joined the laboratory of Dr. Jill P. Adler-Moore, where I worked on developing a universal influenza virus vaccine. My projects focused on assessing the efficacy of multiple liposomal adjuvant formulations and optimizing their dosage regimen to elicit a protective immune response against influenza.

Upon graduation, I matriculated at the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific at Western University of Health Sciences, where I am part of the Biomedical and Clinical Research Longitudinal Track. As a medical student, I completed a research internship under the guidance of Dr. Paul Lu at the Center for Neural Repair at the University of California, San Diego. There, I worked on identifying the embryonic brainstem regions with the highest density of motor neuron progenitor cells in rats to be used in stem cell therapies for spinal cord injury.

After completing my second year of medical school, I participated in the NIH Medical Research Scholars Program. During the program, I joined the laboratory of Dr. Carsten G. Bönnemann to characterize a novel mouse model of collagen VI-related dystrophies and myopathies (COL6-RD) and to investigate splice-correction therapies for COL6-RD.

Under the co-mentorship of Dr. Carsten G. Bönnemann at NINDS and Prof. Francesco Muntoni at UCL, I will pursue my doctoral research projects. My projects aim to elucidate the roles of collagen VI in skeletal muscles and to develop therapeutic interventions for COL6-RD.


Elizabeth Levitis

Elizabeth Levitis - 2020

I graduated in 2017 with a BA & Sc in Cognitive Science and a minor in International Development Studies from McGill University in Montreal, QC. My initial interest in studying the brain stemmed from a fascination with the neural underpinnings of memory. I conducted my first independent research project under the supervision of Dr. Veronique Bohbot, and I investigated whether there is a relationship between distinct spontaneous navigation strategies and personality traits that have been shown to share the same neural correlates. Over the course of my undergraduate degree I had the opportunity to take computer science classes and conduct bioinformatics research, and my research interests shifted more to how data science can be applied to the study of neurological diseases to unravel novel patterns and interactions between biomarkers at the genomic, transcriptomic, and neuroimaging levels.

After obtaining my BA & Sc, I joined the McGill Center for Integrative Neuroscience where I pursued an MSc in Neuroscience and worked part-time as a software developer for the LORIS multimodal databasing project and the Infant Brain Imaging Study. My MSc thesis project involved applying a previously published epidemic spreading model (ESM) to simulate the spatiotemporal spread of Amyloid Beta, one of the misfolded proteins implicated in Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), in individuals with a mutation for autosomal dominant AD.

I was drawn to the NIH-UCL program because it emphasized collaboration and placed an emphasis on interdisciplinary training. My research experiences during my previous studies and as a software developer had solidified my motivation to pursue further training in imaging genetics, brain mapping, and machine learning research, and this program presented a unique opportunity to do so under the mentorship of Dr. Armin Raznahan (NIMH) and Dr. Daniel C. Alexander (UCL). Currently, we are using multimodal neuroimaging data to understand how spatial patterns of altered brain networks emerge across multiple phenotypic features in both neurogenetic and idiopathic neurodevelopmental disorders. Beyond characterizing multimodal phenotypes in individuals with sex chromosome aneuploidies, we will investigate the link between typical and atypical development by assessing whether normative transcriptomic and neuroimaging data can be used to explain or predict the multimodal alterations.


Jiazhou Chen

Jiazhou Chen - 2020

I joined the UCL-NIMH Joint Doctoral Training Program in Neuroscience after three years of working as a research programmer at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center under the supervision of Dr. Alexandre Dombrovski and Dr. Marta Peciña. Prior to that, I completed my undergraduate degrees at the University of Texas at Austin where I also engaged in research projects on sleep, memory, and language acquisition. My work focuses on using computational modeling, functional MRI brain imaging and clinical trials to better understand maladaptive behaviors in depression as well as their neurobiological mechanisms.

Currently, I am co-mentored by Dr. Argyris Stringaris at the NIMH and Dr. Quentin Huys at UCL. My doctoral research will center on using computational modeling and brain imaging techniques to investigate the relationship between mood, effort and reward in the context of decision making and learning. The goal is to better understand anhedonia as well as provide novel insight on effective treatment possibilities. I plan to further my research by implementing machine learning, multi-modality brain imaging and a trans-diagnostic dimensional approach to psychopathology. I chose to join this program because it offers a unique training opportunity where I am mentored by two leading experts in the field of neuroscience and supported by two of the best research institutions in the world.


William Kistler

William Kistler - 2018

I was raised near Washington D.C. and attended the University of Maryland. As an undergraduate, I studied Psychology and took a strong secondary interest in the neuro- and computer sciences. As a graduate student, my interest in Neuroscience took center stage. Drawing on psychophysical models of human motion perception and FFA/MT+ interactions, I studied a set of visual stimuli that allow humans to perceive and track other human faces over time, and in which conditions facial recognition dissipates.

Prior to my work with the UCL-NIMH Joint Doctoral Training Program in Neuroscience, I held positions with the Children's National Medical Center of Washington D.C. and the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. Now, with Drs. Sven Bestmann and Leo Cohen of UCL and the NINDS respectively, I study how motor and prefrontal cortical regions work to optimize arm and hand kinematics during early learning of sequential movements. We aim to identify the kinematic changes that drive early learning, and through which brain regions these optimizations occur, in order to refine rehabilitation practices for persons affected by chronic stroke.




Saadia Hasan

Saadia Hasan - 2023

I graduated from University of California Los Angeles with a major in Neuroscience and a minor in Biomedical Research. During my undergrad, I worked in Dr. Kelsey Martin’s lab studying the effects of glial-conditioned media on neuronal health. While in her lab, I learned rodent primary cell culture husbandry, electrophysiology and confocal microscopy. Post-graduation, I stayed in her lab for a couple of more years as a Lab technician, learning other various skills, including Aplysia californica husbandry and single cell cultures. From there, I moved to Athens, GA for medical school joining the AU/UGA Medical Partnership. After completing 3 years, I applied to the NIH’s Medical Research Scholars Program (MRSP) which was a 1-year fellowship for between 3rd and 4th year of medical school. I joined Dr. Michael Ward’s lab at NINDS for that year, where I learned human inducible pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) husbandry, iPSC-derived neuronal differentiation and genomic editing. Finding a great niche at the NIH, I pursued applying to the NIH-UCL GPP and have now joined the partnership under Dr. Michael Ward (NINDS) and Dr. Soyon Hong’s (UCL) mentorship.

For my thesis research, I aim to unlock the details of microglia function in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease (Hong Lab) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) (Ward lab). Using proximity-labelling proteomics, we aim to define the neurodegenerative changes microglia experience/cause during the progression of disease.


Hunter Schone

Hunter Schone - 2023

Born and raised in Utah, I graduated with a BSc in Neuroscience from Westminster College, a small liberal arts college in Salt Lake City, Utah. After graduating, I went on to earn my MSc in Clinical Neuroscience from University College London (UCL). As a part of my MSc program, I worked on an independent research project with Dr. Tamar Makin to investigate artificial prosthesis motor representation in congenital and acquired amputees. This research project established the foundation for the current research I’m undertaking within my doctoral program. Upon finishing my MSc program at UCL, I spent a year working as a research assistant at the Wellcome Centre For Integrative Neuroimaging at the University of Oxford.

As a UCL-NIMH fellow, I am working with my co-supervisors: Dr. Tamar Makin in the Plasticity lab at UCL and Dr. Chris Baker in the NIMH Section on Learning and Plasticity. Our work is exploring how the brain’s representation of hands and artificial prosthetic hands changes when learning to control an artificial prosthetic hand. Using fMRI brain imaging, computational modeling, and a large battery of motor and cognitive assessments, this research assesses how the brain adapts over time to meet the cognitive and motor demands of controlling a wearable robotic device.


Amit Khandhadia

Amit Khandhadia - 2023

Originally from a small town outside of Detroit, I traded the Midwest for the south for my undergraduate at Vanderbilt University. As a student, I became fascinated with neuroscience and took a tour through its different subfields including cognitive neuroscience working with Dr. Isabel Gauthier, systems neuroscience with Dr. Anna Roe, and neurobiology with Dr. Douglas McMahon. I combined this new interest with a love for English literature and developed a passion for understanding the underpinnings of perception and action. I first arrived at NIH determined to become a neurologist but as my desire to understand basic questions grew, I joined the lab of Dr David Leopold as a postbaccalaureate fellow studying how individual neurons respond to social and naturalistic stimuli.

Under the supervision of Dr. Leopold at NIMH and Dr. Jennifer Bizley at UCL, I am studying the audiovisual integration in space in the temporal lobe of both macaques and ferrets. Space and active sensing are often neglected in experiments examining perception particularly in the case of combining different senses. Using electrophysiology and novel stimulus paradigms, I plan to examine the multisensory integration in more complicated audiovisual environments. I hope these experiments will help shed new light on how information is combined in the mammalian brain.


Brittany Sincox

Brittany Sincox - 2022 (MPhil)

I grew up in Detroit, Michigan and graduated with a bachelors in biochemistry from Grand Valley State University. I first became interested in neuroscience research through the McNair Scholars Program, where I spent a summer working full time on my own research project doing extracellular recordings in the retina. I also did research creating virtual reality animations of cellular processes for use in GVSU courses.

During my summer break, I did research under Dr. Gabriela Popescu at the University at Buffalo using electrophysiology to characterize mutant NMDA receptors. She gave me the opportunity to present my research at a glutamate receptor conference, where I was able to meet who would become my UCL mentor, Dr. Stuart Cull-Candy. After graduation, I was selected to participate in the International Program for the Advancement of Neurotechnology. I investigated 3D neuronal cell culture techniques and microfluidics in the lab of Dr. Nakwon Choi at the Korean Institute for Science and Technology in Seoul, South Korea.

After traveling halfway around the world, I now find myself across the ocean once again to pursue my PhD and work under Dr. Stuart Cull-Candy and Dr. Mark Farrant at UCL and Dr. Jeffrey Diamond at NINDS. I’m excited for the opportunity to work on a collaborative project and have a unique experience that will be incredibly rewarding. My research will investigate the expression and functional changes of NMDA and AMPA receptors within the synapses of retinal ganglion cells. This will create a better understanding of synaptic plasticity and transmission within the retina, which will provide valuable insight for future studies of retinal diseases.


Shana Silverstein

Shana Silverstein - 2022

I grew up in the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania and attended Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA. I graduated with a B.A. in Neuroscience and a minor in dance. After working at the University of California, Santa Barbara with Dr. Ken Kosik researching novel long non-coding RNA in the brain, I moved to Washington, DC to pursue my MS at Georgetown University in Physiology and Biophysics with a concentration in Complementary and Alternative Medicine. After working for a year and a half in the cancer preventative laboratory of Dr. Fung Lung Chung at Georgetown, I returned to my original research passion, neuroscience. I joined the Laboratory of Behavioral and Genomic Neuroscience under the direction of Dr. Andrew Holmes as a Technical IRTA where I began studying the underlying circuitry involved in PTSD using optogenetics.

The UCL-NIH partnership is a wonderful avenue to cultivate a truly translational PhD project. With my supervisors Dr. Andrew Holmes (NIAAA) and Dr. Essi Viding (UCL) I will study the pathways involved in observational fear learning in mice and humans, respectively. Using techniques like optogenetics, immediate early gene activity, in vivo recording, and fMRI we hope to identify brain regions and directional circuits involved in vicarious learning. By using mice to model human pathologies, such as psychopathy or anxiety disorders, we can gain a better understanding of the deficient functioning at a molecular and mechanistic level in order to inform and direct better targeted therapies.


Rachel Smith

Rachel Smith - 2021

I graduated from Chapman University in Orange, CA in 2011 with a B.A. in Psychology and a budding passion for cognitive neuroscience. More specifically, I became interested in how the brain’s functional organization may determine how we perceive, interpret, and interact with the world around us. In addition, I was intrigued by the multitude of ways that this neural architecture could be aberrant, especially in the context of psychopathology.

After my B.A., I spent two years gaining clinical and technical experience in diagnostic electrophysiology, and became certified as a nerve conduction technologist by the American Board of Electrodiagnostic Medicine. With the goal of refining my research interests and reacquainting myself with the evolving field of neuroscience, I then moved to London in 2013 to pursue a 2-year Master’s degree in Developmental Neuroscience and Psychopathology through UCL and Yale University. I conducted my thesis research with Prof. Hal Blumenfeld in Yale’s Clinical Neuroscience Imaging Center. There we used human electrocorticography (intracranial EEG) to investigate the spatial and temporal dynamics of conscious visual perception and subjective awareness.

I loved the empirical rigor and cross-institutional format of my M.Sc., so I was thrilled to learn about the UCL-NIMH Joint Doctoral Training Program in Neuroscience. I cannot think of a more ideal platform upon which to build productive collaborations and make meaningful contributions in the field. The quality of mentorship, availability of resources, and opportunities for intellectual growth are truly unparalleled.

With the co-supervision of Prof. Essi Viding at UCL and Dr. Alex Martin at NIMH, I will be using resting-state fMRI to explore the relationship between baseline brain activity and different measures of social and empathic functioning in both normal and clinical populations (with autism spectrum disorders or conduct problems with callous-unemotional traits). I hope to shed light on the extent to which functional connectivity within and between neural networks is associated with individual differences in social cognition and empathy, and how those network dynamics become disrupted in the aforementioned socio-affective developmental disorders.


Jobert Vargas

Jobert Vargas - 2021

I graduated from University of California, Santa Cruz with honors, majoring in Neuroscience (B.S) and Psychology (B.A). As an undergraduate, I conducted research in laboratories with a wide range of disciplinary expertise. Under the tutelage of Dr. Jeremy Sanford, I studied how cis-acting elements can alter pre-mRNA splicing events. I also conducted research on facial and spatial perception with Dr. Nicolas Davidenko. Additionally, during my senior year I worked as a course assistant for the biochemistry lab, taught by my mentor Prof. Jeremy Lee, where I instructed my fellow undergraduates proper execution of biochemical techniques. During my time at UCSC, I caught the “research bug” and developed a deeply entrenched passion for neuroscience, which led me to pursue a career in research.

After graduating, I joined the laboratory of Dr. Lawrence Tecott in University of California, San Francisco where I studied how serotonergic circuits control energy homeostasis in mammals. While at UCSF, my keen interest in dementia led me to join the lab of Dr. William Seeley, whose research focuses on deciphering how prion-like proteins involved in neurodegenerative disorders cause the death of highly specific neuronal populations. Determined to expand my scientific training, I sought and received a Post- Baccalaureate Research Fellowship at the NIH. There, I conducted research on axonal trafficking and local processing of pre-miRNAs that control mitochondrial genes, in the laboratory of Dr. Barry Kaplan.

My diverse research endeavors made me realize just how critical collaboration and interdisciplinary approaches are in trying to understand neurological diseases. The UCL-NIMH Joint Graduate Program presents an excellent opportunity to be involved in an international collaboration between two highly distinguished neuroscience research institutes.

As a UCL-NIMH fellow, I am being trained by my co-mentors Dr. Richard Youle (NINDS) and Prof. Giampietro Schiavo (UCL). Currently, I am studying the clearance of damaged mitochondria in neurons, a process known as mitophagy. This process is especially disrupted in Parkinson’s disease and ALS. Thus, I hope that my research efforts will someday improve the quality of lives of people who suffer from neurodegenerative diseases.


Tara Zinnamon

Fhatarah Zinnamon - 2019

I’m a Chicago, Illinois native and attended Williams College, a small liberal arts college in Williamstown, Massachusetts. I graduated with a BA in Psychology with a concentration and Honors in Neuroscience after discovering my passion for neuroscience research early on. I went on to earn my Masters in Neuroscience from UCL after working with Dr Jennifer Linden during my MSc research project on hearing loss in a mouse model of schizophrenia. While deciding whether to do a PhD in Neuroscience I was a research scientist at Otodynamics Ltd., but almost immediately realized my desire to continue my research in schizophrenia.

Under the guidance of my supervisors Dr. Linden at UCL and Dr. Kuan Hong Wang at the NIMH, I’m researching cortical interneuron dynamics in the frontal and auditory cortices of the Df1/+ mouse model of schizophrenia. Through immunohistochemistry, electrophysiology and novel behavioral paradigms we hope to elucidate how genetic risk for schizophrenia and hearing loss interact to produce cumulative abnormalities in neuronal circuitry.


Shahriar Sheikhbahaei

Shahriar Sheikhbahaei - 2017

Shahriar successfully defended his PhD dissertation titled “Astroglial Control of Respiratory Rhythm Generating Circuits” in September 2017 under the supervision of Prof. Alexander Gourine at UCL and Dr. Jeffrey Smith at NINDS.

After a short postdoctoral research at NINDS, Shahriar won an inaugural Independent Research Scholar award in July 2019 and has been leading Neuron-Glia Signaling and Circuits Unit  at the Intramural Research Program of NIH since. His lab is studying the cellular and circuit mechanisms underlying motor control disorders, in particular, the underlying mechanisms generating persistent developmental stuttering disorder at the cellular, circuit, and systems levels of neurons and glia interactions.

Selected Publications

  1. Sheikhbahaei, S., Turovsky, E., Hosford, P, Hadjihambi, A., et al (2018) Astrocytes modulate brainstem respiratory rhythm-generating circuits and determine exercise capacity Nature Communications , 9(1), 370
  2. Sheikhbahaei S., Morris, B., Colina, J., Zhang, R., Gourine, A.V., Smith J.C (2018) Morphometric analysis of the brainstem astrocytes Journal of Comparative Neurology  , 1–16
  3. Sheikhbahaei, S. and Smith, J.C (2017) Breathing to inspire and arouse Science , 355(6332) 1370-71
  4. Sheikhbahaei, S., Gourine, A.V. Smith, J.C. (2017) Respiratory Physiology & Neurobiology Respiratory Physiology & Neurobiology , 246:92-97
  5. Angelova, P. R., Kasymov, V., Christie, I., Sheikhbahaei, S., Turovsky, E., Marina, N., Gourine, A.V (2015) Functional Oxygen Sensitivity of Astrocytes Journal of Neuroscience , 35(29), 10460–10473


Benjamin Suarez Jimenez

Benjamin Suarez Jimenez - 2016

In April 2016, Ben defended successfully his thesis titled: “The Role of Spatial Location in Threat Memory: Modulation of Learning and Discrimination,” supervised by Dr. Neil Burgess at UCL and Drs. Daniel Pine and Christian Grillon at NIMH. The work used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and virtual reality to study brain mechanisms of location-specific learning of threat and discrimination within a single environment. Currently, he is a T32 NRSA post-doctoral research fellow at Columbia University under the mentorship of Dr. Yuval Neria where he continues to use virtual reality to study location-specific contextual threat learning and discrimination focusing in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety disorders.

In 2017 Ben was awarded the Irving Institute Pilot grant and the NYSPI Imaging Pilot grant at Columbia University. Additionally, he earned the NARSAD Young Investigator Award to continue his research in PTSD.

Publications during and since the program:

Suarez-Jimenez B, Balderstone N, Bisby JA, King JA, Pine DS, Burgess N, Grillon C, Ernst M. Location-specific threat learning deficits in clinical anxiety. (Paper in preparation). 

Suarez-Jimenez B, Albajes-Eizagirre A, Neria, Y Harrison BJ, Radua J, Fullana MA. Neural signatures of fear learning abnormalities in PTSD: a meta-analysis of fMRI studies. Manuscript submitted for publication in Molecular Psychiatry.

Lazarov A, Suarez-Jimenez B, Tamman A, Falzon L, Zhu X, Edmondson DE, Neria Y (2018). Attention to threat in posttraumatic stress disorder using eye-tracking methodology: A systematic review. Manuscript submitted for publication in Clinical Psychology Review. 

Zhu X, Suarez-Jimenez B, Helpman L, Markowitz JC, Papini S, Lowell A, Milad M, Schneier F, Lindquist M, Wager T, Neria Y (2018). Prolonged Exposure Treatment Changes Amygdala and Hippocampus Functional Connectivity in PTSD. Manuscript submitted for publication at Depression and Anxiety.

Markowitz JC, Gerber A, Zhu X, Suarez-Jimenez B, Lazarov A, Mann JJ, Neria Y (2018). Anterior Hippocampal Volume May Moderate Psychotherapy Outcome in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: An Exploratory MRI Study. Manuscript submitted for publication in Psychological Medicine. 

Suarez-Jimenez B, Bisby JA, Horner AJ, King JA, Pine DS, Burgess N (2018). Linked networks for learning and expressing location-specific threat. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: 201714691.

Helpman L, Zhu X, Suarez-Jimenez B, Lazarov A, Monk C, Neria Y (2017). Sex Differences in Trauma-Related Psychopathology: a Critical Review of Neuroimaging Literature. Curr Psychiatry Rep 19(12):104.

Lowell AM, Suarez-Jimenez B, Helpman L, Zhu X, Durosky A, Hillburn A, Schneier F, Gross R, Neria Y (2017). 9/11-Related PTSD Among Highly Exposed Populations: A Systematic Review 15 Years After the Attack. Psychological Medicine 14: 1-17.

Lazarov A, Zhu X, Suarez-Jimenez B, Rutherford B, Neria Y (2017). Resting-State Functional Connectivity of Anterior and Posterior Hippocampus in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Journal of Psychiatric Research 94: 15-22.


Kathryn Mills, Ph.D.

Kathryn Mills - 2015

Kate successfully defended her PhD thesis titled "Social development in adolescence: brain and behavioral changes" in spring 2015 under the supervision of Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore at UCL and Jay Giedd at NIMH. For her doctoral work, she was awarded the British Neuroscience Association Postgraduate Prize.

Following her PhD, Kate was a postdoctoral researcher at Oregon Health & Sciences University in Portland, OR, USA and then a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Oregon in Eugene, OR, USA. Beginning in September 2018, she will be an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at University of Oregon.


Tamnes CK, Herting MM, … Mills KL (2017). Development of the cerebral cortex across adolescence: A multisample study of interrelated longitudinal changes in cortical volume, surface area and thickness. Journal of Neuroscience, 37(12), 3402-3412.

Mills KL, Goddings AL, Herting MM, … & Tamnes CK (2016). Structural brain development between childhood and adulthood: Convergence across four longitudinal samples. NeuroImage, 141, 273-281.

Mills KL (2016). Possible effects of Internet use on cognitive development in adolescence. Media and Communication, 6(3).

Bell V, Mills KL, Modinos G, & Wilkinson S (2017). What can psychosis tell us about social cognition? Altered social agent representation as a factor in the formation of positive symptoms. Clinical Psychological Science, 1-14.

Mills KL, Dumontheil I, Speekenbrink M, & Blakemore S-J (2015). Multitasking during social interactions in adolescence and early adulthood. Royal Society Open Science, 2(11), 150117.

Mills KL (2014). Effects of Internet use on the adolescent brain: despite popular claims, experimental evidence remains scarce. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 18(8), 385-387.

Mills KL, & Tamnes CK (2014). Methods and considerations for longitudinal structural brain imaging analysis across development. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 9, 172-190.

Mills KL, Goddings AL, Clasen LS, Giedd JN, & Blakemore S-J (2014). The developmental mismatch in structural brain maturation during adolescence. Developmental Neuroscience, 36(3-4), 147-60.

Blakemore S-J, & Mills KL (2014). Is adolescence a sensitive period for socio-cultural processing? Annual Review of Psychology, 65, 186-207.

Mills KL, Lalonde F, … & Blakemore S-J (2014). Developmental changes in the structure of the social brain in late childhood and adolescence. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 9(1), 123-131.


Kyle Jasmin

Kyle Jasmin – 2015

Kyle’s thesis, “Functional brain imaging studies of two-person vocal interaction”, was supervised by Sophie Scott at UCL and Alex Martin at NIMH, and was successfully defended in 2015. The work used fMRI to investigate speech, language, and social processing in individuals with autism and controls, using novel real-time social interaction paradigms. Since the PhD, he has undertaken 2 postdoc positions, one at UCL that used fMRI to examine perception of non-native speech rhythms, and another at Birkbeck College again that also used fMRI as well as behavioral methods, to examine speech perception in individuals with congenital amusia, a disorder of pitch processing.

In May 2017 Kyle was awarded an Early Career Fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust, a major research funding organization in the UK. This 3-year fellowship, to be carried out at Birkbeck, University of London, is intended to bridge the transition to a permanent academic research position. His fellowship project aims to uncover how abstract auditory concepts like musical pitch are learned and represented in the brain.

Publications during and since the program:

Jasmin K. et al. (Under Review). Social interactions, auditory streams, and hemispheric asymmetries.

Jasmin K. et al. (Submitted). Redundancy makes speech robust.

Jasmin K. et al. (In Prep) Increased neural synchrony in autism during naturalistic conversation.

McGettigan, C, Jasmin K. et al. (2017) You talkin’ to me? Communicative talker gaze activates left-lateralized superior temporal cortex during perception of degraded speech. Neuropsychologia.

Jasmin, K. M., et al. (2016) Cohesion and joint speech – right hemisphere contributions to synchronized vocal production. The Journal of Neuroscience.

Mellem, M, Jasmin K et al. (2016) Sentence processing in anterior superior temporal cortex shows a social-emotional bias. Neuropsychologia.

Gijssels, T, Casasanto L, Jasmin K. (2016) Speech accommodation without priming: the case of pitch. Discourse Processes.

Evans et al. (2014) Does musical enrichment enhance the neural coding of syllables? Neuroscientific interventions and the importance of behavioral data. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

Casasanto, D. and Jasmin K. (2012) The Hands of Time: Temporal Gestures in English Speakers. Cognitive Linguistics.

Jasmin, K & Casasanto, D. (2012) The QWERTY Effect: How typing shapes the meanings of words.


Joseph Arizpe

Joseph Arizpe - 2014

Joseph’s thesis, “Eye-movement studies of visual face perception”, was supervised by Professor Vincent Walsh at UCL and Dr. Chris Baker at NIMH.  He is now a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard Medical School studying developmental prosopagnosia (“face blindness”) in the lab of Joe DeGutis.


Arizpe, J., Walsh, V., Yovel, G., Baker, C.I. (In Press). The categories, frequencies, and stability of idiosyncratic eye-movement patterns to faces.  Vision Research.

Arizpe, J., McKean, D.L., Tsao, J.W., Chan, W-Y., (2017). Where You Look Matters for Body Perception: Preferred Gaze Location Causally Contributes to the Body Inversion Effect.  PLoS ONE, 12(1): e0169148. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0169148

Arizpe J., Yovel G., Walsh, V., Baker C.I. (2016). Differences in looking at own- and other-race faces are subtle and analysis-dependent: An account of discrepant reports. PLoS ONE, 11(2): e0148253. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0148253

Arizpe, J. M., Walsh, V., & Baker, C. I. (2015). Characteristic visuomotor influences on eye-movement patterns to faces and other high level stimuli. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 1027.

Garside, P.*, Arizpe, J.*, Lau, C.I., Goh, C., Walsh, V. (2015) Cross-hemispheric Alternating Current Stimulation During a Nap Disrupts Slow Wave Activity and Associated Memory Consolidation. Brain Stimulation, 8(3) 520-527.
* Contributed equally

Mehoudar, E., Arizpe, J., Baker, C.I., Yovel, G. (2014).  Faces in the eye of the beholder: unique and stable eye-scanning patterns of individual observers.  Journal of Vision, 14(7):6, 1-11, doi:10.1167/14.7.6

Kim, P., Arizpe, J., Rosen, B.H., Razdan, V., Haring, C., Jenkins, S.E., Deveney, C.M., Brotman, M.A., Blair, J.R., Pine, D.S., Baker, C.I. Leibenluft, E. (2013) Impaired fixation to eyes during face emotion labeling in children with bipolar disorder or severe mood dysregulation.  Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience 38(6), 407-416. doi: 10.1503/jpn.120232

Arizpe J., Kravitz D.J., Yovel G., Baker C.I. (2012) Start position strongly influences fixation patterns during face processing: Difficulties with eye movements as a measure of information use. PLoS ONE, 7(2): e31106. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0031106

Chan, W-Y., Kravitz, D.J., Truong, S., Arizpe, J., Baker, C. (2010) Cortical representations of bodies and faces are strongest in commonly experienced configurations. Nature Neuroscience 13, 417- 418


Raphael Kaplan

Raphael Kaplan - 2013

Raphael successfully defended his PhD thesis titled 'Brain oscillations and novelty processing in spatial memory' in summer 2013 under the supervision of Peter Bandettini at NIMH and Professor Neil Burgess at UCL. He is now finishing up a 4-year Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship and is using functional neuroimaging, electrophysiological recordings and computational modelling to investigate memory and decision-making.


Kaplan, R., Horner, A. J., Bandettini, P. A., Doeller, C. F., Burgess, N. (2014). Human hippocampal processing of environmental novelty during spatial navigation Hippocampus. doi:10.1002/hipo.22264
Kaplan, R., Bush, D., Bonnefond, M., Bandettini, P. A., Barnes, G. R., Doeller, C. F., Burgess, N. (2014). Medial prefrontal theta phase coupling during spatial memory retrieval. Hippocampus. doi:10.1002/hipo.22255

Kaplan, R., Doeller, C. F., Barnes, G. R., Litvak, V., Düzel, E., Bandettini, P. A., & Burgess, N. (2012). Movement-related theta rhythm in humans: coordinating self-directed hippocampal learning. PLoS biology , 10 (2), e1001267. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001267

Doeller, C. F., & Kaplan, R. (2011). Parahippocampal cortex: translating vision into space. Current biology: CB , 21 (15), R589–591. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2011.06.023