People

Lab Director

LEAH SOMERVILLE, PHD
Associate Professor of Psychology
Office: Northwest Building Room 290
Phone: (617) 495 7513
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  • Leah Somerville is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, faculty in the Center for Brain Science and faculty of the MGH Center for Law, Brain, and Behavior. Leah's primary line of research integrates psychological and neuroscientific approaches to inform how the way in which the brain develops through adolescence shapes psychological changes in cognitive, motivational, social, and emotional behavior. More broadly, this work is aimed at informing the mechanisms underlying unique features of adolescent emotions, decision-making, and risk for mental illness. When Leah was a teenager, she worked at a diner and went to an absurd number of rock concerts.

    Lab Members

    BARBARA BRAAMS, PHD
    Postdoctoral Fellow
    Office: Northwest Building Room 290.01​
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  • Barbara received her BSc in Psychology from Groningen University, The Netherlands in 2008 and her MSc in Psychology from the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands in 2010. She did her PhD at Leiden University under supervision of Prof. Dr. Eveline Crone and Dr. Jiska Peper. During her PhD research she investigated the neural correlates of risk-taking behavior in adolescence. In the ANDlab she will extend this line of research and investigate social influence on risk taking behavior.

    AMANDA BRANDT
    Undergraduate Research Assistant
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  • Amanda is a Junior at Harvard College studying Psychology in the Cognitive Neuroscience track. She is interested in learning more about emotional development and decision making during adolescence, and looks forward to gaining hands-on experience in fMRI research within this field. In the future, Amanda hopes to do advocacy work for veterans with mental health issues and the homeless. Outside of the lab, Amanda volunteers with the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter, and spends too much time pretending to know how to play the piano. Amanda loves exploring the city, listening to music, and admiring Boston’s architecture.

    MIA CHARIFSON
    Undergraduate Research Assistant
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  • Mia is a sophomore at Harvard College studying Neurobiology on the Mind, Brain Behavior Track and also pursuing a secondary in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. She is very interested in understanding the intersection between cognition in behavior as well as understanding social cognition such as through relationships or group mentalities. In the future, Mia hopes to pursue a PhD in cognitive neuroscience as well as do some advocacy work for issues such as sexual and gender based violence. Outside of the lab, Mia is a member of a peer-counseling group and she loves to travel, learn about new cultures, work-out and enjoy the outdoors along with the very volatile New England weather!

    KATIE CHO
    Research Assistant
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  • Katie received BA in Psychology from Johns Hopkins University and minor in Fine Arts. She recently received MA in Human Development and Psychology from Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is interested in educating parents and teachers about the importance of emotional development during adolescence and in using both behavioral study and fMRI to investigate emotion regulation. Outside the lab, Katie loves traveling, admiring at paintings, and completing coloring books.

    JULIET DAVIDOW, PHD
    Postdoctoral Fellow
    Office: Northwest Building Room 290.01
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  • Juliet received her BA in Psychology from New York University in 2005 and her PhD in Psychology from Columbia University in 2014. Her research questions revolve around how adolescents learn to make decisions. She is interested in how different contexts and social relationships might influence what is learned and remembered from experiences, and the later impact on decisions. Her research includes trying to understand how ongoing brain development might especially suit adolescents for learning from different types of experiences. She is also interested in how individual differences in learning, memory, and functional connectivity relate to decision making. Outside of the lab, Juliet enjoys art, music, and food.

    ARIDENNE DEWS
    Undergraduate Research Assistant
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  • Aridenne is a sophomore in Winthrop House at Harvard College. She is concentrating in psychology, and takes a specific interest in personality. She is excited to gain experience with psychological and neuroscientific research methods and learn more about emotional development as a member of the lab. On campus, Aridenne serves as a Student Mental Health Liaison to destigmatize mental illness and inform students about campus resources. She also performs with the Kuumba Singers of Harvard College. Outside of the lab, Aridenne enjoys playing piano, going to the movies, and taking too many pictures with her iPhone. She also particularly adores cats.

    GINA FALCONE
    Research Assistant
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  • Gina received her BA in Psychology in 2012 and her MS in Mental Heath Counseling from Pace University in 2014. Gina is currently a Clinical Psychology PhD student at Suffolk University where she is specializing in neuropsychology. As a research assistant in the ANDLab, Gina demonstrates her love of research and gets more exposure to neuroscience and brain development. When she was younger, Gina played in softball tournaments all over the country and eventually, was offered the opportunity to play in college.

    KATIE INSEL
    PhD Student
    Office: Northwest Building Room 290.02
    Phone: 617 496 5447
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  • Katie received her BA in Psychology from Columbia University in 2010, where she then worked in the labs of Edward Smith and Kevin Ochsner. She is currently a graduate student in Harvard's Psychology PhD program where she studies the developing brain. Her research focuses on understanding how the functional maturation of brain networks affects motivation and cognition interactions, such as cognitive control and learning. Katie also explores how key neurodevelopmental changes may explain why certain teens are at increased risk for psychiatric illness. When Katie was a teen, she aspired to be a food critic, but she's pretty happy pursuing a career in science (and still loves good food!)

    KAT KABOTYANSKI
    Lab Manager & Research Assistant
    Office: Northwest Building Room 280.13
    Phone: 617-496-5447
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  • Kat received her B.S. in Neuroscience from Duke University in 2014, where she completed her honors thesis on the differences in amygdala activation for self- versus informant- reported neuroticism. She then spent two years working with the Child Mind Institute in New York City, helping to develop and initiate the Healthy Brain Network- a project which seeks to better understand the biological mechanisms underlying mental health disorders and learning disabilities. Kat is particularly interested in the use of multi-faceted approaches to both the research and clinical treatment of developmental psychopathologies. Kat also loves spending time in the sunshine, swinging on swings, and dancing it out to the perfect song.

    ERIK KASTMAN
    Research Tech Developer (Somerville Lab & Buckholtz Lab)
    Office: Northwest Building Room 280.14
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  • Erik received his BS in Biology and Philosophy from the University of Wisconsin and spent the next several years working on neuroimaging studies of aging in the Johnson Neuroimaging Lab and the WADRAC neuroimaging group. At Harvard, Erik is in charge of a number of large-scale data analysis projects and serves as a lab generalist, ensuring that people have the resources they need to ask the questions they ask. When not at work, he is also a gardener (during the growing season) and homebrewer (all the year round). As a kid, Erik was obsessed with dinosaurs.

    LAUREL KORDYBAN
    Human Connectome Research Assistant
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  • Laurel received her B.S. in Biology-neurobiology option from the University of Wisconsin in 2016. She worked as an undergraduate in the Center for Healthy Minds and the Health Emotions Research Institute and particularly enjoys studying the emotional behaviors and well-being of children and adolescents. Laurel now works as a Research Assistant, focusing on how structural and functional brain networks interact and change across development. When not at work, Laurel avoids risky activities with great enthusiasm and enjoys reading, improv comedy, and exploring.

    MICHAEL MAYER
    Human Connectome Research Assistant
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  • Mike received his B.A. in Neuroscience from Dartmouth College in 2017. As an undergraduate he worked in the Affective Cognitive Neuroscience Lab of Dr. Paul Whalen and the Space Medicine Lab of Dr. Jay Buckey. He is continuing his passion for neuroscience with the Human Connectome Project in Development! Mike is particularly interested in the ways that brain structure and cognitive processing is affected by peers and environmental influences throughout development. In his free time, Mike enjoys being in the outdoors, live music, eating lots of food, reading, exploring, and asking strangers if he can pet their dogs.

    ERIK NOOK
    PhD Student
    Office: Northwest Building Room 280.14
    Phone: 617 496 5447
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  • Erik hails from the town of Schaller, Iowa, but he also spent time in South Africa and Australia while growing up. He received his B.A. in psychology from Columbia University, where he worked with Prof. Kevin Ochsner and Dr. Ajay Satpute on the effects of emotion naming on emotion regulation. After graduating, Erik served as the lab manager for Prof. Jamil Zaki, where he studied the role of emotion concepts in emotion perception and the positive application of social norms. Erik is currently a Clinical Science PhD student at Harvard, with Prof. Matt Nock as a secondary advisor. In the ANDLab, Erik plans to extend these lines of work into developmental and clinical domains. For example, he's interested in understanding how children and teens develop their ability to differentiate emotions and what this means for mental health.

    MAHALIA PRATER FAHEY
    Human Connectome Research Assistant
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  • Mahalia received her B.A. in Cognitive Science from Pomona College in 2015. She is interested in changes in affective decision-making across development and what factors during adolescence contribute to the development of psychopathologies. She would like to explore how these factors might alter the mechanisms underlying affective decision-making. In the Somerville lab she is working on the Human Connectome Project in Development. Outside of the lab she can be found playing water polo, day-dreaming about warmer weather, and spending too much money on avocados. She has a dog at home in California and regularly videos chats with him.

    ALEXANDRA RODMAN
    PhD Student
    Office: Northwest Building Room 290.02
    Phone: 617 496 5447
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  • Alex graduated from Tufts University with a BA in clinical psychology. She then became a research assistant at Massachusetts General Hospital, working on a clinical trial for Deep Brain Stimulation for intractable depression. Alex is currently a Clinical Science PhD student at Harvard and is interested in how neurodevelopmental shifts during adolescence shape learning and motivational processes in the context of social evaluation. She is also interested in the clinical application of this work as it relates to trajectories of risk for depression. As a teen, Alex was a little risky. Now, she gets her thrills by parking in spots that are not entirely legal.

    MAHEEN SHERMOHAMMED
    PhD Student
    Office: Northwest Building Room 290.02
    Phone: 617 496 5447
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  • Maheen received her BS in Neuroscience from Duke University in 2012. She then spent two years working as a research assistant for John Gabrieli at MIT. Maheen is currently a PhD student in the Cognition, Brain, & Behavior track of Harvard's graduate program in Psychology. She is interested in how both adults and adolescents manage or control their emotions in the face of challenging circumstances. As a teen, Maheen's goal in life was to be 5'3.

    ABI STARK
    Research Assistant
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  • Abi received her BA in Psychology and English in 2012 from Williams College and her MS in Clinical Psychology from Suffolk University. Abi is currently a Clinical Psychology PhD student at Suffolk University where she is specializing in peer relations and childhood bullying. She is especially interested in how cognitive and cultural frames influence peer relations. Outside of the lab, she loves to read, write, and go running!

    CAITLIN STAVISH
    Undergraduate Research Assistant
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  • Caitlin is a current sophomore at Boston University, double majoring in Neuroscience and Psychology with a minor in Theatre Arts. She’s thrilled at the opportunity to learn about how individuals develop emotionally, and how such developmental factors may affect the onset of mental illness throughout the lifespan. On campus she serves as the secretary of BU’s branch of Active Minds, a national organization dedicated to raising awareness regarding mental health, and fighting stigma surrounding such illnesses. Outside the lab she enjoys watching panda videos, belting showtunes, and watching the Office.

    CONSTANZA (CONY) VIDAL-BUSTAMANTE
    Human Connectome Research Manager
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  • Cony received her B.A. in Psychology (Cognitive Neuroscience focus) from Harvard College. She worked as an undergraduate research assistant at the Affective Neuroscience and Development Lab for two years, including the completion of her honors thesis on the developmental trajectories of reward processing and inhibitory control. Cony now coordinates the planning and execution of the Harvard branch of the Human Connectome Project in Development, a ground-breaking multi-site study investigating how different parts of the brain are connected to each other, and how these connections change from childhood through adulthood. Outside the lab, Cony enjoys walking around the city, reading about politics, urban planning and design, and listening and dancing to Latin beats.

    Alumni

    Nadine Abi Akar

    Summer Intern (2014). Nadine is an undergraduate at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon.

    Jeremy Astesano

    Summer Research Assistant (2017). Jeremy is continuing his undergraduate studies at Haverford college.

    Alex Barry

    Summer Intern (2013). Alex is an undergraduate neuropsychology major at UMass Amherst.

    Yang Cai

    Independent Study/Masters Student (2013-2014). Yang is pursuing postbaccalaureate pre-med studies.

    Miwako Chimura

    Summer Intern (2017). Miwako is pursuing a B.A. in Psychology at UMass Amherst.

    Susanna Crowell

    Research Assistant (2013). Susanna is a PhD student in the Child Clinical program at Georgia State University.

    Ivy Defoe

    Fulbright Scholar from The Netherlands (2015). Ivy is completing her dissertation at the University of Utrecht.

    Chiemeka Ezie

    Undergraduate Research Assistant (2013-2015). Chiemeka is Lab Manager for Dr. Aaron Heller in the Department of Psychology at the University of Miami.

    Megan Garrad

    Lab Manager & Research Assistant (2014-2016). Megan was lab manager (and lab pastry chef!) and is now pursing a MCSW at the University of Chicago.

    Catherine Glenn, PhD

    Collaborating postdoc (2013-2015). Cassie was a postdoc in Prof. Matthew Nock's lab and collaborated with ANDL on a brain imaging project focusing on the mechanisms of self-injurious behavior during adolescence. She is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Rochester.

    Nadia Haddara

    Research Assistant (2014-2015). Nadia is a PhD student at SUNY Binghamton.

    Jessica Hsu

    Research Assistant (2017). Jessica is pursuing a career in computer programming and web development.

    Brian Huh

    Research Assistant (2013-2015). Brian is Lab Manager for the Center for Decision Sciences Lab at Columbia University Business School, working with Drs. Eric Johnson and Elke Weber.

    Lia Kaynor

    Undergraduate Research Assistant (2016). Lia is continuing her undergraduate studies at Harvard.

    Gian Klobusicky

    Research Manager (2016-2017). Gian works on Etsy's marketing analytics team and teaches at the NYC Data Science Academy.

    Sandy Li

    Undergraduate Research Assistant (2016-2017). Sandy is continuing her undergraduate studies at Harvard.

    John Naghshineh

    Independent Study/Masters Student (2012-2013). John is now an educator in California.

    Kristen Osborne

    Undergraduate Research Assistant and Thesis Student (2013-2015). Kristen works for the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University.

    Kate Pivovarova, PhD

    CLBB Research Fellow & Collaborator (2014). Kate is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

    Katie Powers, PhD

    Harvard College Fellow and Postdoctoral Researcher (2014-2017). Katie is the Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. She is also continuing to collaborate with ANDL on several research projects.

    Arielle Rabinowitz

    Undergraduate Research Assistant and Thesis Student (2012-2014). Arielle is a research assistant at Yale University Medical School.

    Ana Reyes

    Undergraduate Research Assistant (2014-2015). Ana is now pursuing dental school.

    Marilyn Romero

    Summer Research Assistant (2016). Marilyn is in her senior year at Smith College.

    Stephanie Sasse

    Outreach Coordinator & Research Assistant (2012-2016). Stephanie was an inaugural member of the lab who continues to work on ANDL projects in spite of her move across country. Stephanie is Executive Director of The People's Science and owner of Ambi Consulting.

    Maggie Schell

    Undergraduate Research Assistant (2015-2016). Maggie is continuing her undergraduate studies at Harvard.

    Hannah Shulman

    Research Assistant (2015-2016). Hannah graduated from Northeastern University and now works full time at Newton Wellesley Hospital.

    Alea Skwara

    Alea was the Inaugural Laboratory Manager from 2012-2014 and helped to build the lab. She is now pursuing her PhD at UC Davis.

    Sophie Turnbull

    M.Ed. Student (2013-2014). Sophie is working on her PhD in the UK.

    Christina Uhrig

    Undergraduate Research Assistant (2015). Christina is continuing her undergraduate studies at Harvard.

    Zuzanna Wojcieszak

    Undergraduate (2012-2013). Zuzanna worked in Professor Kate McLaughlin's lab at University of Washington, and is now pursuing a PhD in clinical psychology at Temple University.

    Joan Zhang

    Undergraduate Research Assistant. Joan will be working in New York City after graduation.

    Collaborators & Friends

    Randy Buckner, PhD
    Harvard University

    Bernd Figner, PhD
    University of Nijmegen, Netherlands

    Hedy Kober, PhD
    Yale University

    Kate McLaughlin, PhD
    University of Washington

    Joe Moran, PhD
    US Army Research, Development, and Engineering Command

    Matthew Nock, PhD
    Harvard University

    Margaret Sheridan, PhD
    University of North Carolina

    Robert Wilson, PhD
    University of Arizona

    Gideon Yaffe, PhD
    Yale University