Leah Somerville is a Professor of Psychology at Harvard University and faculty in the Center for Brain Science. Her research focuses on characterizing adolescent brain development, and the consequences of brain development on psychological functioning and well being. This work integrates behavioral, computational, and neuroimaging approaches, and has recently expanded in scale to include conducting the Human Connectome Project in Development, a large NIH-funded study on brain connectivity development. In addition to directing the lab and teaching undergraduate and graduate courses, Leah is the Director of Graduate Studies for the Department of Psychology.
Graham received his B.S. from Cornell University in 2012, and spent two years as a research fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health in the Genes, Cognition, and Psychosis program. Graham recently completed his PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania, where he applied tools from network science to delineate how white matter architecture develops to support improvements in executive function during adolescence. Currently, Graham is interested in identifying circuit-level markers of brain maturation that are linked with individual differences in working memory, inhibitory control, and decision-making. Outside the lab, Graham enjoys hiking with his dog Huxley, exploring cities by bike, and thinking about the stochasticity of evolution.
Laura received her A.B. in Psychology from Harvard College in 2020. She first joined ANDL as an undergraduate research assistant in 2018. Laura is especially interested in the impact of mental health and bilingualism on adolescent emotional development. Before settling on psychology and neuroscience, Laura trained to become a professional ballet dancer. She now likes dancing for fun and taking too many pictures of her dog.
Yelina received her B.A. in Cognitive Science from the University of Pennsylvania. She is interested in decision making and peer influence in adolescence. Outside of the lab, she enjoys taking long walks, listening to audiobooks, and going down rabbit holes searching for environmental-friendly swaps for everyday things.
Garth received his BA in Psychology and Neuroscience from Skidmore College. He went on to get his PhD in Psychology from Harvard University working with Prof. Randy Buckner, and is staying local as a Postdoctoral Fellow with Prof. Leah Somerville. Garth’s research interests are in dynamics between sleep behaviors and experiences of stress, and how their interrelationships may shed light on factors that put us at risk for, or make us resilient to, developing psychiatric disorders, particularly during major life transitions such as adolescence or beginning college. Garth also teaches in the Psychology Department as a College Fellow. Outside of lab, Garth enjoys movie nights with his cats, exploring the city for new places to eat, and board games with friends.
John is a research scientist working with Drs. Leah Somerville and Kate McLaughlin at Harvard University. He came here by way of the psychology Ph.D. program at the University of Oregon, and a B.A. in cognitive science at the University of California, Berkeley. John is interested in the development of decision-making and learning during adolescence, and how these processes, situated in the context of developmentally normative goals and adverse environments, contribute to mental and physical health. He is am passionate about statistical methodology, especially measurement and modeling task behavior, as well as scientific computing. John is a huge fan of R, Stan, and The Society for the Improvement of Psychological Science.
Melanie graduated from Yale University in 2019 with a B.S. in Psychology. As an undergraduate she worked on the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study with Dr. BJ Casey, and continues to explore her interest in the fields of developmental and abnormal psychology with her work on the Human Connectome Project in Development in the Somerville Lab. She is particularly interested in using neuroimaging methods to investigate the developmental trajectories of mental illnesses. Outside of the lab, Melanie loves camping, dancing, and continuing her search for the best cheesecake in the world.
Katherine graduated from Boston College in 2014 with a B.S. in Psychology. She then worked as a Neuroscience Research Lab Manager at Stanford University under the guidance of Dr. Leanne Williams. Katherine is currently a PhD student in the Cognition, Brain & Behavior track at Harvard. She is interested in studying how neural circuitry gives rise to adolescent cognitive control and affective experience. Outside of lab, she likes to run 5Ks, lounge with her cats, and play cards!
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.
Erik hails from the town of Schaller, Iowa, but he also spent time in South Africa and Australia while growing up. Erik's research focuses on interactions between language and emotion. He's interested in understanding how emotion words influence how we regulate and represent emotions. He received his B.A. in psychology from Columbia University, where he worked with Prof. Kevin Ochsner and Dr. Ajay Satpute, and after graduating, Erik served as the lab manager for Prof. Jamil Zaki at Stanford University. Erik is currently a Clinical Science PhD student at Harvard, with Prof. Matt Nock as a secondary advisor, and in his graduate work, Erik has extended the study of language and emotion into the 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.
Natasha received her BS in Mathematical and Computational Biology from Harvey Mudd College in 2014. She went on to get a PhD in Psychology and Neuroscience from Duke University, where she studied how imagining alternative versions of events could help people regulate their emotional responses to memories. At Harvard, Natasha hopes to continue her research developing and understanding novel emotion regulation techniques. Outside of lab, Natasha teaches in the Psychology department as a College Fellow and enjoys board games, weight training, and cute animal videos.
Kara is an undergraduate at Harvard College, concentrating in Cognitive Neuroscience and Evolutionary Psychology. She is interested in exploring the intersection of social psychology and neuroscience, particularly in adolescents. She is interested in studying the mechanisms behind adolescents’ increased risk for mental illness and risky decision-making. In her free time, she enjoys going on runs, baking cookies, and checking out new coffee shops.
Postdoctoral Fellow (2016-2018)
Independent Study/Masters Student (2013-2014)
Research Assistant (2017-2018)
Research Assistant (2013)
Postdoctoral Fellow (2015-2019)
Fulbright Scholar from The Netherlands (2015)
Research Assistant (2015-2018)
Lab Manager & Research Assistant (2014-2016)
Collaborating postdoc (2013-2015)
Research Assistant (2014-2015)
Research Assistant (2017)
Research Assistant (2013-2015)
Human Connectome Research Assistant (2019)
PhD Student (2013-2019)
Lab Manager and Human Connectome Research Manager (2016-2020)
Research Manager (2016-2017)
Human Connectome Research Assistant & Lab Manager (2016-2019)
Human Connectome Research Assistant (2017-2019)
Independent Study/Masters Student (2012-2013)
CLBB Research Fellow & Collaborator (2014)
Harvard College Fellow and Postdoctoral Researcher (2014-2017)
Human Connectome Research Assistant (2017-2019)
Graduate Student (2014-2018)
Outreach Coordinator & Research Assistant (2012-2016)
Harvard College Fellow and Postdoctoral Researcher (2018-2020)
PhD Student (2014-2019)
Research Assistant (2015-2016)
Inaugural Laboratory Manager (2012-2014)
Research Assistant (2017-2018)
M.Ed. Student (2013-2014)
Research Assistant & Human Connectome Research Manager (2014-2019)
Lab Manager (2019-2020)
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Amma Ababio, Nadine Abi Akar, Biniam Andargie, Jeremy Astesano, Alex Barry, Miwako Chimura, Samantha Collins, Matt Jiang, Marilyn Romero, Jose Santiago, Azul Savid, Ruixi Zhang