People

Lab Director

LEAH SOMERVILLE, PHD
Professor of Psychology
Office: Northwest Building Room 290
Phone: (617) 495 7513
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  • Leah Somerville is a Professor of Psychology at Harvard University and faculty in the Center for Brain Science. Leah's research informs the nature and consequences of adolescent brain development on changes in 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.

    Lab Members

    HAYOUNG AHN
    Undergraduate Research Assistant
    Office: Northwest Building Suite 290

    Hayoung is an undergraduate at Harvard College, concentrating in Neuroscience (Mind Brain Behavior track) with a secondary in Psychology. She is primarily interested in exploring emotional development, language, and self-awareness from a cognitive perspective—as well as understanding their roles in mental health. Ultimately, Hayoung plans on studying medicine and working in neurology or psychiatry. Outside of classes and lab, she loves to spend her time editing videos and photos, making music playlists, and journaling.

    GRAHAM BAUM, PHD
    Postdoctoral Fellow

    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 CEGARRA
    Undergraduate Research Assistant
    Office: Northwest Building Room 280.12

    Laura is currently an undergraduate at Harvard College, where she studies Psychology with a focus in Cognitive Neuroscience. As a research assistant with the Human Connectome Project in Development, Laura interacts with parents and participants. She is especially interested in how adolescent emotional development impacts preference in reading materials, and how bilingualism impacts emotional experiences. When she’s not working, Laura likes to read, draw, and show people pictures of her dog.

    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.

    MELANIE GRAD-FREILICH
    Human Connectome Research Assistant
    Office: Northwest Building Room 280.12
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  • 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 GRISANZIO
    PhD Student
    Office: Northwest Building Room 280.14
    Phone: 617-496-5447

    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!

    EMILY IANNAZZI
    Human Connectome Research Assistant
    Office: Northwest Building Room 280.12
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  • Emily received her BA in Psychology with a Clinical Concentration from Boston College in 2019. She worked for several years at Dr. Maureen Ritchey’s Memory Modulation Lab where she studied cognitive and affective neuroscience. For her thesis, she investigated the influence of emotion on competitive forgetting mechanisms involved in autobiographical memories. Emily is interested in how memory and emotion interact in the development and treatment of trauma. While working as a part of the Human Connectome Project, Emily is also a Research Assistant for the Buckner Lab at Harvard University. Outside of the lab, Emily watches too much TV, loves doing jigsaw puzzles, and is a proud bunny owner.

    KAT KABOTYANSKI
    Human Connectome Research Manager
    Office: Northwest Building Room 280.12
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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
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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
    Lab Manager
    Office: Northwest Building Room 280.13
    Phone: 617-496-5447
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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. When not at work, Laurel enjoys reading, improv comedy, and exploring.

    ERIK NOOK
    PhD Student
    Office: Northwest Building Room 290.02
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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. 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 PARIKH, PHD
    Postdoctoral Fellow
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  • 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.

    KASHFIA RAHMAN
    Undergraduate Research Assistant
    Office: Northwest Building Suite 290

    Kashfia is an undergraduate at Harvard College, planning to concentrate in Psychology on the Cognitive Science Track. She is especially interested in how emotional and cognitive development during adolescence influence behavior, as well as the role of external and environmental factors, such as stress and risk-taking, in learning, memory, and mood. Besides all things neuroscience and psychology, Kashfia enjoys reading a good book, walking and cycling outdoors, and travelling as much as she can!

    JESSIE SCHWAB, PHD
    Postdoctoral Fellow
    Office: Northwest Building Room 290.01
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  • Jessie received her BA in Psychology from Georgetown University in 2012 and her MA in Communication Sciences from Northwestern University in 2014. She did her PhD at Princeton University, where she researched how differences in children’s language input influences their learning. In the ANDlab, Jessie is interested in studying the intersection of language, emotion, and learning over the course of development. Outside of the lab, Jessie teaches in the Psychology department as a College Fellow, and she enjoys playing board games, being outdoors, and cooking (but mostly eating) all kinds of food.

    ARPI YOUSSOUFIAN
    Lab Manager
    Office: Northwest Building Room 280.13
    Phone: 617-496-5447
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  • Arpi received her B.A. in Biology from Barnard College in 2016 and Ed.M. in Mind, Brain, and Education from Harvard University in 2017. During her college summers, she worked in Dr. Nancy Kanwisher’s lab at MIT, studying structure-function relationships in the human visual system. Following her Master’s year, she worked as a Research Assistant in Dr. Randy Buckner’s lab here at Harvard before joining the ANDL. She is interested in how adolescents make decisions, especially in situations of social stress, peer influence, cooperation, and competition, and the implications of this work in the juvenile justice system. Arpi’s other career considerations growing up were astronomer, pro gymnast, and secret agent.

    Alumni

    Barbara Braams, PhD

    Postdoctoral Fellow (2016-2018)

    Yang Cai

    Independent Study/Masters Student (2013-2014)

    Katie Cho

    Research Assistant (2017-2018)

    Susanna Crowell

    Research Assistant (2013)

    Ivy Defoe

    Fulbright Scholar from The Netherlands (2015)

    Gina Falcone

    Research Assistant (2015-2018)

    Megan Garrad

    Lab Manager & Research Assistant (2014-2016)

    Catherine Glenn, PhD

    Collaborating postdoc (2013-2015)

    Nadia Haddara

    Research Assistant (2014-2015)

    Jessica Hsu

    Research Assistant (2017)

    Brian Huh

    Research Assistant (2013-2015)

    Katie Insel

    PhD Student (2013-2019)

    Gian Klobusicky

    Research Manager (2016-2017)

    Michael Mayer

    Human Connectome Research Assistant (2017-2019)

    John Naghshineh

    Independent Study/Masters Student (2012-2013)

    Kate Pivovarova, PhD

    CLBB Research Fellow & Collaborator (2014)

    Katie Powers, PhD

    Harvard College Fellow and Postdoctoral Researcher (2014-2017)

    Mahalia Prater Fahey

    Human Connectome Research Assistant (2017-2019)

    Alexandra Rodman

    Graduate Student (2014-2018)

    Stephanie Sasse

    Outreach Coordinator & Research Assistant (2012-2016)

    Maheen Shermohammed

    PhD Student (2014-2019)

    Hannah Shulman

    Research Assistant (2015-2016)

    Alea Skwara

    Inaugural Laboratory Manager (2012-2014)

    Abi Stark

    Research Assistant (2017-2018)

    Sophie Turnbull

    M.Ed. Student (2013-2014)

    Constanza (Cony) Vidal Bustamante

    Research Assistant & Human Connectome Research Manager (2014-2019)

    Undergraduate Research Assistants

    Amanda Brandt, Mia Charifson, Aridenne Dews, Chiemeka Ezie, Lia Kaynor, Christina Li, Maggie Schell, Sandy Li, Kayla McGarrell, Kristen Osborne, Sadhana Ponnaluri, Arielle Rabinowitz, Ana Reyes, Caitlin Stavish, Christina Uhrig, Zuzanna Wojcieszak, Joan Zhang

    Summer Interns

    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