Lab Director

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. 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.

    Lab Members

    Postdoctoral Fellow
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  • 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.

    PhD Student
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  • 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.

    Postdoctoral Fellow
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  • 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.

    Research Scientist
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  • 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.

    Human Connectome Project Manager
    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.

    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!

    Summer Lab Manager
    Office: Northwest Building Room 255
    Phone: 617-496-5447
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  • Annie is an undergraduate student at Harvard University Extension School concentrating in Psychology. She is interested in emotional regulation and how it relates to emotional awareness. She is also curious about how COVID-19 has affected emotional regulation and emotional responsiveness in dyadic relationships. Annie spends her spare time training for open water swimming races, making pasta, and petting her large, fluffy cat named Winnie.

    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.

    Undergraduate Research Assistant
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  • Racheal is an undergraduate at Harvard College, majoring in Cognitive Neuroscience and Evolutionary Psychology. She is interested in developmental psychology and learning more about emotion regulation in children and adolescents. In her spare time, she enjoys making art, going to karaoke, and watching true crime television.

    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.

    Undergraduate Research Assistant
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  • Saul is an undergraduate at Harvard College concentrating in Psychology and Computer Science. His main area of interest is in psychopathology, spending most of his time researching how antisocial personality disorder affects various aspects of a person's social interactions. He is also interested in the neural mechanisms and the long and short term behavioral and cognitive effects of recreational drugs. In his spare time Saul likes to practice skateboarding, go on long walks around the Charles River, and work out with friends.

    Undergraduate Research Assistant
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  • 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.


    Barbara Braams, PhD

    Postdoctoral Fellow (2016-2018)

    Yang Cai

    Independent Study/Masters Student (2013-2014)

    Laura Cegarra

    Research Assistant & Lab Manager (2018-2021)

    Katie Cho

    Research Assistant (2017-2018)

    Susanna Crowell

    Research Assistant (2013)

    Juliet Davidow, PhD

    Postdoctoral Fellow (2015-2019)

    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)

    Emily Iannazzi

    Human Connectome Research Assistant (2019)

    Katie Insel

    PhD Student (2013-2019)

    Kat Kabotyanski

    Lab Manager and Human Connectome Research Manager (2016-2020)

    Gian Klobusicky

    Research Manager (2016-2017)

    Laurel Kordyban

    Human Connectome Research Assistant & Lab Manager (2016-2019)

    Michael Mayer

    Human Connectome Research Assistant (2017-2019)

    John Naghshineh

    Independent Study/Masters Student (2012-2013)

    Natasha Parikh, PhD
    Postdoctoral Fellow (2019-2021)

    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)

    Jessie Schwab, PhD

    Harvard College Fellow and Postdoctoral Researcher (2018-2020)

    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)

    Arpi Youssoufian

    Lab Manager (2019-2020)

    Undergraduate Research Assistants

    Hayoung Ahn, Amanda Brandt, Mia Charifson, Aridenne Dews, Chiemeka Ezie, Lia Kaynor, Christina Li, Maggie Schell, Sandy Li, Kayla McGarrell, Kristen Osborne, Sadhana Ponnaluri, Arielle Rabinowitz, Kashfia Rahman, 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