Graduate Students

PhD Students

Addam Antunez
PhD Student
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Alycia Bisson
Lifespan Lab

Alycia is a fifth-year Ph.D. student in the Lifespan Developmental Psychology Lab, who is broadly interested in the field of cognitive aging. Her undergraduate work at the University of Massachusetts Amherst examined the importance of sleep to memory across life, which led her to become interested in interventions (like physical activity) that can improve sleep. Her dissertation work examines the ways in which physical activity and sleep interact to influence memory across the adult lifespan. Alycia recently received a University Prize Instructorship grant to develop and teach her own course 'Exploring Sleep: Interdisciplinary Perspecitives' at Brandeis.

marissa digirolamo
Marissa DiGirolamo
PhD Student, SIM lab

Marissa is a fourth year PhD student in the Social Interaction and Motivation lab. Her research broadly focuses on the neural and physiological processes involved in the embodied understanding of another's emotion state, with an emphasis on interpersonal interactions and stressful situations. Current projects examine the relationship between various measures of empathy, neural representations of others, and physiological synchrony during a real time interaction. Marissa is particularly interested in the role of stress among these relationships and how it might impact our ability to understand another's actions, intentions, and emotions in a social context. In her free time, Marissa enjoys staying active through hiking, rock climbing, and running marathons.

Claire Elling
PhD Student

Claire is a PhD student in the Biological Health Psychology Lab. Broadly, her research interests include examining how body image, self-objectification, and chronic and acute stress fit together to impact overall health. Current and upcoming projects focus on cultural differences in the impact of body image and self-objectification on chronic stress and the role of self-objectification within an acute stress context. Claire received her BA in psychology from Niagara University and enjoys weightlifting, painting, and playing the accordion.

William Goodman
PhD Student
Brandon Hager
PhD Student
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Rachel Runqiu Jin
PhD Student

Rachel is a PhD student in the Ashton Graybiel Spatial Orientation Lab. During the first few years of PhD, she continued to pursue her research interest on multisensory integration during human balancing and spatial orientation. Currently, she is investigating the risk factors and adaption in human postural control. She received a BA degree in psychology with a minor in cognitive science from UCLA (summa cum laude, along with College Honors), and a MA degree in experimental psychology from Brandeis University. She worked for the UCLA Center for Mental Health in Schools and has assisted with a variety of research on multisensory integration, language processing in brains and animal behaviors.

Outside the lab, Rachel is into fashion, making YouTube videos, EDM, playing the instruments (she plays 10+ of them with a current focus on electric guitar), food, social, reading, business collaborations and many more!

John Ksander
PhD Student
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Krystal Leger
Aging, Culture, & Cognition Lab

Krystal is a PhD student in Dr. Angela Gutchess's lab studying the effects of culture on different forms of memory. Before coming to Brandeis, she received a BS in Psychology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst where she completed an honors thesis using fMRI to investigate the role of visual cortex in recognition memory. Outside the lab, she enjoys creative writing, binging Netflix shows, and coming up with fan theories about the latest Marvel movie.

Xin Yao Lin
PhD Student
elizabeth mahon
Elizabeth Mahon
Lifespan Lab
Liz researches abnormal cognitive aging with a focus on prevention through technology. She is a 1st year PhD student in Dr. Margie Lachman’s Lifespan Developmental Psychology Lab. She completed her psychology undergraduate degree at Harvard College under the research guidance of Dr. Richard McNally, and later worked at the Framingham Heart Study in Dr. Rhoda Au's Neuropsychology Group. Her broad research aim is to identify earlier-life risk factors for dementia through digital and cognitive biometrics. Outside the lab, she enjoys playing her cello, binging Radio Lab podcasts, and learning languages.
jourdan parent
Jourdan Parent
Neurochemistry & Cognition Lab
Jourdan is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Neurochemistry and Cognition Lab. She graduated from Boston University with a B.A. in Neuroscience. She has worked in psychological assessment, eye-tracking, MRI, and animal model research in the past. Her current research interests include the use of fMRI and PET imaging techniques to understand how individual differences in dopamine synthesis are related to higher-level cognition and brain network activity.
diane rohrer
Diane Rohrer
Knight Lab
Diane is a Ph.D. student in Dr. Raymond Knight's lab. Her area of study lies at the intersection of sexual aggression and psychopathology. As a Masters student at Brandeis her thesis explored the latent factor structure underlying a commonly utilized static risk assessment tool. For her doctoral work she is interested in incorporating brain imaging techniques and physiological measures to further explore the Agonistic Continuum. In her spare time she enjoys rock climbing with her husband and snuggling her Shih Tzu, Reign of Terror.
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Luke Sim
Ashton Graybiel Spatial Orientation Laboratory
Luke is a PhD student in the Ashton Graybiel Spatial Orientation Laboratory. He is interested in the acquisition of motor skills, how people adapt to a specific movement related task and why they make certain patterns of mistakes in the given task. Currently, his focus is on the neural correlates of incorrect joystick deflections in a task that requires participants to balance an inverted pendulum with a joystick. Luke enjoys working out in the gym, collecting meteorites and travelling the world.
Jeremy Simon
Jeremy Simon

Jeremy is a fourth-year PhD student studying intergroup bias and dehumanization, with an emphasis on interpersonal interactions and neural representations of others. Current projects include interpersonal manipulations of dehumanization, decoding of minimal and racial group information from EEG data, and tests of how perceptions of American demographics affect prejudice and conservatism.

Yile Sun
PhD Student
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Morgan Taylor
CoPE Lab
Morgan is a PhD student in the CoPE Lab at Brandeis University. Her research focuses on risk mechanisms for internalizing psychopathology. Specifically, she studies how cognitive processes influence risk for developing internalizing disorders. Current projects investigate how interactions between executive functioning, stress, and repetitive negative thinking processes influence depression and anxiety.
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Mercedes Villalonga
Vision Lab
Volen 242
Mercedes is a Ph.D. student in the Vision Lab. She studies mechanisms of time perception and the effects of multisensory integration on attention and decision-making. Her current projects include psychophysical investigations of visuo-haptic perception, computational modeling of perceptual decision-making, and EEG studies of temporal processing in multiple sensory modalities.
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Jennifer Wicks
CoPE Lab

Jenny is a PhD student in the CoPE lab at Brandeis University. Her research focuses on risk and buffering mechanisms for depression. More specifically, she studies the mechanisms by which social support processes can adaptively or maladaptively influence depression risk. Current projects address social support effects on individual coping strategies and stress perceptions and how processes that occur during social support interactions influence depression.

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Wanbing Zhang
Aging, Culture, & Cognition Lab

Wanbing Zhang is a second-year PhD student. She received a BS in Psychology from University of Minnesota Twin Cities under the guidance of Dr. Wilma Koutstaal. She is interested in developing prevention strategies for age-related memory loss, and ways to maintain the health of higher-order cognitive functions such as decision making and socioemotional judgment. Her current project looks at self-reference as a memory strategy to improve memory for older adults and aMCI patients. In her leisure time, she enjoys traveling, cooking, and cuddling her cat, Sugar.

Master's Students

emily calobrisi
Emily Calobrisi
Knight Lab

Emily is a Master's student in the Knight Lab. Before coming to Brandeis, Emily received a BS in Psychology from Tufts University and worked for two years at Northeastern University's Center for Cognitive and Brain Health. She is interested in studying stigma, discrimination, and bias, specifically the effects of incarceration on individuals and society. Emily plans to examine clinician bias in the risk classification of sex offenders. Outside of research, she is a competitive ballroom and Latin dancer.

Chih-Yuan (Jessie) Chien
MA Student
Esther Cho
MA student
Rebekah Garrett
Neurochemistry & Cognition Lab
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Ashley Gilliam
Aging, Culture & Cognition Lab

Ashley Gilliam is a first-year Master’s student. She received a B.S. degree in Psychological Sciences with a minor in Neuroscience and a B.A. in Anthropology from Western Kentucky University. She has worked extensively as part of an Anthropology lab and two Psychology labs, contributed to an ethnographic study supported by the National Park Service, and conducted two independent research projects concerning perceptions of Muslim populations during her undergraduate program. She received the National Anthropology Honor Society XLIV Senior Student Scholarship Award. She is particularly interested in culture, social cognition, memory, and perception. She intends to conduct thesis research concerning acculturation at Brandeis and, following this, to pursue a doctoral degree with a focus in Neuroanthropology.

Caroline Forest
CoPE Lab
Alex Newman
Knight Lab
Xiaolin Qiao
MA Student
Yangyi Shi
MA Student
Xuewei Wang
MA Student
Jingchuan Wu
Health Lab
Jinqi Yuan