GEORGE BUZZELL

I received my PhD in Psychology from George Mason University in 2016. I am broadly interested in the capacity of the human brain to monitor and adapt itself overtime in order to achieve goal-directed behavior. For example, when we make mistakes, we must recognize such failures and then hopefully adapt our behavior in order to reduce the likelihood of making future mistakes. The ability to monitor one’s action and adapt our behavior is typically referred to as "performance monitoring" and "cognitive control", respectively. Within the Child Development Lab, I am seeking to better understand the developmental trajectories of performance monitoring and cognitive control, using a combination of behavioral and physiological measures. I am particularly interested in how individual variability in the performance monitoring and cognitive control systems relate to the development and onset of anxiety disorders. Read George's CV or check out his recent publications in Cognitive Affective & Behavioral Neuroscience, the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, and Neuroscience Letters.

ALISSA FORMAN-ALBERTI

I received my PhD in Developmental Psychology from The Catholic University of America in 2016. Broadly, my research has focused on the interaction between temperamental, social, and physiological factors in predicting externalizing and risk-taking behaviors (e.g., aggression, substance use) during adolescence. My hope is that this research can be used to inform childhood interventions and programs aimed at preventing these oftentimes dangerous types of behaviors from occurring. Here in the Child Development Lab, I will continue to focus on adolescent outcomes by helping to shape and implement the protocol for age 15/16 data collection within the Temperament Over Time Study (TOTS). Within this work, I am especially interested in exploring the ways in which supportive peer relationships affect adolescents’ behavioral and autonomic responses to social challenges, and then whether individual differences in these responses predict later substance use. Read Alissa's CV or check out her recent publications in the International Journal of Psychophysiology (2016a, 2016b).

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RANJAN DEBNATH

I received my PhD in Psychology from University of Otago in 2016. My PhD study investigated the neurophysiological mechanisms underlying self-produced action observation. My research examined how presence and absence of visual feedback of one’s own hand movements modulate sensorimotor cortex activation in human brain. I also explored the brain basis of observation of one’s own action through a mirror, which is known as mirror therapy. Mirror therapy is non-invasive treatment procedure to treat phantom limb pain and other sensorimotor symptoms associated with an impaired or amputated limb. In Child Development Lab, my postdoctoral work focuses to understand the development of mirror neuron system in infants and children. I will use EEG to investigate neural basis of execution and observation of action in infants and child populations. Read Ranjan's CV or check out his recent publications in Cortex and Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience.

COURTNEY FILIPPI

I received my PhD in Developmental Psychology from the University of Chicago in 2016. My dissertation work investigated the link between an EEG response, termed the mu-ERD, and social cognition. Broadly, my research investigates the neural mechanisms that support the development of social behavior from infancy to childhood. My research focuses on the relation between perceptual and motor processes in infant cognition. I am now a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in the Section on Development and Affective Neuroscience with a shared appointment in the Child Development Lab. My postdoctoral work uses MRI to investigate the brain basis of behavioral inhibition in infancy and early childhood. Some of my current projects investigate whether there are differences in brain structure as a function of behavioral inhibition and anxiety. Read Courtney's CV or check out her recent publications in Frontiers in Psychology, Psychological Science, and New Frontiers in Mirror Neurons.

BETSY SMITH

I received my PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Rochester in 2013, having completed my graduate work on audiovisual integration in autism spectrum disorders. I then began a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institutes of Health under the shared mentorship of Drs. Audrey Thurm and Amir Gandjbakhche, using two imaging methods (sMRI and fNIRS) to investigate brain development in children, including children with autism and toddlers at risk for autism spectrum disorder. I am broadly interested in understanding brain development over the first years of life, particularly as it relates to the emergence of social communication skills and impairments thereof. Different imaging methods capture varying aspects of the changing brain in infants and very young children, and I am investigating which methods best capture the brain changes underlying social development and also which methods can best detect aberrancies in early social development. While I am in the Child Development Lab, I will be using a combination of fNIRS and EEG to investigate the integrity of the mirror system in infants. Given the potential relation between the mirror system and imitation, I am particularly interested in how neural measures of the mirror system will predict infants’ social communication abilities, and how this may relate to the emergence of autism spectrum disorders. Read Betsy's CV.