Jessica Church-Lang, Ph.D.Principal Investigator
Dr. Jessica Church-Lang grew up in Michigan, got her B.A. at Smith College, and received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Washington University in St. Louis. She had a joint postdoc with Dr. Silvia Bunge (UC Berkeley) and Dr. Brad Schlaggar (Washington University School of Medicine) before starting the Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience lab in the Psychology Department at the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Church-Lang has a strong interest in how cognitive control processes develop over age, and in how research on atypical development illuminates the vulnerable aspects of cognitive development. Dr. Church-Lang is head of the Austin neuroimaging site of the Texas Learning Disabilities Research Center project on reading intervention and brain change (texasldcenter.org). Research in the lab currently focuses on the development of cognitive control and academic skills in late childhood and adolescence, and the role of the brain’s putative control networks in learning change over intervention, educational interruption, or puberty. To address these topics, the lab uses behavioral methods such as cognitive tests, pubertal hormone assessments, neuropsychological assessments, actigraphy, neuroimaging (fMRI, resting-state fcMRI), and studies of patient populations (e.g. children with Tourette disorder, ADHD, or dyslexia).
Chuu Nyan, B.S.Lab Manager
Chuu received her A.S. in Biology from Austin Community College in 2020 after moving to the US from Burma. She then got her B.S. in Neuroscience from the University of Texas at Austin in 2023. Throughout her senior year as an undergraduate, Chuu worked as a research assistant in the Duarte Lab and assisted in projects that used EEG and FMRI imaging techniques to study sleep and memory correlations across the lifespan. During the same time, She also worked at the Child Development Center to work closely with young children and observe their social interaction through intentional play. In June 2023, Chuu joined the Dr. Church-Lang’s Lab to further her research experience. She is curious in exploring the impact of early-life social interactions on cognitive and social development.
Tin Nguyen, Ph.D.Postdoctoral Fellow
Tin is drawn to figuring out and implementing ways and tools to elevate the lives of individuals facing disadvantaged circumstances and headwinds in life—through community services and scientific research. He has been involved with organizations and community programs that support students with learning difficulties through the San Antonio Youth Literacy, individuals experiencing poverty and housing insecurity through Daybreak Arts (formerly Poverty and the Arts), and others. Currently, he has the opportunities to be a part of and contribute to research projects conducted by Dr. Laurie Cutting’s team at Vanderbilt University and Dr. Jessica Church-Lang’s team at University of Texas, studying problems and questions that deal with how contextual variables, such as families’ socioeconomic backgrounds, relate to children’s brain development and learning outcomes.
Tyler Larguinho, B.S.Graduate Student
Tyler graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 2017 with a B.S. in Psychology. At the University of Rhode Island, Tyler worked as a research assistant in the labs of Dr. Wayne Velicer and Dr. Patricia Morokoff investigating risky behaviors and power dynamics among sexual minority populations. In the Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Lab, Tyler is investigating the relationships between sleep patterns, executive functioning, default mode network activation, and pubertal development in adolescents with and without ADHD.
Blaire Porter, B.S.Graduate Student
Blaire Porter graduated from Trinity University (San Antonio, Texas) in 2018 with a B.A. in Psychology. During her undergraduate career, she worked as a lab coordinator in Dr. Jane Childers’ lab where she examined the role of structural alignment in verb learning in preschoolers. Post-graduation, she worked as a Research Specialist in Dr. Patricia Bauer’s lab at Emory University where she studied the development of memory integration and semantic knowledge accumulation in children and adults. Blaire is interested in the relationship between mental well-being, cognitive skills and academic achievement, specifically in people with ADHD.
Eliya Ben-Asher, B.S.Graduate Student
Eliya Ben-Asher graduated from the University of California, Davis in 2017 with a B.S. in Cognitive Science. During her undergraduate career, she worked as a research assistant in Dr. Ron Mangun’s lab exploring the interplay between attention on visual perception. Post-graduation, she worked as a Clinical Research Coordinator at the University of California, San Francisco where she studied the impact of various interventions on dementia. Today, Eliya is interested in understanding the role that neurocognitive development plays in one’s social ability. In particular, she hopes to understand how variations in executive function relate to daily social function.
Undergraduate Research Assistants
Victoria CervantesUndergraduate Research Assistant
Victoria is a junior at the University of Texas at Austin majoring in Human Biology and pursuing a certificate in Spanish For Medical Professions. She has an interest in health and developmental psychology, specifically the differences between various groups. She joined the Church Lab in Summer of 2022 to learn about how the brain functions and how it develops over childhood. She hopes to understand more about the research process through hands-on experience. Victoria hopes to attend medical school after graduating and plans to work with underprivileged groups and communities.
Sneha KesavanUndergraduate Research Assistant
Sneha is a Sophomore at the University of Texas at Austin majoring in Neuroscience and Plan II Honors with a Core Texts and Ideas certificate through the Jefferson Scholars Program. She is also involved in Women in Natural Sciences and the Freshman Research Initiative at UT. Sneha has always been intrigued about the inner workings of the brain and the many unanswered questions regarding childhood personality development, learning processes, and neuropsychological disorders. She joined the Church lab in 2021 to understand the practicalities of research and grow in a new learning atmosphere. Sneha hopes to attend medical school and pursue political advocacy in healthcare.
Yash R. PatelUndergraduate Research Assistant
Yash is a junior at the University of Texas at Austin pursuing a Bachelors of Science degree in Psychology. He is also aiming for a Pre-Health certificate as he heads down a pre-medical track. He is interested in the fields of cognitive and behavioral psychology; particularly, he finds the physical manifestations of psychological health quite fascinating. He joined the Church lab in Spring 2022 in hopes of learning more about the research process and gaining exposure to clinical studies. After graduation, he plans to attend medical school in order to eventually provide healthcare to underprivileged groups abroad.
Nihal TangedaUndergraduate Research Assistant
Nihal is a sophomore at the University of Texas at Austin majoring in Psychology B.A. and minoring in Business. He primarily has an interest in abnormal psychology and evolutionary psychology but wants to learn as much as can about other psychology disciplines. Additionally, Nihal wants to research the intersection between psychology and anthropology to learn about the differences in brain development across cultures. He joined the Church Lab in Spring 2023 to understand the cognitive development of children and learn more about clinical research. After graduating, Nihal hopes to attend graduate school and pursue further psychology research and therapy.
Klaudia MisztalUndergraduate Research Assistant
Klaudia is a freshman at the University of Texas at Austin double majoring in Plan II Honors and Psychology (BS). She is passionate about psychology and mental health, and is especially interested in the intersection of neural activity and human behavior, including how this relates to the development of psychological disorders. She joined the Church Lab in 2023 to learn about neuroimaging and childhood development as well as to gain exposure to a research environment. After graduating, Klaudia hopes to attend medical school and pursue psychiatry.
Sonya SwamiUndergraduate Research Assistant
Sonya is a Junior at the University of Texas at Austin pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Pre-Health certificate. She is interested in cognitive and developmental psychology, specifically how psychological aspects of development connect with changes in the brain. She joined the Church Lab in the Spring of 2023 to further explore her interest in neuropsychology, neuroimaging, and its applications, such as investigating the development of cognitive processes over aging. After graduating, Sonya plans to attend medical school and hopes to be involved with public health and healthcare reform.
Damion Demeter, Ph.DPostdoctoral Scholar, University of California San Diego
Tehila Nugiel, Ph.D.Postdoctoral Researcher, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
Mary Abbe Roe Barnes. Ph.D.Data Scientist, CatalystIQ
Laura Engelhardt, Ph.D.Data Analyst/Junior Account Executive, Non-profit Marketing
Jessie-Raye (Bodenhamer) Bauer, M.A.Jessie-Rae (Bodenhamer) Bauer, M.A.
Previous Lab Members
AnnaCarolina Garza, Lab Manager (Project Coordinator, Gibson Consulting)
Brittany Davis,Lab Manager (Master’s Student, Villanova University)
Melissa Aristizabal, Lab Manager (Teacher, IDEA Public Schools)
Mackenzie Mitchell, Lab Manager (PhD Student, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Annie Zheng, Lab Manager (PhD Student, Washington University)
Joel Martinez, Lab Manager (PhD Student, Princeton University)
Leonel Olmedo, Lab Manager (educ. consulting, Safal Partners, in Houston, TX)
Paid Research Assistants:
Alyssa Hernandez, Honors Thesis Student (Psychometrician)
Lauren Deschner, Undergraduate RA (MD, UT Health Science Center)
Jess Graves, Summer Research Intern (Masters in Statistics, University of Pittsburgh)
Miriam Ortega, Ph.D. Student (UCLA)
Volunteer Research Assistants:
Tiffany Wang, Undergraduate RA
Delayna Bradshaw, Undergraduate RA
Marie Vu, Undergraduate RA
Julissa De Los Santos, Undergraduate RA
Matt Larson, Undergraduate RA
Isabella Gomez, Undergraduate RA
Isabella Gomez, Undergraduate RA
Lisbet Avila, Undergraduate RA
Sneha Joshi, Undergraduate RA
Afra Huda, Undergraduate RA
Nikita Batra, Undergraduate RA
Kinsey Bickham, Undergraduate RA
Nancy Licona, Undergraduate RA
Mariana Rios, Undergraduate RA
Juan Carlos Ocampo, Undergraduate RA
Krista Barringer, Research Assistant
Marianne Coppola, Undergraduate RA
Andre Ferreira, Undergraduate RA
Jacqueline Smart, Undergraduate RA
Ashley Jacob, Undergraduate RA
Alejandra Gonzalez-Badia, Undergraduate RA
Phoebe Anderson, Undergraduate RA
Emily Barnes, Honors Thesis Student
Madison Tuazon, Undergraduate RA
Anushka George, Undergraduate RA
Funmi Osofundiya, Research Assistant
Lea Ann Thomas, Undergraduate RA
Louisa Angly, Undergraduate RA
Joshua McBride, Undergraduate RA
Rawand Abdelghani, Undergraduate RA
Monica Rodriguez, Undergraduate RA
Khushboo Verma, M.D., Volunteer
Jessica Berry, Undergraduate RA
Kumail Mahesri, Undergraduate RA
Yadira Plata, Undergraduate RA
Arlen Rodriguez, Undergraduate RA
Brandy Hennon, Undergraduate RA
Melissa Garza, Undergraduate RA
Isadora Costa, Undergraduate RA
Joy Lee, Undergraduate RA
Monsterrat Alonso, Undergraduate RA
Janchira Charoenworawat, Undergraduate RA
Neyra Garcia, Undergraduate RA
Alice Aizza, Undergraduate RA
Shreya Mulukuntla, Undergraduate RA
Summer Research Interns:
Jessica Galvez, Summer 2016 SURE Student
Lynee Herrera, Summer 2015 SURE Student
High School Research Assistants:
Uday Dutt, High School Volunteer
Rose Griffin, High School Volunteer