Lab Members

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 (  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).

Lab Manager

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.

Postdoctoral Fellow

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.

Graduate Students

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.

Undergraduate Research Assistants

Sneha Kesavan

Undergraduate 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. 

Klaudia Misztal

Undergraduate 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.

Nihal Tangeda

Undergraduate 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.

Caroline Painter

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Caroline is a junior at the University of Texas at Austin pursuing a degree in Psychology with a minor in Health Communications. She participated in UT’s Psychology Undergraduate Mentoring Program, which confirmed and strengthened her interest in conducting research. Her areas of interest include developmental psychology, cognitive development, and their interaction with neuroscience. Caroline joined the Church Lab in 2023 to learn more about how cognitive processes develop in children and to further explore her interest in neuroscience. Caroline plans to attend graduate school for clinical psychology, and she hopes to one day work with children in both research and clinical settings.

Kenadi Pearson

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Kenadi is a sophomore at the University of Texas at Austin pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a minor in Educational Psychology. She is interested in developmental and cognitive psychology, specifically in understanding how children learn and finding accommodations for the various ways kids process information. Kenadi joined the Church Lab in the Spring of 2024 to explore her interests and acquire training in research with children. She hopes to eventually get a Ph.D. and work in academia so that she can make an impact on future generations.

Maya Peralez

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Maya is a Junior at the University of Texas at Austin majoring in psychology and in the Liberal Arts Honors Program with a Pre-heath Professions For Non-Science Majors Certificate. She is interested in child-development and social behavior. She is specifically interested in how group behavior influences individual behavior, especially in relation to social media and self-diagnosis habits. She is joining this lab to understand the research process and learn about neurology and neuroimaging for children. After graduating I hope to attend graduate school and obtain my PhD with a focus in psychology. 

Mya Levaughn

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Mya is a Junior at the University of Texas at Austin majoring in Neuroscience with a minor in Business. She is interested in cognitive and developmental neuroscience particularly neurodevelopmental disorders. She joined the Church lab in the spring 2024 to gain more hands-on research experience particularly with children and neuroimaging. After graduating, Mya plans to attend medical school and hopes to promote the education and understanding of neurocognitive disabilities.

Devin Wallets

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Devin is a junior at UT this year, studying Psychology with a minor in Educational Psychology and a Forensic Science certificate! She has special interests in the rehabilitation efforts for inmates, and child development/how our diagnostic system along with treatment for children is progressing. She joined this lab to gain hands-on research experience, working with children and their families to uncover such progressions and to just learn the steps of working in a fully realized research lab. She is so excited to begin this collaborative journey! She intends to further her education in a grad school, so she can become a clinical child or forensic psychologist in the future.

Areebah Mubin

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Areebah is a sophomore at UT Austin pursuing a Bachelor of Science in psychology on the pre-medical track. She has strong interests in child and adolescent psychology, as well as psychopathology. Areebah joined the Church DCN lab in Spring of 2024 to broaden her research experience in working with children and to better understand developmental psychology from a neuroscientific perspective. She plans to graduate early and attend medical school to pursue her career goals in psychiatry. Areebah hopes to further destigmatize treatment for mental health issues present within the community by working with children and families, specifically in trauma recovery.


Eliya Ben-Asher, Ph.D.

Lead Data Scientist, Lumen Technologies

Damion Demeter, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Scholar, University of California San Diego

Tehila Nugiel, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Psychology Department, Florida State University

Mary Abbe Roe Barnes. Ph.D.

Data Scientist, CatalystIQ

Laura Engelhardt, Ph.D.

Data Scientist, CatalystIQ

Jessie-Raye (Bodenhamer) Bauer, M.A.

Sr. Manager, Data Science @ Expedia Group

Previous Lab Members


Lab Managers:

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, Ph.D., Lab Manager (Data Scientist, Harvard 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:

Victoria Cervantes, Undergraduate RA

Shreya Mulukuntla, Undergraduate RA

Yash Patel, Undergraduate RA

Sonya Swami, Undergraduate RA

Victor Diaz, Undergraduate RA

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

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