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).

Curriculum Vitae


AnnaCarolina Garza, B.S. – Lab Manager

AnnaCarolina attended the University of Texas at Austin and graduated with a B.S. in Neuroscience in 2021. She joined the Church Lab to gain hands-on experience in the research field in 2019 as an undergraduate Research Assistant. During her time as a Research Assistant, AnnaCarolina supported the longitudinal study of executive functioning in children with control disorders and the Neuroimaging of English language learners study and used data from those studies to look at social functioning and executive functioning in kids with and without ADHD. In June 2021, AnnaCarolina began working as a Lab Manager in the Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience lab.


Brittany Davis, B.A. – Lab Manager

Brittany completed a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Oregon in 2019. During her time at the UO she worked as a research assistant and Project Coordinator in Dr. Jennifer Pfeifer’s Developmental Social Neuroscience Lab. In the DSN Lab, Brittany supported projects that use methods such as fMRI, clinical diagnostic assessment, smartphone apps, and hormonal sampling to assess adolescent development across multiple dimensions. Brittany joined the Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Lab in January 2021 to help coordinate the Summer project. 


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 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 intervention 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.



Shreya Mulukuntla – Undergraduate Research Assistant

Shreya is a sophomore at the University of Texas at Austin pursuing a BSA in Biochemistry and a minor in Healthcare Reform and Innovation. She has an interest in neuroscience and psychology, especially the interaction between both fields. She joined the Church Lab in 2021 to get more experience in research, and become more familiar with neuroimaging. She hopes to learn more about how cognition develops in children and how developmental cognition can differ between children. After graduating, she hopes to attend medical school and continue research.





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. As a track athlete, she is naturally interested in how traumatic brain injuries caused by sports affect cognition and behavior in adolescents. 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. 




Philia N. Hsia – Undergraduate Research Assistant

Philia is a Senior at the University of Texas at Austin majoring in Psychology, B.S. and minoring in Business.  Her academic interests include cognitive psychology and abnormal psychology, specifically in autism spectrum disorders and the difference in cognitive development between neurodivergent children and neurotypical children. She joined the Church Lab in Spring 2022 in hopes of learning more about neurodivergent individuals and the way their brains function as well as gain more exposure to the research community. After graduating, she hopes to attend graduate school where she can pursue research in hopes of potentially opening an autism clinic where can conduct her own therapy.


Victoria Cervantes – Undergraduate 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.




Yash R. Patel – Undergraduate 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.



Damion Demeter, Ph.D. (Postdoctoral 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.






Lab Managers:

    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)

Volunteer Research Assistants:

Tiffany Wang, Undergraduate RA
Emily Barnes, Honors Thesis Student
Delayna Bradshaw, Undergraduate RA
Madison Tuazon, Undergraduate RA
Marie Vu, Undergraduate RA
Anushka George, Undergraduate RA
Julissa De Los Santos, Undergraduate RA
Funmi Osofundiya, Research Assistant
Matt Larson, Undergraduate RA
Lea Ann Thomas, Undergraduate RA
Isabella Gomez, Undergraduate RA
Louisa Angly, Undergraduate RA
Kevin Helgren, Undergraduate RA
Joshua McBride, Undergraduate RA
Lisbet Avila, Undergraduate RA
Rawand Abdelghani, Undergraduate RA
Sneha Joshi, Undergraduate RA
Monica Rodriguez, Undergraduate RA
Afra Huda, Undergraduate RA
Khushboo Verma, M.D., Volunteer
Nikita Batra, Undergraduate RA
Jessica Berry, Undergraduate RA
Kinsey Bickham, Undergraduate RA
Kumail Mahesri, Undergraduate RA
Nancy Licona, Undergraduate RA
Yadira Plata, Undergraduate RA
Mariana Rios, Undergraduate RA
Arlen Rodriguez, Undergraduate RA
Juan Carlos Ocampo, Undergraduate RA
Brandy Hennon, Undergraduate RA
Krista Barringer, Research Assistant
Melissa Garza, Undergraduate RA
Marianne Coppola, Undergraduate RA
 Isadora Costa, Undergraduate RA
Andre Ferreira, Undergraduate RA
Joy Lee, Undergraduate RA
Jacqueline Smart, Undergraduate RA
Monsterrat Alonso, Undergraduate RA
Ashley Jacob, Undergraduate RA
Janchira Charoenworawat, Undergraduate RA
Alejandra Gonzalez-Badia, Undergraduate RA
Neyra Garcia, Undergraduate RA
Phoebe Anderson, Undergraduate RA
Alice Aizza, 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