Research in our lab currently focuses on the development of cognitive skills such as task switching and reading in late childhood and early adolescence. We are interested in how cognitive processes develop over age, and we believe that atypical development enriches our understanding of what is ‘typical’ by providing insight as to the vulnerable aspects of cognitive development. To address our questions, we use behavioral methods such as cognitive tests, neuropsychological assessments, eye tracking, neuroimaging, and studies of patient populations.

Current Projects

Neural activity related to learning interruptions in children 

We are inviting families with children finishing 4th and 7th grade to participate in a pre- and post-summer research study. We are looking to better understand how learning interruptions interact with the developing brain and impact skill (e.g., reading, math) performance. 

The first visit is a pre-summer behavioral visit, in which participants will play some computer games and take some paper tests, contribute saliva, and answer questionnaires. If families are eligible and interested, they can come back again for a pre-summer MRI visit in which participants will play computer games and watch part of a movie while inside an MRI scanner. All families are asked to return for a post-summer lab visit to complete more tests, questionnaires, and a second MRI scan (if they helped with the pre-summer MRI). Participants will be compensated $40-50/visit and parents will receive $30/visit for driving and answering questionnaires about their child. 

A Longitudinal, Multidimensional Study of Executive Functioning in Children with Control Disorders (The EF Study)
We are inviting families with children between the ages of 8-18 years with or without diagnoses of ADHD, Autism, OCD, or Tourette Syndrome to take part in a longitudinal behavioral and MRI study with up to two visits per year. We are looking to better understand similarities and differences in cognitive function and behavior between highly co-morbid developmental disorders of control. If you are the parent or guardian of a child diagnosed with one of the above listed disorders and you wish to learn more about the study or would like your child to participate, please sign up here.

Parent-Child Study of Sleep and Control Disorders
We are conducting a study with children between the ages of 8-15 years along with their parents (and possibly siblings) to explore the relationship between parent and child disorder burden through the lens of sleep and rhythmic activity. We are examining the sleep patterns and general activity level of parent-child dyads over a week by having them wear actigraphy wristbands at home. This project is sponsored by two years of NARSAD funding.

Multimodal Neuroimaging of English language learners

Currently, we are collaborating with the Texas Center for Learning Disabilities (TCLD) to conduct a multicenter project in partnership with The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and the University of Houston. The TCLD is a NIH grant-funded research center developed to investigate the classification, early intervention, and remediation of learning disabilities (LD). The neuroimaging arm of the TCLD proposes a systematic investigation of different brain profiles that vary with reading, math, and attention difficulties in English-language middle schoolers. Our goal is to evaluate the impact of English fluency on the network connectivity of reading- and math-related brain regions, and the influence of executive control networks on reading and math changes over time. We will approach these investigations using structural and functional MRI images collected from middle school students in Houston, San Antonio, and Hutto, TX. We will also examine the contextual role of socioeconomic status and bilingualism in how children respond to intervention.

Visit for full details regarding the project

Graduate Student Opportunities

Dr. Church-Lang is recruiting a graduate student for Fall 2023.

Research Assistant Opportunities

There are no paid research assistant positions available at this time.

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Are you an undergraduate student looking for the opportunity to volunteer as a research assistant in a developmental cognitive neuroscience lab?

We often have openings for undergraduates looking to gain experience in a behavioral and neuroimaging research lab. Duties include participant recruitment, scheduling of scanning sessions, preparation leading up to scanning, follow-ups with parents and children, and data entry. Other possible duties may include reading literature, attending meetings, and learning more about the workings of a research lab. With proper experience and a strong work ethic, the possibility of learning fMRI data analysis and getting trained on the MRI scanner can be discussed. In summary, the more you put in, the more you will get out of this position.

Click here to submit an application.

Please also send an email to the lab manager regarding your application. After you complete the application (including your resume and cover letter), and email the lab manager. We will be in touch in about a week to schedule an interview if your interests and skills appear to be a good fit with our openings.


We are always interested in working with other laboratories, researchers, and clinicians. Please contact Dr. Jessica Church-Lang to discuss possible collaborative projects.