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Postdoctoral Research Fellows | Overview

Caitlin Clements, PhD

Caitlin Clements, PhD

I joined the Laboratories of Cognitive Neuroscience (LCN) in 2020 as a fellow in the Translational Postdoctoral Training Program in Neurodevelopment. I received my PhD in Psychology (with Clinical Training, child track) from the University of Pennsylvania under the mentorship of Robert Schultz, PhD. My doctoral work focused on autistic symptoms in 22q11.2 Duplication and Deletion Syndromes, reward processing in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and the psychometrics of cognitive assessment in individuals with ASD.  During graduate school, I also completed a Fulbright grant in Sweden at the Karolinska Institutet Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics where I studied genome-wide association approaches to understanding psychiatric genetics. At the LCN, I am studying the development of reward processing and social cognition in young children with rare genetic disorders or at risk for ASD using EEG and other tools. My favorite part of my job is working with families, and clinically I have expertise in ASD, anxiety, OCD, ADHD, and managing challenging behaviors.

Caroline Kelsey, PhD

Caroline Kelsey, PhD

I received my Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Virginia in 2020, under the supervision of Dr. Tobias Grossmann. My dissertation research explored the role of the gut microbiota in infant brain and behavioral development. As part of my research, I used functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) to characterize resting state functional brain networks in newborn babies. I was thrilled to join the Laboratories of Cognitive Neuroscience in 2020. Here, I work on an ongoing longitudinal project examining neural, cognitive, and behavioral predictors of emotion processing. I am interested in using fNIRS and eye-tracking to identify early-emerging markers of later social-emotional functioning.

Virginia Peisch, PhD

Virginia Peich, PhD

I received my Ph.D. in Developmental and Clinical Psychology from the University of Vermont (UVM) in 2020, under the mentorship of Dr. Keith Burt and Dr. Rex Forehand. I completed my predoctoral clinical internship at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford University (2019-2020). In my research, I am interested in identifying risk and protective factors – as well as their dynamic interaction – in predicting psychopathology as well as competence. In my dissertation study, I examined the structure and function of coping in emerging adulthood. I am now working as a postdoctoral clinical and research fellow in the Nelson and Arnett labs. I was drawn to the work of the Laboratories of Cognitive Neuroscience for many reasons, one of them being the depth and breadth of research methodologies. I am excited to consider EEG/ERP data when asking questions related to risk and resilience in typically developing children as well as in clinical populations.

Ran Wei, PhD Ran Wei, PhD

Prior to joining the Laboratories of Cognitive Neuroscience (LCN) in the fall of 2021, I received my Ph.D. in Human Development, Learning and Teaching from Harvard University under the mentorship of Dr. Meredith Rowe. Situated at the crossroad of psychology, linguistics, and early childhood education, my doctoral research investigates how the family environment, especially caregivers’ communicative input and beliefs, shapes young children’s language and cognitive development. I have used a wide range of modalities and paradigms (such as eye tracking, behavioral experiments, fine-grained analyses of verbal and nonverbal communication) to examine how early language acquisition unfolds across cultures and languages. My current research in the LCN focuses on understanding the neural circuitry underlying infants’ and toddlers’ executive functions (EF) and identifying the home environment factors that contribute to EF development.

Lisa Yankowitz, PhD Lisa Yankowitz, PhD

I received my PhD in Psychology with Clinical Training from the University of Pennsylvania in 2020, working under the mentorship of Dr. Robert Schultz.  My doctoral research had two arms.  In the first, I investigated structural brain differences associated with autism, and applied newly developed methods to examine the nature of structural differences.  The second arm of my research examined infant vocalizations (e.g., crying, babbling, laughing) in infants at high risk for autism.  I identified features of vocalizations which differ in the first year of life in autism and associated these with functional connectivity (as measured by fMRI).  I completed my predoctoral clinical internship at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.  I was thrilled to join the Laboratories of Cognitive Neuroscience in 2020 as a Clinical-Research Postdoctoral Fellow in Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Boston Children’s Hospital.  Here, I work in the Wilkinson and Nelson labs, and am interested in identifying early predictors of autism using EEG and behavioral measures.