Hi, all. Welcome to my website. A quick FYI — I set up this WordPress site a while back and got some basic info onto it, but recently I had a hankerin’ to get my own domain name and build a more personalized site from the ground up. So right now I’m taking the time I would have spent adding bells and whistles to this page, and spending it on building that new site instead.
I won’t even tell you the domain name just yet, because there’s nothing there except a basic placeholder page. But as soon as it’s live, I will post a link here (and then this site will mainly just be a link to that domain, plus maybe I will try to put up a blog post from time to time).
For now, though, there are still a few things you can do/see here — there’s a quick biosketch below, you can download my CV from the CV page, and there are links to my papers and such on the Links page. Check back (hopefully) soon for a link to my new domain, with (hopefully) much more content!
I was born in Washington, D.C., but grew up in the Winston-Salem, NC area. I did my undergraduate studies at Yale University from 1999–2003, with a double major in Cognitive Science and English. My senior project in Cognitive Science focused on developing a genetic algorithm/neural network method for multi-lingual word segmentation as a simplified model for the evolution of Universal Grammar, and my senior essay in English focused in themes of schism in the novels of Kurt Vonnegut. During my time ‘neath the elms, I also worked extensively with the Yale Children’s Theater and other theatrical projects, sang in the Yale Glee Club, and wrote for various publications, including being Editor-in-Chief of a certain humorous campus tabloid.
From 2003–2005 I was a research assistant at the Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center (affiliated with the Institute of Living at Hartford Hospital), under the supervision of center director Godfrey Pearlson. During that time, I used fMRI to scan the brains of hundreds of participants in projects relating to aging, autism, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, psychopathy, PTSD, and more. I also learned a lot about functional MRI data analysis and developed a center-wide system for automatic backup and analysis of fMRI data.
In 2005, I returned to Yale to pursue my Ph.D. in Neuroscience through the Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program (INP), under the supervision of Dr. Marcia K. Johnson (no blood relation!), as well as thesis committee members Marvin Chun, James Mazer, and Greg McCarthy. In addition to several fMRI projects in the Johnson lab, I also learned to collect and analyze EEG data in collaboration with the McCarthy lab and ran a few of those studies as well. (You can see more about my dissertation research on the CV and Links pages.) During my PhD, I also served as the student representative to the INP Executive Committee, received fellowships from the NSF and NIH (National Institute on Aging), and was known to lead the occasional all-night Rock Band session in a commandeered seminar room in the Yale Medical School.
Immediately after completing my Ph.D. in 2011, I took a job as an Assistant Professor in the School of Psychology at the University of Nottingham’s Malaysia Campus, located in the town of Semenyih (about 40 minutes from Kuala Lumpur). During my two years there, I continued to teach and conduct research in psychology and cognitive neuroscience along with my great students in Malaysia and collaborators back in the United States. I also won the Chancellor Award for Teaching during my first year on the Malaysia campus, in 2011–2012. I enjoy teaching in all kinds of topics, but I particularly enjoyed creating the class “Programming for Psychologists” in 2012–2013, which teaches undergraduates with no prior computer programming experience how to program psychology experiments and do data analysis in both Python (with PsychoPy) and Matlab (with Psychtoolbox). We made a video podcast of the class, which has now been released for the general public’s enjoyment – check the Links page for, you know, the links.
In 2013 I left Malaysia and returned to Yale for a brief stint as a postdoc, finishing up some old research projects and starting a few new ones before moving on to my next step. Stay tuned on what that might be….
My research interests, broadly speaking, are in the cognitive neuroscience of working memory and attention. Slightly more specifically, I’m primarily interested in how people shift their attention among different thoughts and representations held concurrently in working memory, and how those processes might decline or break down in conditions where executive function becomes compromised. So far, most of my studies have focused either on healthy young adults on aging in healthy older adults (in collaboration with colleagues in the M.K. Johnson lab), but I hope to extend the study of some of the novel effects we’ve uncovered to other conditions (e.g., dementia, ADHD) in the future.
That’s it for now! If you want more information or need to get ahold of me for any other reason, you can find up-to-date contact information by downloading my CV from the CV page.