Gaab Lab-Members

Principal Investigator (PI): Nadine Gaab, Ph.D. Dr. Nadine Gaab is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School and a member of the faculty at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is a faculty adjunct at Brandeis University. Her research within the Laboratories of Cognitive Neuroscience focuses on the brain correlates of reading development in typical and atypical children as well as possible pre-markers of developmental dyslexia in preschoolers and infants. Dr. Gaab uses functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), a non-invasive brain imaging tool, as well as behavioral measurement tools to study the reading brain. She is also currently working on various other research topics including: the identification of the underlying neural mechanism of comorbidity of dyslexia and ADHD; the neural correlates of reading fluency, improvement of pediatric functional imaging techniques; brain plasticity following sound and music based remediation programs for reading and language impaired children; and the influence of musical training on executive functioning, language, and reading development. In her work, Dr. Gaab collaborates with several universities in the US (e.g.; Tufts, MIT) and researchers from all over the world (e.g.; China, Brazil). She assigns major significance to the clinical translation of her research as well as community outreach. Curriculum Vitae PDF Faculty Page Postdoctoral Fellow: Xi Yu, Ph.D. The research interests of Dr. Xi Yu lie in the neural mechanisms underlying the reading and language abilities of human beings. Xi started her research path in the cognitive neuropsychology lab in college. Under the supervision of Dr. Yanchao Bi, she investigated the cognitive model of language processing using neuropsychological approach and gained experiences in conducting behavioral experiments with typical and atypical populations. With the goal to understand the brain function of language, Xi joined in the doctoral program at the University of Hong Kong in 2009. She learned to utilize advanced imaging techniques, such as structural and functional MRI, to unravel the neural mechanisms underlying various cognitive functions. In her PhD project, under Dr. Sam Po Law’s guidance, Xi designed a series of fMRI experiments, investigating the neural bases underlying word class representation at various processing levels, including semantics, word form, and morphosyntax. As an extension to her PhD project, Xi visited Dr. Brenda Rapp’s lab at Johns Hopkins University under the Fulbright Scholarship. She deepened her understanding about word form representations and learned to use multivoxel pattern analyses to capture the characteristic activity patterns associated with reading abilities. After acquiring her PhD in Cognitive neuroscience, Xi joined Gaab Lab in August 2014. She wishes to continue her research in reading and language function from a developmental perspective, and also learn to translate her scientific knowledge to practical application. Postdoctoral Fellow: Ted Turesky, Ph.D. Ted Turesky earned his PhD in Neuroscience from Georgetown University in 2017. Ted’s thesis focused on the brain bases of voluntary finger movement, which he examined in the context of developmental dyslexia, typical development, and typical aging under the mentorship of Dr. Guinevere Eden. As part of this, Ted used functional MRI to investigate the relationship between brain function and functional connectivity (i.e., direct/indirect communication between brain areas) and reading ability. Prior to that, Ted investigated tinnitus, an auditory disorder characterized by a perceived ringing or buzzing absent an external sound source, under the guidance of Dr. Josef Rauschecker. Ted is also involved in tinnitus-related outreach. He founded a DC-area support/education group for tinnitus sufferers and served as the group’s leader for seven years. Recognizing his commitment to this population, Ted was elected to the American Tinnitus Association (ATA) Board of Directors in 2015, where he provides a neuroscientist’s perspective at board meetings, writes for and Tinnitus Today Magazine, and advocates for noise health issues. Ted joined the Gaab Lab in Sept. 2017, where his focus will be to investigate the brain-based consequences of severe poverty. PhD Student: Jennifer Zuk, Ed.M. Jennifer Zuk is pursuing her Ph.D. in Speech and Hearing Biosciences and Technology at Harvard University, as well as clinical certification in speech and language pathology at the MGH Institute of Health Professions. Jennifer received dual degrees in Music Education and Cognitive Science from Case Western Reserve University, and her Ed.M. in Mind, Brain, and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. In the Gaab Lab, Jennifer has contributed to the investigation of early markers of dyslexia on the infant and longitudinal MRI studies. She has also explored the relationship between musical training and speech and language abilities. In addition, Jennifer previously researched the influence of singing-based therapy for nonverbal children in the Music & Neuroimaging Lab with Dr. Schlaug at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. She plans to pursue her doctoral work investigating the mechanisms underlying the deficits in speech and language disorders, and the potential for music to serve as a remediation tool. Jennifer hopes to bridge her interests in education, cognitive neuroscience, language disabilities, and music in future translational clinical research pursuits. She joined the Gaab Laboratory in June 2008. PhD Student: Ola Ozernov-Palchik, M.S. Ola is a doctoral student at Tufts in the joint Cognitive Science and Child Development program, and is the coordinator for the READ Study, a collaboration with MIT’s Gabrieli Lab. Ola received her BS degree in Psychology with a minor in Philosophy and her MS in Counseling from Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas. Ola’s experience and interests lie in the intersection of educational and cognitive neuroscience research. She is interested in applying neuroimaging methods to study how children develop the capacity for reading and math; what happens when this development doesn’t follow typical trajectories; and neuroplasticity in response to instructional methods and interventions. Most importantly, Ola is passionate about translating research into practice and policy and tangible help to those who need it. Before joining the Gaab Lab Ola worked at the Institute for Evidence-Based Education at SMU as a Research Associate on several large scale reading and math studies. She also conducted therapy with low-income children and their families in a youth and family center serving several urban public schools. In the Gaab Lab, Ola is studying early markers (neural and behavioral) and predictors of developmental dyslexia using fMRI and ERP. Research Coordinator: Joseph Sanfilippo, M.Sc., Ed.M. Joseph earned his M.Sc. in neuroanatomy from Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada, and his Ed.M. in Mind, Brain, and Education from Harvard. He worked in an auditory neuroscience lab at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto before joining the Gaab Lab in 2015 as a graduate research intern during his Ed.M. He began full-time as the lab’s research coordinator the spring of 2016. In addition to overseeing the lab’s MRI and psychometric data collection and management, Joseph is involved in several analysis projects in the lab, including a project investigating the role of auditory processing in dyslexia. He is also responsible for managing IRB coordination and funding aspects for several ongoing studies. He also serves as the MRI Coordinator for the ACE autism study in the Nelson Lab. With teaching experiences ranging from the level of elementary school to graduate school, Joseph has a particular interest in education and the role of neuroscience research within it. Research Assistant: Jade Dunstan, B.S. Jade Dunstan earned her BS degree in Psychology from Boston College in May of 2016. She joined the Gaab Lab in late September as a Research Assistant, bringing with her knowledge and experience from her time as an undergraduate Research Assistant in Dr. Sara Cordes’ Infant and Child Cognition Lab and as an undergraduate Lab Manager in the Lamoureux Learning Lab. Her primary role in the Gaab Lab is data acquisition, though she is excited to gain experience in data analysis. Jade is interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuroscience in the future, though is not yet sure of the specific research questions she intends to tackle. Research Assistant: Clarisa Carruthers, B.A. Clarisa earned her BA in Psychology from the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras in 2015. She worked as a Research Assistant in the Fetal-Neonatal Neuroimaging and Developmental Science Center at Boston Children’s Hospital until joining the Gaab Lab in 2017. Clarisa is mainly involved in data acquisition and data analysis within the lab, and is hoping to pursue a doctoral degree in Pediatric Neuropsychology.   Research Assistant: Michelle Gonzalez, B.A. Michelle earned her BA degree in Psychology and Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences from University of Connecticut in 2016. As an undergraduate, she worked in the Child Language Lab on projects focused on language acquisition in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and ADHD. After graduating, Michelle worked as Lab Manager in Dr. Jill de Villiers’ lab assisting in developing a diagnostic screener for language assessment. She began full-time as a research assistant with the Gaab Lab in fall of 2017 and is involved mainly in data acquisition. Michelle plans to attend graduate school for Speech-Language Pathology and work with culturally and linguistically diverse populations. Research Assistant: Lindsay Hillyer, B.A. Lindsay earned her B.A. in Psychology with a concentration in Development and a minor in Neuroscience from Emmanuel College in 2017. As an undergraduate she worked on a research project at EC that focused on conflict and cooperation among college-aged friends, and in her senior year was a Student Research Intern at Boston Children’s Hospital’s Neurodevelopmental Disorders Phenotyping Program. She hopes to attend graduate school in the future in order to further her career in child psychology research.   Research Assistant: Delshad Shroff, M.A. Delshad earned her M.A. in Developmental Psychology from Columbia University in New York and her B.A. in Psychology from New York University Abu Dhabi. During her graduate and undergraduate programs, she worked on several cross-cultural research projects that have made important contributions to the fields of developmental and educational psychology. Her research and academic experiences working with children in home, preschool and elementary school environments has instilled in her a passion to work with children and enhance learning in those affected by developmental disorders. She joined the Gaab lab in February, 2018. As a research assistant in the lab, Delshad will primarily be involved in a research study that aims to validate the effectiveness of a tablet-based app battery in the early identification and diagnosis of children with reading disabilities. Eventually, Delshad wishes to pursue her PhD in Clinical Psychology and work with children diagnosed with developmental disorders to promote improved treatment and better outcomes for these children. Consultant: Yingying Wang, Ph.D. Yingying’s passion in life is to become an outstanding educator and make significant research contributions in the field of brain imaging. Before joining the Gaab Lab in January 2014, she successfully defended her dissertation titled “Integration of fMRI and MEG towards modeling language networks in the brain” under Dr. Scott K. Holland’s guidance. The main goal of this dissertation work was to elucidate language networks by integrating fMRI from a group of children who have participated annually in a longitudinal study from their childhood through adolescence and MEG data from the same group of children. During her graduate studies, Yingying learned more imaging techniques like functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and published 3 first-author manuscripts. Meanwhile, she has also contributed to a number of other published manuscripts. Prior to her graduate studies, she worked as a research assistant in Dr. Jing Xiang’s Lab at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital for 3 years. She collected over 100 children’s brain imaging data using MEG and gained much hands-on research experience. With her diverse background in different imaging modalities, she was delighted to join Dr. Nadine Gaab who is one of the experts in child dyslexia. Yingying completed her two years of postdoctoral training in the Gaab Lab where she learned about dyslexia and used her imaging skills to explore the bio-markers for early identification of children at risk for dyslexia. In January 2016, Yingying joined the faculty of University of Nebraska – Lincoln as an Assistant Professor in the College of Education and Human Sciences. Her UNL profile can be found here. If you want to know more information about Yingying, please visit her personal website! Consultant: Nicolas Langer, Ph.D. Nicolas received his PhD in neuropsychology from the University of Zurich (Switzerland). During his PhD he was involved in several research projects in which he studied neural plasticity on the systems level using EEG, fMRI, structural MRI and DTI. His PhD thesis focused on functional brain connectivity in the context of graph-theoretical network analysis to investigate so-called small-world networks. As part of this thesis he implemented new methods on network analyses, which were applied to EEG, fMRI and structural MRI data. Nicolas has conducted several other studies in the context of working memory training, sensorimotor plasticity, music perception, anxiety and crossmodal perception. Beside his scientific work he headed several seminars and workshops and supervised several master students in cognitive neuroscience. Nicolas joined the Gaab Lab 2012 and is currently working as a postdoctoral research fellow. He is simultaneously a postdoctoral research fellow at City College New York and the Child Mind Institute. Consultant: Nora Raschle, Ph.D. Nora Raschle received her MA in Neuropsychology from the University of Zurich (Switzerland). During her diploma work she was a research trainee at the Music and Neuroimaging Lab of Prof. Schlaug at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School in Boston. Her research included the investigation of the influence of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) on the auditory system. During her Master’s Program at the University of Zurich she gained experience working with clinical and psychiatric populations. Nora joined the Gaab Lab at the beginning of 2008 as a visiting pre-doctoral student from the University of Zurich and submitted her thesis ‘Investigating Neural and Behavioral Pre-Markers of Developmental Dyslexia Prior to Reading Onset’ in 2011. Nora is currently working as a postdoctoral research fellow at Kinder- und Jugendpsychiatrischer Dienst, Universitäre Psychiatrische Kliniken, in Basel, Switzerland, but remains a consultant with the Gaab Lab. Consultant: Einat Shetreet, Ph.D. Einat received her PhD in psychology from Tel Aviv University, Israel. She studies language processing using fMRI, focusing on linguistic properties of sentence comprehension. In the Gaab Lab, she examines the cortical representation of semantic and pragmatic properties of sentences in both adults and children. This research is conducted together with Prof. Gennaro Chierchia from the Linguistic Department at Harvard University. She also studies the cortical distinction between different semantic inferences together with Prof. John Gabrieli from MIT and Prof. Gennaro Chierchia.