PI Thilo Womelsdorf (Prof., Vanderbilt University, Department of Psychology)

Dr. Christopher Thomas – Research Scientist, homepage

  • Christopher is designing and building novel electronic instruments and data-processing devices for experimental setups. His work includes the development of advanced electrophysiological recording and stimulation setups; implementation of hard-real-time analog and digital data processing devices for closed-loop control; and development of systems for synchronization and integration of video, eye-tracking, and electrical data from multiple pieces of experimental equipment.
  • Christopher’s Homepage.

Adam Neuman – Senior Research Specialist,

  • Adam oversees the lab’s research work and operates the cage-based behavioral training and testing of animals. He is actively contributing to research projects that involve electrophysiology, neuro-chemistry, and neuro-sonication. Adam’s work combines the skills and breadth of knowledge of a neuroscience laboratory technician with experience of advanced experimental approaches used by students and personnel in the lab.

Nathan Traczewski – Software Developer and Certified Public Accountant

  • Nathan is building an integrative software suite for active psychophysical neuroscience experiments in 3D environments called the Multitask Unified Suite for Experiments (MUSE), including designing and programming the individual cognitive games using C# and the Unity video game engine.
  • Before joining Vanderbilt University, Nathan worked as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), auditing the financial statements of publicly held companies.

Seema Dhungana – Research Assistant

  • Seema is guiding the behavioral control and analysis of complex cognitive Maze tasks in nonhuman primates. These projects involve the programming and analysis of complex tasks.
  • Seema programs multiple interactive touchscreen games using the unity3D engine and the labs Multitask Unified Suite for Experiments. The tasks are trained and tested with nonhuman primates and the analysis of task performance is done in Matlab. The long term objective of the projects is to characterize pharmacological interventions designed to improve cognitive functions.

Allison Quinn Dockum, MSc Bioengineering

  • Allie is establishing a precise targeting system for bilateral focused ultrasound stimulation (FUS) in order to enhance cognitive functioning. The novel FUS targeting and stimulation pipeline aims to allow transcranial sonication of deep and superficial targets.
  • Allie’s project is in close collaboration with Prof. Charles Caskey’s Laboratory of Acoustic Therapy & Imaging (

Phd cand. Ali Hassani (Dept. of Psychology)

  • Ali works on the role of noradrenergic receptor activation for the gating of attentional relevant information in prefrontal-striatal brain circuits.
  • Ali is a recipient of the 2016 prestigious NSERC student fellowship.

Ph.D. cand Robert Louie Treuting, (Dept. of Biomedical Engineering)

  • Louie works on developing a Brain-Computer-Interface for enhancing cognitive flexibility. He combines experience with technical and insights from computer science with neuroscience to establish a closed – loop system that operates in real time to detect neural activity patterns that carry information about learning. The projects aim to enhance these learning related, endogenously generated neural signals to improve flexible learning and attention performance

MSc cand. Charlie Gerrity, M.Sc.  (Dept. of Computer Science and Engineering)

  • Charlie works on optimizing the detection of transient oscillatory neural events in neurophysiological time-series (local field potential) data. This work involved establishing and comparing different algorithms for detecting neural oscillation events and evaluating the performance metrics for these algorithms. A goal for the thesis is to develop an objective way to tune the detection parameters for enhancing the true positive and reducing the fans positive rate of detected events.

Xuan Wen, PhD Cand. BS Comp Sci

  • Xuan aims to understand how latent structure about objects in our environment is learned. His projects involve programming multidimensional objects to test how subjects learn the relationship of objects with real-world complexity.
  • The paradigms Xuan develops are tested behaviorally and neurophysiologically to understand how brain circuits acquire and update latent structure about objects, about the reward value of these objects, and about the relation of objects in different environments.

Sarah Shereen,  BA Neuroscience

  • Sarah works on understanding how brain circuits form cognitive maps of spatial trajectories. Cognitive maps are abstractions of actually experiences that increase the subjects flexibility in solving or navigating future problems. To understand the formation of cognitive maps, Sarah is using using touchscreen-based maze tasks that require subjects to learn the hidden trajectories towards rewarding locations.

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