The Gaab Lab for Developmental Neuroscience
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
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.
Graduate 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.
Graduate 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. He plans to pursue a doctoral degree in the future.
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.
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.
In November, we had a lab baby shower for Nadine!
July 1, 2014, marked the Gaab Lab's 7th anniversary, which we celebrated with a picnic at Griggs Park.
Our collaborators, Paulo and Olga Andrade, paid us a visit from Brazil!
The lab enjoyed a goodbye brunch to celebrate Sara and Barbara.
Nadine, Nora and Bryce at the 2014 CNS meeting
Jenny and Nora's anatomically correct brain cake!
Nadine and Jenny at community outreach event
The Gaab Lab's 4th Anniversary
The Gaab Lab's 2nd Anniversary
Annual Brain Cake
Maria and Nora at the Dr. M. Judah M. Folkman Research Day
Maria and Nora discussing some cool results!
Joanna and Nadine at the Gaab Lab's 1st anniversary celebration
Maria, Nadine and Monica celebrate the lab's first anniversary.
Nadine is playing with 7-month old Viella.
Former lab members wishing to update their information in the table below may Email us
|Lab Member||Gaab Lab Position||Current Position||Location|
|Melissa Alexander||Student intern|
|Farah Aslandzadeh||Student intern||Research Assistant||Olin Center for Neuropsychiatry Research at the Institute of Linving|
|Yauheniya Barshai||Behavioral tester||Speech-Language Pathologist||Radius Specialty Hospital|
|Bryce Becker||Research coordinator||Doctoral student||UC Berkeley|
|Christopher Benjamin||Postdoc||Assistant Professor||Yale University|
|Andrew Bragg||Summer intern||Clinical Research Assistant||Beth Israel Hospital|
|Leeann Brigham||Summer intern||Resident physician||Partners Health Care|
|Curtis Bruno||Undergraduate research assistant||Academic Advisor||Southern New Hampshire University|
|Romach Buchler||Student intern||Zurich|
|Madelaine Bustos||Student Intern|
|Elizabeth Cadogen||Behavioral tester||Research Assistant||Massachusetts General Hospital|
|Kate Campe||Behavioral tester||Project Coordinator||Boston Children's Hospital Neurodevelopmental Disorders Phenotyping Program|
|Maria Chang||Research assistant||PhD Candidate||Northwestern University|
|Michelle Chang||Research assistant||Graduate student||Columbia University|
|Janelle Colosi||Behavioral tester||Adjunct Professor||Endicott College|
|Candice Coulter||Summer intern||Gabrieli Lab||MIT|
|Grace Coviello||Summer Intern||Undergraduate student||Boston College|
|Rachel Currie-Rubin||Graduate student||Adjunct Lecturer||Harvard Graduate School of Education; CAST|
|Rachel Dabek||Student intern||Research data coordinator||Boston Children's Hospital|
|Franziska Dahinden||Student intern||PhD Candidate||University of Bern|
|Lindsay Domaas||Student intern|
|Marina Fiene||Graduate Student Intern||Graduate student||University of Bochum|
|Samantha Fine||Student intern||Post-bacc student in Biomedical Sciences||University of Texas, Dallas|
|Michael Figuccio||Graduate student||Assistant Professor||Farmingdale State College|
|Kaitlin Flavin||Behavioral tester||Medical Student||Western University of Health Sciences|
|Aileen Gabriel||Student intern||Research Assistant||Brigham & Women's Hospital|
|Lauren Gibson||Graduate student||Graduate student||Temple University|
|Rebecca Givens||Behavioral tester||Scientific advisor/Oral and written language specialist||Kiko Labs/Boston Children's Hospital|
|Meghan Goldman||Summer intern||Doctoral candidate||UC Irvine|
|Katherine Grealish||Behavioral tester||Clinical Psychology Doctoral Student||William James College|
|Elizabeth Hamel||Student intern||Assistant teacher||Elliot-Pearson Children's|
|Susan Han||Behavioral tester|
|Friederike Hasse||Student intern||Head of Group HR||Dussmann Stiftung & Co.|
|Christin Hawkins||Behavioral tester|
||Graduate student intern||Doctoral student||Universitaet Magdeburg|
|Julia Helfenberger||Summer intern||Graduate student||University of Zurich|
|Dasha Hentoff||Summer intern||Chicago, Il|
|Thomas Hull||Behavioral tester||Transforming Behavioral Health and Learning||Dynamic Technologies|
|Will Jaffee||Volunteer||Clinical Psychologist||McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School|
|Paul Gaither Jordan||Student intern||Undergraduate student||Boston University|
|Priya Kalra||Graduate student||Graduate student||Harvard Graduate School of Education|
|Arnold Beau Kenyon||Volunteer||Associate Director of Extra-Curricular Programs||Kingsley Montessori|
|Kirsten King||Behavioral tester|
|Katie Klitch||Student intern||Assistant Librarian||Dallas Symphony Orchestra|
|Maura Lasater||Behavioral tester||Speech-Language Pathologist||San Francisco|
|Rose LeFevre-Leux||Student intern|
|Bianca Levy||Graduate student||Doctoral intern in psychology||Children's Hospital Los Angeles|
|Angela Lin||Summer intern||Medical Assistant/Research Technician||Brigham & Women's Hospital/Boston College|
|Ghada Madi||Graduate student||Graduate student||U Mass Lowell|
|Praneetha Malipeddu||Student intern||Project Associate||Athena Health|
|Anja Marwitz||Graduate student||Speech Therapist||Billingheim-Ingenheim, Germany|
|Alana Matos||Student intern||Graduate Student||Harvard Graduate School of Education|
|Meaghan Mauer||Lab manager/research assistant||Graduate Student||University of Connecticut|
|John McKenna||Student intern||Graduate student||Suffolk University|
|Sarah Meissner||Graduate student||Graduate student||Germany|
|Ruhotina Merima||Student intern||Medical Student||University of Vermont|
|Meredith Millen||Behavioral tester||LMHC/School Psychologist||Monarch Couseling Services/Newburgh Enlarged City School District|
|Jennifer Minas||Research assistant||Research Affiliate||MIT Gabrieli Lab|
|Daniel Morgan||Student intern|
|Phyllis Newton||Family Liason||Fletcher Maynard|
|Marisa Nordt||Graduate student intern||Doctoral student||Ruhr-Universitaet Bochum|
|Krystle North||Student intern||Research Assistant||Royal Victoria Hospital, Canada|
|Nikola Nowack||Graduate student intern||Doctoral candidate||Ruhr-University Bochum|
|Barbara Peysakhovich||Research assistant||Graduate student||Universitaet Tuebingen/Max Plank Research school|
|Anna-Lena Popkes||Student intern||Graduate student||Universitaet Bonn|
|Sara Powers||Medical Student Intern||Medical student||Harvard Medical School|
|Milena Quinci||Student intern|
|Katharine Radville||Behavioral tester||Speech Language Pathologist||Massachusetts General Hospital|
|Talia Raney||Research Assistant||Research Technician||Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging|
|Julia Reading||Student intern|
|Jenna Muri-Rosenthal||Behavioral tester||Speech Language Pathologist||Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital|
|Arielle Russell||Summer intern|
|Udani Sandanayaka||Student intern||Undergraduate student||Northeastern University|
|Kiera Sarill||Student Intern||Research Study Coordinator||Boston Children's Hospital|
|Sonal Sharda||Summer Intern||Undergraduate student||Johns Hopkins University|
|Ann Shvartsman||Behavioral tester||Speech-Language Pathologist||Boston Neuropsychological Services|
|Danielle Sliva||Data coordinator||Doctoral student||Brown University|
|Cora Smayda||Summer intern||Therapist/Psychiatric Social Worker||Brooklyn Center for Families in Crisis|
|Sara Smith||Research assistant||Assistant Professor of Human Development||Cal State University East Bay|
|Rachel Steinhorn||Summer intern||Undergraduate student||Bard College|
|Patrice Stering||Volunteer||Doctoral student||U Mass Amherst|
|Elyssa Street||Behavioral tester||3rd Grade Homeroom Teacher||Dominican Int. School of Taiwan|
|Emily Sullivan||Behavioral tester||Applied Behavioral Analysis Therapist||Nashoba Learning Group|
|Meyha Swaroop||Student intern|
|Angela Tamborella||Behavioral tester||Speech-Language Pathologist||Architects for Learning|
|Margaret Troyer||Behavioral tester||Doctoral student||Harvard Graduate School of Education|
|Krystal Tung||Student intern||Policy Coordinator||Commonwealth of MA|
|Monica Vakil||Research assistant||Project and operations manager||Red Lantern Strategy|
|Catherine Vu||Summer Intern||Research Assistant||Boston Children's Hospital, Grant Lab|
|Courtney Wilkins||Behavioral tester|
|Susan Yackolow||Behavioral tester||Speech-Language Pathologist||Gloucester Public Schools|
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