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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
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.

Lab Pictures

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.

Jenny, Barbara and Danielle at the 2014 CNS meeting

Nadine, Yingying and Nora at the 2014 CNS meeting

Nadine, Nora and Bryce at the 2014 CNS meeting

March 2013

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.

Lab Alumni

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
Lakshmi Gopal Volunteer
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
Kai Heimrath
Graduate student intern Doctoral student Universitaet Magdeburg
Julia Helfenberger Summer intern Graduate student University of Zurich
Dasha Hentoff Summer intern Chicago, Il
Sarah Horn Volunteer
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
Amy Lewis
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
Mark Stought Volunteer
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