NeuroPsychometric Research Lab

NPR Lab Members


Lab Manager


Judith Gallagher

Judith Gallagher

NeuroPsychometric Research Lab
Center for BrainHealth
Office: CBH 2.218
Office Phone: 972-883-3414 Study Phone: 214-461-9489
Email: [email protected]

Judith is a lab manager and assistant for Dr. Rypma. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Neuroscience from UT Dallas in December 2016. Her interests include Multiple Sclerosis, mental imagery, and mood disorders, and her future plans include research in those areas of study.

Judith is an avid reader and spends her additional spare time engaging in art or with her rescue dog.


Research Scientists


Joanna L. Hutchinson

Joanna L. Hutchinson, PhD

Center for BrainHealth
UT Dallas School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Department of Psychiatry, UT Southwestern Medical Center
Phone: 972-883-3258
Email: [email protected]

Joanna is currently working as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with Dr. Bart Rypma at the Center for BrainHealth and the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences at The University of Texas at Dallas and at the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

Research Interests: Cognition and circumstances that affect cognition, such as aging, traumatic brain injury, and psychiatric illness (e.g., schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression); auditory processing; fMRI.


Binu Thomas

Binu Thomas, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Center for BrainHealth
Advanced Imaging Research Center, UT Southwestern Medical Center
Email: [email protected]

Binu received his PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington jointly with the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in August 2014. He is currently working as Senior Research Scientist at the Advanced Imaging Research Center at UT Southwestern and as Postdoctoral Research Fellow with Dr. Bart Rypma at the Center for BrainHealth.

Dr. Thomas has more than 15 years of research experience in neuroimaging, MRI data acquisition, analysis and interpretation. He is interested in studying brain function using MRI based methods to measure perfusion, cerebrovascular reactivity, and cerebral metabolic rate of oxygen consumption in young, and aging volunteers, and in diseases like Mild Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer’s disease. He has published more than 15 peer reviewed journal publications, including papers in NeuroImage, J. Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism, and JMRI, and has published over 40 conference abstracts.

Research Interests: brain function in young, aging, Mild Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer’s disease; effects of exercise on brain function, functional MRI, cerebrovascular physiology, perfusion MRI.


Kathryn West

Kathryn West, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Center for BrainHealth
UT Dallas School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Office: CBH 2.418
Email: [email protected]

Kathryn received her PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Vanderbilt University in December 2016. She joined the NPR Lab in 2017 and is currently working as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with Dr. Bart Rypma at the Center for BrainHealth at UT Dallas. She is interested in understanding how non-invasive MRI metrics can better inform us about physiological changes during aging and disease. Specifically, she is currently studying how structural and functional brain changes result in cognitive decline in Multiple Sclerosis.

Research Interests: Neuroimaging, cognition, neurodegeneration, myelin imaging.


PhD Students


Ryan Brigante

Ryan Brigante, MS

Doctoral Student
Center for BrainHealth
UT Dallas School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Office: CBH 2.302 and GR 2.706
Email: [email protected]

Ryan is a PhD student in Cognition and Neuroscience at UT Dallas. He received his BA in Psychology summa cum laude from UT San Antonio.

Ryan is interested in the human conceptual system (semantic memory) and its interface with perception, action, and other memory systems. This area is known as “embodied cognition” or “grounded cognition” because it attempts to solve the symbol-grounding problem by deriving the meaning of abstract concepts from sensory-motor experience. We understand abstract concepts by relating them to source domains that we directly experience — and also by relating them to schemas, mental models of the world, that are partly available at birth via genetics and further reinforced and altered by life experience. These relations are called conceptual metaphors. Ryan is also interested in the neural representation of abstract concepts and how they can be altered with experience. Concepts are directly embodied in the synaptic connectivity of the brain (especially the neocortex), and they are malleable by experience due to synaptic plasticity. It is likely that abstract concepts involve multimodal convergence zones that combine information from sensory-motor cortices.

Research Interests: Embodied cognition, Conceptual metaphor, Semantic representation, Multimodal interaction, Music cognition, Time perception, Consciousness.


Lyndahl Himes

Lyndahl Himes, MS

Doctoral Student
UT Dallas School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Email: [email protected]

Lyndahl is a doctoral student in Cognition and Neuroscience at UT Dallas, where she also received her Bachelor’s of Science in Neuroscience with High Honors and Master’s degree in Applied Cognition and Neuroscience.

Research Interests: Cognition and aging; Neuroplasticity in learning and memory.


Dinesh Keran Sivakolundu

Dinesh Keran Sivakolundu, MD

Doctoral Student
Center for BrainHealth
Department of Biological Sciences, UT Dallas
Office: CBH 2.414
Email: [email protected]

Dinesh joined the NPR Lab in 2016 as a doctoral student in cell and molecular biology at UT Dallas. He completed his medical degree from Govt. Kilpauk Medical College, Chennai in India. He is interested in understanding the pathophysiological basis of various autoimmune and degenerative neurological disorders and how it contributes to the disease progression. “The biggest challenge in clinical research is to translate basic medical research findings and vice versa. They don’t work the majority of the time,” says Dinesh. He aims to solve the problem by employing various non-invasive techniques like fMRI to study the physiological basis of the disease process directly in patients. In particular, he is now interested in determining how cognitive dysfunction occurs in multiple sclerosis.

He enjoys teaching and is a teaching assistant for Human Anatomy and Physiology. His hobbies include playing table-tennis and piano.

Research Interests: Autoimmune Neurology, Neurodegeneration, Neurometabolism, Neuroimaging, Cognition.


Monroe Turner

Monroe Turner, BA

Doctoral Student
Center for BrainHealth
UT Dallas School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Office: CBH 2.302 and GR 2.706
Email: [email protected]

Monroe is a PhD student in Cognition and Neuroscience and a Teaching Assistant at UT Dallas and the newest doctoral student in the NPR Lab. Prior to coming to UT Dallas, Monroe received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Linguistics from The University of Texas at Austin. While at UT Austin, his research focused on the developmental and comparative linguistics of signed languages. He joined the NPR Lab as a volunteer Research Assistant in 2012, prior to joining the doctoral program, where he assisted with studies on depression and Gulf War Syndrome, applying skills in process automation, data scrubbing, and algorithmic scoring. He is currently engaged in projects involving the analysis of the hemodynamic response function and deeper investigation into the physiological components of the BOLD signal in aging adults. Monroe hopes to further refine existing metrics used to characterize the hemodynamic response function in healthy controls and Multiple Sclerosis patients and to develop new metrics in search of better predictors of MS and a deeper understanding of the neural effects of the condition.

Research Interests: Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging methodology, variability of the hemodynamic response function, the relationship between aging and memory, effects of neurodegenerative diseases on cognition, neurolinguistics and semantic networks.


Yuguang 'Irene' Zhao

Yuguang ‘Irene’ Zhao, MS

Doctoral Student
UT Dallas School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Email: [email protected]

Irene is a PhD student in Cognition and Neuroscience. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Finance at Shandong University of Finance and Economics, and a Master’s degree in Applied Cognition and Neuroscience at The University of Texas at Dallas. She aims to use imaging techniques such as fMRI and EEG as well as advanced statistical methods to investigate the neuroscience of human cognition. She is also interested in how aging and neurodegenerative diseases affect brain function and cognition.

Research Interests: The neuroscience of human information processing, especially the interaction between online goal processing, the representation of information, and the fate of information.


Mark Zuppichini

Mark Zuppichini, MA

Doctoral Student
Center for BrainHealth
UT Dallas School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Email: [email protected]

Mark Zuppichini received his BS in Neuroscience from the University of Delaware, his Master of Arts in Psychology from Montclair State University, and is currently a PhD student in Cognition and Neuroscience at UT Dallas. Mark is interested in using neuroimaging techniques to elucidate the neural underpinnings associated with healthy and impaired cognitive functioning; his master’s thesis was one of the first studies to use neuroimaging techniques to assess pattern separation abilities in multiple sclerosis.

Research Interests: Neuroimaging, cognition, learning & memory, neuropathology.


Master’s Students


Ryann Hanes-Sloan

Ryann Hanes-Sloan

After receiving her undergraduate degree from the University of Oklahoma, Ryann has spent the last seven years studying and teaching a culmination of meditation and mindfulness techniques. A notable area of Ryann’s study includes her work with the Integrative Restoration Institute studying the iRest technique for meditation. Ryann currently assists with mindfulness research in the lab and her research interests include emotion regulation and brain training, electrical brainwave activity and how it influences consciousness, and in general how the brain and mind evolve after emotional trauma. Ryann plans to apply to the Cognitive Neuroscience PhD program at UT Dallas in the fall.


Whitney McColly

Whitney McColly

Whitney is a master’s student in Applied Cognition and Neuroscience at UT Dallas. She received her BS in psychology from Southwestern University. She joined Dr. Rypma’s lab in Fall 2017 and is interested in research focused on memory and in making research more accessible to non-scientists.


Shane Sibley

Shane Sibley

Shane Sibley has completed his Bachelor of Science in Psychology and will be attending UT Dallas for the Applied Cognition and Neuroscience graduate program. He currently assists with multiple sclerosis and aging research projects for the Rypma lab. Shane is planning to one-day complete a doctorate program to further advance himself to become a neuropsychologist specializing in TBI and neuroplasticity.


Gayathri Batchalli Maruthy

Gayathri Batchalli Maruthy, MS

Gayathri graduated with a Master’s degree in Applied Cognition and Neuroscience program from UT Dallas in May 2017. She currently works for the Neuropsychometric lab as a volunteer assisting with the Aging and Multiple Sclerosis projects. With a background in Ayurveda (an alternative system of medicine practiced in India), she is interested in pursuing a career in research focusing on neurological disorders. Her extra-curricular interests include Indian classical music and practice of yoga.


Undergraduate and Post-Baccalaureate Students


Christina Atkinson

Christina Atkinson

Christina is almost finished with her Bachelor’s in Psychology, and is also part of the fast-track program to receive her Master’s in Applied Cognition and Neuroscience. As a research assistant, she conducts neuropsychological testing for the Multiple Sclerosis and Aging Studies. Her research interests include neuroimaging, cognition, and mental illnesses.


Carl Heinrich

Carl Heinrich

Carl is a post-baccalaureate student in the CBioMed program at UT Dallas. He graduated with a BS in Neuroscience in 2016 and is interested in neurodegenerative and white matter disease pathology. Currently, he assists with the multiple sclerosis and healthy aging projects. Carl plans to attend medical school in 2018, taking experience with patients and the research process with him to benefit those he treats in the future.


Sashia King

Sashia King

Sashia transferred to UT Dallas in the summer of 2016 to complete her undergraduate studies in Psychology, with a minor focus in Neuroscience. She completed an Associate of Arts degree while on active duty in Naval service overseas, focusing her research on the effects of technology on neurocognitive deficits and associated structural brain changes. She joined the NPR Lab as a research assistant in the Spring of 2017, and is currently assisting with studies exploring the neural mechanisms of Mindfulness and Depression.

Research Interests: Cognitive and neurological phenomena in psychiatric populations, Neuroimaging, Consciousness, Epigenetics.


Ebrahim Payberah

Ebrahim Payberah

Ebrahim graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas with a double major in Psychology and Child Learning and Development in 2016. He is interested in the many research projects in the lab, especially the cognitive effects of depression on memory and perception and neurological changes associated with aging. He currently assists with the Multiple Sclerosis and Aging studies and plans on using what he learns in his future medical career when he attends medical school in 2018.


Bhargavi Rao

Bhargavi Rao

Bhargavi is a sophomore undergraduate majoring in Health Care Studies under the pre-medical track. She completed a research internship in Middlesborough, England that assessed neonatal hyperbilirubinemia in newborns and its relation to jaundice prior to joining the NPR Lab. Her interest in Multiple Sclerosis studies, as well as the use of fMRI imaging to study neurocognitive ageing, sparked her interest in conducting research with Dr. Rypma.


Laya Roa

Laya Rao

Laya Rao is a freshman undergraduate majoring in Neuroscience as a pre-med student. She is a Collegium V Honors student at UT Dallas who hopes to bridge the gap between research and medicine through both her research interests and clinical experiences at UTSW. Laya’s interest in how neurodegenerative diseases and mental illnesses affect the structural and functional intricacies of the brain led her to join Dr. Rypma’s lab. In her free time, Laya likes to run cross country and play the violin.


Raval Reddy

Raval Reddy

Raval Reddy is an undergraduate Biology major aspiring to become a future physician. He attended Oakridge International High school in Hyderabad, India, where he started a non-profit organization called Delta for Change which aims to spread awareness about the prevalence of certain autoimmune diseases to the lower socio-economic sector of society. His avid interest in Multiple Sclerosis and the use of fMRI in relation to the disease have allowed him a research opportunity under Dr. Rypma.