NeuroPsychometric Research Lab

NPR Lab Alumni

Ilana Bennett

Dr. Ilana J. Bennett

Ilana was a postdoctoral research fellow in Dr. Rypma’s lab at the Center for Brain Health and The University of Texas at Dallas. She received a PhD in psychology with a concentration in lifespan cognitive neuroscience from Georgetown University in 2009. She is now an assistant project scientist in the Stark Lab at UC Irvine!


Ryan Brigante

Ryan Brigante

Ryan received his PhD in cognition and neuroscience from UT Dallas in May 2018.. 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.


Kristy Deupree

Kristy Deupree

Kristy was a graduate student in applied cognition and neuroscience at UT Dallas. She received her BS in neuroscience from UT Dallas in Fall, 2013. Kristy studied auditory cognition with an emphasis on music cognition. She conducted behavioral experiments using musical stimuli.


Alan Dunn

Alan Dunn

Alan’s goal is to successfully complete the graduate program in applied cognition and neuroscience and gain acceptance into doctoral study. There he would plan to focus on investigating the link between traumatic brain injury (TBI) and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), manifesting as impairment in neural energy processing pathways at the molecular level, and as cognitive inefficiency and disordered thinking at the functional level.

In general, he gravitates toward avenues in education, music/movies/entertainment, reading, and writing, as well as trying to live a spiritually-connected life. He enjoys exercising, especially rock/wall climbing.


Leslie el-Effendi

Leslie el-Effendi

Leslie began attending UT Dallas in August of 2014 after a long absence from her studies. Originally a pre-med student at Princeton University in the early ’80s, she received her BS in neuroscience in December of 2016. She joined Dr. Rypma’s lab in August and is interested in neuroplasticity of learning and memory, as well as cognition and aging.


Chelsea Ellison

Chelsea Ellison

Chelsea was an undergraduate majoring in cognitive science with a concentration in neuroscience. She transferred to UT Dallas in Fall 2013 from Collin College, where she attained an associate degree. She is currently a research assistant in Dr. Rypma’s NeuroPsychometric Research Lab since Spring 2014. Chelsea is interested in research that studies the understanding of cognitive phenomena in close relation to the underlying neurobiological processes in the brain — specifically looking at neural plasticity when learning, the neurobiological differences in people with psychiatric illnesses compared to the normal brain, and the study of cognition and memory.


Shawheen Faghihahmadabadi

Shawheen Faghihahmadabadi

Shawheen began attending UT Dallas in the fall of 2011. He majored in neuroscience with a pre-health track. He joined Dr. Rypma’s lab in Spring 2014 as a research assistant. He is interested in all research of the NPR Lab, from neuroplastic changes related to Multiple Sclerosis and age to understanding the underlying cognitive processes behind depression’s memory effects and auditory cognition. Any information we can obtain about the human body is information that can go towards progressing medicine for mankind.


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 the experience with patients and the research process with him to benefit those he treats in the future.


Nicholas Hubbard

Nicholas Hubbard

Nicholas was a PhD student and researcher working with Dr. Rypma. He received his BS with High Honors from Michigan State University, where he studied psychology. Nicholas’ research focuses on alterations in neural systems and cognition in psychiatric and neurologic populations. He is now a post-doctoral associate in the Gabrieli Lab at MIT!


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.


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.


Larry Oasay

Larry Oasay

Larry was a research assistant working under Dr. Bart Rypma. He received his BA in psychology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UH Manoa) in 2011 and his master&$8217;s degree in rehabilitation counseling at UT Southwestern Medical Center in 2014.


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.


Niha Pereira

Niha Pereira

Niha was a graduate student in the applied cognition and neuroscience master’s program. She completed her BA in psychology with honors, with minors in Philosophy and French at Baylor University.


Noor Un Nehar Qureshi

Noor Un Nehar Qureshi

Noor was an undergraduate majoring in neuroscience with an emphasis on pre-health. She joined Dr. Rypma’s lab in Fall 2013 as a research assistant and was researching interference effects in working memory.


Roshni Mandania

Roshni Mandania

Roshni was an undergraduate studying biology and currently is on the pre-med track. She is a CV Honors student whose interest in Multiple Sclerosis sparked her interest in conducting research for Dr. Rypma. She joined Dr. Rypma’s lab in Fall 2014 as a research assistant and is currently involved in the recruitment portion of the Multiple Sclerosis study. She is interested in studies that focus on psychiatric illnesses along with cognition and memory.


Diana Mungall

Diana Mungall

Diana was a study coordinator working with Dr. Rypma and a medical student at Texas A&M.She received her bachelor’s of science from Emory University, where she studied neuroscience and behavioral biology. While at Emory, her work was on chaperone protein folding in Alzheimer’s disease. Next, at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, she worked on clinical studies of labor and delivery anesthesia and post-operative pain control. During medical school, she worked on psychogenic nonepileptic seizures and anti-epileptic drug efficacy and pharmacokinetics.


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 aging, sparked her interest in conducting research with Dr. Rypma.


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.


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.


Saranya Sundaram

Saranya Sundaram

Saranya was a research assistant and lab manager for Dr. Rypma. She graduated from the rehabilitation counseling program at UT Southwestern Medical Center. She completed clinical internships in neuropsychology (giving neuropsychological assessments to adult outpatients with various brain-related disorders) and personal and social adjustment training (group psychotherapy for individuals with mixed psychiatric abilities looking for employment). Her master’s thesis investigated the developmental expectations and adolescent type 1 diabetes management in a diverse population. Her prior research also includes memory in eyewitness testimony. She received her bachelor of arts from Austin College, where she studied psychology and english.