NeuroPsychometric Research Lab

NPR Lab Members


Lab Managers


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.


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.

Research Scientists


Joanna L. Hutchison

Joanna L. Hutchison, 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 a 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 a cognitive decline in Multiple Sclerosis.

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


PhD Students


Dema Abdelkarim

Dema Abdelkarim, BS

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

Dema joined the lab as an undergraduate research intern to assist with the aging and MS projects and received a BS in neuroscience from UT Dallas in 2016. She is currently a graduate student in the cognition and neuroscience program and is primarily interested in using neuroimaging techniques such as fMRI to better understand how neural, glial, and vascular health can affect cognition.

Research interests: cerebral hemodynamics, cognition, aging, neuropathology, neuroimaging.


Lyndahl Himes

Lyndahl Himes, MS

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

Lyndahl is a doctoral student in the cognition and neuroscience PhD program. She graduated with her master of science in applied cognition and neuroscience and bachelor of science in neuroscience at UT Dallas, where she graduated with High Honors. Lyndahl is currently working on understanding the neural relationship between mindfulness training and depressed mood by looking at structural and functional brain changes that occur as a result of mindfulness training. Lyndahl is also interested in functional brain network differences between individuals diagnosed with major depressive disorder and healthy individuals and how these network differences are related to behavioral differences.

Research Interests: Mindfulness, emotion regulation, depression, fMRI.


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


Christina Atkinson

Christina Atkinson

Christina received her bachelor’s in psychology from UT Dallas and is currently working on her master’s in applied cognition and neuroscience. As a research assistant, she helps conduct fMRI scans for the study on Multiple Sclerosis and works with Lyndahl on mindfulness research. Her research interests include neuroimaging, cognition, mindfulness, and mental illnesses.


Undergraduate and Post-Baccalaureate Students


Adeeb Ahmed

Adeeb Ahmed

Adeeb is a sophomore undergraduate studying finance and pre-medicine. He is currently pursuing a degree in medicine in order to achieve his childhood dream of becoming a doctor. To develop his trade and professionalism, he currently volunteers at Methodist Richardson Medical Center and works with the NPR lab. He is very interested in the brain itself and specifically how the efficiency and performance of the brain and the body as a whole vary with age and hindrance through diseases. Throughout his experience at the NPR lab, he wishes to help find a way to allow the development of healthy aging and find the true overall effects of diseases such as MS. In his free time, Adeeb is a huge soccer fan and works with his club: Texas Investment Group.


Jaime Fernandez Arias

Jaime Fernandez Arias

I have a background in psychology (BSc, but actually equivalent to MSc) from the University of Oviedo, Spain. I have also studied cognitive neuropsychology at the VU Amsterdam (MSc or Research Master’s). My master’s thesis work in Amsterdam, at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, involved validating fMRI procedures in awake behaving monkeys. My career target is becoming a clinical neuropsychologist, or doing some clinical work on an area related or within that field. My research interest has to do with the neuropsychology of dementias and disorders.


Fernanda Cossio

Fernanda Cossio

Fernanda is a senior undergraduate majoring in psychology and minoring in neuroscience. Her interests include healthy structural age-related changes in the brain as well as those brought on by neurodegenerative diseases and TBIs and how those changes manifest functionally and behaviorally. After graduating with her bachelor’s, Fernanda plans to move on to her master’s and PhD with the ultimate goal of becoming a neuropsychologist to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of various brain injuries and diseases.


Leigh Dubcak

Leigh Dubcak

Leigh Dubcak is a senior undergraduate at The University of Texas at Dallas studying neuroscience and biochemistry. Her central focus is the integration and combination of various neuroimaging methods such as magnetic resonance for clinical populations of various ages in the hopes to better understand the roles of neurodegenerative disorders and to provide insight to their prevention and treatment.


Krutin Kumar

Krutin Kumar

Krutin Kumar is an incoming sophomore undergraduate majoring in neuroscience and minoring in finance as a pre-medical student. His extensive volunteer work with patients affiliated with neurological diseases at the Children’s Association for Maximum Potential along with his academic interest in the relationship between the neurobiological mechanisms of human memory and aging and disease is what motivated him to join Dr. Rypma’s lab. He hopes to bridge his experiences volunteering and shadowing with his academic and research interests to build a solid foundation for medical school and his future research plans. Outside of the lab, Krutin’s hobbies include sports, music and playing the guitar.


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.


Maddox Robinson

Maddox Robinson

Maddox Robinson is a senior undergraduate majoring in biology. He is both a member of the Hobson Wildenthal Honors College and vice president of the UT Dallas Model UN team. While wishing to better understand all of the projects in Dr. Rypma’s lab, Maddox is particularly interested in the physiological basis of changes in cognitive performance due to aging. Maddox divides his spare time between acting as an assistant to his former debate team and watching movies.


Rachael Romero

Rachael Romero

Rachael is an undergraduate pre-med student at UT Dallas studying neuroscience. She is most interested in how disease-related structural changes in the brain result in loss of function and behavioral symptoms. She currently assists with the lab’s Multiple Sclerosis and aging projects. After receiving her bachelor’s, Rachael plans to attend medical school and continue her studies in neuroscience and neurology.


Fayha Zia

Fayha Zia

Fayha Zia is a sophomore undergraduate majoring in neuroscience and minoring in psychology. She finds neurocognitive aging and memory intriguing and is interested in the numerous research projects in the NPR lab. Her aspirations include going to medical school and becoming a doctor in the future. Fayha also volunteers as an EMT and tutors kids in her free time.