Filbey Lab Team

Francesca M. Filbey, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator

Dr. Filbey is the Bert Moore Endowed Chair and Professor at the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas.  Her studies focus on determining the neurobiological mechanisms of reward system dysfunction.  Dr. Filbey is the author of Neuroscience of Addiction (In Press, Cambridge University Press). Dr. Filbey received her PhD at King’s College London, United Kingdom and completed her post-doctoral training at the NIH.

Jennifer DiMuzio

​Research Assistant

Jenn is a currently a research assistant working as Team Lead  on the “Multisite Study of Cannabis Users and Non-Users” project. She has over 8 years of neuroimaging research experience working with diverse populations, including adolescents and young adults with bipolar disorder, ADHD, and marijuana dependence and abuse, adult Veterans with PTSD, depression, and suicidal ideation, young adults diagnosed with schizophrenia, and student athletes vulnerable to concussion. She has also previously worked as a research assistant on the ABCD Study at the University of Utah site. Her research focus is on adolescent cognitive development, specifically how environmental factors, including onset of substance use and early life stress/trauma, are associated with neurobiological and behavioral changes.

Christina Atkinson, M.S.

​Research Assistant

Tina received her M.S. in Cognition and Neuroscience from UTD in May 2019. She is currently working as the Team Lead on the Cognition and Cannabis Use study. Previously she interned in the NeuroPsychometric Lab at UTD by assisting with fMRI scans and running behavioral tasks for the Multiple Sclerosis study and coordinating communication in a double-blind study on mindfulness. Her interests include investigating the neural mechanisms behind addiction and discovering ways to assist individuals with disorders.

Kristen Platt

Ph.D. Student

Kristen is a Ph.D. student in the Cognition and Neuroscience program at UT Dallas working in the Filbey lab. She received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Middle Tennessee State University in May 2020. Her previous research focused on the connectivity of brain networks during task-switching, as well as cognitive aging.  She is currently interested in how emotion regulation and decision making in adolescence impacts neural development.

Master’s Students

Beatriz Brandao

Undergraduate Student

Beatriz is a fast-track student in the Applied Cognition and Neuroscience Master’s program at UTD. She is working as a research assistant on the Cognition and Cannabis Use study. She is also part of the Chapman lab and is currently writing an honors thesis on the effects of kindness on cognitive function. Her research interests include neuroimaging, neural signals, and brain executive functions.

Hafsa Memon

Masters Student

Hafsa is a Master’s student in the Applied Cognition and Neuroscience program, and is working in the Filbey lab on the Cannabis and Cognition Use study. She received her Bachelors of Science in Cognitive Science in 2019 from UTD as well. She is currently interested in neural plasticity, the social and psychological aspects of drug addiction, and human-computer interactions. She graduates in May of 2022 and plans to pursue a career in research.

Kate Craig

Masters Student

Kate is a master’s student specializing in neuroscience in the Master of Science in Applied Cognition and Neuroscience program at UT Dallas. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Developmental Psychology from Liberty University, which she completed following a summer internship in France working with refugees through non-profit Utopia 56. Her research interests include the relationship between addictive behaviors and executive function throughout the life span, the relationship of substance use/abuse in adolescence to later addiction recovery success, and the potential modulating role of the anterior cingulate, orbitofrontal cortex, anterior insula, and medial prefrontal cortex in facilitating empathy and executive control in addiction recovery. Outside of the lab, Kate enjoys spending time with her family, is often politically active, and serves in various roles in her community and church.

Alessandra Stagni

Masters Student

Alessandra is a Master’s student in the Applied Cognition and Neuroscience program working in the Filbey Lab. Currently, she is assisting in research on the effects of substance abuse on sleep. She received her Bachelor’s of Science in Cognitive Science with a minor in Criminology at the University of Texas at Dallas in May 2021. Her interests include the influence of trauma and substance abuse on mental disorders as well as on criminal behavior. After receiving her Master’s Degree she plans to pursue a career in research and clinical work.

Undergraduate students

Ranya Siddiqui

Undergraduate Student

Ranya is a sophomore double majoring in neuroscience and psychology. She joined the lab in her senior year of high school. She is interested in studying the mental health effects of substance use. After graduating, she hopes to attend a medical scientist training program and get an MD/PhD.

Carson Burke

Undergraduate Student

Carson is a Psychology Major with a Neuroscience minor and will be graduating in the coming spring. After graduation, Carson intends to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology. This is Carson’s first year as a member of the team, and he is very pleased to have the opportunity to work with everyone here at the Center for Brain Health.

Ishav Shukla

Undergraduate Student

Ishav is a junior undergraduate student majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in Business Administration. He is a research assistant working on the MJX project. His interests include understanding how substance use induces neurobiological and behavioral changes. After graduating, he plans to attend medical school in hopes of pursuing a specialty in surgery.

Sophie Boutouis

Undergraduate Student

Sophie is a psychology major at UT Dallas. She is currently working as a research assistant on the Cognition and Cannabis Use study led by Tina. She has experience working with victims of substance abuse as a Crisis Counselor for Crisis Text Line, and she hopes to attend graduate school to further her knowledge of addiction. Her primary research interest lies in how social and environmental factors mediate substance use and addictive behaviors.

Peyton Orloff

Undergraduate Student

Peyton is an undergraduate intern working on data analysis for several studies within the lab. She is a neuroscience major, class of 2022. Her research interest is how different kinds of recreational and prescription drugs affect the brain and how that differs in neurodivergent people. Her hobbies are baking and doing puzzles.

Emine Akar

Undergraduate Student

Emine is an 3rd year undergraduate student majoring in Psychology and minoring in Music at University of Texas at Dallas. Previously she has worked in research focusing on alcohol addiction and cognition. She also has clinical experience with substance use disorder. Currently, she is interning at COGMO-Filbey Lab, and investigating the relationship between cannabis use and cognition using EEG.

Mahnoor Muhammad

Undergraduate Student

Mahnoor is a junior double majoring in Psychology and Child Development. Her primary interests are learning about the brain, specifically parts of it that are triggered by memory, emotional behavior, and addiction. She is interested in how individuals, specifically adolescents, are affected by these, and how these processes are ever-changing and versatile. She is also in Dr. Evans Child Language and Cognitive Processes Laboratory and hopes to continue involvement in behavioral research long term. After graduation, Mahnoor plans to attend Medical School in hopes pursue a specialty in Child Abuse Pediatrics.

Khaled Shihabi

Undergraduate Student

Khaled is a junior undergraduate student majoring in Neuroscience with a minor in Sociology. He is currently working on the MJX project. After working in a hospital emergency department, he quickly became interested in researching the effects of substance abuse on the brain. Outside of the lab, Khaled likes to swim competitively, play sports, and read.

Masuma Firoz

Undergraduate Student

Masuma is a senior studying Neuroscience at the University of Texas at Dallas. She currently works as a research assistant on the Cognition and Cannabis Use study in Filbey lab. In her free time, Masuma enjoys going on hikes and cooking.