John Hart, Jr., MD
Distinguished Chair in Neuroscience
Dr. Hart is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University where he received his bachelor’s degree. Dr. Hart received his medical degree from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and then he did his residency in neurology, a fellowship in cognitive neurology and neuropsychology, and went on to become a faculty member of the Department of Neurology in the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Following his years at Johns Hopkins, Hart was the director of the Cognition and Brain Imaging Laboratory at the Donald W. Reynolds Center on Aging at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences before joining UT Dallas in 2005.
Dr. Hart is one of the world’s foremost experts on semantic memory, studying how knowledge is stored and accessed in the brain. His research has centered around a variety of disorders, including dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), mild cognitive impairment (MCI), traumatic brain injury (TBI), multiple sclerosis (MS), Gulf War Illness, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), schizophrenia, and depression. Dr. Hart has worked to understand the underlying neural mechanisms of disease state and therapeutic associated outcomes using many techniques, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), electroencephalography (EEG), transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), and integrated TMS-EEG.
Currently, Dr. Hart is the Principal Investigator on several projects focusing on MS, PTSD, and Gulf War Illness. He is also a Professor in the Department of Neurology and Neurotherapeutics, with a joint appointment in the Department of Psychiatry, at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, and he is a practicing neurologist at the Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute of UT Southwestern.
Dr. Hart has published more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles related to his research and given more than 150 presentations on his work all over the world. He has recently published a textbook entitled, The Neurobiology of Cognition and Behavior. His favorite bands are Steely Dan and Talking Heads.
Michael Motes, PhD
Senior Research Scientist
Dr. Motes received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University at North Florida, then went on to get his PhD from the Doctoral Program in Experimental Psychology at Texas Christian University. While a graduate student, he studied factors affecting changes in attention and spatial memory over time. Following graduate school, he held a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at Rutgers-The State University of New Jersey. At Rutgers, he studied the role of basic cognitive abilities, particularly visual-spatial and visual-imagery abilities, in the performance of higher level cognitive tasks, like learning science concepts and navigating real and virtual environments.
Dr. Motes has been with UT Dallas since 2006 and also has a joint appointment in the Department of Psychiatry at UT Southwestern. His research examines brain bases of basic cognitive functions, particularly, working memory, inhibitory control, and processing speed, and the relationships between basic and higher-level functions. His research has explored the brain bases of changes in cognitive abilities associated with development and normal aging, dementia, PTSD, traumatic brain injury, Gulf War illness, and cognitive training.
Dr. Motes is widely published in top national and international peer-reviewed journals and has presented his research at national and international conferences. He has a special interest in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) design and analytical techniques. He is an active investigator on multiple projects, but still finds time to learn Japanese and remodel sports cars.
Gail Tillman, PhD
Senior Research Scientist
Dr. Tillman received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from East Texas State University. She obtained a second master’s degree and PhD from UT Dallas in Applied Cognition and Neuroscience and Cognition and Neuroscience, respectively. Dr. Tillman is a senior member of the Cognitive Neuroscience Lab of Memory. She has studied and published on the effects of hormones on cognition, Gulf War Illness, PTSD, auditory processing deficits in multiple sclerosis, and relationships between neuropsychological testing and EEG.
Having just finished a research project funded by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, she will now turn her attention to the Lab’s Gulf War Illness project funded by the Department of Defense. This study seeks to determine the effects of High Definition Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation on memory disorders caused by Gulf War Illness.
Dr. Tillman is also an adjunct at UT Dallas where she teaches Experimental Projects in Cognitive Science and Psychology. She is a professionally trained vocalist and governess for two cats, Emma and Lily Jane.
Elizabeth Ellen Morris, PhD, LPC
Dr. Morris attended Auburn University where she received her BA in psychology, MEd in community agency counseling, and her PhD in counselor education and supervision. She has come to UT Dallas recently from the VA North Texas Health Care System where she spent a decade participating in, managing, and supervising various research studies. These studies include assessing the efficacy of Lithium in reducing suicidal behaviors, psychopharmacology and PTSD, and a comparison of Cognitive Processing Therapy and Present Centered Therapy.
Elizabeth has joined the Cognitive Neuroscience Lab of Memory to assist in the lab’s Gulf War Illness project funded by the Department of Defense. This study seeks to determine the effects of High Definition Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation on memory disorders caused by Gulf War illness. She will also spearhead a new PTSD study that the lab anticipates beginning in January 2019.
She is also Adjunct Graduate Faculty at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center where she provides mentoring and dissertation guidance in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. She is an avid bird watcher, practices yoga, and loves to spend time with her daughters while they ride their horse named Magnus.
Jill Ritter, BS
Jill Ritter is a graduate of Texas A&M University. She has almost two decades of experience in program management and coordination, and she has spent the last three years in research administration. Jill has previously worked with the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and as a special education teacher.
Jill has joined the Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory of Memory to support human subject protocols and compliance, grant proposals and management, and progress reports. She also oversees budgeting, payroll, inventory, and subcontracts. Outside of work, Jill loves hiking and exploring county courthouses with her husband, John.
Kelsey Watson, BA, MPsych
Kelsey Watson is a graduate of University of Dallas with a BA in psychology and an MPsych with a clinical concentration. She came to work the Cognitive Neuroscience Lab of Memory because of her interest in research and treatment options. She is passionate about the intersection of research and practice as it pertains to psychological treatment and services.
Kelsey is currently working toward full licensure to become an LPC Intern. She hopes to continue to gain experience working with military veterans to explore treatment options for their unique situations. In her spare time, Kelsey works as an enrichment educator and enjoys exploring the DFW area with her dog, Frank.
Justin Jacqmain, BA
Justin received his degree in psychology from Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan and has completed graduate study hours at Texas Christian University. Over his last ten years in research, Justin has studied neural, cognitive, and behavioral mechanisms of learning and memory. He has been funded to study traumatic brain injury (TBI) in rats, and has extensive statistical and data analysis skills. Justin has joined the Cognitive Neuroscience Lab of Memory to aid in all of our ongoing research projects, but especially those focusing on PTSD and TBI.
Justin’s other research interests include the effects of environmental enrichment on learning and memory in lesioned and intact nonhuman animals, as well as the effects of drugs on nonhuman animal behavior. When not furthering his scientific studies, you can find Justin being outdoorsy or at home teaching his 14-year-old African grey parrot, Bosco, new tricks.
Tyler Rawlinson, BS
Veteran Outreach Coordinator
Tyler Rawlinson is a graduate of The University of Texas at Dallas with a bachelor’s in Healthcare Studies. Before attending school, he served in the United States Marine Corps from 2010 to 2014 where he was a motor transportation operator stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Tyler Joined the Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory of Memory and Veteran Studies in order to help out the Veteran community that he knows and loves.
Tyler has the ultimate goal of earning his medical degree and going back into the service as an active duty military physician. Outside of work, Tyler keeps busy by volunteering at his local hospital, going mountain biking, or spending time in the gym.
Christina (Tina) Bass, MS, LPC
Tina Bass is a graduate of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center with her MS in rehabilitation counseling where she did her thesis on trauma factors in military sexual assault. She has been working in trauma research and PTSD assessment and treatment for over 10 years. Tina has worked extensively with Veterans including at the Veterans’ Administration and in private practice.
Tina has been with the Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory of Memory since 2011 and will be one of the lead therapists on a new Department of Defense funded PTSD project. Her other research interests include interpersonal neurobiology, and the physiological and psychological benefits of meditation, yoga, and exercise. Outside of her work, Tina loves to travel and is an excellent Instagram photographer.
Christine Dugas, MS, CCC-SLP
Graduate Research Assistant
Christine is currently pursuing a PhD in communication sciences and disorders at UT Dallas. Her research interests include investigating the neural mechanisms of semantic memory and the use of non-invasive neuromodulation techniques for language and memory rehabilitation. Christine previously received her masters of science in speech-language pathology from Texas Woman’s University in 2015 and has since worked as a speech-language pathologist in the medical setting. As a clinician, she predominantly worked with patients with acquired brain injuries and other neurogenic conditions. It was there she developed a strong interest to further investigate the underlying mechanisms of language and cognition which led her to join the Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory for Memory.
Upon completion of her PhD, she plans to work in academia where she can continue to research as well as educate future SLPs. When not in the lab, Christine enjoys making music (singing mostly), playing trivia, traveling, and talking to her two dogs like they are her children.
Elena Keltner, BA, MS
Graduate Research Assistant
Elena came to the Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory of Memory after completing her MS in communication disorders at UT Dallas and a BA in psychology at UT Austin. Currently, she is a PhD candidate in communication sciences and disorders at UT Dallas. Her expected graduation date is May 2023. Elena’s research interests began in the Evolution, Variation, and Ontogeny of Learning Lab at UT Austin. From there she has worked in several areas of communication disorders including cross-cultural parent-child communication patterns and object comprehension in preverbal children. She is currently focused on finding the best evidence-based practices for stroke patients with word-finding deficits.
After graduation, Elena plans to continue research in an academic setting while also sharing results with students in clinical settings. Last year Elena completed her first half-marathon and is training to run more. She loves to cook and watch the Bachelor (#NoJudgement).
Katelyn Lucas, BA
Graduate Research Assistant
Katelyn is pursuing a MS and PhD in communication science and disorders at UT Dallas following completing a BA in CSD at Baylor University. Her research experience began at Baylor’s Applied Cognition and Neuroscience lab where she worked on studies involving neurofeedback protocols for stroke and TBI patients. After graduating she worked a semester as a research assistant at the Waco VA on a Gulf War Illness study. Current research interest includes using neurostimulation to treat language related symptoms from brain injuries, specifically in veteran population.
Following graduation at UT Dallas, Katelyn plans on pursuing research and eventually working in an academic setting to instruct future researchers and SLPs. Outside of school, Katelyn enjoys baking, playing video games, and hanging out with her friends (and their dogs).
Sarah Diesing, BA
Work Study Student Assistant
Sarah Diesing graduated from Harding University in 2019 with a bachelor of arts in communication sciences & disorders and a minor in psychology with a focus on counseling. She is a graduate student in speech-language pathology at The University of Texas at Dallas. She came to UTD to participate in research in neurogenic disorders and their effect on executive functioning. Sarah joined the Cognitive Neuroscience Lab of Memory in the fall of 2019. She will complete her master’s degree in May of 2021.
After graduation, Sarah plans to work in neurorehabilitation in the DFW area. She enjoys visiting her home state of Vermont and returning to Texas to eat tacos. In her free time, she sings in a choir and swims.
Anna Sleeman, BS
Work Study Student Assistant
Anna is currently pursuing her master’s degree in speech-language pathology at The University of Texas at Dallas. She graduated from Auburn University with a bachelors of science in communication disorders and a minor in psychology. She came to UTD to explore the wealth of clinical practicum and research opportunities.
After graduation, Anna plans on gaining experience in the field of neurogenic disorders in speech-language pathology before possibly going on to complete her PhD. In her free time, you can find Anna running, reading or cheering on Auburn football.
Scott Shakal, BSA, BA
Scott Shakal is a graduate of The University of Texas where he received a bachelor of science and arts (BSA) in biology and a BA in ancient history and classic civilization. He interned and worked full-time in the Cognitive Neuroscience Lab of Memory for six years. He joined the Class of 2022 at the University of North Texas Health Science Center Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine in July 2018. From there he hopes to pursue a career in neurology with a focus on TBI, memory, and cognition. In what little time he has, he runs marathons and hate-watches “Tiny House” on HGTV.
Rachel O’Hair, BS
Rachel O’Hair has a BS in Microbiology from the University of Georgia where she focused on the microbiome and its role in human development. She started working for UT Dallas in 2016 in the Cognitive Neuroscience Lab of Memory to gain experience in working with human subjects and developing research experiments. Her current research interests include neuropsychological testing, tDCS applications, EEG testing, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Rachel plans on attending medical school in the near future and would like to pursue a career using her clinical research experience in working with military veterans to better understand possible treatments for PTSD and TBI. Outside of research, she likes to travel and create DIY home goods.
Kylee Yeatman, BA, BS
Kylee Yeatman is a graduate of The University of Texas with a BA in sociology and a BS in psychology. She worked with the Cognitive Neuroscience Lab of Memory for over four years where she performed neuropsychological testing, tDCS applications, and coordinated scheduling for research participants and research staff. Kylee left her position as the lab linchpin in 2019 to pursue new opportunities in the great city of Houston. Outside of work, Kylee is a professional pet-sitter and is into the vegan lifestyle (but don’t worry, she’s not pushy about it).
Julie Fratantoni, PhD
Graduate Research Assistant
Julie graduated from UT Dallas with her Communication Sciences and Disorders PhD in 2018. Her dissertation was entitled, “Theta Entrainment to Modulate Cognitive Control of Language Functions.” Results from her dissertation project show that theta and alpha entrainment increased Go accuracy — for participants whose peak alpha was high — across all three semantic Go-NoGo tasks, thus, enhancing response selection. Her study lays a foundation for further exploration into the use of High Definition transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation (HD-tACS) to enhance cognitive control in the healthy brain and has implications for treatment of clinical populations with dysfunctional oscillatory activity. She is currently a Speech Language Pathologist at the Mesquite Rehabilitation Institute. When she isn’t at work you can find her painting abstract art (https://www.oasisartlab.com/).
Sarah Sprinkle, BBA, MA
Sarah Sprinkle received her BBA in finance and economics from The University of Texas at Arlington and MA in English from Texas Woman’s University. She has worked in research administration for over a decade and worked within UT Dallas for almost nine years. She worked with the Cognitive Neuroscience Lab of Memory because of a deep interest in research, especially in helping veterans with TBI and/or PTSD. In her free time, she raises a very cute toddler and runs a very serious book club.