NPR Lab Members

Lab Managers

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.

Lab Manager
Center for BrainHealth
UT Dallas School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Office: CBH 2.218
Email: rachael.romero@utdallas.edu

Research Scientists

Joanna Hutchinson, PhD

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: joanna.hutchison@utdallas.edu

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: Binu.Thomas@UTSouthwestern.edu

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.

PHD Students

Dema Abdelkarim

DEMA ABDELKARIM, BS

Doctoral Student
UT Dallas School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Email: Dema.Abdelkarim@utdallas.edu

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, MS

LYNDAHL HIMES, MS

Doctoral Student
UT Dallas School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Email: lxh123230@utdallas.edu

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.

GAYATHRI BATCHALLI MARUTHY, MS

GAYATHRI BATCHALLI MARUTHY, MS

Doctoral Student
UT Dallas School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Email: Gayathri.bm@utdallas.edu

Gayathri graduated with a master’s degree in applied cognition and neuroscience program from UT Dallas in May 2017. She is currently a graduate student at the Neuropsychometric Research Lab assisting with the Multiple Sclerosis and Mindfulness projects. With a background in Ayurveda (an alternative system of medicine practiced in India), she is interested in understanding the mechanisms involved in meditation by using neuroimaging techniques and looking at its effects on neurological disorders. Her extra-curricular interests include Indian classical music and practice of yoga.

YUGUANG ‘IRENE’ ZHAO, MS

YUGUANG ‘IRENE’ ZHAO, MS

Doctoral Student
UT Dallas School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Email: IreneYZ@utdallas.edu

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.

ALLISON WHEELER, BA

ALLISON WHEELER, BA

Doctoral Student
UT Dallas School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Email: allison.wheeler@utdallas.edu

Allison Wheeler received her bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of North Texas in May 2020. There, she worked as an undergraduate research assistant studying how episodic memory is impacted by explicit and implicit mental processes. She is currently a PhD student in the cognition and neuroscience program at UT Dallas. She’s interested in using neuroimaging techniques such as fMRI to better understand how neuronal degradation affects learning, memory, and attention during both healthy and abnormal aging.

Research Interests: Learning & memory, cognitive decline, processing speed, psychiatric illness, neuroimaging.

MARK ZUPPICHINI, MA

MARK ZUPPICHINI, MA

Doctoral Student
Center for BrainHealth
UT Dallas School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Email: Mark.Zuppichini@utdallas.edu

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.

Undergraduate and Post-Baccalaureate Students

HANNAH CABRERA

HANNAH CABRERA

Hannah joined the Neuropsychometric Research Lab in spring 2020, initially helping with recruitment for the aging labs and grading neuropsychological tests. She graduated from UT Dallas with her bachelor of science in psychology and neuroscience in December 2020. Currently, she is enrolled in the master’s applied cognition and neuroscience program at UT Dallas, specializing in neurological diagnosis and monitoring. Her current work in the lab consists of data analysis for the aging lab and MS lab. Upon receiving her master’s, Hannah plans on pursuing her PhD in clinical psychology and go into the field with a special interest in neurodegenerative diseases. She is currently a campus ambassador for the APA and a member of APAGS (American Psychological Association for Graduate Students). She is also a founder of Volunteer Proofreaders for Project Gutenberg at UT.

MIRANDA DUNN

MIRANDA DUNN

Miranda is a senior undergraduate neuroscience and psychology major. She’s currently in the fast track program and hopes to eventually get her master’s and PhD. Her goal is to study neurodegenerative diseases such as MS and Alzheimer’s and potentially contribute to future treatments/cures. She is a member of the Chi Alpha Iota diaternity and has many hobbies, such as playing the violin and acting. This is her first internship at a lab, and she’s very glad to have this opportunity.

ASTRID FOAMKOM

ASTRID FOAMKOM

Astrid is a psychological sciences master’s student at UT Dallas with a concentration in both psychology and neuroscience. She is interested in cognitive and functional changes following aging, with a focus on the interactions between health, age, and cognition. Following her master’s degree, she wants to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology, focusing on health and mental illness.

JESSICA MA

JESSICA MA

Jessica is an undergraduate student at UT Dallas studying neuroscience. After earning her bachelor’s degree, she plans on entering a PhD program to eventually work in research. She shows interest in changes in cognitive functions and brain structure seen in neurodegenerative diseases as well as psychological disorders.

SHALIKA PADHI

SHALIKA PADHI

Shalika is a sophomore majoring in neuroscience at UT Dallas. She is interested in researching neuro-cognitive aging and the underlying processes of deteriorating cognitive function. She is also fascinated by the current studies being conducted in the lab concerning Multiple Sclerosis. As a premed, she hopes to attend medical school after graduating.

KEERTHI STANLEY

KEERTHI STANLEY

Keerthi is a sophomore undergraduate majoring in neuroscience, with a minor in music. She is especially interested in learning more about interdisciplinary applications of cognition/neuroscience, such as the applications of developmental neuroscience in studying education systems and learning methods. She currently assists with the NPR lab’s Multiple Sclerosis project. After receiving her bachelor’s degree from UT Dallas, Keerthi plans to attend graduate school to pursue a career in academia.

VICTORIA ROSE SUNDERMAN

VICTORIA ROSE SUNDERMAN

Victoria is an undergraduate neuroscience major with a psychology minor. She has been interested in both neurodegenerative diseases and research since a young age and hopes to study the functional and physiological changes that accompany such diseases. After earning her bachelor’s degree, she plans on pursuing a PhD and entering the field of research.