People

Director

Hedy Kober's picture

Hedy Kober, Ph.D.

Dr. Kober received her Ph.D. in Psychology with a focus on Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience from Columbia University in 2009. She is an associate professor of Psychiatry and Psychology with additional appointments in the Neuroscience and Cognitive Neuroscience programs. She uses a cognitive neuroscience approach (e.g., fMRI, EEG) to investigate the regulation of craving, mindfulness and meditation, and emotion regulation and cognition-emotion interaction more generally.

Research Scientists

Elise DeVito's picture

Elise DeVito, Ph.D.

NeuroElf

Jochen Weber's picture

Jochen Weber

Jochen is our brilliant go-to Neuroscience Elf. He primarily works as a senior imaging analyst at the SCN lab at Columbia University, where he continues to develop NeuroElf, a Matlab toolbox for fMRI data analysis and visualization. For us, he brings his all-around elfin magic and special expertise in mathematics, programming and prior work experience to assist with data analysis and visualization. His prior work experience include working in the Core Facility of the Interdisciplinary Center for Clinical Research at the RWTH Aachen in Germany as well as working as a customer support agent for Brain Innovation, the makers of BrainVoyager QX.

Postdoctoral Researchers

David Saunders's picture

David Saunders, M.D., Ph.D.

David obtained his MD at Weill Cornell Medical School (WCMC) and his PhD in Religion at Emory University under John Dunne, with a specific focus on Buddhist meditation theory and philosophy of mind. He is now a clinical and research fellow in the Albert J. Solnit Integrated Training Program. Along with Dr. Kober and others, he is developing and running a clinical trial evaluating Mindfulness-Based ADHD Treatment for Children (MBAT-C).

Uri Berger's picture

Uri Berger, Ph.D.

Uri Berger is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the CAN lab. He received his doctoral degree in Psychology from Bar-Ilan University. His M.A. degrees in psychology (experimental and clinical) are from the universities of Bar-ilan and Tel-Aviv. Uri’s past focus was on the origins of social disgust. Currently he is working on a project investigating the role of craving in binge drinking. Specifically, he will examine the effects of regulation of craving training (ROC-T) on young adults who binge drink. To approach these questions he will use various methods, including cognitive tasks, affective-related tasks, and brain imaging.

Reuma Gadassi-Polack's picture

Reuma Gadassi-Polack, P.h.D

Reuma received her doctoral degree in Psychology from Bar-Ilan University, and her M.A. in Educational and Clinical Child Psychology from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Reuma’s research focuses on the affective and interpersonal aspects of depression and personality disorders. She is currently working on projects investigating role of emotion regulation in the development of depression and other disorders. To approach these questions she uses various methods, including cognitive tasks, experience-sampling methods, and brain imaging.

Jessica Mollick's picture

Jessica Mollick, Ph.D.

Jessica is interested in the brain mechanisms involved in learning and decision making, and the role that neuromodulatory systems such as dopamine play in these tasks. Her research focuses on computational neural network models of the basal ganglia, amygdala and dopamine system, with a particular focus on expanding those models to look at the role of dopamine and the basal ganglia in negative valence learning and understanding the brain mechanisms that drive prediction errors for worse than expected outcomes. She has applied these models to a variety of learning tasks. Her empirical research focuses on fMRI, using a conditioned inhibition experiment with juice rewards that draws on worse than expected prediction errors, and involves applying temporal-differences learning and neural network models to this experiment, as well as a pain learning task, to assess the fit of these different models to fMRI data in dopaminergic and subcortical regions. She is interested in comparing the fit of different models with empirical data, and looking at how evaluation of reward and punishment outcomes relates to addictive behaviors.

Research Assistants

Nilofar Vafaie's picture

Nilofar Vafaie, M.S.

Nilo is a full-time research assistant at CAN Lab. She graduated with a Master’s in Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern University. Her interests include computational psychiatry, meta-analyses, and mindfulnes based interventions for substance use disorders and emotion regulation.

Sophy Xiong's picture

Sophy Xiong, B.S., B.A.

Sophy (Yihan) Xiong is a full time research assistant in the CAN lab. Sophy graduated from UCLA (Class of 2018) with a double major in Psychobiology (B.S.) and Linguistics (B.A.). She has previously worked on the neurogenetics of autism, and novel treatments for anxiety and depression. Her current interests include the neural correlates of addictive mechanisms, and of clinical interventions for SUD. When she is not in lab, she can be found salsa dancing, trapeze flying, theater acting, or taking a nap.

Italia Hanik's picture

Italia Hanik, B.S., B.A.

Italia is a full-time research assistant in the CAN lab. She graduated from Temple University with a double major in Neuroscience (B.S.) and Psychology (B.A.) in 2019. She has previously worked on decision making with a focus on impulsivity along with substances of abuse’s effect on white matter tracts. Her interests include the neural mechanisms of addictive behaviors and clinical intervention methods.

Sophie Shang's picture

Sophie Shang, M.S.

Sophie (Fei) Shang is a full time research assistant in the CAN lab. Sophie graduated from University College London with a Master of Research in Cognitive Neuroscience. Previously, she went to UC Berkeley and double majored in Cognitive Science and Psychology. She studies the cognitive and affective processes underlying major psychiatric disorders using computational modeling, behavioral testing and neuroimaging. Her current interests include the neural correlates of addictive mechanisms, and clinical intervention methods. 

 

Student RAs

Hailey Yetman's picture

Hailey Yetman

Hailey is an Neuroscience major in Davenport College (class of 2020). As an undergraduate research assistant, she has worked on a meta-analysis that models how cue reactivity and craving affect treatment outcomes. Now, she is working on a study that examines the efficacy of brief training on ability to regulate craving and subsequent substance use. Broadly, Hailey is interested in neural mechanisms behind disorders and disabilities and intends on pursuing medical school.

Rob Palmer's picture

Rob Palmer

Rob is a medical student at Yale (class of 2021) who’s helping with the CAN Lab’s research on mindfulness and CBT interventions for craving regulation in people trying to reduce or quit smoking. He has previously contributed to research on ibogaine and 5-MeO-DMT for the treatment of concerning opioid use as well as on research at the University of Southern California that involved fMRI and EEG imaging of long-term meditators. He hopes that he will–before he graduates from medical school–help conduct research that explores the effects of mindfulness interventions on implicit bias.

Kathryn Khalvati's picture

Kathryn Khalvati

Kathryn Khalvati is a senior at Yale University majoring in Psychology with a concentration in Neuroscience. She has been working on a project investigating the underlying neural and behavioral mechanisms of healthy food choice following Regulation of Craving Training (ROC-T), a brief cognitive training that has been shown to improve food choice and reduce eating. Currently, she is examining the effects of parameters such as dosage, timing, and cognitive load on ROC-T efficacy as well as running experimental sessions for a study focusing on decision-making and reward learning in cocaine users. Kathryn’s research interests include addictive behaviors, emotional regulation, reward sensitivity, and cognitive control. In her free time, she enjoys practicing yoga and hiking.

Stephanie Malta's picture

Stephanie Malta

Stephanie is a junior in Morse College from Miami, Florida majoring in Neuroscience. Her current research interests include emotion, addictive behaviors, gender differences and public health applications. Outside of lab, you can usually find her reading or at an a cappella performance.

 
Lili Margitai's picture

Lili Margitai

Lili is a Neuroscience major in Branford College (class of 2020). She has worked on a study that analyzed the regulation of craving in heavy drinkers [CTNA] and on a study that looks at how stress affects heavy smokers’ ability to regulate their cravings [ROC-Shock]. Now, she is working on a smoking cessation randomized controlled trial (RCT) neuroimaging study [PDC3].  

Daniel Rice's picture

Daniel Rice

Danny is a Cognitive Science major in Jonathan Edwards College (class of 2020). He has worked on a study looking at the effects of stress on regulation of nicotine cravings [ROC-Shock], and a meta-analysis modeling how cue reactivity and craving affect treatment outcomes. Now, he is working on a smoking cessation randomized controlled trial (RCT) neuro-imaging study [PDC3]. More than anything, he’s just happy to be here.

Taylor Spadory's picture

Taylor Spadory

Taylor Spadory is a junior in Pierson College majoring in Psychology with a concentration in Neuroscience. She has previously contributed to research projects involving neuroanatomy and development. Her current research interests include neural mechanisms behind disordered and addictive behaviors.

Anna Tender's picture

Anna Tender

Anna is a sophomore in Grace Hopper College studying Statistics and Data Science. In the CANLab she has aided running and analyzing fMRI studies that focus on regulation of craving and binge eating disorder. She has also been involved in designing Mechanical Turk studies that investigate mechanisms of healthy food choice following the Regulation of Craving Training. Anna is interested in developing novel and reliable methods of analyzing fMRI images in order to provide meaningful conclusions about the human brain. In her free time, she enjoys contemporary dance, going on runs, and reading philosophy journals.

Maya John's picture

Maya John

Maya John is a sophomore in Silliman college and a major in psychology. Her current research interests include emotion regulation, particularly using mindfulness and meditation to manage stress and anxiety. 

Alumni

Maggie Mae Mell's picture

Maggie Mae Mell

Maggie Mae was a full time research assistant in the CAN lab. She received her B.A. in Psychology from Rutgers University in 2005. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Neuroscience.

Wendy Sun's picture

Wendy Sun, B.S.

Wendy majored in Neuroscience at Yale (class of 2018), and was a Postgraduate Research Associate at CAN lab. She is currently persuing her MD-PhD at Harvard University. 

Ross MacLean's picture

Ross MacLean, Ph.D.

Ross earned his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Pennsylvania State University in 2015. He is currently an Advanced Fellow in Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center (MIRECC) at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System and Yale University. His research is focused on identifying neurobiological and behavioral mechanisms involved in the maintenance and treatment of addiction.

Matthew Schafer's picture

Matthew Schafer

Matthew was a full time research assistant in the CAN lab. He received his B.A. in Psychology from William & Mary in 2014. His interests include cognition-emotion interaction, mindfulness and social cognition. He is currently pursuing a Neuroscience Ph.D. at Mount Sinai. 

Shosuke Suzuki's picture

Shosuke Suzuki, B.S.

Shosuke was a full time research assistant in the CAN lab. He graduated from UCLA with a B.S. in Neuroscience in 2014. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. at Emory University. 

Bethany Goodhue's picture

Bethany Goodhue, B.A.

Bethany was a full time research assistant in the CAN lab. She received her B.A. in Psychology from Yale in 2016. She is now persuing her Ph.D. at University of South Florida. 

Reuben Hendler's picture

Reuben Hendler

Reuben was a full time research assistant in the CAN lab. He received his degree in cognitive science from Calhoun College at Yale in 2014. He is interested in the psychology of living well – how the mind assigns ethical and moral value and produces feelings of meaningfulness and fulfillment. He practices meditation and hopes to study its potential use in cultivating mental habits conducive to human flourishing.  He is also interested in how emotion regulation techniques may be skillfully implemented in light of heuristics for evaluating experience like the “ends-and-peaks” rule. 

Darby Henry's picture

Darby Henry

Darby was a Cognitive Science major in Pierson College. As an undergraduate research assistant in the CAN lab, she helped work on a couple super cool meta-analysis related to the neural mechanisms underlying craving and the significance of craving in addiction.

Joseph Taylor's picture

Joseph Taylor, M.D., Ph.D.

Joe earned his MD and PhD in Neuroscience from the Medical University of South Carolina. Broadly, Joe’s research focuses on pairing brain stimulation techniques with brain imaging techniques in order to map and modulate the aberrant neural networks associated with refractory psychiatric and neurological symptoms.

Mascots

Bodhi's picture

Bodhi

Gaia's picture

Gaia