Team


 

dr sepiSepideh Sadaghiani, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator

Sepideh Sadaghiani is Associate Professor of Psychology (Cognitive Neuroscience program area) and Bioengineering, and faculty of the Neuroscience Graduate Program at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She directs the CONNECTlab at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology where she is full-time faculty. Sadaghiani received a Ph.D. in Neural and Behavioral Sciences from the Max Planck Graduate School and postdoctoral training at Berkeley and Stanford. She investigates the role of neural connectivity and spontaneous brain activity in cognitive control and behavior through a multi-modal lens. Sadaghiani serves as handling editor at Imaging Neuroscience (formerly NeuroImage), Brain Topography, and Network Neuroscience. She has been recognized as National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Awardee, Lincoln Excellence for Assistant Professors (LEAP) Scholar and Helen Corley Petit Scholar. Her work has been funded by the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH), Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), and the NSF. When she’s not doing science, Sepideh loves to be on a windsurfing board or a yoga mat.

Google Scholar | CV

 

Staff

 

Thomas Alderson, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Research Associate
 
Thomas Alderson holds a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Ulster University, an M.Sc. in Advanced Computer Science from the University of Manchester, and an M.Sc. in Neuroinformatics from Newcastle University. His research is focused on whole-brain computer modeling and fusion of multimodal imaging such as concurrent EEG-fMRI and diffusion MRI to better understand the dynamic and static properties of whole-brain networks in healthy and clinical populations.
 

 

 

Suhnyoung Jun, Ph.D. 

Postdoctoral Research Associate.

Suhnyoung Jun holds a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, an M.A. in Psychology from Yonsei University, and dual B.Sc. and B.A. degrees in Systems Biology and Psychology from Yonsei University. Her research focuses on the interplay between genetics, neuromodulatory systems, and brain dynamics. Specifically, she investigates how genetic factors influence rapid and slow whole-brain connective dynamics and their impact on cognition. Suhnyoung likes to spend most of her non-working hours in the kitchen, cooking and baking.

 

Graduate Students

 

Martín Irani

Neuroscience Graduate Student

Martín Irani obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from Universidad de Chile. Before joining the lab in 2021, he worked as a technical associate at the Interdisciplinary Center of Neuroscience in Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Martín is interested in the dynamic organization of meso- and large-scale networks that support core cognitive processes, such as inference, attention, and perception.

 

 

 

 

Samar ElSayed, M.Sc.

Cognitive Neuroscience Graduate Student

Samar ElSayed holds an M.Sc. degree in Mental Health from Zagazig University, Egypt. During her master’s program, she completed an internship at Humboldt University of Berlin through a graduate student travel award. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences, followed by two graduate diplomas in Psychology and Mental Health, respectively. Currently, she is applying simultaneous concurrent EEG-fMRI techniques and is interested in spontaneous brain activity and endogenously driven preparatory control. Away from science, Samar enjoys taking long walks in nature, baking, and reading while listening to classical music.

 

 

 

Sarah Olshan

Cognitive Neuroscience Graduate Student

Sarah Olshan completed her B.S. degree at the University of Florida in psychology with behavioral and cognitive neuroscience. Her main interests include a better understanding of how emotion is represented in the brain as well as how emotion and cognition interact using various brain imaging techniques (fMRI, EEG). In addition to better understanding these processes in healthy adults, she is interested in how emotional wellbeing can be fostered particularly for those with affective conditions such as anxiety and depression. Outside of her work, Sarah enjoys hiking and rock climbing the most.

 


 

Leykza Carreras-Simon

Cognitive Neuroscience Graduate Student

Leykza Carreras-Simons received her B.A. in psychology from St. Olaf College. Before joining the lab in 2023, she was a full-time lab manager and research assistant at UW-Madison, where she worked on various projects within behavioral neuroendocrinology investigating neuroendocrine and epigenetic interactions predicting social behavior, development and play in rodents. She is interested in the mechanisms that may instigate reconfigurations in functional connectivity over time and from experience in connectome states, and how intrinsic connectivity networks may interact to affect subsequent behaviors and cognitive control.

 

 

 

Sam Kazemi, M.Sc.

Cognitive Neuroscience Graduate Student

Hi! I’m Sam, a soon-to-be Ph.D. student in the CONNECT lab who is so excited about it. I bring a variety of experiences to the table. Building android software was the beginning of my technical career as an electrical engineer. After that, I got into the fascinating field of bioelectronics with an M.S. focused on Brain-Computer Interfaces for controlling FES-bicycles with your thoughts (seriously!). I even began my doctorate in Iran (at a prestigious university, no less!), where I studied deep learning and multimodal image processing. However, life had other plans, and now here I am, prepared to get right into brand-new research experiences! Also, I have experience as a software developer for medical imaging devices and research technician, even exploring into the fascinating world of improving dry freezing techniques for C. elegans (tiny worms, big science!).

I like to spend my free time practicing the piano, working out to keep up with my gymnast days, or obsessing over the newest developments in neuroscience and bioengineering. I’m eager to learn a lot of knowledge from all the lab members and add to some ground-breaking studies!

 

 

 

 

Chris Perriello

Clinical Neuroscience Ph.D. Student
 
Chris Perriello was born and raised in Boston, MA, completing a BS in Clinical Psychology at Tufts University before becoming involved in research studies at MGH and McLean Hospital. Currently, Chris is a second year in the clinical psychology program and is primarily interested in studying the neural mechanisms of transdiagnostic repetitive negative thinking (RNT) in anxious/depressed populations and the effects of RNT on executive functioning.
 
 

Undergraduate Students

 

Aiman Naqvi

Aiman Naqvi is a freshman majoring in Brain and Cognitive Science with a minor in Computer Science. He joined the lab in the Spring of 2022 and will be assisting with EEG procedures in an ongoing concurrent EEG-fMRI study.

   
 

Zifan (Peter) Zhao

Zifan Zhao is a sophomore majoring in Psychology focusing on cognitive neuroscience. He joined the CONNECT Lab in the Summer of 2022 and is assisting with an EEG procedure for a concurrent EEG-fMRI study.

 

Chengyuan Peng

Chengyuan Peng is a Junior majoring in computer engineering. He is interested in computer modeling of the whole brain and engineering applications of neural signal processing such as BCI. In particular, he seeks to learn how to collect high-quality neural signals both invasive and non-invasively, and how to process these data with modern computer techniques such as machine learning. 

 

Kavin Jindel

Kavin Jindel is a sophomore majoring in Statistics and Computer Science. Driven by an in-depth understanding of Computer Vision and Deep Learning, Kavin is committed to probing the nexus between pioneering technological frameworks and the intricacies of human cognition and psychology. His endeavors extend to working intimately with EEG-fMRI datasets, gleaning insights from the intricate neural interplays they reveal. Additionally, he possesses hands-on experience in conducting MRI procedures, adding a practical dimension to his data analytical skills. He stands poised to contribute significantly to initiatives that endeavor to integrate computational strategies with insights centered on human cognition and neuroimaging.

 
 

Alumni

 

thJonathan Wirsich, Ph.D.

Jonathan Wirsich worked at the CONNECTlab from winter 2016 to 2018. He holds a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Aix-Marseille University and a M.Sc. in Computer Science from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. His research is focused on information integration and fusion of multimodal imaging such as concurrent EEG-fMRI and diffusion MRI to better understand the dynamic and static properties of whole-brain networks in healthy and clinical populations (epilepsy, stroke). He is now working as maître-assistant (senior researcher) at the University of Geneva, pushing the limits of concurrent EEG-fMRI at 7T.

Google Scholar | Research Gate

 

Picture_Richard_Connect_Lab_2016_NUMBER_ONE-150x150Richard O. Bidó-Medina, M.D.-Ph.D.

Richard O. Bidó-Medina received his ‘Doctor of Medicine’ (M.D.) degree from Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He joined the Neuroscience Program of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Fall 2014, when he obtained the Fulbright Scholarship of the USA Department of State. His research interests are related to understanding the neural correlates of neurological and psychiatric disorders by utilizing neuroimaging techniques in order to improve their diagnosis and treatment. He is now working as a psychiatric resident at Harvard-MGH.

 

thMax Egan, Ph.D.

Max Egan received his B.A. in Psychology from the University of California at Berkeley. He has been a full-time research coordinator at Shaw/Carmichael lab at Stanford since 2013. Max joined the lab as a Ph.D. student during fall 2016.  Max is now a research scientist at the Michigan Neuroscience Institute. 

 

Parham Mostame, Ph.D.

Parham Mostame joined the lab on Fall 2018 as a Ph.D. student in the cognitive neuroscience area of the psychology program. He has received his B.Sc. degree at the University of Tehran in electrical engineering in the control division. He completed his M.Sc. degree at the same university in electrical engineering in the biomedical engineering division. During his M.Sc., He worked with ECoG signals acquired from epileptic patients to figure out the dynamics of high gamma functional connectivity during various linguistic tasks such as verb generation and word recognition. Parham is now a research scientist at a start-up in Los Angeles. 

   
 

Yuetian (Vivian) Li, M.Sc.

Yuetian (Vivian) Li is a master’s student in the Psychological Science program. Before joining the lab, she received a B.A. in Psychology and Integrative Biology Honor from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is interested in combining multiple levels of analysis including brain activity, behavioral task performances, and self-report measures to unravel the cognitive and neural correlates of emotion regulation relevant to self-injury and depression. She is currently working on the data analysis of the depression project that investigates the attentional and processing bias of people with previous depressive episodes when they interpret ambiguous emotional and perceptual stimuli.

 

Sophia Giakas

Sophia Giakas received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a concentration in Cognitive Neuroscience and has in minor in Sociology. Her involvement includes maintaining the daily operation of the lab, coordinating research projects, as well as data acquisition and analysis for a concurrent EEG-fMRI study.

 

Grace Homa

Grace Homa majored in Molecular Cellular Biology with a minor in chemistry. She joined the lab in the Summer of 2021 and assisted in a concurrent EEG-fMRI study.

 

Julia Gainski

Julia Gainski majored in Integrative Biology with a minor in German. She joined the lab in the Spring of 2021 and assisted with an EEG procedure for a concurrent EEG-fMRI study. In her senior thesis she investigated the association between trait affect, depressive symptoms, and an affect threshold.  

 

Picture_Richard_Connect_Lab_2016_NUMBER_ONE-150x150Susaina Karanth

Sunaina Karanth received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a concentration in Behavioral Neuroscience. She joined the CONNECT lab fall of 2017 and assisted graduate student Max Egan on an EEG/fMRI project.

 

Brad Yang

Brad Yang received his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. His involvement in the lab included helping with the logistics and data collection. Currently, he is a Master’s student working in the Human Memory and Cognition Lab at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

 

Picture_Richard_Connect_Lab_2016_NUMBER_ONE-150x150Ezra Winter-Nelson

Ezra Winter-Nelson received his Bachelor’s degree in Molecular Cellular Biology with a minor in Computer Science. His involvement in the lab included data acquisition and analysis. Currently, he is a Ph.D. student at the University of Texas at Dallas studying Cognition and Neuroscience.

 

thEdwin Guzman

Edwin Guzman received his Bachelor’s degree in Clinical Psychology. His involvement in the lab included clinical assessment, SCID-5 administration, and website management. His clinical assessment and SCID-5 involvement entail clinical outcome analysis and evaluation. Edwin’s website management involves HTML editing to update website content.

 

Taaha Adamji

Taaha Adamji is a senior majoring in Bioengineering with a minor in Chemistry on the pre-med track. He joined the lab in the Spring of 2021 and is assisting graduate student Parham Mostame in an ongoing EEG study.

 

Picture_Richard_Connect_Lab_2016_NUMBER_ONE-150x150Lija Hoffman

Lija Hoffman received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology on the pre-med track. She is interested in cognitive neuroscience, particularly the neural mechanisms of emotional regulation. Her involvement in the lab included aiding in EEG procedure. Currently, she is working in the NEAR lab at Northwestern University.

 

Picture_Richard_Connect_Lab_2016_NUMBER_ONE-150x150Coleen Long

Coleen Long received her Bachelor’s degree in Clinical Psychology most interested in further understanding psychiatric disorders and their various treatments. Her involvement in the lab included coordinating research logistics for a clinical study, collecting clinical data, and assisting with EEG procedures. Currently, she is a UX Researcher at Bold Insight.

 

Picture_Richard_Connect_Lab_2016_NUMBER_ONE-150x150Brian McFarlin

Brian McFarlin received his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a concentration in Cognitive Neuroscience. His responsibilities in the lab consisted of EEG administration and behavioral data analysis. Currently, he is an MHRIR candidate at the School of Labor and Employment Relations at UIUC.

 

Picture_Richard_Connect_Lab_2016_NUMBER_ONE-150x150Becca McWilliams

Becca McWilliams has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a neuroscience emphasis. She joined the CONNECT lab in Fall 2017 and assisted Max Egan with EEG/fMRI procedure. Currently, she is working as an associate clinical research coordinator at Rush University Medical Center.

 

Picture_Richard_Connect_Lab_2016_NUMBER_ONE-150x150Jessica Diaz

While at UIUC, Jessica Diaz studied Psychology with a concentration in Behavioral Neuroscience. She is interested in psychiatric disorders, and the clinical applications of research on the treatment of these disorders. Jessica was involved in coordinating research logistics for a clinical study, as well as assistance with EEG and fMRI procedures.

 

Picture_Richard_Connect_Lab_2016_NUMBER_ONE-150x150Jorge Maldonado

Jorge Maldonado is a student from Carolina, Puerto Rico in the Neuroscience Ph.D. program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Jorge received his B.S. in Biotechnology from Universidad del Este. His interests are to comprehend neurological and psychiatric disorders through the physical and functional brain states that characterize these disorders. He is dedicated to employing non-invasive techniques such as MRI to perform connectivity and morphometric analysis.

 

Kefan Wu

Kefan Wu is a Psychology student who previously helped with EEG procedure in a concurrent EEG-fMRI study.

 

th Laura Pritschet

While at UIUC, Laura Pritschet studied Psychology with a particular focus in Behavioral Neuroscience. She is interested in traumatic brain injury research and the impact damaged areas have on functions of executive control. After leaving our lab, Laura joined the graduate program at the University of California, Santa Barbara.