Graduate Students

Cortland Dahl

Cortland Dahl

Graduate Student - IGM

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Cortland is interested in exploring the interface between the body, the mind, and the brain, and especially in the question of how meditation and other contemplative practices may help us cultivate positive qualities like compassion and resilience. His current work focuses on the effects of long-term meditation practice on aversive conditioning.

Simon Goldberg

Graduate Research Assistant

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Simon assists with project management, data collection, and data analysis for translational intervention research investigating the effects of mindfulness and kindness training on children and adolescents. He is a graduate student in counseling psychology and has an interest in the attentional, interpersonal, and affective impact of mindfulness and compassion training on children and adults. He is also interested in alternatives to self-report methodologies for assessing these traits (and/or states) and in the effects and mechanisms of psychotherapeutic interventions more generally.

Awards: 2010 University Fellowship, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Matt Hirschberg

Graduate Research Assistant

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Matt is a graduate student in the Department of Educational Psychology. Broadly, Matt is interested in whether autogenic practices (such as mindfulness and other contemplative practices) support the cultivation of healthy development in children and adolescents. More specifically, Matt is interested in if (and how) training in contemplative practice develops cognitive and affective competencies essential to healthy self-regulation, and the effect the development of these competencies has on school-based and real-world domains. Matt works with Dr. Lisa Flook on the Fourth and Fifth grade mindfulness study with teachers and students. Prior to entering grad school to engage in research, Matt was a middle school teacher in Massachusetts. Ultimately, he hopes to combine his past applied experience in curriculum development and instruction with his research interests to produce evidence-based, age-appropriate contemplative programming for schools.

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Tammi Kral

Graduate Student - IGM

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Tammi is interested in exploring the neural and behavioral mechanisms underlying affective experience, its regulation and relationship with pro-social behavior.  In her graduate work she will investigate these processes, as well as the effects of meditation and behavioral interventions utilizing a combination of functional brain imaging and behavioral measures. She is currently researching empathy in adolescents, and developing and testing video games aimed at training emotion recognition and pro-social behavior.

Lapate

Regina Lapate

Graduate Student - IGM

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Regina is interested in advancing the understanding of the structure of affect and affective regulation. Currently, she is conducting experiments that examine the role of conscious access in affective processing-- in particular, affective chronometry and pervasiveness-- using a combination of behavioral, peripheral-physiological and neuroimaging measures.

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Martina Ly

Graduate Student - NTP

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Martina is presently a graduate student in the Neuroscience Training Program, under the advising of Dr. Barbara Bendlin, in the Department of Medicine, and Dr. Richard Davidson, in the departments of Psychiatry and Psychology. Martina’s graduate work is focused on understanding age-related brain and cognitive changes, and determining the effect of negative and protective factors on aging, and in particular, defining the characteristics of successful aging. Her work has centered on characterizing structural and functional brain changes in aging, in addition to utilizing multiple neuroimaging modalities to assess the impact of stress, inflammation, cognitive reserve, and mindfulness training on brain and psychological outcomes.

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Princess Ojiaku

Graduate Student - NTP

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Princess is a graduate student in the Neuroscience and Public Policy program interested in how external factors such as stress and low socioeconomic status interact with brain structure and function to produce internalizing disorders such as anxiety and depression. She is interested in investigating how different measures of stress and adversity in early life relate to measures of emotional reactivity and resilience in later life. She has hopes that scientific research on the effects of early life adversity and emotional resilience will inform policy change and provide greater social benefits. She is currently involved in examining the role of life stressors in a longitudinal study of family life and brain development.

David Perlman

David Perlman

Graduate Student - IGM

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Fun with Dave's head

David comes from a background in physics, computers and statistics. He is currently working on functional magnetic resonance imaging studies of the effects of meditation on pain perception, as well as on altruistic behavior and reward circuitry using neuroeconomics methodologies. He has also worked on real-time fMRI neurofeedback.

Other ongoing projects include work with cognitive models of depression and anxiety, combined with pain affect; thermal imaging of particular advanced yoga practices; and various methodological and instrumentation developments. Eventually he hopes to study effects of abstract beliefs and cognitive styles on emotion and psychopathology, and the role of societal factors in this process.

Cecilia Westbrook

Cecilia Westbrook

Graduate Student - IGM, MD/PhD

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Ceci is interested in the role of executive function and memory in the risk for internalizing disorders, with a major focus on rumination. She is interested in how rumination affects, and is affected by, cognitive function both immediately and across development. Ceci is also interested in the role of these processes in shaping the narrative self, which she think has implications for psychopathology as well.

Joe Wielgosz

Joe Wielgosz

Graduate Student - Clinical

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Joe's broad motivation is to explore integrated models of emotional health that recognize the complex interactions of cognition, emotion, the body, and the interpersonal environment. He plans to focus his research on phenomena that cross these boundaries in interesting ways.

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