Michael Esterman is a co-founder of the Boston Attention and Learning Lab. He received his degree in cognitive psychology at UC Berkeley, where he investigated spatial attention and object perception using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). In his post-doctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins University, he investigated the neural mechanisms of cognitive control, with an emphasis on using pattern classification to decode attentional states. He is now an Assistant Professor at the Boston University School of Medicine, and Associate Director of the VA Boston Neuroimaging Center. Mike’s current interests include investigating the neural basis of attentional control and distractibility, in both healthy young and old adults, as well as in patients with PTSD, TBI, and focal brain injury.
Joe DeGutis is one of the co-founders of the Boston Attention and Learning Laboratory. He is an investigator at the VA Boston Healthcare System, a fellow at the Harvard Vision Lab working with Ken Nakayama, and an Instructor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He earned his PhD in experimental psychology specializing in cognitive neuroscience from the University of California, Berkeley. His dissertation focused on the neural mechanisms of visual learning in healthy controls and cognitive rehabilitation of developmental prosopagnosia (the inability to recognize faces). Joe’s overarching research interests are on cognitive rehabilitation of attention, particularly the ability to focus and sustain attention, in populations that include hemispatial neglect, ADHD, PTSD/TBI and age-related cognitive decline. In addition, he is also interested in the cognitive deficits associated with prosopagnosia and exploring rehabilitation possibilities for this disorder.
Sarah Noonan is a postdoctoral fellow with the Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center (GRECC) at the VA Boston Healthcare System. She earned her degree in clinical psychology, with a specialization in neuropsychology, from the San Diego State University/University of California, San Diego joint doctoral program, and completed her internship training with the Boston Consortium in Clinical Psychology. Sarah’s overarching research and clinical interests center on the nature of plasticity and functional reorganization in neurological and psychiatric disorders, and designing and evaluating methods to maximize cognitive functioning. Her past work has employed a combination of cognitive measures and fMRI in typically and atypically developing populations, including ADHD, autism, perinatal stroke, and cerebral palsy. Currently, Sarah is collaborating with other BAL investigators to characterize the neural underpinnings of attentional control and distractibility.
Rogelio (Roger) Mercado is a research assistant at the Boston Attention and Learning Lab at the VA Hospital in Boston. Prior to joining the BAL Lab, Roger studied at Harvard, where he earned his A.B. in Psychology. Whilst there, he primarily investigated social and cognitive functioning in individuals at risk for schizophrenia, using behavioral and fMRI methods. Currently, Roger works with investigator Joe DeGutis, studying both face processing at the Harvard Vision Lab and attention at the Boston VA Hospital. Primarily, Roger is interested in psychopathology and child development, and he looks forward to taking his skills into graduate school.
Monica Rosenberg is a research assistant in the Boston Attention and Learning Lab at the VA Boston Healthcare System. She graduated with an ScB in cognitive neuroscience from Brown University, where she studied behavioral and neural correlates of cognitive control and memory. Her energy is currently focused on helping the rest of the BAL lab clarify the neurocognitive processes that underlie attention fluctuations and distraction. In the future Monica plans to pursue a graduate degree in cognitive neuroscience with a focus on memory and attention.
Tyler Zink is a doctoral candidate in Clinical Psychology at Boston University. While his primary research training has focused on the behavioral genetics of cognitive aging, he has collaborated with the BAL LAB to explore new directions in cognitive rehabilitation and neuropsychological assessment. His dissertation focuses on the joint heritability of verbal and non-verbal memory, as well as associated structural MRI images. Tyler has trained in neuropsychology through the Boston Consortium for Clinical Psychology at the Boston VA as well as the Department of Behavioral Neurology at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Tyler hopes to continue his training in Clinical Neuropsychology while studying cognitive rehabilitation both clinically and experimentally through his internship, post-doctoral training, and beyond.
Sarah Cohan received a B.A. from the University of Vermont, studying Theatre and Psychology. Since graduating, she has been working in stage and production management with Company One, theatre in residence at the Boston Center for the Arts. She also held positions with The Daily Jolt, a network of student run collegiate websites, serving as Communications Manager and Director of Operations. In the fall of 2009, she began as the Lab Manager and Research Assistant for Ken Nakayama in the Vision Lab at Harvard University. She currently works with Joe DeGutis studying face processing and clinical training for prosopagnosia, as well as studying prosopagnosia and developing testmybrain.org.
Melynda Casement is a postdoctoral fellow in the Behavioral Sciences Division of the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Melynda earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and Biopsychology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She completed her clinical psychology internship at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. Melynda’s research addresses the relationship between sleep and affective processing in depression and PTSD. She is currently collaborating with BAL Lab investigators to examine the impact of fear processing on attentional control in PTSD. Melynda also provides psychotherapy to veterans with PTSD in the PTSD Clinic of the VA Boston Healthcare System.
William Milberg & Regina McGlinchey
Dr. Millberg and Dr. McGlinchey are directors of the Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center (GRECC) at the Boston VA, in addition to the Translational Research Center for Stress and Traumatic Brain Injury (TRACTs). As a subset of the GRECC, we collaborate actively with TRACTs and our work is supported by the mentorship of Dr. Milberg and Dr. McGlinchey.
Dr. Vasterling serves as the Chief of Psychology at the VA Boston Healthcare System and as a clinical investigator within the Behavioral Sciences Division of the National Center for PTSD. Her work includes longitudinal studies examining neuropsychological and emotional outcomes of the Iraq War. This effort is unique in that it tracks the mental health of deploying soldiers, starting when they are deployed and following them after they return from Iraq.
Dr. Grande is the head of clinical neuropsychology at the Boston VA. Her research focuses on changes in attentional abilities that occur with aging as well as PTSD.
Dr. Bonato is the Director of the Motion Analysis Laboratory at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. The BAL Lab has developed two novel and innovative therapies for neglect syndrome that have demonstrated significant improvement on standard lab tests: galvanic vestibular stimulation and sustained attention training. Through collaboration with Spaulding Rehab Hospital, we are better able to gauge the functional, real-world improvement of our therapies. Working with Dr. Bonato and his team, we can use sophisticated functional assessments of pre- and post-therapy, including the use of robotic assistive arm device (Armeo) and posture and gait analysis.
Dr. VanVleet's lab is interested in better understanding of the behavioral and neural mechanisms of attention to patients with related deficits following brain injury (e.g., Hemispatial Neglect, Balint’s syndrome). They aim is to gain a better understanding of the mechanisms of attention and to identify effective means of rehabilitation. We collaborate on a number of sustained attention training methods in patients with brain injuries.