Marlene Oscar-Berman, Ph.D.

Dr. Berman’s research, funded by NIH and the VA since the 1970s, uses neurobehavioral tests and neuroimaging measures to examine emotional and cognitive consequences of human brain damage. Presently, the research focuses on the effects of long-term chronic alcoholism, with special emphasis on gender differences. Dr. Berman has a B.A. degree from the University of Pennsylvania, an M.A. degree from Bryn Mawr College, and a Ph.D. degree from the University of Connecticut, which was followed by postdoctoral studies at Harvard University. Dr. Berman has published more than 200 papers, and she has received numerous awards, including: a Fulbright Senior Scientist Award; a Tribute for Lifetime Achievement (Research Society on Alcoholism); a Distinguished Career Award (International Neuropsychological Society); and the Jack Mendelson Honorary Lectureship Award from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism at NIH. Dr. Berman enjoys mentoring, and she served as a founder and the Director of the Ph.D. Program in Behavioral Neuroscience at BUSM, which has trained exemplary students for more than three decades.

Maaria Kemppainen, M.A.

After obtaining B.A. (Psychology) and M.A. (English) degrees in Finland, Maaria earned her M.A. degree in Psychology from Boston University. She joined our laboratory in 2013. Maaria contacts and schedules appointments with potential research participants. She then applies her skills to administering and scoring a wide battery of neuropsychological tests, psychological questionnaires, and a structured clinical interview. The information obtained is needed to examine cognitive and emotional functions in men and women who are recovering from a long history of alcoholism, as well as individuals with no history of alcoholism (who serve as control participants). Maaria also conducts MRI scans at Massachusetts General Hospital, results of which are later integrated with the neurobehavioral assessment data. Additionally, Maaria, who is fluent in four languages, assists with numerous other research-related activities.

Susan Mosher Ruiz, Ph.D.

Sue is a postdoctoral researcher who studies gender differences in brain function and structure in alcoholism. Using multimodal neuroimaging methods, she examines the effects of long-term alcohol abuse on white and gray matter morphometry as well as on memory, emotional, and executive functioning, and on alcohol craving. Sue holds a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Boston University and an S.B. in Brain and Cognitive Sciences from MIT, and has been with the lab since 2007.

Kayle Slay Sawyer, Ph.D.

Kayle earned his undergraduate degree in Neuroscience from Oberlin College, and his Ph.D. in Behavioral Neuroscience from Boston University School of Medicine. He joined the Laboratory of Neuropsychology in 2005, where he investigates the relationship between neuropsychological abilities and brain reward network structural and functional integrity in alcoholism. The primary measures he utilizes are magnetic resonance techniques including spectroscopy, diffusion, and functional sequences, analyzed with software for tractography, manual and automatic regional labeling, cortical thickness, and functional connectivity MRI (fcMRI), with applications such as Freesurfer, TRACULA, FSL, SPM, and JMP. He has helped run the Neuroscience Graduate Student Organization (NGSO) at BU, and served as a Teaching Fellow at BUSM. Kayle works with researchers at several hospitals: the Veterans Administration Hospital, McLean Hospital, and Massachusetts General Hospital. He most enjoys discussing and visualizing information gleaned from complicated data sets, and how to avoid statistical and scientific pitfalls to ensure true, reproducible findings.

Ben Thompson, S.T.M.

Ben has two masters degrees, his most recent being from Boston University. He is interested in the “science of religion” as it pertains to spirituality and addiction. In our laboratory, Ben has been able to explore his passion in the capacity of a research assistant. His duties have included the recruitment of potential research participants, conducting neuropsychological interviews and MRI scans on participants, and assisting with the preparation of journal articles for publication. Ben was especially helpful in the writing and editing of a book entitled Neuroscience of Addiction Recovery: Demystification of the Twelve-Steps Program and Fellowship, which suggests a strategy for conceptualizing the molecular neurobiology relevant to the twelve-step program of addiction recovery. Ben’s future research interests as a graduate student in the Behavioral Neuroscience Ph.D. Program at BUSM include continued investigations into alcoholism and other addictions.

Maria M. Valmas, M.A.

Maria earned her M.A. in Psychology from Boston University and has been with the lab since 2007. Currently, she is a research assistant examining emotion, cognition, and aspects of alcohol craving in relation to brain structure and function in chronic alcoholism and antisocial personality disorder. Maria also is a graduate student in the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program at Suffolk University with a concentration in Neuropsychology. Her research interests include the construct validity of social cognition and emotion processing measures in relation to drinking history.