Staff Members & Post Docs

Jessica Cooper, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Researcher

Jessica is a cognitive neuroscientist focused on understanding the effects of individual differences and age on decision-making. Since completing her Ph.D. at The University of Texas, she has officially joined the TReAD lab. Jessica’s research employs computational modeling, behavioral paradigms, and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). As a postdoctoral researcher in the TReAD Lab, Jessica will be studying the neurobiology of decision-making in psychopathology, with a particular focus on the effects of stress on neural mechanisms of reinforcement learning in depression.

Brittany DeVries, B.S.

Laboratory Manager

Brittany graduated from Tulane University with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Philosophy. Prior to joining the TReAD Lab, Brittany worked under the direction of Dr. Nathan Fox as a Faculty Research Assistant and then Laboratory and Program Project Coordinator at the University of Maryland Child Development Lab. Brittany plans to remain involved in research for the foreseeable future and someday pursue graduate work in the field of Cognitive Neuroscience.

Nadia Irfan, B.A.

Research Interviewer

Nadia Irfan graduated from Emory University in 2016 with a B.A. in Biology. Her interests include clinical treatment of psychological disorders, especially anxiety and depression. She is planning to go to medical school for psychiatry.

Makiah Nuutinen, B.S.

Research Interviewer

Makiah graduated from Loyola University Chicago in 2015 with a B.S. in Psychology and Music. Before joining the TReAD Lab, she worked as a Research Specialist at the University of Pittsburgh Psychiatry Department under Drs. Leslie Horton and Peter Bachman. Her research interests lie in neurodevelopment models of psychopathology including psychosis and schizophrenia. She plans to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology in the future.

Melissa Letzler, B.S.

Research Interviewer

Melissa Letzler graduated from Duke University in 2017 with a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in Computer Science. Previously, she worked at the TReAD Lab as an undergraduate intern, and then at the Duke Lab of Neurogenetics. She is interested in studying new treatments and interventions for mood and personality disorders. In the future, she plans to attend a masters program studying both public health and clinical psychology.


Daniel Cole, B.S.

Neuroimaging Analyst

Daniel Cole was the Neuroimaging Analyst for the TReAD Lab. Dan graduated from the University of Rochester in 2011 with a B.S. in Brain and Cognitive Sciences. He then spent 3 years working full-time as a Laboratory Technician for the Rochester Center for Brain Imaging. There he worked on numerous studies and developed his knowledge of fMRI data analysis. His experience lies in diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), BOLD fMRI, MR spectroscopy (MRS), arterial spin labeling (ASL), and brain volumetric analyses (VBM). His work exposed him to a large variety of the brain sciences from cognitive neuroscience to clinical research of HIV patients.

Chelsea Leonard, B.S.

Laboratory Manager

Chelsea was previously lab manager at the TReAD Lab. She graduated from Emory University in 2014, with a B.S. in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology, and a minor in Ethics. As an undergraduate, Chelsea worked under Alaine Keebaugh, Ph.D., exploring the developmental role of the oxytocin receptor gene in prairie voles. Her interests include how the underlying neurobiology of disorders like depression and schizophrenia leads to behavioral deficits, especially in decision-making. Chelsea will attend the Emory University School of Medicine Genetic Counseling Training Program, starting summer 2017.

Asim Lal, B.S.

Research Interviewer

Asim Lal graduated from Emory University in 2016 with a B.S. in Biology. He is interested in the interplay between the immune system and the brain and the specific mechanisms that allow for an interface between mind and body. Having previously worked at both the Emory Children's Center and the Emory Vaccine Center, his experience lies in immunology. He wants to apply his research background in immunology to his academic interest in the neurosciences to help bridge the gap between bench and bedside. He will be attending The University of North Carolina School of Medicine in 2017.