People

PI

Nicole Landi
Nicole Landi
Dr. Landi received her Ph.D. in Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience from the University of Pittsburgh in 2005. Her research focuses on language and reading development in typically developing children and in children with neurodevelopmental disorders, including dyslexia, developmental language disorder and autism spectrum disorder. She uses multiple methodologies, including MRI, ERP, and genetic analyses.

Postdocs

Dan Kleinman

Dan received his Ph.D. in Psychology and Cognitive Science at UC San Diego in 2013. At Haskins, his research focuses on using neural biomarkers (EEG and ERPs) to predict individual gains in reading, as part of a collaboration with schools that serve students with language-based learning difficulties. He is also involved in projects that use ERPs to study audiovisual integration in children with autism and in typically developing children. Before coming to Haskins, Dan’s research focused on language production – specifically, the process of deciding which word (and, for bilinguals, which language) to use next – and the many cognitive systems that interact to promote speech (central attention, executive control, implicit learning), topics he continues to study via external collaborations.

Nabin Koirala
Nabin completed his PhD in neuroscience at the Johannes Gutenberg university, Mainz Germany in 2019. Currently he is working in Haskins Laboratories on the project “Imaging genetics in specific reading disabilities” focusing on analysis of multicenter structural neuroimaging data. The primary goal is to observe the microstructural and network alterations in cortical and subcortical level to characterize the neurological disorder and discover its link to the genetics.
Before his affair with neuroscience, he worked as an Engineer in Nepal before moving to Germany for his master’s degree in 2012. Among others he counts soccer, hiking, travelling and reading books as some of his interests.

Graduate Students

Kara Vlahcevic

Kara Vlahcevic is a graduate student in the Developmental division of Psychology. Kara’s research focuses on looking at individual differences in reading disabilities (e.g. Dyslexia) and how these may contribute to varying levels of intervention response. Prior to joining the Landi Lab, she earned her BS in Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience with a double major in Psychology from Virginia Tech in 2019.

Meaghan Perdue
Meaghan is a graduate student in the Developmental division of psychology and the Neurobiology of Language program. Meaghan investigates associations between brain structure and reading-related skills and seeks to understand these relationships in the dynamic context of the developing brain. In addition, she studies links among genes, brain structure and function, and reading/language traits. Prior to joining the Landi Lab, she earned her BA in Psychology with a concentration in neuroscience from Emmanuel College in 2014. Thereafter, she worked as a research assistant and coordinator in the Gaab Lab at Boston Children’s Hospital where she contributed to projects investigating neural and behavioral underpinnings of reading disability in pre-reading through school-age stages in children with and without a family history of reading difficulties.
Kelly Mahaffy
Kelly is a second year MA/PhD in English at the University of Connecticut researching cognitive and neuroscientific approached to literature. Her research interests include considering how readers create a unique reading experience and higher level reading concerns like the use of theory of mind, empathy, and mirroring action to better comprehend literary works. Her current research focuses on how the use of non-linguistic senses, such as visualizing a scene, mirroring a character’s emotions, or smelling something described by an author, may contribute to reading fluency.
Martina Villa

Martina is a graduate student in Developmental division of Psychology. Martina’s research interests span across learning disabilities (especially dyslexia), visual processing, and the application of innovating data analyses techniques. She earned her BA in Communication and Psychology from University of Milano Bicocca in 2015, and her MA in Clinical Psychology from the University of Bergamo in 2017. Prior to joining the Landi Lab, she worked in the Laboratorio Dislessia at the Scientific Institute E. Medea and in the Visual Attention Lab at UMass Boston. In these labs she researched the role of visual processing and attention in dyslexia and investigated the neurogenetic substrates of dyslexia with a variety of methods, including machine learning.

Therese O'Neill
Therese O’Neill
Therese is a graduate student pursuing a Master of Science degree in Speech Language Pathology at Southern Connecticut State University. She received her Bachelors in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences at the University of Connecticut in 2014. She currently works administering behavioral assessments, helping with EEG testing, and is interested in childhood language disorders and speech perception.

Research Associates

Vishakha Agrawal
Vishakha earned her Master’s degree in Clinical Neurodevelopmental Sciences from King’s College London and undergraduate degrees in Biology and Psychology from UMass Amherst. Prior to Haskins, she worked as a lab manager for Dr. David Lewkowicz, where she conducted and managed eye tracking studies with infants and children to understand the development of audio-visual synchrony in the context of communication. Currently, she is working to coordinate collaborations with specialized schools for children with reading difficulties to find brain-behavior correlates for intervention efficacy using EEG and standardized behavioral assessments
Sophie (Xing) Su
Sophie Su received her B.A in Psychology and Economics from Cornell University in 2019. Currently, she is working on an imaging genetics in dyslexia project exploring the most robust and replicable facets of the genome-brain connection in Specific Reading Disabilities. Prior to Haskins, she worked as a research assistant for Dr. Khena Swallow, where she did her honors thesis on how people detect goal and action changes in events.  
Whitney Hoffman
Whitney Hoffman
Whitney graduated with her Master of Arts in Psychology from Southern Connecticut State University in 2016. She received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Connecticut in 2013. Currently, she is researching how language and social assessments can differentiate between autism spectrum disorder and speech sound disorder diagnoses. Whitney is also interested in the use of equitable testing across cultural backgrounds.

Speech-Language Pathologists

Emily Phillips
Emily Phillips
Emily Phillips received her Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Southern Connecticut State University in 2014. Her primary areas of interest include speech and language development and disorders. Emily currently works as a clinical researcher at Haskins Laboratories, where she is using ultrasound biofeedback as an articulation therapy tool. This fall, Emily will begin work on a study involving 4-5 year old children, and using the ultrasound to analyze changes in tongue shape. Results of this study may lead to the possibility of ultrasound being used as a diagnostic tool for speech language pathologists.

Undergraduate Research Assistants

Josh Mednick Josh Mednick
Josh Mednick is an Undergraduate Research Assistant working under Dr. Landi at the University of Connecticut. He is currently a Freshman pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Physiology and Neurobiology. His primary interests include the study of neurological development and disorder, and he plans to pursue an M.D Degree and practice in the field of clinical neurology or neurosurgery.
Vidyalaxmi Kandarpa
Vidyalaxmi Kandarpa is an Undergraduate Research Assistant working under Dr. Nicole Landi at the University of Connecticut. She is currently a Senior pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering, with a concentration in Bioinformatics, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Molecular and Cellular Biology. She plans on obtaining a Master’s in the field of Bioinformatics and to continue in the field of research through an MD/PhD program.
Tucker Rathe
Tucker Rathe is an Undergraduate Research Assistant working under Dr. Nicole Landi at the University of Connecticut. He is currently a Sophomore pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Structural Biology/Biophysics with a minor in Chemistry on the pre-med track. He is primarily interested in the study and implementation of neuroimaging techniques, and hopes to pursue a career in the field of radiology.
Katie Hooker
Katie Hooker is an Undergraduate Research Assistant working under Dr. Nicole Landi at the University of Connecticut. She is currently a Sophomore pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Molecular and Cellular Biology. She is interested in studying the the genetic factors underlying reading and language skills. She plans on obtaining a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology.

Alumni

Kayleigh Ryherd
Kayleigh completed her PhD in the Developmental division in the Psychology department at the University of Connecticut in Spring 2019, with her dissertation titled “Exploring the Role of Language in Two Systems for Categorization”. She completed her BA at the George Washington University in 2014. Kayleigh now works as a Data and Reporting Analyst.
Website
Trey Avery

Trey Avery
Trey Avery is a Senior Research Applicaitons Specialist at Philips and a postdoctoral researcher at Haskins Laboratories in New Haven, CT. He received his PhD in Biobehavioral Sciences at Columbia University in 2016. His research interests include the use of functional neuroimaging and other biomarkers to measure the effects of interventions for children and adults. His dissertation research is examining differences in attentional networks, executive function and stress regulation in children and adults engaged in mindfulness based activities and programs using a battery of brain (event related potentials), salivary and behavioral measures. He holds a M.S. in Neuroscience & Education from Teachers College and a B.A. in American Cultural Studies from Fairhaven College at Western Washington University.

Jacqui Turcios
Jacqui Turcios
Thesis Advisor: Jennifer McCullagh, PhD, AuD.
Jacqueline is a graduate student pursuing her Master of Science degree in Speech and Language Pathology at Southern Connecticut State University. She received her BS in Psychology Research at Southern Connecticut State University in 2014 and a Master of Arts in Psychology in 2015. Currently, she focuses on administering behavioral assessments and is interested in speech perception in children with developmental language disorders.
Eva Montas
Eva Montas
Primary Advisor: Mary Purdy, Ph.D.
Eva graduated with a Masters of Science degree in Speech and Language Pathology at Southern Connecticut State University. She received her BA in Psychology Mental Health at Southern Connecticut State University in 2013. Currently, she focuses on administering behavioral assessments and is interested in the diagnostic area of communication disorders.