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Laura Lewis, Principal Investigator

Laura Lewis is the Athinoula A. Martinos Associate Professor in IMES and EECS at MIT.  She is also an Associate Faculty Member at the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital, and a Principal Investigator in the Research Laboratory of Electronics at MIT. She received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from MIT, conducted postdoctoral research as a Junior Fellow of the Harvard Society of Fellows, and was previously an Assistant Professor at Boston University. She is the recipient of the Society for Neuroscience Peter and Patricia Gruber International Research Award, the One Mind Rising Star Award, the 1907 Trailblazer Award, the Sloan Fellowship, the Searle Scholar Award, the McKnight Scholar Award, and the Pew Biomedical Scholar Award.

Administrative Assistant: Pearl Nelson-Greene, pearlng@mit.edu

Daniel Gomez, Postdoctoral Researcher

Daniel completed his Ph.D. (Engineering Physics / Neuroscience) at the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour of the Radboud University Nijmegen. His thesis project, part of a collaboration between the Donders Institute and Siemens Healthcare, focused on optimising fMRI pulse sequences and analysis pipelines developed in academia and bringing them to the industry. Besides MR pulse sequence programming, he has more recently started investigating the potential of ultra-fast fMRI to enable novel data analysis techniques for both task and resting-state fMRI .

Ewa Beldzik, Postdoctoral Researcher

Ewa is a cognitive neuroscientist who received her Ph.D. at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. Her previous project was focused on exploring the nature of the medial frontal cortex activity in conflict tasks using the simultaneous EEG-fMRI technique. She is also interested in the mechanisms behind sleep-debt-related vigilance deterioration. Her current goal in the Lewis Lab is to investigate the neural underpinning of the local sleep phenomenon in awake subjects.

Len Jacob, Postdoctoral Researcher

Len received his Ph.D. in Neuroscience and Behavior from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. In his dissertation work, he used EEG, machine learning, and computational modeling to show how short-term synaptic depression contributes to the temporal parsing of perceptual information, making new stimuli more salient by suppressing the neural response to repeated stimuli. Now, he is particularly interested in deep learning applications to neuroscience and memory consolidation during sleep.

Beverly Setzer, Graduate Student

Beverly Setzer is a student in the graduate program for neuroscience at Boston University. She received her BS in Mathematics with a minor in Biological Sciences from North Carolina State University in 2018. As a part of NC State’s Biomathematics Research Training Group, she helped develop a method for detecting hidden nodes in neuronal networks using non-linear Kalman filtering and worked in a neuroscience lab where she studied the effects of Estrogen on medium spiny neuron excitability. Her research interests include investigating neural dynamics through modeling and data analysis techniques. She is a Hariri Institute for Computing Graduate Student Fellow.

Zinong Yang, Graduate Student

Zinong Yang is currently a graduate student in the Graduate Program for Neuroscience at Boston University. She graduated from the University of California San Diego in 2017 with a B.S. in Cognitive Neuroscience and a minor in Philosophy. During her undergraduate years, she worked as a research assistant studying visual long-term memory and testing new P300 speller. After graduating, she spent two years as a lab assistant investigating the role of gamma synchronization and cross-frequency interaction in working memory. Her research interests include signal processing and multi-scale neuroscience. 

Josh Levitt, Graduate Student

Josh is a PhD student in the biomedical engineering department at BU. He also has a MS in biomedical engineering from Brown University and a BS in biology from Bates College. While at Brown, as part of the Pain and Neural Circuits Laboratory, he studied how we can use EEG to better measure and diagnose pain, and helped develop new ways to identify EEG artifacts. His interests include signal processing and machine learning.

Sydney Bailes, Graduate Student

Sydney is a PhD student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. She received her BS in Biomedical Engineering at George Washington University in 2019 where she participated in research related to infrared imaging for breast cancer detection. Her interests include signal processing, functional brain connectivity, and the study of neurodegenerative diseases.

Makaila Banks, Graduate Student

Makaila Banks is a student in the graduate program for neuroscience at Boston University. She received her B.S. in Neuroscience from the University of Rochester as a McNair Scholar. During her undergraduate years she researched attention modulation of the primate visual system, temporal vision processing in humans, and reward system circuitry in mice. Her research interests include investigating how respiratory patterns can alter neural dynamics and how this can be used to improve cognition, specifically in humans with psychiatric disorders such as anxiety and depression.

Baarbod Ashenagar, Graduate Student

Baarbod is a PhD student in the biomedical engineering department at Boston University. He obtained a BS from Florida International University in 2019, while doing research in Dr. Nikolaos Tsoukias’s Biotransport lab. His research involved mathematical modeling of neurovascular coupling mechanisms, blood flow regulation in the brain, and calcium dynamics. His current research interests in the Lewis Lab include Cerebral Spinal Fluid dynamics and its relationship to waste clearance mechanisms, aging, disease, and neurovascular coupling. Aside from learning about the brain, he enjoys playing soccer, video games, and cooking.

Stephanie Williams, Graduate Student

Stephanie is a PhD student in the Brain, Behavior, and Cognition program. She received a BA in Neuroscience from the University of Chicago, where she worked in the Awh-Vogel lab investigating interactions between attention and working memory. Her research interests include understanding the relationship between neural activity, systemic physiology, blood flow, and cerebrospinal fluid flow across different arousal states. She is also interested in understanding the antidepressant effects of sleep deprivation therapy for individuals with depression. Her research is supported by an NDSEG fellowship.  


Nicholas Cicero, Graduate Student

Nicholas is a student in the graduate program for neuroscience at Boston University. He received his B.S. in Human Development from Cornell University in 2020. As a research assistant and lab manager in the Affect and Cognition Lab at Cornell he helped collect and analyze functional MRI data in younger, middle, and older healthy adults. With this data he characterized altered functional coupling between brainstem and subcortical areas during selective attention and long-term memory. He additionally helped analyze resting-state functional MRI data in relation to measures of heart rate variability and gut microbiome species. His primary research interests are applying functional neuroimaging techniques to understand temporal and spatial dynamics of subcortical and brainstem nuclei.

Danlei Chen, Postdoctoral Researcher

Danlei received her Ph.D. in Psychology from Northeastern University focusing on the functional involvement of the human brainstem in cognition using ultra-high field fMRI. Her general interest is in investigating whole-brain neural dynamics that regulate the autonomic systems over time, especially during different levels of arousal. Currently, she uses fast, high-resolution neuroimaging, measures in both central and peripheral physiology, and computational approaches to explore the relationship between changes in BOLD signals, cerebrospinal fluid flow, and peripheral physiological patterns across a spectrum of arousal states.

Harrison Fisher, Graduate Student

Harrison Fisher is a PhD student in the Biomedical Engineering Department at Boston University. He received his undergraduate degree in Neuroscience and Math from Bowdoin College in 2017. Between Bowdoin and BU, Harrison worked as a research technologist in the Napadow Lab at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, using functional connectivity analyses of fMRI data to explore the effects of non-invasive vagus nerve stimulation and gut-brain interaction functional dyspesia. His research interests include signal processing, computational modeling, and studying interactions between physiology and neural signals.

Courtney Zambello, Lab Manager

Courtney Zambello is the Lab Manager in the Lewis Lab. She received her Master of Public Health from Boston University with a concentration in Program Management. She was a scholar athlete at Merrimack College and graduated with a B.S. in Health Sciences and as a Board-Certified Athletic Trainer. She previously worked as a Triage Specialist at Boston University in the Heathway Division and as the Head Athletic Trainer at Pembroke High School, specializing in concussion protocols. Courtney currently volunteers for the World Health Organization assisting in generating a user-friendly database regarding drug pricing transparency on the global scale.


Stephanie Anawke, Research Assistant

Stephanie is a recent graduate who majored in neuroscience and minored in math. While in undergrad, she became interested in computational neuroscience, leading her to investigate the function of beta waves in decision-making at the Chand Lab and to study how mice compute visual motion through the Janelia Research Program. She is interested in learning more about computational methods and models applied in the field of clinical research and medicine.

Banban Tan

Banban recently graduated from UNC Chapel Hill in neuroscience major and philosophy minor with Honors and Honors Carolina laureate. She worked in Dr. Charlotte Boettiger’s lab and finished an independent honor thesis on early binge drinking’s effect on value-based attentional bias as well as neural activity in the caudate. In her free time, she enjoys practicing karate, hiking, and writing sci-fi.

Brandon Dormes

Brandon recently graduated from Dartmouth College, where he studied cognitive science with a focus on human cooperation. He conducted research at the PhilLab on causal reasoning using online game theory studies and physics simulations, and he wrote his thesis at the SCRAP Lab on social signal prediction using machine learning techniques. Brandon hopes to pursue clinical psychology and study methods that allow practitioners to predict the most effective treatment for a patient. Broadly, he is interested in learning more signal processing, machine learning, and brain state transitions.

Joseph Licata, Undergraduate Research Assistant

Joseph is an undergraduate student studying Biomedical Engineering at Boston University, expecting to graduate in 2025. His interests include optimizing the functionality of neurotechnology, studying neurodegenerative disorders, and examining how sleep deprivation affects the emotional centers of the brain. Outside of school, he enjoys making music as well as working on independent engineering projects.

Massinissa Bosli, Undergraduate Research Assistant

Massinissa is an undergraduate student studying Biomedical Engineering with a concentration in Machine Learning at Boston University and plans to graduate in 2024. His interests include coding, machine learning, and using AI in medicine. Outside of school, he enjoys playing soccer, running, and sailing. Currently, Massi is assisting in collecting data for the sleep deprivation studies.

May Aon, Undergraduate Research Assistant

May is an undergraduate student majoring in Biomedical Engineering at Boston University. She is currently assisting in our sleep deprivation studies. May has a fascination with the ways as to how sleep (or lack thereof) neurologically influences individuals. Another one of her interests includes the rehabilitation of individuals recovering from neurological disorders. Outside of the lab, May enjoys yoga, swimming and spending time with her friends. She plans on graduating in 2024.

Emilia Schimmelpfennig, Undergraduate Research Assistant

Emilia is an undergraduate student majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in Philosophy at Boston University, expecting to graduate in 2024. She is currently assisting in collecting data for the sleep deprivation studies. Her interests include studying the relationship between the physical body and mind as well as the effects of sleep deprivation on the mental state. Outside of school, she enjoys reading and hiking.

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