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Trainee Table


Lab Alumni

Marcelo G Mattar, PhD

Former Graduate Student - Psychology

Currently a postdoc with Nathaniel Daw at Princeton.


Omar H Butt, MD PhD

Former Graduate Student - Neuroscience obutt.jpg

Currently a neurology resident at Washington University in St Louis.


I am broadly interested in the interplay between blindness and cortical plasticity in the resting state organization of visual cortex. I am also working on analyzing the resting state organization of visual cortex in individuals with select forms of retinal blindness, before and after gene therapy.

Noah C Benson, PhD

Post-Doctoral Fellow noahbenson.jpg

Now a Post-doctoral Fellow with Jonathan Winnawer at NYU


My interests are in the structure and organization of perceptual systems and how they leverage that organization to perform computation. At UPenn, I work with Drs. David Brainard (psychology) and Geoff Aguirre (Neurology) on the relationship between cortical anatomy and function in visual cortex (see my work on the retinotopic organization of striate cortex) and on models of color vision in the retina. My current research represents a topical departure from my doctoral research, which was on the computational analysis of protein dynamics and folding (under Dr. Valerie Daggett).

Sakib Alam

Summer student sakib_alam.jpg

I am a rising senior at Emory University, leaning towards majoring in Chemistry/Applied Math.

Ritobrato Datta, PhD

Post-Doctoral Fellow datta.jpg

Now director of imaging research for the laboratory of Brenda Banwell.


I am a Post Doctoral Researcher under the mentorship of Dr. Geoffrey Aguirre. I use multimodality imaging to study structural and functional alterations due to blindness and migraine. My doctoral dissertation involved mapping the cortical topographic representation of visuospatial attention in human subjects for all locations (near fovea and to more peripheral locations) in the subject's visual field. My results demonstrated that attentional topography is more complex than a simple “spotlight” or “gradient”, and incorporates features of both.

Yune Sang Lee, PhD

Post-Doctoral Fellow ysl3.jpg

Now a post-doctoral fellow in the Grossman laboratory.

E-mail: Search PubMed|

I am a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at Univ. of Pennsylvania. I am jointly affiliated with the Aguirre lab and the STS lab. I am interested in exploring the neural route/basis of percept-to-concept. More specifically, my research has been focused on how the brain integrates modality-specific percepts into the internal brain language of modality-independent concepts. To address the question, I mainly use functional neuroimaging combined with machine-learning techniques.

Sandeep Jain

Research Specialist

Now a medical student at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, applying for residency in medicine.

I graduated from Penn in 2012 as a biology major concentrating in neurobiology. My main project involved characterizing intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells. Specifically, I was interested in studying the characteristics of the photopigment melanopsin found within these ganglion cells. Another one of my projects entailed defining the functional and anatomical borders for the extrastriate regions of the visual cortex (areas V2, V3, etc).

Aleksandra (Sarah) Dain

Research Specialist sarah_daina.jpg

Now a pediatrics resident at UCSF.

I studied the effects of blindness on the structure, function, and organization of the brain using fMRI along with perfusion and DTI measures.

Kris Walker

Research Specialist walker.jpg

I work with Dr. Andras Komaromy and the GKAguirre lab to study recovery of visual function in a canine model of blindness. Assist in the collection, organization and analysis of neuro imaging studies of the canine visual system.

Stathis Gennatas, MBBS

Graduate Student - Neuroscience ASCII

I am a graduate student in Neuroscience interested in multi-modal imaging.

Zijuan Chen (陈子娟)

Volunteer czj.jpg

I am a student of mathematics, having completed my masters degree at Rutgers. I volunteer in the Aguirre lab, working on graph-theoretic experimental design for neuroscience.

Feitong Yang (杨斐曈)

Summer Student fyang.jpg

I am an undergraduate student of at the Department of Psychology in Peking University, and a participant in the 2011 Summer Program in Computational Neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania. My summer work mainly concentrates on Multi-Voxel Pattern Analysis(MVPA), a method in fMRI data analysis.

Lauren Brandes

Research Specialist brandes.jpg

Now a neurology resident at University of Pittsburgh.

I just graduated from Penn with a degree in cognitive neuroscience. I completed an independent study in the lab for my senior year, working on an fMRI project exploring cross-modal activation in the blind.

Megan Kirchner

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I am an undergraduate student at West Chester University and a Psychology major. I am involved in the behavioral testing of canine vision before and after gene-therapy to restore retinal function.

Philip Cook

Post-Doctoral Fellow - Radiology cook.jpg

My main research interest is the use of diffusion imaging to study white matter in the brain. My previous work has focused on modeling uncertainty in the fiber tracking process and providing open-source tools to the diffusion imaging community. I am currently part of the team investigating white matter connectivity and visual function in the congenitally blind, under the mentorship of Professors Geoffrey Aguirre and James Gee.

Ma’ayan Hachen

Summer volunteer hachen.jpg


I am an undergraduate student at the Yeshiva University, Stern College for Women and a Neuroscience major with an interest in face perception. I volunteered in the lab for the summer.

Lucía Magis Weinberg

Summer Student weinberg.jpg

I am an undergraduate student of Medicine at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and a participant in the 2010 Summer Program in Computational Neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania. I was recently and serendipiously lured into neuroscience (by a wonderful talk about emotional memory) and I have been working on somatosensory cortical reorganization since January. In the GKA Lab, I worked on counter-balanced stimulus sequences.

Sashank Prasad, MD

Post-Doctoral Fellow prasad.jpg

Now an Assistant Professor at the Harvard Medical School and an Associate Neuro-ophthalmologist at Brigham And Women's Hospital, Boston MA.

I have a blossoming interest in higher-order visual processing. Currently, I am using MRI imaging to investigate structural and functional plasticity of the visual cortex in blind subjects. Specifically, I am measuring cross-modal occipital activation, volumetry, white matter integrity, and perfusion, to determine the extent to which these changes are linked or independent. I have completed neurology residency and neuro-ophthalmology fellowship at Penn, and I am currently in a two-year cognitive research fellowship in Dr. Aguirre's lab.

Alison Harris, PhD

Post-Doctoral Fellow harris.jpg

Now a member of the faculty of Claremont McKenna college.

Email: or

My research examines the neural correlates of face and object perception using a variety of techniques, including magnetoencephalography (MEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Using MEG, I have quantified the properties of the M170 response, an early “face-selective” component, both in normal adults and in developmental prosopagnosics, individuals with behavioral impairments in face recognition (in collaboration with Dr. Brad Duchaine). In my work with Dr. Geoffrey Aguirre, I used fMRI to explore the nature of representations within “face-selective” regions of interest (ROIs). Together, the results from these two lines of inquiry suggest that the neural encoding of faces includes not only global or holistic information about the entire face, as has been previously proposed, but also representation of individual face features or parts.

Daniel Drucker, PhD

Graduate Student - Psychology drucker.jpg

Now at Interactive Motion, teaching robots to help patients recover from stroke.

Daniel's research focused on the neural bases of similarity spaces, including the focal and distributed representations of visual similarity of parameterized shape spaces in human object recognition cortex, as well as inferences about neural populations that can be made from the metric properties of fMRI data.

Wesley Kerr

Research Assistant, Undergrad Honors Student kerr.jpg

Currently enrolled in the UCLA MD/PhD program

My research involves the application of computational methods to mimic and understand visual perception and processing. I am particularly interested in describing a perceptual space of images using multidimensional scaling (MDS) and other models on reaction time data. My current projects are focused on the perception of textures and the interdependency between the many quantifiable properties of textures. Within these projects, I have also become interested in algorithms for texture generation, replication, and morphing; specifically reaction diffusion and steerable pyramids. My previous work has included the implementation of support vector machines (SVM) to fMRI to discriminate which face a subject is viewing.

Petya Radoeva

Graduate Student - Neuroscience radoeva.jpg

Currently enrolled in the SUNY Upstate MD/PhD program

Her work pertained to the organization of the visual system of patients with occipital cortex damage, and in establishing if remapping of retinotopic organization can occur visual cortex lesions. She studied the residual visual functioning, both behaviorally and on a neural level (using fMRI), of a patient with Blindsight, as well as the representation of the ipsilateral visual field in healthy control subjects. Petya worked with Joseph Cohen of Mount Holyoke as an undergraduate.

Ben Tseng

Research Assistant, Med Student

Currently a neurology residency at Harbor-UCLA.

I am a third-year medical student pursuing a career in helping patients with neurological disorders. I love to work with computational tools that help us visualize the mysterious human brain in different ways. In Dr. Aguirre's lab, I am privileged to do just that. My current work involves building an atlas of brain images to allow standardized analysis among a large collection of subjects. My previous projects involve designing databases and image-processing programs to manipulating different modalities of brain images, including MRI, MRSI, DTI, and fMRI.

Guy Gingras, PhD

Post-Doctoral Fellow gingras.jpg

Currently a post-doctoral fellow in the laboratory of Howard Cooper at INSERM in Lyon


Most of my training had been focused on assessing the effects of visual deprivation early in life by performing animal psychophysical experiments in attempts to re-create the ophthalmologic disease often visited upon human patients in childhood. During my masters studies, I showed that hamsters with experimentally-induced retinal outputs to the auditory cortex could see [PNAS (2001), 98, 11068-11073]. Additionally, during my doctoral studies, I investigated the spatial localization abilities of cats rendered amblyopic by surgically created strabismus or by imposition of various regimens of monocular deprivation. Similarly to human amblyopes, the spatial localization deficits in the amblyopic animals increased with the spatial scale of the stimuli. Moreover, these deficits could not be explained by a loss of contrast sensitivity in the deprived eye [Vision Research (2005), 45, 975-989].

In Dr. Aguirre's laboratory, I studied a canine animal model of Leber's Congenital Amaurosis (LCA) using behavioral measures.

Amy Thomas

Research Specialist thomas.jpg

Now a research specialist in the lab of Dr. Roy Hamilton.

I worked on a variety of facial perception studies including the development of a neuropsychological battery of face perception and many other fMRI and behavioral studies.


  • David Yaron - Johns Hopkins Undergrad
  • Jeff Ratliff - Syracuse School of Medicine
  • Tanya Weerakkody - University of Pennsylvania Neuroscience Graduate Group
  • Hannah Carron
/home/aguirreg/html/wiki/data/pages/public/lab_alumni.txt · Last modified: 2017/05/08 10:54 by mattar