Lab Director
Scientists & Postdocs
Graduate Students
Research Staff
Administrative Staff
IT Staff
Recent LAN Alumni

Brogden address:
1202 W. Johnson Street
Madison, WI 53706

Waisman address:
1500 Highland Avenue
Madison, WI 53705


Shared lab line:
608-262-4443
(rings in Brogden 366, 381)

Brogden lab fax:
608-265-2875


Graduate Students

Cortland DahlCortland Dahl
IGM
S-111 Waisman

cjdahl2@wisc.edu

I am interested in exploring the interface between the body, the mind, and the brain, and especially in the question of how meditation and other contemplative practices may help us cultivate positive qualities like compassion and resilience. My current work focuses on the effects of long-term meditation practice on aversive conditioning.





Drew FoxAndrew Fox
IGM
A-132 Waisman
608-310-5531

More about Drew

I am interested in the way that emotional and empathetic brain systems influence decision-making and pro-social behaviors. During my graduate career I hope to use functional brain imaging in both humans and rhesus monkeys (macaque mulatta), to investigate how these interactions occur. Eventually I hope my research leads to novel ways of triggering these brain systems to produce positive behavioral outcomes.

First year project (2006): The Amygdala: A Neural Substrate of Behavioral Inhibition in Rhesus Monkeys.


Jamie HansonJamie Hanson
IGM
394 Waisman
608-890-2525

Currently, I am directing a large study examining brain development and early experience. This work seeks to answer how brain development and plasticity give rise to both the commonality and individual differences in a behavioral repertoire.

First year project (2006): The Correlates of Early Experience on Brain Development: Insights from International Adoptees.

Awards: 2011 Vilas Conference Presentation Award, Graduate School, University of Wisconsin-Madison
2011 Poster and Travel Award, Sackler Colloquium: Biological Embedding of Early Social Adversity: From Fruit Flies to Kindergartners, National Academy of Sciences.
2011 Fellow, NIMH Summer Institute in Cognitive Neuroscience, University of California Santa Barbara
2011 Schwartz Fellowship, Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
2011 Travel Award, Determinants of Executive Function & Dysfunction Annual Conference, NIMH Interdisciplinary Behavioral Science Center, University of Colorado at Boulder
2010 Vilas Conference Presentation Award, Graduate School, University of Wisconsin-Madison
2010 Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) from the NIMH for the predoctoral project "Neurodevelopmental Correlates of Reward Processing and Adolescent Substance Abuse".
2010 Hertz Travel Award, Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
2010 Population Health Dissertation Grant, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
2009 Hertz Travel Award, Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
2007 Fellow, John Merck Fund Sackler Summer Institute on the Biology of Developmental Disabilities, Cornell University
2003 Travel Award, Wisconsin Symposium on Emotion, University of Wisconsin-Madison
2003 Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship, National Science Foundation


Aaron HellerAaron Heller
Clinical
T-125 Waisman
608-890-3076

Aaron's personal website

My research interests include the influence of body states and positions on emotion and memory, as well as the neural underpinnings of approach and avoidant behaviors. Additionally, I plan to pursue a research project investigating the degree to which one's goals may affect or even override the encoding, perception, and memory of stimuli in one's environment.

First year project (2007): "Linking perception and action: The consequences of behavioral predisposition on response time to affective stimuli."

Awards: 2008 James L. Davis Memorial Graduate Support Fund, "Using neuroscience methodology to advance understanding of clinical depression".


Regina LapateRegina Lapate
IGM
T-125 Waisman

I am interested in advancing our understanding of the structure of affect and affective regulation. Currently, I am conducting experiments that examine the role of conscious access in affective processing-- in particular, affective chronometry and pervasiveness-- using a combination of behavioral, peripheral-physiological and neuroimaging measures.

First year project (2009): "Assessing the Contribution of Affective Style to the Voluntary Regulation of Pain: Integrating Psychophysiology and Neuroimaging in an Investigation of Individual Differences."

Awards:
2013 SPR Student Poster Award for her poster entitled, "Amygdalar Function and Connectivity Underlie Affective Misattribution after Non-Conscious Emotional Processing"
2012 Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Fellowship for the workshop "Biology of Social Cognition"
2012 Schwartz Fellowship, Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
2011 Hertz Travel Award, Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
2011 Menzies Award for Independent Graduate Student Research, Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
2010 James L. Davis Fellowship for research in Affective Neuroscience: "Probing the pervasiveness (and persistency) of implicit and explicit emotional memories"
2009 SPR Student Poster Award for her poster entitled "The Contribution of Affective Style to the Successful Downregulation of Pain: A Psychophysiological and Neuroimaging Investigation"
2009 Hertz Foundation and Royalty Research Fellowship travel award


Daniel LevinsonDaniel Levinson
Clinical
S-119C Waisman

Daniel received a B.S. from Stanford University and is currently a doctoral student in clinical psychology studying with Dr. Richard Davidson in the Department of Psychology, Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior, and Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the Waisman Center. His research focuses on the study of mind wandering, mindfulness, and the development of games that may improve mindfulness. His work has garnered awards and funding, such as the Francisco J. Varela Memorial Award. His clinical practice includes facilitating mindfulness groups, and he enjoys meditating.


Awards: 2012 Hertz Travel Award, Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
2010-2011 Mind & Life Institute Francisco J. Varela Research Award
2008 Fetzer Institute Fellowship, Fetzer Initiative on the Neuroscience of Love, Compassion, and Forgiveness


David PerlmanDavid Perlman
IGM
A-127 Waisman
608-890-1386

My original background is in physics, with followup in statistics and computer programming. I have taken course work with a focus on statistical methodology, functional neuroimaging, model-based psychology including neuroeconomics and behavioral game theory, and clinical psychology, particularly depression. My research work has focused on an in-depth development of fMRI methodology skills, and execution and analysis of fMRI experiments relating to cognitive modulation of pain perception in normal participants as well as in long-term meditation practitioners. I am currently developing the outline of my dissertation research program, which will involve studying relations between affective chronometry/affective hysteresis, cognitive models of depression, and cognitive modulation of pain perception. I will be studying the central constructs of self-focused attention, and emotional regulation/reactivity, attempting to use these constructs to tie together the various measures. In the bigger picture, I am interested in how techniques such as meditation and fMRI neurofeedback could be used to generate improvements in the functioning of these systems. I have been involved in the design of studies of meditation, as well as piloting fMRI neurofeedback on our scanner. I am also interested in using advanced PET tracers to look at the involvement of modulatory neurotransmitters, particularly dopamine, in these potential improvements.

Awards: 2010 Mind and Life Institute Varela award recipient, "Hedonic sustainability in the BOLD response to selfish and altruistic rewards"
2009 Fetzer Institute Fellowship, Fetzer Initiative on the Neuroscience of Love, Compassion, and Forgiveness


Helen WengHelen Weng
Clinical
A-125 Waisman
608-263-0269

I grew up in Sunnyvale, CA and Mt. Sinai, NY. I earned my undergraduate degree at Columbia University in Neuroscience & Behavior, which sparked my interests in affective neuroscience, clinical psychology, and Buddhist philosophy. Before graduate school, I spent a year at the New York State Psychiatric Institute studying the effect transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) on treatment-resistant depression and schizophrenia. I am currently a doctoral student in clinical psychology studying with Dr. Richard Davidson in the Department of Psychology, Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior, and Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the Waisman Center. I am currently funded by a predoctoral NCCAM fellowship through the Department of Family Medicine. I study the impact of compassion meditation on neural responses to human suffering and altruistic behavior using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and economic decision-making methodology. I also study the impact of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, long-term meditation, and brain injury on altruistic behavior. I have received numerous awards for my work including the Francisco J. Varela Memorial Award and the Cognitive Neuroscience Society Graduate Student Award. I was recently appointed a member of the Mind and Life Institute Fellows Board. My clinical interests include integrating emotion-focused, mindfulness, and interpersonal process approaches to psychotherapy to treat mood disorders. My long-term goals include studying how interventions that increase love and compassion impact both psychological and physical health in patients, and how training these qualities in health care providers can prevent burnout and improve patient outcomes. I am also passionate about multicultural communication and understanding. I love eating good food with friends, music, and cats.

Awards: 2012 NIH NCCAM T32 pre-doctoral training Fellowship, Department of Family Medicine
2012 Cognitive Neuroscience Society Graduate Student Award and Travel Award
2011-2012 Ramona Messerschmidt Award, Department of Psychology
2008 Fetzer Institute Fellowship, CIHM
2008 International Symposium Foundations of Human Behavior Travel Award
2007-2008 Hertz Foundation Research Fellowship Award and Travel Award
2006 Francisco J. Varela Memorial Grant Award, Mind and Life Institute

Publications:
Weng, H.Y., Fox, A.S., Shackman, A.J., Stodola, D.E., Caldwell, J.Z.K., Olson, M.C., Rogers, G., Davidson R.J. (in press). Compassion training alters altruism and neural responses to suffering. Psychological Science.

Schuyler, B., Kral, T., Jacquart, J., Burghy, C., Weng, H., Perlman, D., Bachhuber, D. R. W. Rosenkranz, M., et al. (2012). Temporal dynamics of emotional responding: Amygdala recovery predicts emotional traits. Social cognitive and affective neuroscience. doi: 10.1093/scan/nss131. PMC Journal in process.

MacCoon, D. G., Imel, Z. E., Rosenkranz, M. A., Sheftel, J. G., Weng, H. Y., Sullivan, J. C., Bonus, K. A., Stoney, C. M., Salomons, T. V., Davidson, R. J., & Lutz, A. (2012). The validation of an active control intervention for Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). Behaviour Research and Therapy, 50, 3-12. PMCID: PMC3257026


Cecilia WestbrookCecilia Westbrook
IGM, MD/PhD
A-128 Waisman
608-265-6631
cwestbrook@wisc.edu

I'm interested in the role of executive function and memory in the risk for internalizing disorders, with a major focus on rumination. I'm interested in how rumination affects, and is affected by, cognitive function both immediately and across development. I'm also interested in the role of these processes in shaping the narrative self, which I think has implications for psychopathology as well.


Awards: 2010 Rath Fellowship
2009 Francisco J. Varela Research Award
2009 Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi induction
2007 NIMH Fellowship for Recruitment of Undergraduates in Mental Health Research


Cecilia WestbrookJoe Wielgosz
Clinical
S-119C Waisman
608-890-1407
wielgosz@wisc.edu

My broad motivation is to explore integrated models of emotional health that recognize the complex interactions of cognition, emotion, the body, and the interpersonal environment. I plan to focus my research on phenomena that cross these boundaries in interesting ways.

First year project (2011): "Embodiment of Anxiety: Body Posture Modulates Response to Unpredictable Threats."

Awards: 2012 APA Society for the Science of Clinical Psychology student poster award
2012 Hertz Travel Award, Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
2010-2012 Fellowship: NIMH Training Program in Emotion Research