Laboratory of Developmental Neuroscience   |   814-863-5626  |  scherflab@gmail.com  |

 

Team

Suzy Scherf
Short Biography
Principal Investigator, Laboratory of Developmental Neuroscience
Associate Professor of Psychology,
Penn State University
814-867-2921
suzyscherf@psu.edu
I got my undergraduate degree in Cognitive Science and Masters Degree in psychology at Occidental College and went on to get my PhD in Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh under Dr. Charles Perfetti. I did my postdoctoral training under Dr. Beatriz Luna at the University of Pittsburgh and under Dr. Marlene Behrmann at Carnegie Mellon University.
 
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Post-Doctoral Researcher 

Chaia Flegenheimer
Short Biography
I got my undergraduate degree in Neuroscience at Vassar College and went on to get my PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Massachusetts Amherst under Dr. Jennifer McDermott. I am interested in the development of social processing in typically-developing and special populations. 
Post Doctoral Research Assistant
PhD, University of Massachusetts 
Amherst
czf281@psu.edu
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Graduate Students

Junqiang (Jacob) Dai
Short Biography
I am focusing on using multi-level neuroimaging methods to explore how puberty influences the development of the neural mechanisms underlying face processing in adolescence, and how this newly emerging neural profile might potentially predict current or later social development. I am also interested in applying this theoretical approach to studying the neural manifestation of social processing in atypical populations, such as those with autism.
PhD Student, Developmental Psychology
M.A., Penn State University 
jbd5326@psu.edu
Jason Griffin
Short Biography
My master’s thesis examined how autistic traits influence social motivation and attention during neuropsychological assessment. Currently, I am working on a project in Suzy’s lab that aims to improve face processing (as measured with eye-tracking technology) in adolescents diagnosed with autism by implementing a computer-based intervention. Finally, I am interested in utilizing neuroimaging methods  to study brain-behavior relationships in typically-developing individuals and children with autism.
PhD Student, Cognitive Psychology 
M.A., University of Colorado
jxg569@psu.edu
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Brittany Woodruff
Short Biography
Masters Student,
Neuroscience
BS, University of Richmond
birttany.woodruff.cfd111@gmail.com
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Myles Arrington
Short Biography
PhD Student,
Developmental Psychology
BS, University of Maryland 
mna41@psu.edu

Before coming to Penn State, I earned a Bachelor's degree in Psychology with a minor in Neuroscience. I was drawn to the lab due to my interests in understanding facial processing systems and individual differences in recognition proficiency. In particular, I plan to study how processing systems change over development and interact with the environment and context children are in to produce individual differences. I am currently working on a project looking at facial recognition in young adults.

I am a Neuroscience graduate student in the lab currently working on the FREA project, as well as my own thesis. Prior to coming to Penn State, I completed a B.S. in Biology with a minor in Psychology and a concentration in Neuroscience at the University of Richmond. After graduation, I worked at the Faison Center for Autism as a Teaching Assistant and decided to continue my education and pursue research in this field. Currently, I am focusing on sex differences in complex and basic emotion recognition in typically developing young adults with varying degrees of autism-like traits

I am a Neuroscience graduate student in the lab currently working on the FREA project, as well as my own thesis. Prior to coming to Penn State, I completed a B.S. in Biology with a minor in Psychology and a concentration in Neuroscience at the University of Richmond. After graduation, I worked at the Faison Center for Autism as a Teaching Assistant and decided to continue my education and pursue research in this field. Currently, I am focusing on sex differences in complex and basic emotion recognition in typically developing young adults with varying degrees of autism-like traits

Brittany Woodruff
Short Biography
Masters Student,
Neuroscience
BS, University of Richmond
birttany.woodruff.cfd111@gmail.com
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I am a Neuroscience graduate student in the lab currently working on the FREA project, as well as my own thesis. Prior to coming to Penn State, I completed a B.S. in Biology with a minor in Psychology and a concentration in Neuroscience at the University of Richmond. After graduation, I worked at the Faison Center for Autism as a Teaching Assistant and decided to continue my education and pursue research in this field. Currently, I am focusing on sex differences in complex and basic emotion recognition in typically developing young adults with varying degrees of autism-like traits

Full-Time Staff Members

Maggie Benda
DASH
Project Coordinator
BA, George Washington University
814-863-5626
mub1267@psu.edu
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Short Biography

I graduated from the George Washington University with a B.A. in Psychology and English in May 2018. I work as the Project Coordinator for the DASH Project and have been at LDN since June 2018. My research interests lie in evidence-based interventions in autism and pediatric OCD.

I intend on pursing a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, with the goal of becoming a child clinical psychologist. 

Gordon Bill
SAGA
Project Coordinator
MA, New York University 
gcb5142@psu.edu
Short Biography
Prior to joining the Scherf Lab, I earned my Psychology MA from New York University. My past experience with eye-tracking software and inpatient work with autistic adolescents led me to discover the SAGA study. I now serve as the project’s primary coordinator. When this study is complete, I plan on using the skills I’m acquiring to pursue a PhD in neuroscience focusing on perceptual development.
Sarah Laskowitz
DASH, SAGA
Research Associate 
BA, University of Richmond 
814-863-5626
sul1054@psu.edu
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Short Biography
I graduated from the University of Richmond in 2018 with majors in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences, and a minor in Religious Studies. I work on the DASH and SAGA projects collecting data, processing data, designing novel task paradigms and lab recruitment materials and web pages. My research interests lie in studying the neural correlates of comparative religion, consciousness, morality, and empathy. I plan to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology.
Nathan Field 
DASH
Research Associate 
BS/BA, University of Delaware
nhf5028@psu.edu
Short Biography
I graduated from the University of Delaware with a BA in psychology and a BS in Cognitive Science in May 2019. My primary responsibilities as a member of the DASH team are collecting data and recruiting participants. My research interests consist mainly of how children interact with their peers, and the short and long term correlates of peer rejection in adolescence. I intend to pursue a PhD in developmental psychology.  
Daniel Contreras
SAGA 
Game Programmer 
814-863-7389
dbc5477@psu.com
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Short Biography

From the warm city of Hermosillo in México, I completed my bachelor's in computer science while working as an automation engineer and teaching video game programming at the University of Sonora. While comfortable, I was not satisfied and quit everything to pursue a career in video game design by getting a Diploma in Game Design from the Vancouver Film School in Canada. In the lab, I'm the main programmer and game designer for Teenage Pet Detective, a video game that develops the user's social skills based on scientific research.

Undergraduate Research Assitants

Samantha
Warmkessel
DASH
Research Assistant 
sjw5535@psu.edu
Short Biography
I am a senior in the Eberly College of Science majoring in Biology. I started as a research assistant in the Lab of Developmental Neuroscience in the Spring of 2019. I enjoy working in the lab as it helps me develop my understandings of the brain and getting hands on experience working with participants and learning different lab protocols. I plan to continue my education by attending graduate school focusing in Neurobiology.

Alumni

Full-Time Staff
Kristina Adams 
Russel Bauer
Sara Barth 
Susan Bowser
Andrea Cordero 
Marlaina Laubach 
Graduate Students
Daniel Elbich 
Natalie Motta-Mena, Ph.D. 
Giorgia Picci, Ph.D.
Caitlin Ting 
Mirella Maggi 
Indira Turney
Leslie Doll 
Graduate Students Rotations
Jason Bendezu 
Leslie Doll
Jennifer Legault, Ph.D. 
Pan Liu, Ph.D. 
Caitlin Ting, Ph.D.
Mirella Magi, Ph.D.
Indira Turney, Ph.D.
Undergraduate Research Assistants
Kayleigh Adamson
Holly Albaugh
Sarah Albert
Melissa Armitage
Mikayla Borusiewicz
Brian Brady
Janelle Copek
Dillon Costantini
Kate Dent 
Kevin Dougherty
Alex Dufford
Nchewi Imoke
Nadia Khan
Aarya Mehta
Andrea Mitchell-Meyer
Erin Sacksteder
Tally Sepot
Justin Stiffler
Ashley Unger
Samantha Williams
Caren Yameogo