Faculty

Faculty 2017-05-15T15:21:02+00:00

Staff

I received my BSc and MSc in Electrical Engineering from the University of Tehran, Iran, and my PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Calgary. During my PhD I introduced novel region-of-interest (ROI)-based analysis approaches to better understand the brain’s function and organization. I completed my first postdoctoral fellowship at Center for Biomedical Imaging (CBI) in New York University Medical Center. The main focus of my research was on measuring structural and functional brain connectivity alteration in schizophrenia patients. During my second postdoctoral fellowship at Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest, my work focuses on the physiological mechanism of the resting-state BOLD fMRI signal. My primary research interest is in the development of acquisition and processing methods and their applications to study human brain physiology, function, and connectivity.

Publications

I have a Bachelor’s degree in Medical Radiological Technology from India as well as a graduate certificate in Magnetic Resonance Imaging from Fanshawe College. As the MRI Technologist at ToNI, I’m responsible for operating the scanner, ensuring the safety of the MRI facility and assisting researchers in collecting fMRI data.

After completing a BSc. in Psychology at the University of Toronto, I spent several years as a Research Assistant at UofT and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.  Developing an increasingly technological focus ultimately led me to rejoin the Department of Psychology as Research Operations Coordinator.  Here I support the research hardware at ToNI. I also design and maintain the network, security, storage and computational systems within our facility and the Department more broadly.

I graduated from the Psychology Research Specialist program at the University of Toronto in 2015. As financial clerk of the Department of Psychology, I oversee the billing for the TOnI fMRI Facility.

I completed my undergraduate degree in Psychology at Wilfrid Laurier University followed by a Bachelor of Education at Nipissing University. In 2013, I received my Human Resources Management Certificate from Sheridan College. At the facility, some of my duties include the distribution of fobs, creating purchase orders and processing invoices, expense reimbursements, service orders, telecom requests and payroll for casual staff.

Faculty

The Barense Lab seeks to understand how the brain supports memory, and how memory is affected by brain damage or disease. Current projects investigate the neurocognitive mechanisms that underlie memory loss, as well as the neural and behavioural harbingers of Alzheimer’s disease. Recently, we have started using principles from cognitive neuroscience to develop more effective interventions for memory-impaired individuals.

Website | Publications

The Bernhardt-Walther Lab at the University of Toronto investigates the neural and computational principles of high-level sensory perception. We employ neuroimaging (fMRI, MEG, EEG), psychophysics, eye tracking, and computational modeling to explore how people see and hear their real-world environments.

Website | Publications

Our research takes a cognitive science approach to understand the cognitive and motivational processes underlying affective responses. Current research examines how motivation, goals, and context contribute to emotional and evaluative states. This work suggests that affective states are constructed moment to moment from multiple component processes that integrate relevant information from various sources such as automatically activated attitudes and situational contexts.

Website | Publications

A fundamental question in the study of memory is why we remember some events and not others. Researchers have tended to approach this question by isolating discrete memory events from the backdrop of ongoing cognitive and neural processing. Despite its many successes, this approach neglects the processes that occur both before and after an event. Our research explores the possibility that this ongoing processing influences the fate of a memory. Specifically, we test how neuromodulators, like dopamine and acetylcholine, and the experiences that trigger their release, establish prolonged cognitive states, which facilitate either memory encoding or retrieval.

Website | Publications

The Einstein lab studies how the structure and function of the brain is influenced by the context of people’s lives, especially sex and gender. For our research, we recruit women, men and gender-diverse individuals to explore how their brains and behaviour react and respond when they experience sex-specific health conditions, medical treatments or social practices. Our current research efforts explore cognitive and brain changes in women after ovarian removal, the neurobiological effects of cultural practices such as female genital cutting, and the effects of hormonal cycling on mood.

Website | Publications

My research interests fall within the realm of Cognitive Neuroscience. The long-term goal of my research is to understand the cognitive and neural processes that support awareness of perception. As such, my work speaks to issues regarding the basic principles of the neural representation of visual perception and visually guided action. To examine the relationship between awareness and perception, my research program comprises diverse methodological approaches, such as the investigation of cognitive impairments in neurological patients (e.g., patients with spatial neglect or simultanagnosia), cognitive experiments in healthy individuals, and the examination of brain activity with modern neuroimaging techniques (fMRI and ERP).

Website | Publications

The long-term goal of our lab is to understand how cognitive and brain development support or constrain learning outcomes. The emerging field of developmental cognitive neuroscience is unveiling vast structural and functional changes in neural systems across the brain. Likewise, core memory systems undergo substantial change across development. What do these changes mean for learning and memory systems? For language acquisition and achievement? For learning in more versus less enriching environments? Answering these questions is fundamental to understanding the nature of learning during childhood, to knowing why there are age-related limits on learning (critical or sensitive periods), and to understanding the role of the environment in shaping the relationship between brain development, cognitive development and learning.

Website | Publications

Prof. Hasher’s gerontology research centers on two major issues. The first is the role that basic attentional processes play in the ability to understand language and remember events. The key question centers on how attention changes with age. The second line of work is concerned with adult age differences in circadian patterns of arousal and with synchrony effects, that is with the question of what aspects of cognition differ (or do not) when performed at an individual’s optimal vs. non-optimal time of day.

Website | Publications

My lab studies human learning, focusing on how memory and attention systems interact to form new knowledge and influence perception. Making sense of this interaction will inform not only how learning succeeds, but also why it goes awry and how to put it back on track. We employ a combination of behavioral, computational modeling, and neuroscience (fMRI, TMS) approaches to investigate the cognitive and neural mechanisms of the learning brain.

Website | Publications

The objectives of my current research program are to gain an understanding of the processes and brain mechanisms mediating memory, attention and recognition of faces and objects. The research is guided by a neuropsychological model of memory that has four components: 1) the posterior neocortex that mediates performance on tests of memory without awareness; 2) the medial temporal lobes that automatically store information that is consciously apprehended at encoding and obligatorily recovers information on tests of conscious recollection that are cue-driven; 3) the frontal lobes that work with memories delivered to and by the medial temporal lobes and posterior neocortex, and recovered from them by supporting strategic processes that are needed at encoding and retrieval; 4) the parietal cortex that directs attention to objects perceived in the external world and to internal processes necessary for memory encoding and retrieval.

Website | Publications

My research falls in the domain of visual cognition. I am interested in how humans selectively acquire information from the visual field and how that information influences actions (and what happens to the ignored information). The research uses methods that involve measuring attention, eye movements, limb movements, and electrophysiological responses (EEGs/ERPs). A wide range of studies are conducted in the lab, including research on such topics as attention, inhibitory processes, consciousness, memory, motor control (eye and limb movements), perception, and aging.

Website | Publications

The SPCL lab studies social perception and social cognition. Key themes of research within those broad topics focus on the role of person perception in predicting meaningful and ecologically-valid outcomes. Specifically, much of the research conducted within the lab examines the relationships between perceptions of leaders and their success. For example, in one paper we found that judgments of the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of Fortune 1,000 companies predicted the amounts of profits that the CEOs’ companies earned. Follow-up work showed that this was true for female CEOs and for the Managing Partners of law firms. Subsequently, we have found evidence for some of the mechanisms guiding this effect: the facial characteristics allowing for this predictive relationship are present early in the leaders’ trajectories and perceivers seem to respond to the level of arousal evoked by the faces. A separate area of work has shown that the traits predicting leaders’ success are cross-culturally dependent, at least for political leaders. Interestingly, in related work we found that individuals’ political affiliations could be reliably judged from their faces.

Website | Publications

The overarching goal of my research is to understand how we form and use knowledge across development. It has been demonstrated that adults can build upon what they know when learning new, related information. Yet, how existing knowledge impacts learning in children and adolescents remains virtually unstudied. My research uses cognitive neuroscience techniques (functional and structural MRI) to characterize how protracted change in the underlying neural systems might give rise to developmental differences in memory and reasoning abilities. Do children and adolescents capitalize on their existing knowledge during learning in the same way as adults? How does knowledge representation change across development? What are the situational and neural factors that promote learning in children? By answering these questions, my long-term goal is to help bridge the gap between neuroscience and education research and inform how we might promote classroom learning across development.

Website | Publications