Laboratory Director

turnerPicJessica Turner, Ph.D.  Dr. Jessica Turner is the principal investigator of the Imaging Genetics and Informatics Lab, and Professor in the Psychology Department with an affiliate position in the Neuroscience Institute. She joined the GSU faculty in the fall of 2013 after several years at the Mind Research Network (MRN), Albuquerque, NM, and the University of California, Irvine.  She maintains active research collaborations with a wide network of investigators. More information is available also at the departmental web profile.


Senior Researchers

Matthew Turner, Ph.D.  Matthew has a Ph.D. in Cognitive Sciences/Psychology (University of California, Irvine); a M.A. in Applied Mathematics (California State University, Fullerton); a M.S. in Applied and Theoretical Statistics (Rutgers University, NJ); and a M.A. in Social Sciences (University of California). He previously worked as a lecturer in mathematics at CSU Fullerton, as a professor of psychology at Chapman University (Orange, CA), lectured on statistics (at both the graduate and undergraduate levels) at both Rutgers University and the University of New Mexico, and lectured on experimental psychology and research methods at UC Irvine. He also co-founded the computer vision/machine learning technology start-up Nonspecific Industries, LLC. His prior work has been in acoustics and the psychology of hearing; signal processing; and, more recently, informatics, ontologies, and machine learning. Currently, his research focuses on automated text processing in scientific literature, meta-analysis of large scale data sets, and the capabilities of low-cost EEG systems and the electrophysiological signatures of altered states of consciousness such as meditation and hypnosis.

Graduate Students

SarahSarah Clark  Sarah is a clinical neuropsychology doctoral student and 2CI fellow. She has been investigating the relationship among insight, symptoms, cognitive processes, and brain structure and function in schizophrenia. She is also helping out with a new imaging and neuropsychology study of treatment-resistant schizophrenia. Sarah enjoys learning about brain-behavior relationships and performing neuropsychological testing to learn about people’s brain functioning. In her (limited) spare time, Sarah enjoys doing anything outdoors, cooking, and watching movies.  Sarah defended her dissertation in 2020 and is currently doing her clinical internship Geriatric Neuropsychology at the VA Palo Alto Healthcare System.


WenhaoWenhao Jiang  Wenhao mainly works on the imaging genetics of schizophrenia and is also part of SzImGen team at Georgia State University. At present, he is focusing on the parallel independent component analysis (pICA) on various data sets containing schizophrenia patients and controls trying to identify potential brain imaging markers that indicated by the disorder and related genes. He worked in the psychiatry department, received residency training back home and could provide unofficial advice on people’s mental status. Hobby: stay indoors.



20160422_173558Khalil Thompson  Khalil is doctoral student in the Cognitive & Affective Neuroscience program, and an NSF award recipient, as well as a former 2CI Neuroimaging Fellow. He is currently investigating the neural correlates of social cognition and behavior in individuals with social anxiety utilizing the Prisoner’s Dilemma Paradigm. He is also interested in functional connectivity analysis, the synchronous relationship between neural systems, and how these factors influence the success of cognitive-behavioral therapy and pharmacological treatment. Khalil enjoys discovering new music, watching movies, and keeping up with geopolitical events.


Kelly Rootes-Murdy Kelly is a cognitive & affective neuroscience doctoral student and a 2CI fellow. She is interested in the relationship of brain function and delusions/hallucinations in both bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. She is also interested in learning about the genetic differences between these psychiatric disorders and how those differences may be inform diagnosis and treatment options. 


Tom Pietruszewski Thomas is a graduate student in the Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience program and a Brains & Behavior fellow. His research interests include using fMRI to study the neurophysiology underlying vividness of mental imagery and source monitoring errors. Thomas worked as an undergraduate research assistant at the University of Connecticut where he did single unit recording and language comprehension research. His hobbies include martial arts and skydiving. 


Jesse Edmond Jesse is a student in the Cognitive & Affective Neuroscience Program. His interests lie in understanding the physical underpinnings of schizophrenia’s negative symptoms. He is currently investigating the integrity of different white matter tracts and how this may influence these symptoms. Using a similar approach, he is also studying social withdrawal in non-clinical populations.


Dawn Jensen Dawn is a doctoral student with the Neuroscience Institute investigating the longitudinal relationships between epigenetics, brain development, and cognition during normal development in adolescence.




Gabriel Martinez Gabriel is a doctoral student with the Neuroscience Institute investigating multimodal markers of different negative symptoms across disorders. 




Undergraduate Students and Volunteers

Elaheh Zendehrouh

Keneisha John

Chinkuli Munkwombe

Khushi Shah

Obaseki Akhirome

Nidhi Patel





Staff and Senior Researchers

C. Navin Gupta, Ph.D.  Navin has a Ph.D. in Computer Science from University of Essex, United Kingdom and a Masters in Biomedical Engineering from Nanyang Techological Univeristy,Singapore. He has also had short Research Assistant stints at National University of Singapore and Imperial College London.enjoys deciphering challenging research questions in the field of neuro and computer sciences. He is currently part of the SzImGen team at Georgia State University and Mind Research Network studying the effect of genetics on structural endophenotype in schizophrenia (Sz) using multivariate techniques in multimodal data. He also works on electroencephalogram (EEG)/near infrared signals (NIRS) for applications like brain-computer interfaces (BCI); spatial attention and meditation. He is trying to learn genetics when he has time, but often forgets what he learns :). His hobbies include tennis,swimming and table tennis.  As of early 2017 he took a faculty position in the Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering(BSBE), IIT Guwahati, India.

Veena Patel  Veena completed her undergraduate degree at the University of New Mexico and has been a member of the lab since 2011.  Her work explores connections between genomic and structural grey matter variation in schizophrenia. She is especially interested in biostatistics and hopes to pursue a graduate degree in a related field. In her free time, Veena can be found spoiling her dog and cat.  Starting in Fall 2016 she has begun work at the University of Chicago in Biostatistics.

Esther Walton, Ph.D.  Esther completed her PhD at the TU Dresden in Germany focussig on the genetics and epigenetics of schizophrenia and their neuroimaging phenotypes. During her time as a postdoctoral researcher at King’s College London, UK, she investigated mediating effects of epigenetic markers on environmental risk factors and the development of psychopathology in childhood. She also analysed longitudinal effects of epigenetic alterations on brain imaging phenotypes of high-risk adolescent populations. Esther was recently awarded a postdoctoral fellowship to research the genetic and brain-based correlates of schizophrenia symptomatology. She spends her spare time with her husband and children thinking about zebras.  As of fall 2016, Esther has now taken a position in Bristol studying genetics in longitudinal studies.

Eduardo Castro, Ph.D.  Eduardo has a Ph.D. in Computer Engineering from the University of New Mexico. His latest work involves the development and adaptation of deep learning algorithms to MRI data to unveil hidden features that are characteristic of brain illness. One of his goals is to incorporate genetic variations in a multimodal analysis framework to discover how they regulate the neural basis of schizophrenia.  In 2015 Eduardo moved on to IBM.

Keven Haynes (Informatics).  Keven has many years experience in High Performance Computing and systems administration, with a Master’s degree in Mathematics and Computer Science.  He was on the machine learning/text mining projects, and in August 2018 moved to Emory University.

Amber Grant (Data Analysis). Born and raised in the Atlanta metro area, Amber recently received her bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience from Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia. She was working as staff under Dr. Jessica Turner in data collection and functional MRI data analysis. In the future, she would like to attend graduate school studying visual neuroscience and investigate the neural connections responsible for attention and perceptual judgements. In her free time she enjoys playing board games, reading and the occasional Netflix binge. She was accepted to the GSU MPH program in 2019. 

Aral Ahmadi, M.S. (Data Analysis).  Aral has a background in both Neuroscience and Biomedical Engineering. She completed her master at Rene Descartes (Paris5) university on Neurobiology in Paris, France.  She coordinates and monitors different projects and datasets ranging from brain imaging to genetics. She does data analysis, training, support, and the monitoring of the data processing. In her free time she paints, writes and illustrates kid’s story books.


PhD Students

Carrie Wright, Ph.D.  Carrie received a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from UNM in 2013 and took a position at the Liebert Institute.

Chayan Chakrabarti, Ph.D.  Chayan received a Ph.D. in Computer Science from UNM in 2013.

Stephanie Hare, Ph.D. Steph received a PhD in Neuroscience from GSU in May 2018, and has taken a position at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center (MPRC).  

Jennifer Ciarochi, Ph.D.   Jen Ciarochi (CHə/rō/kē) received her PhD in Neuroscience from GSU in July 2018.

Maria Misiura  Maria received her PhD in Psychology from GSU in December 2020, and has taken a position with Dr. Vonetta Dotson (GSU) and the TReNDS center ( 

Other Graduate Student Alumni

Betul Kara Betul was a Master’s student in Biology working on motor performance in Huntington’s Disease. 

Zhujun (Julia) Li Julia was a Master’s student in Computer Science working on neuroimaging analyses of large-scale hallucinations studies.

Tiffany Zhu Tiffany was a Master’s student in Philosophy who is working on the cognitive basis of intuition and intuitive guidance.  She is  interested in philosophy of mind and philosophy of psychology.

Skylar Walters Skylar received her BA/MS from the Neuroscience Institute and worked on the relationship between cytokine levels and functional connectivity in the development of Alzheimer’s Disease. 

Undergraduate and Post-baccalaureate Research Assistant Alumni

Jessica Snellings

Danielle Pasquerello

Haleemah Harris

Carrie Pack

Nisha Bhatia

Luis Labarca   worked with us while he was a Computer Science undergraduate on the development of text-mining tools for processing the biomedical scientific literature as a B&B Summer Scholar.

Nadia Quyyum  Nadia majored in Psychology and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She joined the lab in January 2015 and developed an honors thesis project that focuses on how gender influences cognition and brain structure in people with schizophrenia, graduating in 2016. As of spring 2017 she is working as a full time Research Interviewer for Emory’s Behavioral Immunology program.

Antoinette Richards  Antoinette worked with the lab from 2015-2016 in recruiting and assessing participants with schizophrenia. In 2018 she was accepted into the MA program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Mercer.

Eileen Persichetti Eileen joined the lab in 2014 until her graduation in 2016; she worked on a number a of seed-based resting state fMRI studies, including a B&B Summer fellowship in 2015.

Alicia Law  Alicia majored in Psychology and graduated in 2016; she was a Psi Chi member and developed initial ICA results on resting state fMRI in hallucinations.

Tenzin Yangchen  Tenzin is from Agnes Scott and was helping with neuropsychology data management in fall 2016.

Sarah Owczarek  Sarah joined the lab in early 2016 following her graduation from UNG; she worked on a number of studies including hallucination diaries, with a 2017 presentation at SEPA.  She is starting a Physician’s Assistant program in spring 2017.

Imon Allen (Data Analysis).  Imon has a B.S. in Neuroscience, and worked as an RA from 2016-2017 helping with clinical interviewing for the Brief Psychiatric Rating scale, as well as specific neuropsychological testing.

Darryl Burnet  Darryl graduated with a major in neuroscience and minor in psychology. She joined the lab in January 2015 and was a B&B summer fellow in 2016. Her work includes looking into auditory imagery and how it relates to perceptual distortions and memory, EEG studies of meditation, and cortical activity asymmetry measurements.

Matthew Copello  Matthew graduated cum laude in spring 2017 after working in the lab since 2015 on EEG studies. His honors thesis was titled “EEG STUDY OF SIMPLE PROBLEM SOLVING”.

Alexis Breed

Ahlam Awaid

Elizabeth (Lizzy) Fall   Lizzy was with the lab from December 2015, including her IMSD fellowship in 2015-2016 until her graduation magna cum laude in 2017. Her honors thesis work was focused on analyzing the resting-state functional connectivity of the PREDICT-HD prodromal Huntington’s disease dataset.

Domonique Nichols Dominique joined the lab 2016 and graduated cum laude with a degree in neuroscience in 2017.  She has been helping to screen and recruit patients for the neuroimaging studies. She was accepted to medical school at Florida International University for fall 2020. 

Kendrick King  Ken was with the lab since 2016 until his graduation with a degree in neuroscience in 2018.  He analyzed fMRI data from our social anxiety studies and presented a number of complex tests and results. He started a Master’s in Public Health at Georgia Southern University in 2019. 

Kimberly Diaz Perez  Kimberly was with the lab until her graduation in 2018, as a mainstay of the imaging genetics analyses, and will be starting a PhD in genetics in fall 2018.  Her honors thesis was on genetic relationships with structural imaging measures. 

Mia Martini

Maria Sypchenko

Amina Glass

Quin Kidder

Ashley Park

Laniqua Collins

Tiffany DeVaughn Tiffany graduated in the summer of 2018 having done an honors thesis on resting state connectivity in a clinical population. She was accepted to the Clinical Psychology PhD program at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. 

Kyle Goodrich

Inzul Motiwala

Destiny Ogbu  Destiny graduated in 2019 having done an honors thesis on gender differences in subcortical atrophy in prodromal Huntington’s Disease. 

Ashwini Sangaraju Ashwini was working on the fly genetics of Huntington’s Disease, and graduated in 2019. She entered the Master’s in Public Health at GSU and an internship with the GA Department of Health. 

Javier Palacios

Amber Tannahill

Gautam Ajay

Aliyah Martin

Alexus Jackson

Lidya Gossa

Izik Moore

Jada Cheek

Assiyah Muhammad  Assiyah worked on our source memory/reality monitoring neuroimaging project; she entered the Master’s of Public Health at GSU in 2020. 

Shara Noori

Haley Dourron Haley did her honors thesis comparing resting state networks in schizophrenia with findings in hallucinogen research, and was accepted into a PhD program in Public Health at the University of Alabama, Birmingham in 2020. 

Prachi Patel

Chelsey Nwadike

Jennifer Vu

Jasmine Jimenez

Kyla Brannigan

Gabrielle (Gabby) Williams

Kelly Dorn

Irine Won

Chirag Girash


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