Learning and Brain Development Lab

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Learning & Brain
Development Lab

Meet the LBD Lab

Dr. Julie Markant

Lab Director

Dr. Julie Markant is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Tulane University. She earned a B.A. in Psychology from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in Child Psychology from the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota. Prior to coming to Tulane, Dr. Markant completed postdoctoral training in the Department of Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences at Brown University.

Dr. Markant’s research focuses on mechanisms that link the development of selective attention and efficient learning during infancy and early childhood. Her work takes a bidirectional approach by investigating 1) the role of developing attention control in promoting more effective learning and 2) the role of prior learning and experience in shaping our ability to efficiently orient to meaningful information. This research is grounded in a developmental perspective and the understanding that multiple biological and contextual factors contribute to change in these processes over time. Dr. Markant therefore aims to understand how both neurobehavioral mechanisms and individual experience contribute to variability in attention and learning outcomes. To address these questions Dr. Markant’s research emphasizes behavioral and eye tracking methods but has also incorporated genetic, MRI, and fNIRS measures.

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Taylor Marcus

Graduate Student

Taylor is a fifth year Neuroscience Ph.D. candidate from Charlotte, North Carolina. She graduated from Louisiana State University with a B.S. in Biological Sciences and Psychology. As an undergraduate, she assisted research projects for the School Psychology department, focusing on learning and behavior of at-risk children. She also worked on a genetics project in an evolutionary biology lab. After college, Taylor worked for Tulane as a Clinical Research Coordinator in the Translational Science Institute. Currently in the lab, Taylor investigates the role of reward in attention biases towards social features across the lifespan. Her dissertation work combines behavioral, eye tracking and functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) neuroimaging techniques to investigate the role of reward processing in attention biases to the self, familiar and stranger faces.

Svetha Mohan

Svetha Mohan

Graduate Student

Svetha is a fourth year School Psychology Ph.D. student from West Palm Beach, Florida. She earned her B.S. in Psychology from University of Central Florida in 2017, taught English in Cartagena, Spain, and then earned her M.A. in Human Development from University of Maryland, College Park. Before coming to Tulane, she was involved in various research projects that examined different aspects of children’s cognitive development, such as working memory in children with ADHD, the neurodevelopment of language and memory using EEG methods, and the effects of cognition and scaffolding in early science education. Svetha’s current work focuses on how preschool-aged children pay attention to and learn from contextual information using eye-tracking and behavioral methods.

Brooke Montgomery

Graduate Student

Brooke is a second year Psychological Science Ph.D. student with a focus in Brain, Cognition, and Developmental Science from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She attended Louisiana State University, where she received a B.S. in Psychology in 2021. At LSU, she was involved in various laboratories in the Cognitive and Brain Sciences department, studying the neurocognitive mechanisms of attention and memory through eye tracking and EEG methods. Afterwards, as the Lab Manager of the Learning & Brain Development Lab, her research focused on how attention biases are shaped across infancy. Brooke’s current research utilizes eye tracking and behavioral methods to understand the development of attention and reward interactions overtime. 

Kayla Brown

Lab Manager

Kayla is our Lab Manager from Knightdale, North Carolina. She attended The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she earned a B.S. in Psychology in 2023. Throughout her time at UNC, she was heavily involved in the research in the Psychology and Neuroscience departments which primarily focuses on Child Imaging Research on Cognition and Life Experiences (CIRCLE Lab). Kayla is interested in cognitive and socioemotional mechanisms that may influence overall developmental outcomes in children and adolescence with consideration to early adverse experiences.

Maddie Parsley

Recruitment Coordinator

Maddie is our Recruitment Coordinator from Baltimore, Maryland. She attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she earned her B.S. in Psychology in 2023. At UNC, she was involved in research at the School of Medicine focusing on improving mobility and community involvement for people with disabilities. Maddie is interested in the mechanisms of learning and attentional control with a focus on early childhood. Her goal is to earn a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and pursue a career in research. 

Alyssa Alperstein

Alyssa Alperstein

Research Assistant

Alyssa is a Senior at Tulane University from Baltimore, Maryland. She is majoring in Psychology with minors in Public Health, and Teaching, Learning, & Training. Alyssa joined the lab because of her passion for working with children and developmental psychology. After graduating from Tulane, she hopes to go onto get a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology.

Emma Meyer

Emma Meyer

Research Assistant

Emma is a Senior at Tulane University. She is from Nashville, Tennessee and is majoring in Psychology and Neuroscience. She joined the LBD Lab because of her interest in learning and intelligence and her desire to work with children. On campus, Emma is involved in the Newcomb Scholars program and the Tulane Neuroscience Association. After graduating, she hopes to get a Master’s in Psychology and eventually pursue a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology.

Kasey Enreinch

Kasey Ehrenreich

Research ASSISTANT

Kasey is a Senior at Tulane University and from Athens, GA. She is majoring in Psychology and minoring in German and Philosophy. She is on the board of the Tulane Campus Programming Club and the Compassion in Action Club. After graduation, she hopes to receive her Ph.D in neuropsychology. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, cooking and yoga. 

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Makenzie Soto

Research Assistant

Makenzie is a Senior from Westchester, New York. She is double majoring in Neuroscience and Gender & Sexuality Studies with a minor in Psychology. At Tulane, she is a member of TU Gente and Sexual Aggression Peer Hotline and Education (SAPHE). After graduating from Tulane, she plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Neuroscience and eventually work with children and adolescents as a clinical neuropsychologist.

Emma McIntyre

Clare McIntyre

Research Assistant

Clare is a Senior at Tulane from Baltimore, Maryland. She is majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in Spanish. She is involved in Tulane’s running club and loves to run to local NOLA food spots with friends! After graduation, Clare hopes to go to medical school, and in her free time she enjoys running, reading, and hanging out with friends!

Sydney Meilstrup

Sydney Meilstrup

Research Assistant

Sydney is a junior at Tulane University. She was born in Santa Rita, Guam, but currently lives in Pensacola, Florida. She is majoring in Neuroscience and Psychology and joined the lab to help pursue her goal of both psychology research and a career in Pediatric Psychiatry. Sydney is a member of Afterschool Newcomb Tutoring, is involved in her sorority, and volunteers for Girls in Stem at Tulane. In her free time, she loves to read, dance, and has a passion for sudoku.

Bella Mainiero

Bella Mainiero

Research Assistant

Bella Mainiero is a junior at Tulane University from Shreveport, Louisiana. She is currently double majoring in Neuroscience and Computer Science with a minor in Studio Art. She is currently involved with the Tulane University Neuroscience Association, Tulane’s soccer club, and the Brain, Arts, and Music Scholar’s Society. After she graduates, Bella plans to attend a PhD/MD program to continue her interests in both research and surgery. Her interests in both research and neuroscience are what drew her to Dr. Markant’s lab.

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Jillian MacHenry

Research Assistant

Jillian is junior at Tulane from Cherry Hill, NJ. She is majoring in Psychology and minoring in Public Health and SLAM. At Tulane, she’s the Director of Recruitment for the Dance Marathon. During her free time, she enjoys going on walks in Audubon Park and trying local restaurants with friends. Her passion for cognitive neuroscience led her to discover and join Dr. Markant’s LBD Lab. After graduation, she hopes to become a school psychologist or to receive her Ph.D. in neuropsychology. 

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Shanae Venter

Research Assistant

Shanae is a junior at Tulane from Newton, Massachusetts. She is majoring in Neuroscience with a minor in Gender Studies and Public Health and hopes to use her education to help lessen the burden of health disparities in medicine. After graduation, she hopes to go to medical school and pursue a career in women’s health. She joined the lab because of her interest in neuroscience and working with children. In her free time, Shanae is involved in multiple on-campus groups, including Tulane Peer Health Educators, Peer Wellness Representatives, and her sorority.

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Zoe Sanders

Research Assistant

Zoe is a senior from Stanford, California. She is majoring in Psychology with minors in Public Health and Teaching, Learning, & Training. She joined the LBD Lab because of her passion for working with kids and her interest in child development. In her free time, Zoe enjoys reading, going on walks, and spending time with friends. After graduating, Zoe hopes to explore the field of developmental psychology by earning a graduate degree or having hands-on field experiences.

Aditi Sridhar

Aditi Sridhar

ICIS FOUNDING GENERATION FELLOW

Aditi graduated from Ashoka University, India in May of 2023, where she eared a major in Psychology and a minor in Biology. She was awarded the Founding Generation Summer Fellowship for Undergraduates by ICIS, International Congress of Infant Studies. With this grant, Aditi is able to work with Dr. Markant and her team at the LBD Lab on the project that focuses on how infants detect and attend to their caregiver in environments that are rich with many stimuli. She is particularly interested in the development of intersensory perception in those children at-risk for ASD. In relation to this, she hopes to move into the field of child psychology after her graduation and work on developing early childhood interventions for at-risk children in India.

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Carson Heward

RESEARCH ASSISTANT

Carson is a postgraduate research assistant from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Tulane in 2023, earning her B.S. in Public Health with a minor in Psychology. Throughout her undergraduate years at Tulane, she worked with children in many ways: as an ABA Therapist for children with Autism; a Patient Care Representative using her psychology background to help patients achieve their individualized goals; a tutor and a counselor for children in New Orleans; and a research assistant. Her passion for working with children coupled with her interest in researching and understanding psychological impact of adverse childhood experience (ACEs) and their effects on learning and development led her to join Dr. Markant’s lab. Carson plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and eventually practice as a clinician working primarily with children who have experienced ACEs. 

Our Alumni

Former Graduate Students

BHunter
Brianna earned her Ph.D. in Psychological Science from Tulane University in 2022. She earned a B.S. in Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience from the University of Florida in 2017 and her M.S. in Psychological Science from Tulane in 2019. Brianna’s research examines how experience shapes attention throughout development. While in the Learning and Brain Development Lab, Brianna conducted several eye-tracking studies with infants as well as online behavioral tasks with children to study attention to faces. Brianna is currently a Postdoctoral Scholar at UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain where she continues to research attention and learning during infancy. She plans to be a long-time collaborator with members of the LBDLab as she pursues a career in Academia.​
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Jill King, Ph.D

Completing her work in the LBDLab, Jill earned her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Tulane University in 2021 with her dissertation entitled “Selective attention control facilitates learning from task-relevant competing information during childhood and adulthood.” She previously earned a B.S. in Biological Sciences and a B.S. in Psychology from Louisiana State University in 2016. Following her graduation, Jill has transitioned from academia into an industry position. As a research scientist in the Moore Neuro-Fundraising® Lab at TCM Creative in Tulsa, Oklahoma, her research now focuses on donating behaviors. She enjoys applying the many skills she learned in the Learning and Brain Development Lab to these new challenges.

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Claire Noonan, Ph.D

As the first doctoral student in the Learning and Brain Development Lab, Claire earned her Ph.D in School Psychology from Tulane University in 2020. She earned her B.A. in Biological Sciences from Columbia University in 2009 and her MS in Developmental Psychology from The University of Texas at Dallas in 2014. Her research interests center around face processing and early social skills during the first year of life, especially to inform prevention, early indication, and treatment in the context of maladaptive development. Claire completed her predoctoral clinical psychology internship in Infant Mental Health at the University of Denver Internship Consortium through the Mental Health Center of Denver. Following graduation, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Irving Harris Program in Child Development and Infant Mental Health at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine. She is now a Clinical Psychologist at the Mental Health Center in Denver. She will forever cherish her time as a member of the LBDLab.

Research Assistants

Honors Students

Lab Managers

Keerthana Krishnan

Masters of Public Health Student at Johns Hopkins University

Max Curl

Nicole Miller

Amanda Schaller

Fiona McDermut

Research Assistant at Mount Sinai

Sophia Nahabedian

Clinical Psychological Science MPS at the University of Maryland

Carsyn Olivier

Project Coordinator at University of Oregon

Roumina Adab

Medical Student at Georgetown University

Ramal Rauf

School Psychology Ph.D. Student at Tulane University

Ellie Young

Medical Student at University of Southern California

Christina Attia

Medical Student at West Virginia University

Mary Snellings Inabnett

School Psychology Ph.D. Student Louisiana State University

Dara Tucker

M.A. / Ed.S. Student at University of Delaware

Emilee Saxon

Technical Specialist at IMotions A/S

Daisy Ellis

MPH, Health Policy Student

Sydney Greenlee

Medical Scribe

Rachel Aber

Medical Student at SUNY Upstate Medical University

Jackie Kandalaft

M.S., Psychology Behavioral Health

Savannah McNair

B.S. Psychology

Kimberly Cortez

Physical Therapy Student

Caitlin Strozewski

Veterinary Medicine Student at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Anna Wood

Assistant Director of Student Philanthropy at Pennsylvania State University

Julia Nauman

Lab Manager at Michigan State University

Leah Vaidya

Lab Manager at Wesleyan University

Kaitlyn Tholen

Medical Student at Louisiana State University School of Medicine

Matt Coleman

Ph.D. Student at Northeastern University

Monica Holler

Research Assistant at Yale School of Medicine

Alyssa Cruse

Internal Medicine Resident at Emory School of Medicine

Brooke Montgomery

Psychological Science Ph.D. Student at Tulane University

Brittany Justin

Kelsey Offen

Academic Advisor at University of Colorado at Boulder

Research Assistants

Keerthana Krishnan

Masters of Public Health Student at Johns Hopkins University

Max Curl

Nicole Miller

Amanda Schaller

Fiona McDermut

Research Assistant at Mount Sinai

Sophia Nahabedian

Clinical Psychological Science MPS at the University of Maryland

Carsyn Olivier

Project Coordinator at University of Oregon

Roumina Adab

Medical Student at Georgetown University

Ramal Rauf

School Psychology Ph.D. Student at Tulane University

Ellie Young

Medical Student at University of Southern California

Christina Attia

Medical Student at West Virginia University

Mary Snellings Inabnett

School Psychology Ph.D. Student Louisiana State University

Dara Tucker

M.A. / Ed.S. Student at University of Delaware

Emilee Saxon

Technical Specialist at IMotions A/S

Daisy Ellis

MPH, Health Policy Student

Sydney Greenlee

Medical Scribe

Rachel Aber

Medical Student at SUNY Upstate Medical University

Jackie Kandalaft

M.S., Psychology Behavioral Health

Savannah McNair

B.S. Psychology

Kimberly Cortez

Physical Therapy Student

Caitlin Strozewski

Veterinary Medicine Student at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Honors Students

Anna Wood

Assistant Director of Student Philanthropy at Pennsylvania State University

Julia Nauman

Lab Manager at Michigan State University

Leah Vaidya

Lab Manager at Wesleyan University

Kaitlyn Tholen

Medical Student at Louisiana State University School of Medicine

Matt Coleman

Ph.D. Student at Northeastern University

Monica Holler

Research Assistant at Yale School of Medicine

Alyssa Cruse

Internal Medicine Resident at Emory School of Medicine

Lab Managers

Brooke Montgomery

Psychological Science Ph.D. Student at Tulane University

Brittany Justin

Kelsey Offen

Academic Advisor at University of Colorado at Boulder