Amy Margolis, Ph.D.
Dr. Amy Margolis is an Assistant Professor of Medical Psychology with an appointment in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and an affiliation with the Cognitive Development and Neuroimaging Laboratory. The scientific question she seeks to answer concerns how learning problems are related to underlying deficiencies in the structure and function of neural systems that support learning processes. In the first decade of her career, she established a pediatric neuropsychology training program in comprehensive assessment and treatment of children with learning disabilities and attention disorders. She developed novel treatment methods for children with learning disabilities and attention disorders by combining tutoring, cognitive remediation and psychotherapy techniques.
In 2010 Dr. Margolis transitioned to a research career. Her research uses neuroimaging to investigate the neurobiological underpinnings of learning disabilities with the secondary goal of developing novel therapeutics and early prevention programs. She is Principal Investigator of an NIH funded Career Development Award investigating effects of prenatal exposure to environmental tobacco smoke on brain function and learning. She is Principal Investigator of a study sponsored by The NVLD Project that examines the neural correlates of Non-Verbal Learning Disability. She is also Principal Investigator of the Promise Project Reading Study that examines how neural circuits that support cognitive control and learning processes produce reading disorders. Dr. Margolis received a B.A. in The Evolution of Human Behavior from U.C. Berkeley and a Ph.D. in Applied Educational Psychology: School Psychology, and an MSEd. in Neuroscience and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Director of Neuroscience
David Pagliaccio, Ph.D.
Dr. David Pagliaccio received a PhD in neuroscience from Washington University in St. Louis. His graduate work with Dr. Deanna Barch focused on the effects of stress and stress-system genes on brain structure and function in children with early-onset depression. During his postdoctoral fellowship with Drs. Daniel Pine and Ellen Leibenluft, Dr. Pagliaccio continued fMRI research to examine the neural underpinnings of pediatric anxiety and irritability. As a project manager with the Marsh Lab, he is using neuroimaging to explore alterations in brain circuitry and functioning relating to impulsive-compulsive behaviors, learning disorders, and other pediatric pathologies.
Ran Liu, Ph.D.
Dr. Ran Liu received her Ph.D. in developmental psychology from Virginia Tech in 2020. Her doctoral research with Dr. Martha Ann Bell mainly focused on the effects of temperament, cognition, and parenting on children’s cognitive and socioemotional development. She joined the EBB lab in January 2021 as a postdoc research scientist. She’s interested in using neurophysiological methods (i.e., EEG, fMRI) to study the influence of environmental factors (e.g., parenting, stress, neurotoxic chemicals) on temperament and brain functioning in infants and children, and how these factors interact to predict development outcomes (e.g., psychopathology, academic outcomes).
Paige Greenwood, Ph.D.
Dr. Paige Greenwood received her Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in June 2021. Her dissertation research with Dr. Tzipi Horowitz-Kraus focused on the role of maternal variables (i.e., education and reading fluency) on the behavioral and neurobiological correlates of reading during childhood. She joined the EBB lab in July 2021 as a postdoctoral research scientist and was awarded a T32 for Translational Research in Child Psychiatric Disorders. Her research interests are in investigating the effect of socioeconomic disadvantage (i.e., area deprivation and home literacy environment) on the neuroarchitecture of the reading network in preschool children to determine reading outcomes by school age using structural and functional MRI techniques. Ultimately, she aims to use her research to develop targeted interventions to improve reading outcomes for disadvantaged children and to advocate on behalf of educational equity.
Mariah DeSerisy, Ph.D.
Mariah completed her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Fordham University (2021). She graduated from Trinity University in Texas in 2014 where she double majored in neuroscience and psychology. After graduation she joined the Mental Health Interventions and Technology (MINT) Team in Miami, Florida at Florida International University as the research coordinator. In graduate school, Mariah focused on understanding behavioral, cognitive, and neurobiological risk and resilience factors for emotion dysregulation (irritability and anxiety) in children and adolescents. Clinically, Mariah specializes in providing evidence-based treatments for children and families struggling with severe emotion dysregulation, trauma, and high-risk behaviors (e.g., suicidality, substance use, non-suicidal self-injury). Mariah’s current research interests include intelligence in typical development, the impact of environmental and social exposures on risk for childhood psychopathology, and neurobiological correlates of irritability and anxiety.
Safia Mirza, BS
Safia Mirza graduated from Vanderbilt University in 2022 with a BS in Cognitive Studies and Minors in Neuroscience, Philosophy, and Studio Art. As an undergraduate, Safia worked in Dr. Gaurav Patel's Dynamic Social Cognition Lab, where she investigated clinically-relevant rapid shifts in brain activity among patients with schizophrenia. She also was a research assistant at Vanderbilt's Qualitative Research Core, where she managed several studies assessing economic and racial disparities in healthcare, and developed models to improve access to health services in disadvantaged communities. In May 2022, Safia joined the EBB lab as lab manager.
Jacob Cohen, BA
Jacob Cohen graduated from Claremont McKenna College in 2021 with a BA in Neuroscience. As an undergraduate, Jacob worked in Dr. Alison Harris' Decision Neuroscience Lab where he investigated mirror neuron activity in relation to body movement. In 2019, he interned at Cognitive Leap, where he managed data collection on their ADHD assessment tool, and in 2020, worked on IRB protocols for the Thompson Autism Center. In June of 2021, Jacob joined the EBB lab, where he performs data collection and analysis. He is interested in the biological mechanisms that mediate early life adversity's deleterious effects. He is additionally interested in developing anatomical biomarkers to aid in early intervention efforts.
Amarelis Raudales, BA
Amarelis graduated from Barnard College in 2018 with a BA in psychology. During her undergraduate study, she joined Dr. Beatrice Beebe’s Communication Sciences Lab at New York State Psychiatric Institute, investigating mother-infant interaction and infant social development with the use of video microanalysis. She currently supports Drs. Beatrice Beebe and Julie Herbstman’s NIH funded project investigating the effects of prenatal endocrine-disrupting environmental compounds on mother-infant communication and infant attachment. She joined the EBB lab in February 2019 as a research assistant working on recruitment, data collection and the administration of neuropsychological testing and structured psychiatric interviews. She is interested in risk factors associated with prenatal depression, the effects on infant development, and early intervention. Currently, Amarelis is pursuing a Ph.D
in Clinical Psychology at City College of New York.
Liz Rodriguez, BA
Liz graduated from SUNY Plattsburgh with a BA in sociology and gender & women's studies. After working in social services for over 3 years, her career interests have transitioned towards psychology and behavioral science. Her experience in case management gave her extensive knowledge in public health issues related to HIV/AIDS, substance use, and mental health. She aspires to pursue a doctorate in clinical psychology and provide support to disadvantaged communities. Liz joined the EBB lab in Summer 2021 as a Research Assistant and will assist with data collection, recruitment, and neuropsychological testing.
Dahiana Peña, BA
Dahiana Peña graduated from Columbia University in 2021 with a BA in Neuroscience and Behavior and Latin American and Caribbean Studies. As an undergraduate, she worked as a research assistant at the Mailman School of Public health for Dr. Perzanowski on a project investigating the relationship between autonomic dysregulation and the asthma phenotype exercise-induced bronchoconstriction. Inspired by her research in environmental health, background in neuroscience, and her lived experiences as a South Bronx resident, Dahiana hopes to contribute to research that aims to investigate and protect the mental health and well-being of underserved communities of color. She joined the EBB lab in November 2021 as a research assistant and will help collect maternal sleep data and conduct neuropsychological testing. Starting September of 2022 she will begin her masters at the Mailman School of Public Health in psychiatric epidemiology with a concentration in social determinants of health.
Former Lab Members
Bruce Ramphal, ScB
Bruce graduated from Brown University in 2019 with a Sc.B in neuroscience. While an undergraduate, Bruce worked with Drs. Chad Sylvester, Cynthia Rogers, and Christopher Smyser at Washington University School of Medicine investigating associations between socioeconomic status, neonatal resting-state functional connectivity, and later behavioral outcomes. He joined the EBB Lab in July 2019 as a research assistant where he performed data analysis and collection. He is interested in the biological mechanisms by which structural inequality affects child cognitive and emotional development, as well as interventions to prevent these health disparities. Bruce is currently pursuing a medical degree at Harvard Medical School.
Ena Selmanovic, BS
Ena graduated from Boston University in 2017 with a BS in Business Administration. After working for two years, she decided to transition her education and career towards neuroscience and psychology. Since fall 2019, Ena took additional coursework at the CUNY Graduate Center and Hunter College, while also volunteering in the EBB Lab. She assisted with MRI data collection for our study on prenatal bisphenol exposure, maternal brain function, and peripartum depression, and conducted neuropsychological testing for our study on socioeconomic status and the neurobiology of reading. Ena is currently pursuing a master of social work at Hunter College.
Nur Emanet, MA
Nur received her BA from Bogazici University, Istanbul and her MA in Clinical Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University. She coordinated Dr. Beebe and Dr. Herbstman's NIEHS funded project: "Prenatal endocrine-disrupting chemicals and social/cognitive risk in mothers and infants: potential biologic pathways." In the EBB Lab, Nur helped with conducting neuropsychological assessments for our study about the effects of socioeconomic status on the neurobiology of reading.
Sarah Banker, BA
Sarah Banker graduated from Wesleyan University in 2017 with a BA in neuroscience and behavior. As an undergraduate, Sarah worked as a research assistant in a neuro-immunology lab studying multiple sclerosis, and in a neuroscience lab studying the development of the visual system. After graduation, Sarah began working as a volunteer on Dr. Amy Margolis’s research studies where she began to learn about neuroimaging and learning disabilities in children. While a research assistant (2017-2019), she worked on data collection and analysis. Sarah is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in neuroscience at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai.
Camille Johnson, BA
Camille Johnson graduated from Barnard College in 2020 with a BA in psychology. While an undergraduate, Camille worked as a research assistant in Dr. Elizabeth Bauer’s lab at Barnard, studying cellular characterization of the extended amygdala circuit by conducting immunohistochemistry, confocal imaging and behavioral protocols on animal models. Camille joined EBB in June of 2018 as a volunteer on Dr. Amy Margolis’s research studies, where she assisted with data entry and analysis, and worked on a project exploring cognitive profiles in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Since then, she has been a volunteer research assistant at NYU Langone’s Anxiety and Complicated Grief Program under Dr. Naomi Simon. Camille hopes to pursue a doctorate in clinical psychology in the future.
Elizabeth Rosen, BA
Elizabeth Rosen graduated from Columbia University in 2018 with BAs in biology and English literature. As an undergraduate, Elizabeth was a research assistant in a cutaneous biology lab, studying protein pathways in melanoma. Her interests turned to psychiatry and neuroscience through her time as a crisis hotline listener. Elizabeth worked as a volunteer on Dr. Amy Margolis’s research studies, learning about learning disabilities in children through neuroimaging, neuropsychological evaluations, and environmental exposure. In the future, Elizabeth hopes to pursue a medical degree.
Anika Sigel, BA
Anika Sigel graduated from Macalester College in May of 2018 with a BA in psychology. During her undergraduate career, she worked as a research assistant in a social psychology lab where she studied the social and cognitive processes that underlie moral judgement. Upon joining Dr. Margolis's EBB Lab in August of 2018, Anika was first introduced to neuroimaging as a tool for developing unique treatment and prevention programs for children with learning disabilities. She now works with Dr. Margolis and her team at the Brooklyn Learning Center as a tutor, which allows her to translate her growing knowledge about learning disabilities to a more clinical setting. Anika plans to pursue a doctoral degree in clinical psychology, and eventually, to center her work around treating children and adolescents with serious and persistent mental illnesses.
Emily Koe, BA
Emily graduated from Columbia University in 2020 with a BA in Neuroscience and Behavior. While an undergraduate, Emily volunteered in Dr. Donald Kohn’s Lab at UCLA, focusing on the development of new methods to treat genetic diseases of blood cells by gene modification of hematopoietic stem cells. After taking a class about the psychobiology of infant development, her interests turned towards maternal, infant, and fetal health. After graduating, she started working in the EBB Lab a as a research assistant. Emily helped recruit participants, collect data, administer neuropsychological testing, and analyze data.
Lauren Thomas, EdM, MA
Lauren graduated from the George Washington University in 2012 with a BA in psychology and a secondary degree in business administration. As an undergraduate, Lauren was a research assistant in the Health Cognitions and Behavior Lab, and studied college students' thoughts and beliefs about health issues (e.g., skin cancer). Lauren went on to graduate from Teachers College in 2015 with an EdM in school psychology and a MA in educational psychology: schooling. She was the research clinician in the EBB lab from 2015-2018 and continues to volunteer on Dr. Margolis's projects. Lauren is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in the Combined School-Clinical Child Psychology program at Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology. Her doctoral research project uses data collected during her time in the EBB lab to investigate the relationship between anxiety and writing performance.
Liz Hodgson is a senior at Barnard college with a major in Behavioural Neuroscience and a minor in Secondary Urban Teaching. Before joining the EBB lab, she worked at the Neuroscience of Adult Language (NEURAL) Research Lab at University of Indiana and the Language and Cognition Lab at Columbia's Teacher’s College. Her research interests are about the socio-environmental correlates of writing and reading in school age children. Liz joined the EBB Lab as a volunteer in Spring 2021 and plans to work on projects related to the development of written expression in adolescents.
Morgan Silverman, BA
Morgan graduated from Dickinson College in May 2020 with a BA in psychology. During her time as an undergraduate, Morgan served as a research assistant to Dr. Reuben Robbins at Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute. In collaboration with Dr. Robbins and his research team, Morgan worked on the development and testing of a tablet-based questionnaire called NeuroScreen which is used to assess neurocognitive impairment in HIV+ adolescents in lower income settings. Morgan joined the EBB lab in July 2020 as a volunteer and plans to be involved in data entry and analysis, and working on projects on neuroimaging and learning disabilities. Morgan is also working as a tutor for the Brooklyn Learning Center. She hopes to pursue a doctorate in clinical psychology with a specific focus on neuropsychology.