Summer 2023


Janeen Hill

Interim Director

Uri Maoz

Assistant Professor of Computational Neuroscience and Psychology

Aaron Schurger

Assistant Professor of Computational Neuroscience and Psychology


Tian Lan

Senior Research Engineer;
Operations Lead

Tian oversees all equipment, facilities and experiments in the labs. He also manages the grants as well as the day-to-day operations of the institute. 

Sophia Hartenbaum

Research Coordinator

Sophia graduated from Santa Clara University with a B.S. in Psychology. She began her position at the Brain Institute in June 2023 and is currently involved in a few research projects examining intention, agency, and voluntary actions. She plans to pursue a PhD in neuroscience and psychology.

Cole Van Diggelen

Administrative Assistant

Cole graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with his Master of Business Administration degree in May of 2023. With an interest in organizational behavior and administration, he centers on work within the realm of higher education. Beginning at Chapman in September of 2023, Cole focuses on maintaining an organized and structured environment for the Brain Institute, and all of its people


Tomáš Dominik

Dr. Dominik received his Ph.D. in December 2019 after defending a dissertation thesis pertaining various aspects of Libet’s experiment. His interests lie in the overlap between psychology, psychophysiology and neuroscience of volition. Specifically, he studies the reliability of introspective reports of motor intention or the origins of brain potentials preceding voluntary or pre-contemplated movements. He also previously led a project of complex replication of Libet’s experiment. He uses EEG, various psychophysiological methods (ECG, EDA, EMG, EOG, etc.), and behavioral methods for his research.

Dehua (Andy) Liang

Andy is a postdoc at the Brain Institute who obtained his PhD in Computational and Data Sciences from Chapman University in 2022. His research is mainly focused on computational methods in neuroscience and deep learning. During his time as a student at Chapman, he has worked on many different datasets. For Andy, the data that are collected from the brain is the most exciting data to analyze. He believes the brain and cognition are still mysterious to us and understanding how the they work will make an impact on how we understand human beings.

Ugo Bruzadin Nunes

Ugo is a postdoc at the Brain Institute. He earned his PhD in Psychology at Southern Illinois University – Carbondale, where he specialized in cognitive neuroscience. His doctoral dissertation focused on the short and long-term effects of nicotine, bupropion, and abstinence on task-related brain activity. He is currently working on a project called Triangulating Neurocorrelates of Consciousness, where he will be using machine learning to identify brain signals common conscious awareness, using EEG data from three different tasks and three different laboratories. His research interests include consciousness, attention, memory, the effects and treatment implications of different drugs on cognition, and the use of machine learning and neural networks to decode brain signals.

Paulius Rimkevičius

My research focuses on consciousness and free will. I am interested in whether we are conscious of what goes on in our own minds and whether we have free will. I am also interested in our beliefs about consciousness and free will and how these beliefs affect our behavior. My main current project investigates what goes on in our brains and what we are conscious of when we perform a spontaneous voluntary action, specifically: whether we are conscious of mental imagery related to the action and whether the generation of such mental imagery is reflected in a brain signal, the readiness potential, that is associated with spontaneous voluntary actions.

Sook-Mun (Alice) Wong

Alice is a postdoc at the Brain Institute. She obtained her PhD in Computational and Data Sciences from Chapman University in 2022, and she has a B.A in Psychology from UCLA. Her areas of research interests include characterising the extent of how random human generated sequences can be, and the neuroscience and temporal dynamics of voluntary action.

Mathieu Landry


Dr. Mathieu Landry completed his Ph.D. in cognitive neuroscience at McGill University. Broadly, his research explores how cognition (e.g., attention, anticipation, executive control) shapes consciousness (i.e., how we subjectively experience the world and our own mind). His work has primarily focused on the overlapping dynamics between attention, perception and metacognition, while he also investigated and published several papers on hypnosis and suggestions. His research combines various methods, including neurophysiology (i.e., electro- and magnetoencephalography), experimental strategies from psychophysics and cognitive psychology, and a variety of analytical strategies (e., computational modelling, machine learning).

Graduate Students

Caitlyn Chavez

PhD Candidate

Caitlyn is a PhD student at the Brain Institute and MLAT lab in Chapman University’s Computational and Data Sciences program. She graduated from UCSB in June 2016 with a B.S. in Chemistry. In her research, Caitlyn focuses on deep learning, computer vision, and signal processing in solving problems in precision medicine and biomedical imaging.

Lucas Jeay-Bizot

PhD Candidate

Lucas Jeay-Bizot is a PhD student in the Computational and Data Science program at Chapman University. Lucas received an MA in Mathematics and Philosophy from the University of Glasgow and will be graduating with an MSc in Cognitive Science from the University of Vienna. His research interests cover both the neuroscientific and philosophical investigations of the phenomenon of free will. His research projects aim to investigate different aspects of voluntary actions using EEG and machine learning techniques.

Alejandro de Miguel

PhD Student

Alejandro de Miguel is a PhD student in Computational and Data Sciences at Chapman University. He earned his MS in Artificial Intelligence from Munster Technological University in Ireland and worked in industry for five years as a Data Science Manager at Just Eat Takeaway. His current research is focused on using high-frame rate video recordings of human decision-making to predict motion and action through computer vision techniques.

Alison Oliver

M.S. Student

Alison studied neuroscience and philosophy at the University of San Diego before coming to the Brain Institute to pursue her research interests, which include social cognition, evolutionary psychology, and neuropsychiatry. She started at the Brain Institute in 2020 and is now teaching and working towards her MSc alongside research with new projects that use EEG, TMS, and pupillometry.

Guillaume Pech

PhD Candidate (joint with Axel Cleeremans)

I graduated from the master in cognitive sciences at the University of Lyon Lumière 2 (France) in 2021. Then, I had the opportunity to work as a research assistant during 8 months at the Université Libre de Bruxelles with Prof. Emilie CASPAR (M&SB lab). We conducted projects investigating several processes related to decision-making, such as the sense of agency, empathy for pain and cognitive conflict using EEG. We approached rare populations such as inmates, military, and former perpetrators and survivors of the genocide in Rwanda. In 2022, I had the honor to receive a 6-month predoctoral fellowship offered by the Neurophilosophy of Free Will for the project ‘Does the Readiness Potential reflect action initiation or uncertainty?’.

I am now a PhD student under the supervision of Pr. Axel CLEEREMANS (CO3) and Pr. Uri MAOZ (Brain Institute). My research focuses on the neural markers of volition, with a specific interest in the Readiness Potential. In a broader sense, my topic of interest is to investigate how to model decision-making and how these findings can feed the debate on free-will.

Damini Trehan

PhD Student

Damini is a PhD student at the Brain Institute.

Dimitri Bredikhin

Visiting Student

Dimitri holds an MSc degree in Cognitive Neuroscience and a BSc degree in Biology, majoring in Animal Physiology. Currently specializing in the neuronal correlates of movement initiation, he investigates its intricate relationship with the philosophical concept of free will. In his research, Dimitri extensively utilizes EEG/MEG techniques to explore these cognitive phenomena.

Postbac Research Assistants

Emma Chen

Emma Chen is a postbac at the Brain Institute. She is involved in the EEG biofeedback, microdosing, and TMS-agency projects. Her research interests lie among the intersection between neuroscience, philosophy, and law.

Jillian Nooney

Jillian graduated from Towson University in May 2022, where she earned a B.S in Psychology and Interdisciplinary Studies with a Concentration in Animal Behavior. She hopes to earn a PhD in Neuroscience and focus on consciousness research. She is interested in using a multidisciplinary approach to study consciousness, and related topics, which she plans to pursue as a postbac research assistant at the Brain Institute.

Adrien Schurger-Foy

Adrien is currently a Master student at EPFL and is doing research with the Brain Institute. His projects aims to apply machine-learning techniques to see how effective and fair the scientific peer-review process is.

Amy Whitmarsh

Amy Whitmarsh graduated from Chapman in fall 2022 with major in health sciences major and a neuroscience minor. She has been a research assistant with the Brain Institute since spring 2021. While doing research, Amy has focused on EEG and the use of the float-pod. She plans on becoming a PA, but has yet to decide what specialty. 

JoJo Widi

JoJo graduated with a B.A. in Psychology from Pomona College in 2023. He is involved with a variety of different projects related to the study of consciousness at the Brain Institute, with a particular focus on attention schema theory.

Undergraduate Research Assistants

Bahar Babagoli

Raniyah Chishti

Sarah Quach

Claire Schmitt

Part-Time Staff/Student Workers

Nico Barrett

Animation Artist/Graphic Designer

Sydney Scott

Administrative Assistant


Debbie Nguyen (2022~2023, Administrative Assistant), now Lab Manager at Tufts University

Jake Gavenas (2018~2023, PhD Student), now Postdoc at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

Liad Mudrik (2022~2023, Visiting Professor), Professor at Tel Aviv University 

Alessandra Buccella (2021~2023, Postdoc), now Assistant Professor (tenure track) at SUNY Albany

Melissa Brillhart (2021~2023, Undergrad/Postbac RA), now PhD student at Texas Christian University

Ben Perry (2022~2023, MS Student), now PhD student at Texas Tech University

Martha Shaw (2020~2022, Undergrad/Postbac RA)

Angelina Quagletti (2021~2022, Postbac RA), now PhD student at Palo Alto University

Jackson Gregory (2018~2022, Undergrad/Postbac RA), now PsyD student at University of Denver

Jinkyoung Oh (2021~2022, Visiting Professor), Professor/Radiologist at Catholic University of Korea

Gilana Pikover (2018~2022, Undergrad RA/Institute Manager), now Operations Coordinator at Stealth

Hannah Ravitch (2019~2022, Undergrad RA/Administrative Assistant)

Joanna Pak (2019~2022, Undergrad/Postbac RA), now Staff Research Associate at UCSF

Ryan Millares (2021~2022, Undergrad RA), now Software Engineer at DecisionPoint Corporation

Alex Rigl (2020~2021, App Developer), now Director of Product Technology at World Champion Fantasy

Elnaz Lashgari, Ph.D. (2017~2021, PhD student), now Senior Scientist at Abbott

Adrien Schurger-Foy (2020~2021, Postbac RA), now MS student at EPFL

Tom Kim (2020~2021, Postbac RA), now PhD student at UCLA

Akima Connelly (2018~2021, Undergrad/Postbac RA), now PhD student at Tokyo Institute of Technology

Amber Hopkins (2018~2021, Undergrad/Postbac RA), now PhD student at UCLA

Joaquin Valencia (2020~2021, App Developer), now Junior Product Manager at BluIP

Jungsu Pak (2018~2020, MS Student), now Data Scientist at whatsoftdata  

Jyelyn Bold (2018~2020, Undergrad/Postbac RA), now Senior Analyst at Hypoithesis Group

Ariane Guirguis (2018~2020, Postbac RA)

Morgan Kindel (2018~2019, Undergrad RA), now PhD student at the University of Pennsylvania

Where we come from