Principal Investigator

Jessica S. Damoiseaux, Ph.D.

Jessica Damoiseaux

Dr. Damoiseaux is an Associate Professor in the Institute of Gerontology and the Department of Psychology. Her main research goal is to understand the changes in brain function and cognition that accompany normal and abnormal aging. She is particularly interested in examining the influence of biological and cognitive predisposition on cognitive and brain network connectivity changes in healthy older adults. The primary approach Dr. Damoiseaux uses to study brain network connectivity is functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). In addition, she uses other neuroimaging techniques, such as structural MRI and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to study brain structure and structural brain connectivity.

Dr. Damoiseaux completed her Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuroscience at the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, the Netherlands in 2008 (advisors: Dr. Serge Rombouts and Dr. Philip Scheltens). She completed her undergraduate studies at Utrecht University in the Netherlands where she received her M.Sc. in Psychology in 2003. Before her assistant professorship at Wayne State, Dr. Damoiseaux worked at Stanford University as a postdoctoral research fellow in the Functional Imaging in Neuropsychiatric Disorders (FIND) Laboratory under PI Michael Greicius M.D.

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Graduate Students

Jessica M. Hayes

Jessica Hayes

Jessica is a graduate student concentrating on Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience within the Department of Psychology. She is interested in a wide variety of topics relating to cognition, but is especially passionate about the use of neuroimaging to investigate such questions. Her previous work has primarily focused on the analysis of task fMRI data and she is now using structural equation modeling to investigate longitudinal changes in gray matter microstructure that occur during aging. Jessica received her B.S. in Psychology from Wayne State University in May of 2015. She first became involved with the Connect Lab as an undergraduate volunteer and then worked as a Lab Manager for the Connect Lab from July 2015 until August 2017. Through her recruitment efforts as Lab Manager, Jessica became involved in educational outreach at local senior centers and hopes to remain active in the community. Jessica is a firm believer in allowing data and evidence to guide decision-making and strives to one day use the scientific and statistical skills she learns throughout her graduate education to assist in the making of evidence-based changes in policy and practices.


Youjin Jung

Youjin is currently a graduate student in the Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience Program. Her keen interest in cognitive neuroscience during her undergraduate studies led her to pursue a Master’s Degree in Brain and Cognitive Engineering at Korea University, South Korea, where her studies centered on the regulation of cravings and emotions. Following the completion of her master’s degree, she worked at Dr. Pyun’s lab at Korea University Medical Center. Her experience there led her to expand her interests into age-related cognitive changes and their relationship with the functional and structural connectivity of the brain. In her current graduate studies, she aspires to delve deeper into the functional and structural neural characteristics underlying cognitive changes associated with aging and dementia. Currently, Youjin is investigating the potential of plasma neurofilament light as an indicator of functional and structural brain changes, as well as cognitive impairment in dementia.

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Rachel Scott

Rachel Carey

Rachel is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in the Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience program. She received her B.A. with a triple concentration in Psychology, Sociology, and Criminal Studies from Salem College in May 2018. Prior to obtaining her M.A. in Psychology from Union College KY in August 2020, Rachel worked as a volunteer research assistant in Dr. Brittany Cassidy’s Social Cognition lab at the University of North Carolina Greensboro. Her experience at this lab influenced her research interests, causing them to shift to the cognitive neuroscience of aging. Presently, during her time at the Connect Lab, Rachel aims to use Critical Race Theory and fMRI to explore the interplay of genetic (e.g. apolipoprotein E ε4 allele), cardiovascular (e.g. blood pressure), cognitive (e.g. episodic memory), and social determinant factors of health (e.g. socioeconomic position and status) with Black Americans who are cognitively impaired or unimpaired. Her long-term goals are to promote intersectional aging research that highlights underrepresented groups and to ultimately share gained knowledge through active community engagement.

Visiting Researchers

Amber Boots


Amber is a graduate student at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and a visiting researcher at the Connect Lab. Her research focuses on prenatal determinants of brain aging. She studies cognitive and brain aging in the Dutch Famine Birth Cohort, working with longitudinal data of both structural and functional MRI scans of individuals who were exposed to the Dutch Famine in utero. Thereby, she aims to unravel the association between exposures during early brain development which may negatively impact brain development and late-life alterations in brain structure and functioning.

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Research Assistants

Kaya Jordan

Kaya graduated from Tufts University with a bachelor of science in 2021. Following graduation, she worked as a clinical research coordinator at The Regenesis Project, focusing on fMRI studies involving patients with mild cognitive impairment and dementia. This experience led her to the The Connect Lab, where she aims to learn more about the early brain changes associated with normal and abnormal aging. She is particularly interested in studying how lifestyle factors, such as exercise, may contribute to these changes in brain structure and function. Ultimately, Kaya plans to pursue a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience.


Adriana L. Ruiz Rizzo, Ph.D.

Adriana L. Ruiz Rizzo

Dr. Adriana Ruiz-Rizzo is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Neurology at Jena University Hospital in Germany. Her research focuses on brain connectivity (functional and structural) and how it supports cognition and behavior in patient and aging populations. She is currently investigating neurocognitive markers of subjective cognitive decline and mild cognitive impairment, based on functional and structural connectivity. Therefore, she is happily collaborating with the Connect Lab.

Adriana completed her Ph.D. in 2018 at the Graduate School of Systemic Neurosciences of LMU Munich, working with Prof. Kathrin Finke, Dr. Christian Sorg, and Prof. Hermann Mueller. During her Ph.D., she investigated neural and behavioral correlates of visual processing speed decrease in healthy and pathological aging. Adriana earned a B.A. in Psychology in 2008 from the University of Antioquia, Colombia, where she later worked as a neuropsychologist and research assistant with Prof. Francisco Lopera in familial Alzheimer's disease research. In 2013, Adriana received her M.Sc. in cognitive and clinical neuroscience from Maastricht University, the Netherlands.

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Shelby Darichuk


Patrick Pruitt, Ph.D.

     Data Analyst, Massachusetts General Hospital


Raymond P. Viviano, Ph.D.


Sanneke van Rooden, Ph.D.

     Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Radiology, Leiden University Medical Center


Nikki Crane

     Graduate Student, Clinical Psychology, Drexel University


Rebekah Ham

     Graduate Student, Bioethics and Medical Humanities, Case Western Reserve University


Safwaan Mir

     Biomedical Physics, Wayne State University


Zachary J. Fernandez

     Graduate Student, Department of Neuroscience, Michigan State


Toni Lewis

     Social Cognitive Affective Neurodevelopment Laboratory, Wayne State


Kalyan C. Yarraguntla

     Research Assistant, Department of Neurology, Wayne State University School of Medicine


Jesse A. Riojas

     Lead Behavior Technician, Gateway Pediatric Therapy


Joseph A. Ostrow

     Research Assistant, Neurorehabilitation Lab, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital


Veronica L. Archer

     Doctoral Candidate, Department of Psychology, Central Michigan University

     Neuropsychology Intern, John D. Dingell VA Medical Center


Riana Ura

     Research Assistant II, Public Health Sciences, Henry Ford Health Systems


Cindy V. Temali

     Certified Nurse Assistant, Progressive Care and Cardiac Telemetry Department, Crittenton Hospital


Gregory A. Norville

     Graduate Student, Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience, Department of Psychology, Wayne State University


Marisa S. Mills

     Graduate Student, Clinical Health Psychology, Department of Behavioral Sciences, University of Michigan at Dearborn