Meet the TAs

OCW Scholar

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Sara Beach

Sara Beach is a technical assistant in Professor John Gabrieli’s lab. She uses EEG and MRI to study reading development, with the aim of identifying early predictors of dyslexia. Her other research interests include bilingualism and cognition, and second language acquisition across the lifespan. A former teacher of English as a Second Language, Sara holds a BA from Williams College and master’s degrees from UPenn and Harvard.

Joseph Keller

Joseph Keller grew up in the Baltimore metro area and is currently a graduate student in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT. He obtained a B.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a Meyerhoff Scholar, and an M.A. in Cognitive and Neural Systems from Boston University. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in the Gabrieli lab and uses neuroimaging techniques to examine the human brain during healthy aging and dementia. In his free time, he enjoys staying active with basketball, golf and squash.

Joanne Liu

Joanne Liu graduated from MIT in 2011 with a B.S. in Brain and Cognitive Sciences. As an undergraduate, Joanne was a research student in the laboratory of Dr. Earl K. Miller and worked on a project examining the differences in neural activity across the brain during the learning of novel categories. She is currently a student in the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University and is pursuing further research in the role of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid status on mood disorders. In her free time, Joanne enjoys playing the piano and writing music.

Joshua B. Manning

Joshua B. Manning received his B.F.A in music composition in 2000 from Carnegie Mellon University. He then earned his M.S. in Public Policy and Management in 2006 and his M.F.A in Music Composition in 2009 from Carnegie Mellon University. During his graduate work at Carnegie Mellon he collaborated on research projects involving economics and organizational behavior at the H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and the Tepper School of Business. He is currently a fourth year graduate student at the Brain and Cognitive Sciences Department at MIT. His research interests include the cognitive and neural processes involved in emotion, learning, and decision making under risk and uncertainty, neuroeconomics, and the role of emotion on intertemporal choice and decision making.

Tyler Perrachione

Tyler Perrachione is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT, working in the laboratory of Dr. John Gabrieli. Tyler's research investigates human communication from a systems neuroscience perspective, with a focus on development and disorders of language. His published work includes behavioral and brain imaging studies of language learning, voice recognition, and developmental reading disorders (dyslexia). Tyler has helped teach 9.00 for four years, and has received two teaching awards at MIT in recognition of his dedication to undergraduate education.

Melissa Troyer

Melissa Troyer grew up in Kokomo, IN, where she graduated from a small county public school before attending Indiana University in Bloomington. At IU, Melissa studied language and cognition from several approaches, earning a B.S. in Cognitive Science, a B.S. in Psychology, and a joint B.A. in Linguistics and French. As an undergraduate, Melissa was a computer programmer in an EEG lab and worked as a research assistant for three years in a speech perception laboratory. After graduating, she began the Ph.D. program in the Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT to work on sentence processing. She will receive her Master's from MIT in Cognitive Science in February, 2012, and plans to go on to pursue further research in the cognitive science of language in the future. She is a recipient of both the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship. In her free time, she sings with a local choral and orchestral group, Calliope, and enjoys spending time exploring the Cambridge area with friends.


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