Principal Investigator


Dorit Kliemann

Dorit Kliemann, PhD (she/her)


Dr. Kliemann is generally interested in how the brain creates our social mind. She studies how variations in brain structure and function lead to intact or impaired (social) cognition. How do we infer what other think and feel almost effortlessly? Why do some people struggle to process social information (such as a subtle smile on a face)? Why do others show (almost) no change in behavior and cognition even if a major part of their brain has been removed (for instance to treat epilepsy)? 




about us page

Jax Skye


Jax is an INSPIRE postdoctoral fellow in Psychiatry with the goal of understanding changes in information processing in the brain in neurological conditions like autism spectrum disorder and stroke. His current projects focus on 1) understanding emotional speech perception in neurotypical and autistic populations, 2) investigating deficits in social cognition following brain lesions, and 3) decomposing neuropsychological test performance using computational modeling techniques. Jax hopes his findings will contribute to the development of novel interventions for individuals living with these conditions.

Jax graduated from the University of Nevada – Reno with a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience and a minor in Philosophy. As an undergraduate student, he studied visual-vestibular sensory integration in Paul MacNeilage’s lab. Jax joined the Iowa neuroscience community as a PhD student in the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Neuroscience where he researched time perception and visuospatial ability in patients with acquired focal brain lesions in the labs of Daniel Tranel and Aaron Boes.

Jax is excited to continue expanding his methodological expertise in functional magnetic resonance imaging and computational modeling.

Graduate Students

Avery Van De Water

Avery Van De Water, BS (they/them)


Avery is a graduate student in the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Neuroscience with the goal of improving how we diagnose and treat psychiatric disorders. Currently, they are researching how we perceive, process, interpret, and respond to social information. Multiple psychiatric disorders emerge during adolescence and are linked to impairments in social behavior.  

After graduating from The University of New Hampshire in 2019 with a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience & Behavior, they worked as a clinical research coordinator at Massachusetts General Hospital & Harvard Medical School investigating the neurobiological, endocrine, and genetic underpinnings of eating disorders. They continue their work in this area as a pre-doctoral research affiliate.  

Avery is thrilled to continue their career in the pursuit of gaining knowledge that can effect positive change in people’s quality of life, particularly those negatively impacted by mental health conditions.  



Jasmin Turner

Neuroimaging Data Analyst


Photo of Ray Gonzalez

Ray Gonzalez, BS



Research Assistants


Photo of Jordan Luna

Jordan Luna, BS


In 2023, Jordan graduated from the University of Iowa with a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience and a minor in Ancient Civilizations. At UI, the bulk of Jordan's work experience was as an undergraduate researcher in the Radley Lab studying stress in rodent models for more than two years. Having graduated, Jordan plans to soon pursue higher education in line with his interests in human cognitive studies. For leisure, he enjoys playing video games or watching anime with friends/family and writing music and literature on his own!

Johnny Peters

Johnny Peters, BS


Johnny is a senior studying Psychology. He is interested in how contrasts within the structure of the brain can lead to impaired functioning and ability. He is currently exploring future career options and hopes to pursue a graduate degree in clinical psychology. During his free time, he likes to socialize with his friends, play with his dog, and cook. 

Pasi Headshot Photo

Pasi Jouhikainen


Pasi is a senior with neuroscience and philosophy majors. He plans to focus on interdisciplinary research in cognitive processes, especially: inferring other people’s beliefs and intentions from their behavior; how perception of visual and auditory scenes changes based on the perceiver’s familiarity with the stimuli; and the neuroscience and philosophy of learning, understanding, and misunderstanding. His hobbies include running, photography, gaming, and tinkering with electronic circuits.

Undergraduate Research Assistants

Picture of Corey

Corey Haselton


I’m an undergraduate studying psychology and philosophy who hopes to pursue a graduate degree in either clinical neuropsychology or cognitive neuroscience. I’m interested in interdisciplinary research on spontaneous cognition and the the neural circuits underlying self-related processing. I'm especially interested in disorders of the self, the role of maladaptive self-referential processing in psychopathology as well as the degradation of self-continuity in neurodegenerative conditions. Alternatively, I'm also interested in the link between mind-wandering, metacognition, and creativity. In my free time, I enjoy cooking, running, writing, and playing the piano.

Ben Borrman

Summer Research Assistants


Photo of Bashar Zaheer

Bashar Zaheer, BA (he/they)


Bashar graduated from Truman State University in 2022 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. While there, Bashar was a lab manager for the Applied Psychophysiology Lab under Dr. Frederic Shaffer, which studied the effects of Heart Rate Variability and possible clinical applications of biofeedback. His research interests include the neuroscience of stress and anxiety, as well as psychopharmacology and psychiatric practice. He is currently considering pursuing either graduate school or psychiatry via a pre-medical post-baccalaureate program. Some of his hobbies include reading, spending time outdoors, and practicing digital illustration. 

Krista Roze

Krista Roze, BS


Krista graduated from Boston College in 2020 with a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience. During her time there, she worked in a cognitive neuroscience laboratory studying the effects of emotion on memory. Her research interests broadly include motivation and reward, especially as they pertain to substance use disorders and other psychiatric disorders. She is currently exploring career options within the field of psychology and hopes to pursue a graduate degree in clinical psychology or cognitive neuroscience. In her free time, she enjoys trying new vegetarian dishes, drawing, taking photos, and meditating. 

Macy Jones

Macy Jones


Upon graduating, Macy accepted a position as a research assistant at the University of South Florida studying the intersection of psychology, violence, and crime. She also began a behavioral health technician position at Singer Island Health, a detox and rehab center in South Florida. She is excited to gain valuable experience from these positions as she applies to clinical psychology graduate programs. She hopes to continue her training and eventually pursue a PhD in clinical psychology.

Shannon Stokes


Shannon Stokes is a sophomore studying neuroscience with a minor in political science. Shannon is interested in studying the biological basis of mental disorders. Her future goals involve getting a PhD in neuroscience and pursuing a career in research. In her free time, she enjoys reading, listening to music, and learning about astrology. 

Brandon Egger

Brandon Egger


Brandon is a Junior studying Computer Science and Engineering with a minor in economics. He is interested in how to leverage compute power to analyze vast amounts of data and make predictions and useful analysis with it. His future plans include pursuing a career in Software engineering and moving to a larger city with an emerging technology and data analysis market.

Tyler Pham

Tyler Pham


Tyler is a senior working on his Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. He is interested in executive functioning and the neural pathways and structures that create executive functioning. His goal is to find, and create programs, where the effort to executive functioning performance is maximized. Such as how much exercise, sleep, and socialization are needed for people to generally perform at a high level for executive functioning. For his future direction he is still deciding on if he will ultimately go to a MD/PHD program, graduate school, or medical school. Some of his hobbies are dancing, photography, lifting, and trying new cuisines. 

Martin Halbur

Martin Halbur (he/him)


Martin is a senior studying Speech and Hearing Science and Psychology. He is interested in how the brain works in kids with Autism and how that may lead to social/communication issues. His future plans involve going to grad school for Speech Pathology and working in a clinical pediatric setting afterwards. During his free time, he likes to run, play soccer, play with his dog, and watch Netflix. 

Angelyn Harms, BS


Angelyn has a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience and Minor in Psychology. She is interested in learning how psychiatric disorders develop and how they impact one’s cognitive functions. Her future plans include going to a graduate school with a focus on cognitive and/or behavioral neuroscience so that she can eventually lead her own research team. In her free time, she likes to play tennis, do puzzles, or bake.

John Piaszynski


John is a Senior studying Computer Science and Statistics. He is interested in using
computer programming to facilitate data management, processing, and analysis in
research environments. In the future, he plans to continue working in the area of
scientific computing, with the goal of eventually creating independent software
packages that address the unique needs of researchers. During his free time, he
enjoys reading, running, and learning about various interesting topics.

Megan Weis

Megan Weis


Megan is a senior getting her Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience. Her interests include understanding cognitive deficits in people with psychiatric disorders and the role of the brain in addiction. Her future plans include grad school and pursuing a career in research. During her free time she likes to play board games, spend time outdoors, and hang out with friends.



Research is a team effort! We value and encourage collaborations within the University of Iowa and with researchers around the world. Here is an incomplete list of past and current collaborators.


Ralph Adolphs - Caltech

Lisa Byrge - UNF

Frederick Ebehardt - Caltech

Bruce Fischl - HMS/MGH

Paola Galdi - University of Edinburg

Satra Ghosh - MIT/HMS

Dan Kennedy - Indiana University

Mimi Kim - Children's Hospital LA, USC

Heini Saarimäki - Tampere University

Rebecca Saxe - MIT

Dan Tranel - UIowa

James Traer - UIowa


*In alphabetical order of last names. This list is incomplete and may not always be accurate. If we missed your name, listed outdated information, or did not ask you before listing, please contact us so we can correct this.