Lab Members


Maital Neta

Phone: (402) 472-3646

Dr. Neta is the director of the Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab. She received her Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuroscience from Dartmouth College in 2010, and competed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Neurology at Washington University.

Dr. Neta is now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology and is a faculty member in the Center for Brain, Biology, and Behavior (CB3). Her research capitalizes on a number of methods from psychology and neuroscience to examine ambiguity resolution in the domain of emotional facial expressions. Specifically, although some expressions provide clear predictive information that something good (e.g., happy) or bad (e.g., angry) will happen, other expressions, like surprise, have predicted both positive (e.g., birthday party) and negative (e.g., car accident) events for us in the past. When presented in the absence of contextual information, these ambiguously valenced expressions can be used to delineate a valence bias: ambiguous stimuli are stably interpreted negatively by some people and positively by others. The working hypothesis in the lab is that positivity requires regulation.

Her work is funded in part by an R01 from the National Institute of Mental Health and an NSF CAREER Award. She has received multiple academic achievement awards, including the Harold and Esther Edgerton Junior Faculty Award, and serves as Consulting Editor for Emotion and Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience.

For more information, see

Post-doctoral Researcher

Nathan M. Petro


Nathan joined the lab in February of 2018.  He recieved his PhD from the University of Florida where he conducted research in the Center for the Study of Emotion and Attention, under the mentorship of Dr. Andreas Keil.  His PhD research used simultaneous EEG/fMRI to characterize the brain networks involved in modulating visual cortical activity to select motivationally relevant visual content.  More broadly, his research interests are focused on the role of the visual cortex in motivating behavior. (CV)

Graduate Students

Catie Brown

Catie BrownEmail:

Catie is a third year doctoral student in the Department of Psychology's Neuroscience & Behavior program.  She graduated from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville in December 2014 with a BA in Psychology.  As an undergraduate, Catie researched gender differences in self-reported mixed emotion as a part of Dr. Jeff Larsen's lab.  She is interested in the relationship between self-report measures, psychophysiological data, and neurological activity pertaining to affect and regulation.

Nick Harp


Nick is a first year doctoral student student in the Department of Psychology’s Social-Cognitive program. He graduated from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in December 2016 with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Neuroscience. As an undergraduate, Nick worked in Dr. Jeff Larsen’s lab studying mixed emotions through implicit measures and facial expression. During the time between his undergraduate and graduate programs, he worked at the University of Tennessee Medical Center studying the mechanisms of anesthesia and sleep in animal models as a part of Dr. Ralph Lydic and Dr. Helen Baghdoyan’s research team. His primary research interests involve emotion regulation and how neuroimaging tools may be used to investigate the neural basis of emotions.

Lab Manager / Research Assistant

Ruby Basyouni


Ruby joined the lab in May of 2018. She graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles in September of 2017 with a B.A. in Psychology. As an undergraduate student, Ruby worked in Dr. Carolyn Parkinson's lab, and her research examined domain-general mechanisms of social cognition. Ruby is interested in the effect of neural mechanisms that are shared across social and non-social domains on biasing social cognition and behavior. Her CV is available upon request.

Lab Alumni

Daniel Henley - Former lab manager, currently a Ph.D. student at Michigan State University. 

Tien Tong - Former lab manager, currently a Ph.D. student at the University of Iowa.

Lab Photos!

Summer 2018

Lab members, friends, and family welcome lab manager Ruby Basyouni (3rd from left) and bid farewell to fomer lab manager Dan Henley (far right).  

Fall 2017 semester

Back row from left: Nathan Pettid (undergraduate), Autumn Dern (undergraduate), Tien Tong (Lab Manager: CAN Lab), Jake Derby (undergraduate)

Middle row from left: Maggie Rempe (undergraduate), Tina Javidi (undergraduate), Kaitlyn Winter (undergraduate), Nick Harp (graduate student), KayLee Flower (undergraduate)

Front row from left: Krupa Patel (undergraduate), Maital Neta (PI: Director of CAN Lab), Sara Cipolla (undergraduate), Catie Brown (graduate student), Saisha Adhikari (undergraduate)

Our kick-off party at Maital's house (Fall 2017)

Our end-of-the-year lab meeting (Spring 2015)

Back row from left: Alex Enersen (undergraduate), Ryan Kirkpatrick (undergraduate), Alex Wasserman (graduate student in Adolescent Development Lab), Elaina Montague (graduate student in Serious Mental Illness Research Group), Maital Neta (PI: Director of CAN Lab)
Front row from left: Michaela Frenzel (undergraduate), Aaron Hoagland (undergraduate), Tien Tong (Lab Manager: CAN Lab), Carley Beinlich (undergraduate)