Director

Maital Neta

E-mail: maitalneta@unl.edu
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 completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Neurology at Washington University.

Dr. Neta is now the Happold Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology and Associate Director of 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 http://psychology.unl.edu/maital-neta).
(CV)

Post-doctoral Researchers

Nathan M. Petro

Email: npetro@unl.edu

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)

Jordan E. Pierce

Email: jpierce14@unl.edu

Jordan joined the lab in November 2020. She received her PhD from the University of Georgia in 2016 and was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Geneva, Switzerland from 2016-2020. Her research has utilized eye tracking and neuroimaging to study visual attention and emotion in clinical and healthy populations and to investigate mechanisms of neurocognitive plasticity. Her current work in the lab focuses on emotion valence bias in face processing and regulating emotional responses in healthy individuals across the lifespan using fMRI. (CV)

Graduate Students

Nick Harp

Email: nharp@huskers.unl.edu  

Nick is a second 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.
(CV)

 

Johannah Bashford

Email: jorae@huskers.unl.edu  

Johannah is a doctoral student in the Department of Psychology’s Neuroscience & Behavior program. She graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a BA in Psychology and a minor in music in 2013. She then earned her Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling in 2018 at Springfield College in Massachusetts. Upon returning to Nebraska, she worked under Dr. James Blair and Dr. Karina Blair at the Center for Neurobehavioral Research located at Boys Town National Research Hospital. Her research uses fMRI to study disruptions in the brain and how they associate with various mental health disorders.
(CV)

 

Jayson Schalk

Email: jschalk3@huskers.unl.edu  

Jay is a first-year graduate student in the Psychology Department’s Neuroscience and Behavior program. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee with a B.S. in Psychology. As an undergraduate, Jay worked in Dr. Karyn Frick’s Neuroendocrinology of Memory Lab, where he investigated the effects of sex-steroid hormones on memory in a mouse model of menopause. Between his undergraduate and graduate programs, Jay worked as a lab manager in Dr. Frick’s lab where he piloted and performed behavioral tests for studying the effects of hormones on anxiety-like and depression-like behaviors in mice. Broadly, his research interests are centered around the relationship between emotion regulation and affective disorders. His CV is available upon request.

 

Allison Dunne

Email: adunne3@huskers.unl.edu  

Allison (Alli) is a doctoral student in the Department of Psychology’s Neuroscience & Behavior program. She graduated from Viterbo University with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Neuroscience in 2020. As an undergraduate, Alli worked under Dr. Michael Parker studying motivation and more specifically the motivational antecedents of perfectionism. Broadly, her research interests center around motivated social cognition, emotion regulation, and valence bias.
(CV)

 



Lab Managers

Kayla Clark

Email: kclark21@unl.edu

Kayla joined the lab in June of 2019. She graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in May of 2019 with a B.S. in Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience. During her time as an undergraduate, she worked in Dr. Patricia Reuter-Lorenz’s lab researching the effects of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) on working memory and value directed memory. Kayla is interested in the relationship between memory, cognition, and emotion processing. Her CV is available upon request.



Lauren Chan

Email: lchan3@unl.edu

Lauren joined the lab in June of 2020. She graduated from Fordham University Rose Hill in May of 2020 with a B.S. in Cognitive Neuroscience. As an undergraduate, she worked in Dr. Elissa M. Aminoff's Cognitive Neuroscience Lab of Vision and Memory, and examined how affective micro-valences may be represented in ventral stream visual processing regions in her independent research. Lauren is interested in further exploring the intersection of affect and visual processing, especially for emotionally neutral scenes/content. Her CV is available upon request.



Undergraduate Research Assistants

Abbey Schneff

Abbey is a senior undergraduate student currently pursuing her B.A. in Psychology and minors in History, Criminology and Criminal Justice. She is interested in neurolaw and is looking into applying to concurrent J.D. PhD! Her specific interest is in emotionality and the abnormalities in perception and expression of them.

Claudia Clinchard

Claudia is a senior undergraduate currently pursuing her B.A. in Psychology. She is interested in studying how environmental factors throughout development can influence the chance of adverse outcomes later on in life. She is planning on pursuing a PhD in psychology after finishing her bachelor's program..

Grace Briley

Grace is a third-year undergraduate student working towards her B.A. in Psychology. She aspires to attend graduate school to further her education in the field of Neuroscience. Her interests include neuroimaging using fMRI and MRI, clinical neuroscience, and differing techniques in cognitive behavioral therapy.

Morgan Graham

Morgan is a third-year undergraduate student pursuing a B.A. in Psychology with minors in Business Administration and Criminal Justice. She is interested in the neuroscience behind criminal behavior and plans to attend graduate school following the completion of her bachelor’s program.

Leah Szantho

Leah is a fourth year undergraduate student studying psychology.  She is pursuing a career as a physician’s assistant and hopes to attend PA school after undergrad.  She is interested in pursuing research and gaining more experience in her field.


Makenzie Maroney
Makenzie is a third-year undergraduate student currently pursuing her B.S. in Biological Sciences, B.A. in Psychology, and a minor in Humanities in Medicine. She is interested in the biological aspects of psychological disorders and more specifically in how behavior is influenced by physiological and developmental mechanisms. Makenzie is hoping to attend medical school and work in the behavioral health field.
Sophie Halsted

Sophie is a first-year undergraduate student perusing her B.S. in Biochemistry and Microbiology as well as minor in Chemistry. She is interested in studying molecular neuroscience. She is planning on pursuing her M.D. after her bachelor’s program and work towards a career as a physician. 

Liza Endecott

Liza is a fourth-year undergraduate student pursuing her B.A. in Psychology. She is interested in cognitive neuroscience, specifically the role of addiction on autobiographical memory and emotion. She is planning to pursue a PhD in Europe after finishing her bachelor's program. 

Lab Alumni

Catie Brown - Former graduate student, currently a UX Researcher at Buildertrend in Omaha.

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.

Ruby Basyouni - Former lab manager, currently a Ph.D. student at University of California, Los Angeles.

Maggie Rempe - Former research assistant, currently a MD-Ph.D. Scholar in the College of Medicine at the University of Nebraska Medicine.

Nathan Pettid - Former research assistant, currently a Ph.D. student at Colorado State University.

Jada Loro - Former research assistant, currently a M.P.H. student at Washington University.

Ava Landis - Former research assistant.

Lauren Unruh - Former research assistant, currently working full-time as a behavioral health technician.

In loving memory of former mentor, Dave Bucci (1968-2019)

Lab Photos!

Spring 2019

The lab celebrates Maital's tenure!

Fall 2018

Back row from left: Nathan Petro, Joshua Jolton, Nick Harp
Middle row from left: Catie Brown, Ruby Basyouni, Claudia Clinchard, Nathan Pettid 
Front row from left: Maital Neta, Bethany Mahan

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)