Principal Investigator 

Theresa M. Desrochers, Ph.D.
Position: Rosenberg Family Assistant Professor of Brain Science,
Departments of Neuroscience; Psychiatry and Human Behavior (courtesy),
and Carney Institute for Brain Science
X (Twitter):

Post-Doctoral Fellows 

Katherine Conen, Ph.D.

Overview:I am interested in understanding how neural circuits represent the structure of behavior across time. Using approaches from systems neuroscience, I study how neurons in prefrontal areas encode information about sequence progression, focusing in particular on transition points in the task structure. Ultimately, this work will provide insight into the hierarchical and sequential relationships the primate brain uses to link percepts and behaviors into complex actions and predictive models.

Nadira Yusif Rodriguez

Overview: I am interested in identifying how and which brain areas support abstract sequence processing, focusing mainly on the role of the PFC during these sequential processes. Through the use of fMRI, statistical and instrumental behavioral tasks, I aim to determine the neural mechanisms involved, to understand these necessary abstract sequences that we use in day to day life. 

Lab Manager 

Matthew Maestri

Overview: Prior to managing the Desrochers Lab, Matthew was a Research Assistant in a neuroscience lab at Augusta State University, formerly the Medical College of Georgia.

Graduate Students 

Hannah Doyle
Position: Neuroscience Graduate Student

Overview: I am broadly interested in using primate and human fMRI to study cognitive control mechanisms that dictate our day to day lives. In particular I aim to better understand brain areas involved in sequential processing and how these neural mechanisms might go awry in people with obsessive-compulsive and related disorders.

Undergraduate Students 

Rolake Feyisetan ’24
Position: Undergraduate Research Assistant

Overview: I am a neuroscience concentrator broadly interested in learning about how developmental and/or adverse events affect the brain and behavior. I look forward to using human fMRI to study how the brain processes sequential tasks in people with obsessive compulsive disorders. 

Claire Kim ’24
Position: Undergraduate Research Assistant

Overview: I am a neuroscience concentrator with research interests in the processing of abstract visual sequences and associations with cognitive processes. In the lab, I look forward to conducting analyses of electrophysiological data from task sequences in primates.

Samantha Buyungo ’24
Position: Undergraduate Research Assistant

Overview: I am a neuroscience concentrator largely interested in learning more about abstract cognitive processes and how disruptions in these processes impact the brain and behavior. As part of the lab, I am looking forward to using human fMRI as a means to further explore how different parts of the brain work in tandem to influence higher-order task sequence processing.

Monica Ocitti ’24
Position: Undergraduate Research Assistant

Overview: I am a neuroscience concentrator interested in how the brain encodes changes/disruptions in sequential tasks and how that affects learning and memory during similar subsequent tasks. In the lab, I look forward to analyzing and interpreting the neuronal recordings from primates and exploring any potential signal patterns.

Evan Braho ’26
Position: Undergraduate Research Assistant

Overview: I’m a Class of ’26 Neuroscience concentrator interested in researching how human behavior can be explained by brain activity and development. I’m especially excited to analyze electrophysiological data to determine if abstract sequence processing may play a role.

Research Technician 

Nami Kaneko

Overview: I am broadly interested in investigating the evolutionary origins of cognition. Eventually I hope to analyze the differences between the human and primate neural mechanisms involved in various abstract cognitive processes. Previously I worked in the field as a research assistant in the Cognitive Evolution Group at the University of Michigan.

Lab Alumni


  • Debaleena Basu, Ph.D.
  • Theresa McKim, Ph.D.

Undergraduate Students

  • Kathryn Graves, ScB 2015, Honors Thesis: Differential reaction times in familiar and novel sequences: a pilot study 
  • Sarah Master, ScB 2017, Honors Thesis: The influence of anxiety on sequential processing
  • Juliana Trach, ScB 2018, Honors Thesis: Practice and embedded motor sequences facilitate the learning and execution of abstract task sequences
  • Victoria Flagg, ScB 2018
  • Meghan Hershkowitz, ScB 2019 (in Biology)
  • Keran Yang, BA 2019 (Wheaton College, MA), Honors Thesis: Investigation of kinesin-2 and osm-3 during ciliogenesis in sea urchin embryos
  • Eojin Choi, ScB 2019, Honors Thesis: Full Circle: Parallels Between the Beginning and End of Life in Health Care (Science, Technology, and Society) 
  • Gabriela Batista 2020
  • Vivian Lu, ScB 2020, Honors Thesis: Exploring the role of sleep in sequence processing
  • Kristina Lowndes, ScB 2020, Honors Thesis: The role of working memory in tracking sequences of variable length
  • Jay Vankawala, ScB 2021, Honors Thesis: Evidence of sensory recruitment and local ramping in a feature-based visual working memory task
  • Christine Schremp, ScB 2022, Honors Thesis: Identification of depression subtypes through clustering of EEG microstates and disease symptomatology
  • Matthew Salomon, ScB 2022
  • Michael Lahiff, ScB 2022
  • Janet Chang, ScB 2022, Honors Thesis: An online behavioral research paradigm using Amazon Mechanical Turk, JSPsych & PsiTurk: A pilot study assessing hierarchical abstract sequential processing
  • Kyoko Leaman, ScB 2023. Honors Thesis: The Effect of Prior Experience on Abstract Sequential Processing
  • Lewis Nunez, ScB 2024 (Hunter College). Honors Thesis: Neural activity patterns underlying abstract sequence viewing in humans