People Details

Principal Investigator Noa Ofen

Noa Ofen

Noa Ofen is an associate professor in the Institute of Gerontology, Merril Pallmer Skillman Institute, and the department of Psychology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. 

She earned her PhD in 2004. In her doctoral thesis at the Weizmann Institute of Science ("Cognitive Skill Learning: How Repetition Determines Acquisition", advisors: Yadin Dudai and Avi Karni), she studied ways to create effective learning by addressing key elements of the practice experience.

For example, she found that spacing the same amount of practice over a few days resulted not only in better learning of the specific task, but also in better general learning of related aspects that were not part of the training.

She earned her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Haifa in 1996.

Her current research focus is investifating the development of memory systems in the brain. In particular, she aims to understand, via cognitive neuroscience, the age-related change in brain function and structure that contributes to improvement in memory ability between childhood to adulthood. Dr. Ofen uses behavioral methods and multiple brain imaging methods, including fMRI and structural imaging.

Dr. Ofen's IOG profile  Dr. Ofen's CV

Lab Manager

David Chen, Ph. D.

David Chen received his Ph.D. in Psychology at the University of Missouri, Columbia and completed his post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Toronto Mississauga in Canada. His research interests are in the cognitive and neuroal mechanisms of working memory capacity and chunking strategies.  

Email: by0300 AT wayne DOT edu



Lab Coordinator

Bryn is a fifth-year senior at Wayne State University. Her major is Biology with a minor in Health Psychology. She plans on attending medical school in 2019 to pursue Pediatric Neurology. Her main focus is how epilepsy/TLE affects memory function in young children.
bryn.thompson AT wayne DOT edu


Post-Doctoral Collaborator

 Lingfei Tang, Ph.D.

Dr. Tang is interested in the cognitive neuroscience of memory and emotion.

Email: tang.lingfei AT wayne DOT edu 





 Kelsey Canada, Ph.D.

Dr. Canada's research focuses on improving our understanding of typical structural development of the brain and how developmental changes in the brain relate to the impressive improvements in cognitive abilities observed during early childhood. She has a focused interest in the development of children's episodic memory and the relation between memory abilities and changes in the hippocampus and other neural substrates. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, M.S. from the University of Maryland, and a B.S. from Grand Valley State University. 




Graduate Students

Qijing Yu

Qijing is a fifth-year Ph.D. student in the Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience program. She received her bachelor's degree in Psychology from Zhejiang Normal University (2012) and spent the following year working in the Institute of Psychology in China. Her interests are in cognitive and brain development in both typically and atypically developing populations, such as people with schizophrenia. Her work mainly involves manual demarcation to characterize the differential developmental trajectories of the hippocampal subfields/subregions and how they relate to memory development.

Email: qijing.yu AT wayne DOT edu


Qin Yin

Qin Yin is a second-year Ph.D. graduate student in the Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience program. She is interested in brain development and how brain development relates to cognitive development. She is now focusing on memory network development.

Email: qin.yin AT wayne DOT edu      




Roya Homayouni 

Roya is a second-year PhD student in the Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience program. She is interested in the development of the brain and cognition. Her primary focus is on the structure of the hippocampus and its relationship with the memory.

Email: rhomayouni AT wayne DOT edu

Christina Lee

Christina is a third-year Ph.D. graduate student in the Clinical Psychology program. She received her bachelor's degree in Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience from University of Michigan (2018), where she worked in a Cognitive Development Lab and an Ecological Neuroscience Lab. Her clinical interest is in pediatric neuropsychology and her research focuses on the neural correlates of episodic memory formation in young children.

Email: christina.lee4 AT wayne DOT edu


 Parisa Vahidi

Parisa is a first-year Ph.D. student in the behavioral and cognitive neuroscience program in the psychology department. She received her M.SC. in clinical psychology from Iran University of Medical Sciences- Tehran Institute of Psychiatry. She is interested in the neural correlates of memory development in the intact and damaged brain.  Her research focuses on memory networks and interactions among brain regions during memory retrieval.

Email: parisa.vahidi AT wayne DOT edu


Da' Jonae is a sophomore undergraduate student at the University of Detroit Mercy. She is majoring in Psychology. After graduation, she plans to attend graduate school for Clinical Psychology, focusing on Neuropsychology. She hopes pursue a career in Child Neuropsychology.

Email: fosterdd2 AT udmercy DOT edu



Undergraduate Assistants

James Wairagu is a Wayne Med-Direct freshman majoring in Neuroscience with a minor in Chemistry. He is interested in the relationship between memory age, and intelligence. His research utilizes fMRI data to study the relationship between brain and behavior changes and memory from childhood to adulthood. After graduation, he will be attending Wayne State School of Medicine in 2024. He hopes to one day treat underserved minority populations as a neurosurgeon, neurologist, or other specialized physician. 

Email: jameswairagu AT wayne DOT edu


Kourtney is a sophomore undergraduate student studying neuroscience in the Honors College at Wayne State University. She is a member of the biomedical research program for undergraduate students called ReBUILD Detroit. After her undergraduate studies, she plans to attend a medical scientist training program, where she can further her studies as well as pursue research opportunities.


Email: hc9215 AT wayne DOT edu


Jennifer Kesler

Jenn is an undergraduate majoring in psychology and minoring in communication studies. Her interests include mental health and developmental psychology.

Email: gg9496 AT wayne DOT edu




Jasmein Minhas

Jasmein is a sophomore undergraduate student in the Honors College studying psychology with a minor in history. She's interested in pursuing a career in mental health care and hopes to continue her graduate studies in medical school, specializing in of psychiatry where she can work on expanding her knowledge of mental health.

Email: jasmeinminhas AT gmail DOT com



Jenny Nguyen

Jenny is a senior undergraduate student in the Honors College at Wayne State University and is pursuing a Psychology (Honors) major and Chemistry minor. She has general interests in the mind in terms of memory and consciousness. Her main overall goal involves the deeper understanding of the human condition specifically for improving daily individual stressors and problem-solving skills, driven by her research interests in the analytical and developmental psychology of personality. After graduation, she aims to obtain her PhD in Clinical Psychology and seeks to achieve her goals and career through the utilization and integration of several approaches in therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral, humanistic, and neuroscience psychology.

Email: er0151 AT wayne DOT edu

 Autumn Underwood

Autumn is a third-year undergraduate student studying Psychology and Public Health. She's affiliated the BUILD research program at Wayne State and has collaborated with other institutions within the program. After she graduates, she plans to pursue graduate school for a degree in Clinical Psychology with a focus in research.


Email: arunderwood AT wayne DOT edu