Director, Laboratory of Early Experience and Development (LEED)
Developmental, Cognitive, & Behavioral Neuroscience
Ph.D., University of Delaware
Dr. Johanna Bick is an Assistant Professor in the Psychology Department at the University of Houston. She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Delaware in 2011. She then completed research fellowships at the Yale Child Study Center and the Laboratories of Cognitive Neuroscience at Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School, prior to coming to UH in the fall of 2016.
Rebecca Lipschutz, Ph.D.
Graduate Student, on Internship
Rebecca Lipschutz is currently a fifth-year doctoral student in the clinical psychology program at the University of Houston. She graduated from Tulane University with her B.S in Neuroscience in 2014 and obtained an M.S in Neuroscience from Tulane in 2015. After graduating, Rebecca worked as a research coordinator for two labs at Tulane in the departments of Psychology and Psychiatry, focusing on physiological stress reactivity and development of psychopathology in trauma-exposed young children. Her main research interests focus on how early adverse experiences impact children’s neural development and stress response systems and potential risk and protective factors for maladaptive outcomes.
Graduate Student, on Internship
Brian Biekman is currently a fifth-year doctoral student in the clinical psychology doctoral program, specializing in clinical neuropsychology. Brian earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Rice University in 2014. After graduating, Brian worked for three years as a Research Coordinator in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Baylor College of Medicine in a lab that studies neuroimaging correlates of adverse outcomes following traumatic brain injury. His primary research interests are in neuroimaging and how it might help explain the relationship between early life experience and cognitive and psychosocial outcomes.
Livia Merrill is a third-year doctoral student in the Developmental, Cognitive, and Behavioral Neuroscience program at the University of Houston. She graduated from Tulane University in 2012 with B.S. in Neuroscience and in 2014 with M.S. in Neuroscience. After graduation, Livia examined the interaction of early experience with behavioral, neurodevelopmental, and cellular outcomes in children in New Orleans. She then lived several years in Austin administering pediatric neuropsychological assessments. Prior to program admission, Livia also investigated neuroimaging and neurocognitive outcomes of treatment for pediatric brain tumors. Her main research interests explore how adversity affects multiple levels of childhood development and the relationship of factors on resiliency. Livia is a certified yoga instructor and loves hiking!
Xinge Li is a fourth-year doctoral student in the clinical psychology program at the University of Houston. Xinge graduated from Northeast Normal University with her B.S in Psychology in 2012 and obtained an M.S in Applied Psychology from South China Normal University in 2015. After graduating, Xinge worked as a research fellow for three years at Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston University in the department of Biomedical Engineering, focusing on studying various brain functions by using optical neuroimaging techniques. Her primary research interest is pediatric neuroimaging, including using multimodality neuroimaging methods (fNIRS, fMRI and EEG) to predict potential protective and risk factors regarding normal and aberrant early neurodevelopment.
Shutian is currently a third-year graduate student at the Developmental, Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience program at the Department of Psychology of the University of Houston. She graduated from University of Pittsburgh in 2018 with B.S. in Psychology. Her main research interests focus on how early life adversity (poverty, low SES, stressful life events) interact with parenting to impact behavioral outcomes and structural/functional brain development. While attempting to answer these questions, she is interested in integrating various methods in data collection, statistical modelling, and brain imaging (MRI, EEG, fNIRS).
Kelly is a graduate student in the Clinical Psychology program, on the Child and Family track. Her research focuses on understanding how experiences of stress impact brain development during sensitive developmental periods. She is particularly interested in identifying neuroendocrine and cognitive processes that confer risk for psychopathology. Before coming to UH, she received her masters' degree in clinical research methodology from Fordham University and bachelor's degree from Clemson University.
Haley is a first-year doctoral student in the Developmental, Cognitive, and Behavioral Neuroscience program at the University of Houston. She graduated from University of Iowa in 2020 with a bachelors degree in Psychology and a certificate in writing. After graduation, she worked as a lab manager in a developmental neurocognition lab at the University of Iowa for two years. During those two years, she also served as the University of Iowa's fNIRS technician. Her research interests include investigating the sources of individual variability of outcomes in children who experience stress and adversity. In her free time, she enjoys concerts, reading, and exploring the Houston area.
Parsa is a first year PhD student in the Developmental, Cognitive, and Behavioral Neuroscience program. Broadly, Parsa is motivated by her desire to help children who have experienced adversity thrive. To do so, she graduated with a B.A. in Psychology, with cum laude honors, from Barnard College of Columbia University in 2019. After graduation and prior to starting her PhD, Parsa served as a post-baccalaureate research assistant in two labs at the University of Minnesota's Psychiatry Department. In her most recent position, Parsa was awarded a research scholarship through the Minnesota Inclusive Neuroscience Development Scholars (MINDS) program to study functional brain connectivity during socio-emotional processing tasks in adolescents exposed to abuse. Now, Parsa is pursuing projects related to how early environmental stressors such as poverty affect neuro and psychobiological development. In doing so, she also intends to uncover factors contributing to positive adaptions in these populations. Outside of research, Parsa enjoys lifting weights, hanging out with her loved ones, and spending time outdoors.
Andrea Ortiz Jimenez is a post-bacc in the lab with a B.S. in Psychology and minor in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Houston in 2021. She joined the LEED Lab team in July 2021 as a research assistant, with research interests towards the biological predictors of psychopathology in children following traumatic events. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Child Psychology.
Research Tech II
Anna Galvan is a research assistant in the lab with a B.S in Psychology and a minor in Biology. She graduated from University of Houston in December 2021. She joined the LEED Lab team in February 2022, with research interests in child’s brain development and how their environments may influence development.
Undergraduate Research Assistants
Current UH research assistants
- Megan Chan
- Mikayla Gilliam
- Maya Flores
- Aila Khan
Former UH Research
- Deja Hatcher
- Juan Pablo Guardia
- Mariana Ramos- Celedon
- Ashley Acuna
- Laura Delgado
- Miranda Dominguez
- Marie Douge
- Natalie Hosseini
- Maya Ibrahim
- Maiah Jackson
- Kate Koontz
- Hana Mohamad
- Nesreen Mattar
- Ainash Montgomery
- Oluwashina Ojo
- Emmanuel Oketunmbi
- Camila Quintero
- Catherine Ramos