Staci Gruber – Director

Dr. Staci Gruber is the Director of the Cognitive and Clinical Neuroimaging Core at McLean Hospital’s Brain Imaging Center and an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Gruber’s clinical and research focus is the application of neurocognitive models and multimodal brain imaging to better characterize neurobiological risk factors for substance abuse and psychopathology, particularly disruptions of the frontal network. In recent work, her lab has examined the etiologic bases of neural models of dysfunction in patients with bipolar disorder as well as marijuana-using adolescents and adults, the results of which have been published in numerous peer reviewed journals and been the basis of national and international symposia, documentaries and press conferences. Dr. Gruber has also been involved in the application of behavioral science to help shape policies regarding juvenile advocacy and defense; her lab’s work in adolescent development was part of the Amicus brief leading to the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Roper v. Simmons, which states that it is unconstitutional to execute minors. Her ongoing initiative to educate policymakers, judges, attorneys and the general public in the differences between adults and adolescents and the impact of marijuana on the brain has already had both local and national impact on policy formation.  She also directs the newly launched MIND (Marijuana Investigations for Neuroscientific Discovery) Program, designed to clarify the effects of medical marijuana on brain structure, function, and quality of life.   Follow Dr. Gruber on Twitter: @drstacigruber


Kelly Sagar – Research Project Manager

Kelly has been a member of the Cognitive and Clinical Neuroimaging Core (CCNC) at the Brain Imaging Center since 2009, after graduating from Boston College, magna cum laude and a member of Phi Beta Kappa. As Research Project Manager in the CCNC, she has gained experience in the field of neuroimaging, assisting with studies that utilize various techniques including functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). She has played an integral role in the lab, co-authoring several papers on age of onset marijuana use as well as bipolar disorder. Kelly is especially interested in the administration of neuropsychological assessments, which also led her to pursue and complete an advanced degree in School Psychology from Northeastern University in 2015.


Mary Kathryn (Kate) Dahlgren – Sr. Clinical Research Assistant

Kate began working for the McLean Hospital Brain Imaging Center in 2006, after graduating from Smith College with a double major in Psychology and Neuroscience.  She is the senior clinical research coordinator for the Cognitive and Clinical Neuroimaging Core (CCNC) where she has developed skills in administering clinical scales, creating and implementing neurocognitive paradigms for use during MR imaging and in the advanced application of MR imaging techniques to various subject populations.  Kate is currently enrolled at Tufts University, where she has completed a Master of Science en route to pursuing a doctoral degree in experimental clinical psychology.  She is particularly interested in researching vulnerability factors for developing psychological disorders, like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as well as identifying predictors of treatment response and relapse.  During her tenure with the CCNC, she has used advanced statistical analyses including regression modeling to assess the impact of marijuana use in both healthy control and clinical populations.



Final-Rosie-Final-2Rosie Smith – Research Project Manager

Rosie graduated Magna Cum Laude from Tufts University in 2010 with a B.S. in Biopsychology. Prior to joining the Cognitive and Clinical Neuroimaging Core (CCNC), she worked in several clinical and pre-clinical research labs, exploring interests in oncology, vision, and neuroscience research; while working with animal models of drug use and cognition, she developed an interest in the neurobiological associations between these behaviors and processes. Since joining the CCNC in 2014, she has gained experience with neuroimaging, clinical scale administration, and neuropsychological evaluation. In addition, Rosie manages the preparation and submission of IRB documents, maintains the group’s regulatory binders, and assists with the development of novel research studies in the CCNC.




Ashley Lambros – Clinical Research Assistant II

After receiving her B.S. in Neuroscience from the University of Vermont in May of 2015, Ashley joined the Cognitive and Clinical Neuroimaging Core (CCNC) the following June. During her time as an undergraduate she worked as a research assistant for two and a half years in the Clinical Neuroscience Research Unit at the UVM College of Medicine. She explored topics such as how variations in treatment methodology for breast cancer affect cognition and how hormone exposure throughout a woman’s lifetime affects cognition after menopause. Her main interests include how the neuroanatomy and physiology of the brain interacts with the body in response to disease states, psychological disorders, and pharmacological interventions. She intends to receive more extensive training in clinical scale administration, neuroimaging, and neuropsychological assessments during her time at the CCNC. In the future she plans to enroll in a PA program or pursue a Ph.D. in neuroscience.




Madeline Kuppe – Clinical  Research Assistant

Maddie first joined the CCNC as an academic student in January 2017, during her final semester at Tufts University. After graduating summa cum laude with a Bachelor’s of Science in Biopsychology, Maddie assumed full-time work as a Clinical Research Assistant, learning to administer neuropsychological assessments and clinical rating scales, as well as familiarizing herself with MR Imaging paradigms.

During her undergraduate career at Tufts, Maddie researched exclusively in a pre-clinical setting, exploring the pharmacological background of addiction behavior in rodents. She completed an independent project with the Miczek Psychopharmacology Lab, and also worked as a student in the Ron Neurology Lab at UCSF. Since making the transition to human studies research, Maddie is confident that she will continue in this field. She hopes to ultimately pursue graduate school, aiming to continue work in the realm of examining cognitive, neurochemical and neuroanatomical differences between various populations.


Dr. Atilla Gonenc – Assistant Physicist

Dr. Gonenc is a faculty member at Harvard Medical School and a multimodal neuroimaging physicist at McLean Imaging Center in the Cognitive and Clinical Neuroimaging Core. His area of research has centered around the utility of neuroimaging techniques and innovative data analytical strategies to enhance our understanding of the underlying biology of mental disorders in a wide range of patient populations (child, adult, geriatric). He is the recipient of the 2010 NARSAD Young Investigator Award, 2011 Rappaport Mental Health Research Scholar Award, 2013 ICGP International Junior Investigator Award and 2015 NIMH SRI in Geriatric Psychiatry Fellowship Award.



Bob Baden – Administrative Manager

Bob has worked in health care for almost twenty years, the last twelve of which have been at McLean Hospital. His broad range of experiences has provided him with the firm foundation of organizational structure required to work in a fast paced, ever changing environment. Since joining the Cognitive and Clinical Neuroimaging Core (CCNC) Bob’s understanding of research has grown. He is thrilled to be working with the Cognitive and Clinical Neuroimaging Core team.




Former Personnel

Dr. Sinem Burcu Erdogan – Research Fellow

Dr. Erdoğan received her Ph.D in biomedical engineering from Boğaziçi University, Istanbul, Turkey. During her graduate school training, she worked in the design and optimization of a custom-made functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) instrument for monitoring brain hemodynamics, and developed data processing tools for multimodal fNIRS-fMRI data analysis.  Currently, she works as a postdoctoral research fellow in the Cognitive and Clinical Neuroimaging Core under the supervision of Dr. Staci Gruber. She has a deep interest in combining multimodal neuroimaging data analysis methods to understand the distinct features of oscillatory brain dynamics in healthy individuals and in persons with neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders. Dr. Erdogan received a research scholar award from the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey in 2014.




Final-Megan-Final-2Megan Racine – Research Project Manager

Megan has worked at the McLean Imaging Center in the Cognitive and Clinical Neuroimaging Core at McLean since 2007. She is currently a Research Project Manager. In this role she has developed skills in conducting clinical interviews for screening, administering clinical scales and neuropsychological assessments, and training new research assistants on lab protocols, tasks, and assessments. Additionally, she assists in research studies that utilize neuroimaging techniques. She is currently interested in the assessment and clinical interactions with participants from various populations. For two years, Megan shared her time working at McLean’s Southeast Campus in Brockton on the Acute Adult Inpatient Unit. In 2012, Megan completed her Masters of Education at Bridgewater State University, specializing in mental health and school adjustment counseling. She is currently advancing her degree and is enrolled as a graduate student at the University of Massachusetts Boston as an Ed.S. student in their school psychology program.



Final-Kory-Final-2Kory Cabrera – Clinical  Research Assistant

Kory began working at the Cognitive and Clinical Neuroimaging Core (CCNC) in February 2015, after graduating from Northeastern University in December 2014 with a degree in Psychology. During her undergraduate career, Kory completed two cooperative education programs in research and the non-profit sector. She also completed a summer internship with the Memory Disorders Research Center at the Boston VA Healthcare Center. She is currently a clinical research assistant in the CCNC and has gained experience with administering clinical rating scales, neuropsychological assessments and fMRI paradigms to subjects enrolled in the lab’s various studies. In the future, Kory plans to pursue a doctorate degree in clinical psychology or medical school.




Georga Morgan-Fleming – Lab Assistant

Georga is currently an undergraduate student at Bates College where she intends to major in Psychology. In addition to her work with the Cognitive and Clinical Neuroimaging Core (CCNC), Georga works with a team of graduate students at Harvard University  developing scoring templates and coding data. Working at the CCNC, Georga has learned about the collection and organization of data, the administration and scoring of neuropsychological and clinical scales, and has expanded her understanding how research is conducted.




Samantha Lukas – Lab Assistant

Sammy is a current undergraduate student at Furman University. She will be declaring a major in Biology her sophomore year. Prior to working as a lab assistant for the Cognitive and Clinical Neuroimaging Core (CCNC), she worked as a summer student volunteer in 2014. Since coming to the CCNC, she has gained experience with organization of data, scoring neuropsychological evaluations and general assistance in a research setting.