Tor Wager is the director of the Cognitive and Affective Control Laboratory and Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Colorado, Boulder. His research program focuses on the brain mechanisms underlying expectations and placebo effects, and their influences on brain systems involved in pain, emotion, and motivation. He is actively involved in the emerging field of brain-body medicine, which integrates brain activity with physiological activity in the body to promote understanding of health and disease. Dr. Wager is also actively involved in developing new analysis methods to enhance our ability to understand brain function using human neuroimaging. His resume includes over 100 published articles, and he is currently the principal investigator or co-investigator on 8 funded grants, 4 of which are NIH-sponsored. He also serves on the editorial boards of several scientific journals.
Jessica is a post-doctoral fellow in the Institute of Cognitive Science at the University of Colorado at Boulder. In 2009, she received her Ph.D. at Harvard University in the Department of Psychology where she examined the neural underpinnings of introspective processes including remembering the past, imagining the future, and reflecting on the mental states of one's self and other people. Jessica is continuing this line of work in the Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience lab and is involved in a research project investigating the cognitive and affective processes underlying compassionate behavior. Additionally, she is conducting a related line of research examining how individuals regulate their internal thoughts, as when attention must be directed toward or away from such thoughts.
Stephan joined the the Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab as post a postdoctoral research associate in July 2014. During his doctoral training at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf in Hamburg, Germany, he worked on cognitive modulation and various physiological measures of pain. He is interested in the modulation of our sensory experiences through contexts, expectations and social influences. He uses psychological, physiological, and neurophysiological measures to investigate these processes at different levels.
Pavel Goldstein joined the Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab in the fall of 2016. His research focuses on investigating pain communication using physiological and behavioral tools. In particular, Pavel investigates the role of physiological and behavioral interpersonal synchronization in social situations of pain using EEG, heart rate, respiration, GSR, voice/face expression/ body movements automatic analysis In addition, Pavel conducts a line of web research predicting pain by voice and face expression markers, using machine learning algorithms.
Leonie started her postdoctoral fellowship in the Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab in November 2012. She studied Psychology at the University of Konstanz (Germany) where she became interested in affective neuroscience. For her PhD project at the University of Geneva (Switzerland), she used ERPs and fMRI to investigate how the brain detects interpersonal conflict and monitors action in dyadic social settings. Her current work extends this line of research to social influences on pain, by exploring the brain mechanisms underlying the effects of social interactions and affective context on subjective experience as well as the neurophysiological processing of pain.
Philip Kragel joined the Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab in the fall of 2015. He completed his undergraduate and graduate training at Duke University, where he received a B.S.E. in Biomedical Engineering, a Masters in Engineering, and a Ph.D. in Psychology and Neuroscience. His research uses neuroimaging and psychophysiological methods to examine the neural basis of affective and emotional processes. In particular, his work combines approaches from machine learning and cognitive neuroscience to quantify how emotions are represented in nervous system activity. His current research expands this line of inquiry to explore the relationships between neural representations of pain, cognition, and emotion.
Dan joined the Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab in 2015. He is interested in emotions, their function, and their representations. He received doctoral training at the University of Toronto, where he studied emotional expressions: how their forms evolved for sensory function then co-opted for social communicative function. He is currently examining neural representations of affect and pain, and how they are attributed in learning and social contexts.
Yoni is a doctoral student interested in the brain and emotion. He studies placebo effects, contemplative interventions, pain and depression using fMRI, mobile technology, and machine learning techniques. He has a B.S. in Computer Science.
Bogdan joined the group in 2016 and is interested in systems and computational neuroscience and applied math. Prior to joining Bogdan worked with Prof Vania Apkarian at Northwestern University where his work focused on predictive diagnostics for chronic pain and pain psychophysics.
Marianne Reddan joined the CANLab as a graduate student in Fall 2013. As an undergraduate she studied 'fear' in the laboratory of Elizabeth Phelps at NYU, and later continued that line of research as a lab manager for Daniela Schiller at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Marianne uses machine learning to 'decode' how the brain represents emotion. She is interested specifically in empathic processing and prosocial behavior, cognitive control of negative emotions, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, and the protective effects of social support.
Lanlan Zhang is a visiting student from Shanghai University of Sport. Her research interest is sport psychology. She is conducting a research in CAN lab about the effect of in-group membership on empathy, and works as a part-time research assistant at the same time.
Daniel Kusko joined the CAN lab in 2014 as an undergraduate research assistant studying how conditioning and expectations modulate pain perception which developed into a senior honors thesis to graduate with a BA in Neuroscience, magnum cum laude. He is now the active lab manger to assist the administrative ongoings of the lab as well as pursuring new research investigating the effects of oxytocin on pain, emotion, and social perception.
Daniel Ott is a recent graduate of the University of Cambridge with an MPhil in the History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine, where he focused on philosophy of mind, pain, and scientific progress. Prior to this he read for an MSc in Medical Anthropology at the University of Oxford, where he studied the clinical encounter in Parkinson's disease patients. Additionally, he has worked at Massachusetts General Hospital/Martinos Center on neuroimaging experiments examining the placebo effect and chronic pain. He graduated with a BS in Neuroscience and a BA in Philosophy from Regis University in 2013.
Dan Weflen is the groups programmer, data manager and systems administrator. He cleans up the analysis code, adds new features, and ensures that the lab's data is well-organized. He has a background as a physicist, and spent 9 years writing simulations of quantum systems.
Marina Lopez-Sola has been a post-doctoral research fellow at the Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab since January 2012. She completed her PhD in Neuroscience in the Hospital Universitario del Mar-University of Barcelona, Faculty of Medicine, where she investigated the neural substrates of pain processing dynamics in major depression and chronic pain. Her extensive clinical neuroscience/neuroimaging training involved the areas of imaging methods (fMRI), and the study of the neural basis of chronic pain, disorders of affect (major depression) and anxiety (OCD, social phobia and simple phobias), psychopathy and disorders of motivation and action, including addiction and Parkinson's Disease. Her research focuses on understanding and isolating the brain mechanisms and psychological processes that underlie human suffering at the interface between emotional distress and chronic pain. Her main research questions are: how does the brain give rise to experiences of suffering at the neural systems level? And, how can we ultimately recover the fine equilibrium associated with healthy subjective emotional experience in its various forms? Her interest in understanding the brain pathophysiology of disorders involving emotional suffering and chronic pain is motivated by the observation that the same symptom (e.g., anxiety) reported in different contexts or by different individuals may emerge as the result of different neural etiologies. A multilevel effort to establish parallels between pathological brain processes on the one hand, and psychopathological profiles across people and clinical entities on the other, may greatly advance the understanding of mental health and the paths to human suffering and recovery.
Julie was a graduate student with the CAN Lab at Columbia. She is now an Associate Faculty Member at Columbia.
Wani is a graduate student in the CAN Lab at CU Boulder since Fall 2011. His undergrad major was biological sciences, and he got his master's degree in clinical psychology at Seoul National University in South Korea. After three-year clinical training in the Psychiatry Department at Seoul National University Hospital, he became eager to do more research on cognitive and affective neuroscience. He has broad interests in the mind-body relationship as well as emotion-cognition interactions. Also he has a great interest in bridging basic and clinical science (i.e., translational research).