Lab Alumni

Marika Coffman

Ph.D. Clinical Psychology - 2019

Email: | Curriculum Vitae

UPDATE: Marika is a postdoctoral research fellow at Cincinatti Children's hospital

Marika received her Ph.D. in clinical science at Virginia Tech in 2019. Prior to that she received her B.S. in Psychology and Child Studies at Vanderbilt University. She was a Sara S. Sparrow Fellow in Clinical Neuroscience at the Yale Child Study Center, where she employed EEG to study social information processing in adolescents with autism and the development of social perception in infants at high-risk for developing autism. Marika's research interests lie primarily in the social deficits associated with autism. In particular, she is interested in utilizing neuroimaging techniques to improve the diagnostic specificity of autism versus other psychological disorders presenting with social difficulties. Her long-term goal is to develop interventions for social deficits in autism informed by neural mechanisms. Her dissertation work is focused on elucidating the neural mechanism of learning fear in adolescents with social anxiety and autism. This work is graciously funded by the Elizabeth Munsterburg Koppitz Fellowship through the American Psychological Foundation. In 2018 Marika matched for internship at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

Andrew Valdespino

Ph.D. Clinical Psychology - 2019


UPDATE: Andrew is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Veterans Affairs Hospital "Advanced Mental Health Interprofessional Area" in Long Beach, CA

Andrew Valdespino received his Ph.D. in clinical science at Virginia Tech in 2019. Prior to that, Andrew earned a Master's Degree in Philosophy from Virginia Tech. As a result of that work, he became interested in Philosophy of Mind, Cognitive Science, and Biology. His current thinking and research involves emotion, social interaction, and the brain.

Part of his current research utilizes statistical methodologies that shed light on functional connectivity in the brain. Such methodologies help not just in highlighting connectivity generally, but in elucidating whether brain areas are specifically connected to perform a certain functional task. He is interested in researching this circuitry as it pertains to emotion broadly, with a current focus on social interaction and anxiety.

Maria Boylan

Lab Alumna - Former undergraduate research assistant.

Email: | Curriculum Vitae

UPDATE: Maria is now a Ph.D. student in the psychology program at the University of Texas - Dallas

Maria Boylan graduated from Virginia Tech in spring 2013 with a major in Psychology and minor in Philosophy. She completed a summer internship at Johns Hopkins University where she studied the effect of clustering on number estimation and comparison. Maria also won the Department's Undergraduate Research award. Maria's main research interests include visual perception, and its connection with numerical cognition, the approximate number system, and the default mode network and its connection with clinical symptomatology. Maria is currently a post-baccalaureate fellow at Duke University's Brain Imaging and Analysis Center (BIAC).

Khaled Gad

Research Fellow


Khaled Gad is a neuroradiologist and assistant professor at the medical school of Suez Canal University in Egypt. He is doing a part time research fellowship at VT with special interest in the application of BOLD fMRI in the neuropsychiatric domain. His research ideas focus on the correlative morphometric/functional changes of specific brain regions in certain psychopathological conditions. He seeks active involvement with the clinical psychology group where he can make his inputs in neuroimaging and learn valuable interpretive algorithms of applied psychological sciences as well.

After finishing a post doctoral neuroradiology fellowship at Johns Hopkins University in 2006 and a PhD in Radiology at Suez Canal University in 2009, his main academic interest has been directed to the clinical utility of advanced neuroimaging techniques. He has mentored a group of PhD students in Egypt working in the field of Diffusion-weighted MRI and MR-spectroscopy. He’s currently involved in a research project at Johns Hopkins using MR spectroscopy and Diffusion Tensor Imaging in temporal lobe epilepsy.

Dr. Gad believes in the positive impact of interdisciplinary teamwork on the quality of learning. He joined the SCANLAB at VT where he can share experiences with other members having variable interests and views. Dr. Gad particularly believes in free exchange of thoughts among people of different scientific backgrounds.

Saivarshith Peddireddy

Lab Alumnus - Former undergraduate research assistant

Email: | Curriculum Vitae

Saivarshith Peddireddy dual majored in Psychology and Biology. His main goal is to enter medical school and do bio-medical research. His other research interests are related to brain functioning and behavioral psychology. He is also interested in stress and how that affects human relationships, social interaction, and mental health. He volunteers at the Montgomery Regional Hospital on the weekends. He intends to get a closer and more intense interaction with patients and health care.

Catherine Tallman

Lab Alumna - Former undergraduate research assistant.

Email: | Curriculum Vitae

UPDATE: Catherine is now a Ph.D. student in the experimental psychology program at the University of California - San Diego.

Catherine Tallman is a junior at Virginia Tech. She will be graduating in Spring 2014 with a dual degree in Biological Sciences and Psychology. Her most recent research interests include social processing and the mirror neuron system in autism spectrum disorder and neuroimaging. After graduation, she would like to pursue graduate programs in neuroscience.

Mark Orloff

Lab Alumnus - - Former undergraduate research assistant.


UPDATE: Mark is now a Ph.D. student in the Translational Biology, Medicine and Health Program at Virginia Tech.

Mark Orloff is a sophomore at Virginia Tech. He will be graduating in Spring 2015 as a Psychology major with a degree in Neuroscience and a minor in Chemistry. Post graduation, Mark would like to continue onto graduate school to study genetic neuropsychology. This past summer he enjoyed an internship at the NIH where he assisted at a brain bank and helped observe and preserve human brain tissue.