Brain Development & Education Lab

Principal Investigator – Jason D. Yeatman, Ph.D.

Dr. Jason Yeatman, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences and Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS). Before joining the Institute, he completed his PhD in Brian Wandell’s lab at Stanford University where he studied the neural basis of learning to read. His work capitalizes on rapidly evolving MRI methodologies and the development of new, open-source, software algorithms to model the neurobiological basis of cognitive development and understand how brain circuits modify their structure in response to experience. Current research mainly focuses on the neural circuitry of skilled reading and the mechanisms underlying reading disabilities.  Dr. Yeatman hopes to translate research on the neurobiology of reading development into personalized education programs that are tailored and timed with respect to a child’s unique pattern of brain maturation.

email: jyeatman-at-uw-dot-edu     CV    Google Scholor    PubMed

Graduate Students

Patrick Donnelly

Patrick joined the Brain Development and Education Lab in July, 2015 after participating in the I-LABS Summer Internship Program.  He received his B.A. in Child Development from Tufts University, focusing on dyslexia and the reading brain under the direction of Dr. Maryanne Wolf at the Center for Reading and Language Research. Patrick is particularly interested in the influence and impact of reading interventions/curricula, both print and digital, in helping struggling readers acquire fluency. He began his Ph.D studies in the Department of Speech & Hearing Sciences in September 2016.

Elle O’Brien

Elle O’Brien is a computational scientist with a focus on neural engineering, biophysical modeling, and signal processing. She received her BA in Mathematics from Agnes Scott College and her MS in Neuroscience from the University of Washington. She has studied cochlear implants, binaural hearing, speech perception modeling and biological oscillators. Elle has also worked as a software developer and network administrator and codes recreationally; her most recent hobby is feeding large text files to neural networks and watching what comes out. As a member of the BDE Lab and a PhD student in the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, her work concerns understanding the nature of auditory processing deficits in dyslexia and discovering the neural computations that underlie reading. Elle is an active science communicator who has spoken about auditory research on NPR and is currently focused on sharing science history.


 Libby Huber, Ph.D.

Dr. Libby Huber joins the lab after finishing her PhD in Psychology here at the University of Washington. Her dissertation work in the Vision and Cognition Lab focused on how visual experience shapes cortical development. Libby has tackled important questions revolving around plasticity and sensory processing after visual deprivation, including a recent publication examining “A lack of experience-dependent plasticity after more than a decade of recovered sight“.

Sung Jun Joo, Ph.D.

Dr. Sung Jun Joo joined the lab after completing a post-doc with Alex Huk at UT Austin where he studied motion perception and decision making. His work in the Huk lab combined psychophysical and fMRI measurements to understand the neural basis of three dimensional motion perception. His recent work by, published in PNAS, demonstrated how eye movements effect the decision making process.

Sung Jun’s work in the Brain Development and Education lab builds on his extensive background in vision science to investigate the neural basis of reading and dyslexia. He is taking on two different directions of research. First, he is using psychophysics to understand how visual deficits contribute to reading difficulties in children and adults with dyslexia. The goal of this work is to identify perceptual deficits, in individual children and adults, and test how these deficits might be ameliorated by manipulations to the visual display. Second, he is using MEG and fMRI to understand how word selective regions in the ventral visual stream interact with parietal and frontal cortex to support word recognition.

email: sjjoo-at-uw-dot-edu     CV     Google Scholar 

Lab Manager

Emily Kubota

Emily joined the lab on a UWIN post-baccalaureate fellowship after graduating from Pomona College with a Bachelor’s in Cognitive Science. She completed her senior thesis on task difficulty in ventral temporal cortex (VTC), and is specifically interested in plasticity in the high-level visual cortex in children with dyslexia.

e-mail: ekubota-at-uw-dot-edu

Lab Alumni

Douglas Strodtman

Douglas joined the lab on a UWIN post-bac fellowship and then continued working as a research assistant where he developed the UW Reading and Dyslexia Research Program and Database. Douglas has gone on to pursue a career in data science.