Morgan Barense, Ph.D.
Professor and Canada Research Chair

Morgan received her B.A. from Harvard University and her Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge, UK. She remained in Cambridge for her postdoctoral work to undertake a Peterhouse Research Fellowship. She joined the faculty at the University of Toronto in 2009, and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2014 and to Full Professor in 2019. She currently directs the Toronto Neuroimaging Facility. She has been trained in animal neuroscience, human neuropsychology, fMRI, and cognitive psychology and enjoys bringing these approaches together to study the neural underpinnings of memory.

She has been honoured with a number of domestic and international awards, including a Young Investigator Award from the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, an Early Investigator Award and Lifetime Fellowship from the Society of Experimental Psychologists, an Early Career Award from the Canadian Society for Brain, Behaviour and Cognitive Science, a Canada Research Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience, a James S. McDonnell Foundation Scholar Award, an Early Researcher Award from the Province of Ontario, and a Connaught Innovation Award.


Jackson Liang
Jackson LiangPh.D.
I am a postdoctoral fellow with Morgan Barense. My interest in studying the brain began at the University of California, Berkeley, where I received a B.A. in Neurobiology. I earned my Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Austin, where I examined category-level memory representations within the human medial temporal lobe. My current research interest is in understanding how the brain incorporates spatial and temporal context into the formation of complex object representations. I am an avid tennis player, pianist, and I enjoy playing board games and chasing my dog around in the snow.
Christopher Martin
Christopher MartinPh.D.
I’m a postdoc in the Memory and Perception Lab, and I use fMRI and behavioural methods to examine the relationship between visual perception and the corresponding abstraction of conceptual knowledge. I am also interested in translational research aimed at bridging gaps between cognitive neuroscience, evidence-based memory rehabilitation, and wearable technology. Prior to joining the lab, I completed my Ph.D. at Western University where I used fMRI to probe links between memory signals in the medial temporal lobe and visual cognition more broadly.
Melissa Meade
Melissa MeadePh.D.
I am currently a postdoctoral fellow in the lab. I hold a BA from Mount Allison University where I completed a double major in Fine Arts and Honors Psychology. I earned my MA and PhD at the University of Waterloo, where the majority of my work revolved around demonstrating that drawing pictures is a highly beneficial way to improve memory performance in older adults and individuals with MCI and dementia. My current research interest is in understanding how the brain combines multisensory information to create rich memories of events, as well as using technology to provide memory enhancement interventions to help those with dementia better retain their personal experiences. I also enjoy making art, cooking/baking, and spending time with my dog and cats.


Bryan Hong
Bryan HongM.A.
I completed my undergraduate studies in Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of Toronto before joining the lab as a graduate student in 2016. I am interested in the effects of visual interference on object processing and the role of the hippocampus on autobiographical memory, especially in populations with memory impairments. Currently, I am working on creating a device that is designed to help improve autobiographical memory in older adults. In my free time you can probably find me reading a good book, checking out new bands at a local show, or digging through old vinyl at a record store.
Aedan (Yue) Li
Aedan (Yue) LiM.A.
I joined the Barense lab as a graduate student in 2016 after completing a BSc in Psychology at University of Toronto Scarborough. I am interested in using neuroimaging to examine multisensory integration, specifically how the brain combines information from different modalities to form a coherent representation of our world. Eventually, through this research, I hope to understand the neural basis of consciousness. My hobbies include playing board games with friends, digital art, and exploring nature.

Nichole Bouffard
Nichole BouffardM.A.
I joined the lab as a graduate student in 2018 and am co-supervised by Dr. Morgan Barense and Dr. Morris Moscovitch. I graduated from UC Davis with a B.S. in Psychology in 2015. Before joining the lab, I worked as a lab manager in Dr. Charan Ranganath’s Dynamic Memory Lab where I used neuroimaging techniques, like fMRI, to study brain regions in the MTL and their function as it relates to episodic memory. As a graduate student in the Barense lab, I am looking forward to investigating how features like space and time act to structure our memories and what role they play during retrieval. When I’m not doing science I like to do yoga, drink coffee, try new foods, and to pretend that my Californian blood isn’t phased by winter.

Natalia Ladyka
Natalia LadykaM.A.
I joined the Barense lab as a new graduate student in 2018, after completing my Honours Specialization (B.A.) in psychology from the Glendon Campus of York University. I’m interested in understanding inter-individual variability of cognitive trajectories of aging, especially in the context of spatial perception and memory. In my free time I love reading mystery novels, watching movies, as well as running and hiking outdoors.


Rachel Newsome, Ph.D.
Rachel Newsome, Ph.D.Senior Project Manager
I’m the Senior Project Manager for the Hippocamera project. Our aim is to build a memory rehabilitation device that enhances memory for everyday events. Prior to this position, I completed my PhD at the University of Toronto in 2015, and undertook a postdoc at the Rotman Research Institute. My research interests have focused on cognitive aging, memory, and neuropsychology. This new position allows me to add in additional interests in terms of how cognitive neuroscience can facilitate memory rehabilitation. I’m very excited about this work and the potential of this clinical trial. Outside of the lab, I love going for hikes, running with my dog, knitting, and going to craft beer festivals.
Marlene Rong
Marlene RongLab Manager
For my HBsc., I am completing a Neuroscience/Psychology Double Major paired with a History Minor. My current research interests involve multisensory integration and how simple perceptual tasks can be used to improve working memory. Outside of science, I really love playing and teaching the piano, graphics design and student governance on campus!


We have a large and vibrant group of undergraduates working on all manner of research conducted in the lab. If you are interested in joining our team, please complete an application form!


Postdocs & graduate students:

Iva Brunec, Ph.D.

2014-2019: Graduate student
Postdoctoral fellow, Temple and University of Pennsylvania

Celia Fidalgo, Ph.D.

2013-2018: Graduate student
Product Lead, WinterLight Labs

Danielle Douglas, Ph.D.

2011-2016: Graduate student
Assistant professor, Mount Allison University

Lok-Kin Yeung, Ph.D.

2010-2016: Graduate student
Postdoctoral fellow, Columbia University

Ryan Stevenson, Ph.D.

2013-2016: Postdoctoral fellow
Assistant professor, Western University

Rachel Newsome, Ph.D.

2010-2015: Graduate student
Research Coordinator, University of Toronto

Jonathan Erez, Ph.D.

2009-2015: Graduate student
Postdoctoral fellow, Western University

Victoria McLelland, Ph.D.

2013-2014: Postdoctoral fellow
Research Coordinator, Advanced Gerontological Education

Iris Groen, Ph.D.

2008-2009: Master’s student
Postdoctoral fellow, NYU

Undergraduate students:

Alyssa Sinclair

2015-2018: Research assistant undergraduate honours thesis student
Graduate student, Duke University

Valentina Mihajlovic

2014-2017: Lab manager and Research assistant
Graduate student, Clinical Psychology, Queen’s University

Louisa Man

2013-2016: Research assistant and undergraduate honours thesis student
Graduate student, Clinical Psychology, Queen’s University

Sara Pishdadian

2014-2016: Research assistant
Graduate student, Clinical Psychology, York University

Felicia Zhang

2013-2015: Honors thesis student
Graduate student, Psychology, Princeton University

Victoria Smith

2013-2015: Lab manager and Research assistant
Program Accelerator, Learning Acceleration team, Shopify Inc

Naomi Hazlett

2014-2015: Research assistant
Occupational therapist

Alina Guna, Ph.D.

2011-2014: Lab manager
Postdoctoral fellow, UCSF

Alex Jacob

2014: Research assistant
Graduate student, Psychology, University of Toronto

Lia Kendall

2010-2013: Research assistant
Graduate student, Cognitive Science, University of British Columbia

Lev Tankelevitch

2010-2013: Research assistant
Graduate student, Neuroscience, Oxford University

Alexandra Trelle, Ph.D.

2011-2012: Lab manager
Postdoctoral fellow, Stanford University

Sinead Brady

2011-2012: Research assistant
Graduate student, Oxford University

Wendy Xin

2011-2012: Mini-thesis student
Graduate student, Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins University

Robin Nguyen

2010-2011: Lab manager
Graduate student, Psychology, University of Toronto

Joan Ngo

2008-2009: Research assistant
Graduate student, Psychology, University of Toronto