Ph.D. Students

Sonia Varma

I obtained my Bachelor’s of Science from the University of Ottawa, and my Master’s of Science here at Western. I am currently in the Neuroscience Doctoral program. During my MSc, I used electroencephalography (EEG) and a novel stimulus paradigm to simultaneously measure electrophysiological responses from subcortical and cortical auditory areas, and evaluate how responses are related across levels. Currently, my research focuses on identifying neural signatures in electrophysiological data that distinguish listeners who achieve high intelligibility while experiencing low effort in noisy listening conditions, from those who experience difficulty listening in noise. I aim to use these signatures to guide an EEG-based neuro-feedback training.

Jaimy Hannah

In 2018, I completed my Honours Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in Physics from the University of Calgary. After that, I obtained a Master of Science in Psychology, also from the University of Calgary. My undergraduate thesis focused on hippocampal volumes and structural integrity in very poor spatial navigators. During my master's degree, I received NSERC funding to investigate how spatial metaphor processing is related to spatial cognition as measured by performance on spatial tasks. I joined CoNCH Lab in the summer of 2020 and officially started the Ph.D. program in cognitive, developmental, and brain sciences (CDBS) at Western University that fall. I was fortunate to receive an NSERC PGS-D to support my Ph.D. research. I plan to investigate individual differences in listening effort associated with audiovisual speech perception using behavioural and neuroimaging methods.

Caroline Chadwick

I completed my Bachelors degree from Queens University, majoring in Political Studies, before moving to Ireland where I completed a Higher Diploma in Psychology. In University College Dublin's Media and Entertainment Lab under the supervision of Dr. Brendan Rooney, I studied the effects of perceptual and conceptual cues on feelings of presence in a virtual environment and the applications of virtual reality as a neuropsychological assessment tool. After working as an Assistant Psychologist at Highfield Healthcare, I moved to Western to work with Dr. Johnsrude as a student in the Clinical Science and Psychopathology program. My current research examines functional brain restructuring in individuals with temporal lobe epilepsy and explores how these changes are related to cognitive and psychological functioning before and after resective surgery.

Hana Abbas

I obtained a Bachelor's of Science from the University of Toronto at Scarborough in Neuroscience and Cognitive Psychology, with a focus on visual object recognition processes. I then completed a Master of Arts at the University of Manitoba in the domain of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, focusing on obstacle avoidance during memory-guided reaching and grasping. Following this, I completed a Master of Science at UWO in Clinical Science and Psychopathology, with a focus on using a naturalistic (movie) stimulus as a tool to identify neural abnormalities in people with drug-resistant epilepsy. I am currently completing a Ph.D. in Clinical Science and Psychopathology at UWO, where my research focuses on the clinical and practical utility of movie-driven fMRI paradigms in pre-surgical evaluations of epilepsy. I have the ultimate goal to pursue neuropsychology as a specialization, as I have interests in brain injury and sensory impairment.

Madison Tutton

Coming soon...

Joseph Rovetti

I obtained my bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Toronto Metropolitan University in 2019, where my honours thesis was the first study to use fNIRS to measure the brains of participants using hearing aids. After graduating, I worked in a number of other labs studying topics beyond auditory perception, including decision-making, and quantitative methods. I joined Dr. Johnsrude at Western University in 2020, and I completed my master’s degree in Psychology (Cognitive, Developmental, and Brain Sciences) in 2022. Currently, I am completing my PhD in Psychology, for which I was awarded the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship. My research investigates how our brains are able to understand speech in challenging conditions, as well as the “listening effort” that we experience as a result.