Learn more about the people who are running the CTRLab, and definitely are conducting the experiments, while the pets are not.
Learn more about the people who are running the CTRLab, and definitely are conducting the experiments, while the pets are not.
Associate Professor of Neurology and of Psychological and Brain Sciences and the director of the Cognitive Technology Research Laboratory (CTRLab)
Jason Hassenstab, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Neurology and of Psychological and Brain Sciences and the director of the Cognitive Technology Research Laboratory (CTRLab) at Washington University in St. Louis. He also leads the Cognition Cores for the Dominantly-Inherited Alzheimer Network-Trials Unit (DIAN-TU) and the DIAN observational study and the Charles F. and Joanne Knight Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. The CTRLab’s focus in on using technology to improve cognitive assessments in Alzheimer’s disease and other disorders. We use measurement burst designs, based on principles from ecological momentary assessment, to measure cognition rapidly and frequently on smartphones in normal and clinical populations. We also develop web-based cognitive assessments designed to be sensitive to the very earliest stages of neurodegenerative disease. Dr. Hassenstab has been continuously funded by the NIH since 2007 and also receives funding from foundations. His most recent projects include development of the Ambulatory Research in Cognition (ARC) smartphone application for the DIAN observational study, the DIAN-TU Phase III clinical trials, and the Healthy Aging and Senile Dementia program project grant at the Knight ADRC. Prior to pursuing academics, Dr. Hassenstab toured internationally as a professional jazz saxophonist, often sporting a purple pinstriped zoot suit, and made hundreds of dollars. He completed a bachelor’s degree in Jazz and Contemporary Music Performance at New York University and a PhD in psychology under mentorship of Dr. Antonio Convit at New York University and Fordham University. He then completed a Fellowship at Brown University and joined the faculty at Washington University in St. Louis in 2010.
Andrew (Andy) Aschenbrenner, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Neurology at Washington University in St. Louis. He has expertise in the development, administration, and analysis of cognitive and behavioral tests in healthy older adults and individuals with preclinical and very mild Alzheimer disease (AD). His current interests include evaulating the utility of intraindividual variability in cognition and personality as predictors of AD risk. He is also interested in applying novel statistical techniques (e.g., dynamic structural equation modeling) and computational models to further understand cognitive changes in the earliest stages of AD.
Sarah Holtz Stout is a Clinical Research Specialist in the Cognitive Technology Research Laboratory (CTRLab), which is part of the Department of Neurology at Washington University in St. Louis. The CTRLab works in conjunction with the Knight Alzheimer Disease Research Center (ADRC) and the Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network (DIAN). Sarah manages the lab, along with the development of the of the Ambulatory Research in Cognition (ARC) smartphone application, and she assists the PI, staff, and collaborators with its implementation. She previously worked in the DRIVES lab for five years, managing lab operations for a study on preclinical Alzheimer disease, driving, and mood. Ms. Stout used her social work training at the Alzheimer’s Association from 2007-2014, managing support groups for 20+ counties and providing individual consulatations to family caregivers, and from 2014-2015 as a hospice social worker assisting patients and their families. She received her bachelor’s in psychology, followed by her master’s in social work, both from Washington University. She enjoys hanging out with her partner and their two daughters, bike rides, musical theater, and baking/eating just about any kind of cake, except lemon.
Hannah graduated from Saint Louis University with her B.S. in Neuroscience and Minor in Psychology. Hannah performed in person and remote cognitive assessments at the Memory and Aging Project before transitioning to the CTRLab as a graduate student in the Washington University Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences clinical training program. She is passionate about Alzheimer’s research and excited to continue work with our many dedicated participants. In her spare time, Hannah enjoys working out at her gym in Soulard, spending time outdoors, and daydreaming about her next road trip with her significant other. Trip recommendations are always welcome!
Leslie Symonds is a clinical research coordinator with the CTRLab, working with the Dominantly-Inherited Alzheimer Network in the Trials Unit (DIAN-TU) and the Observational (DIAN-Obs) study. She is excited to be continuing a life in clinical research in the Neurology department on such important studies, with such a goofy team. Leslie received her bachelor’s in Biology (Genetics and Biotechnology Track) from the University of Iowa, where she worked for nearly 4 years investigating the gene regulatory networks of neural crest development in Robert Cornell’s zebrafish lab. She graduated with her master’s in health behavior research at Washington University in St. Louis, while working full-time coordinating clinical studies with the Cystic Fibrosis team at Children’s Hospital. This work with children and families established Leslie’s passion for making clinical research accessible and empowering for all involved. She enjoys writing/performing sketch, doing improv comedy, and the occasional Shakespeare in the Park engagement.
Jennifer Smith has over 15 years of experience in management consulting, research science, and higher education environments. Her training is in behavioral observation, measurement, and quantitative analysis, and she holds a Ph.D. in Experimental-Cognitive Psychology from Saint Louis University.
Jennie currently serves as the Clinical Trials Manager for the Dominantly-Inherited Alzheimer Network-Trials Unit (DIAN-TU) and the DIAN Observational studies’ Cognition Cores. This role consists of supporting global teams to ensure appropriate training and collection of data. Jennie has identified leading-edge IT solutions to support the changing needs of training, data collection, and communication across countries and cultures since 2014.
She spends her spare time hanging with her daughter, significant other, and pup Oshie, non-profit fundraising, traveling and exploring new restaurants in St. Louis. Extracurricular activities include avoiding chit-chat (specifically if it relates to CrossFit) and chasing after her supervisor to get study documents signed. Dirty little secret: she uses a Keurig.
Lena Woods graduated with her BA in History from the University of Missouri, St. Louis (UMSL) in 2016 and began working on her MS in Applied Behavioral Analysis at UMSL in 2021. She is a clinical research coordinator for the Memory and Aging Project (MAP) ARC Study. Before coming onto the MAP ARC team she worked as an advocate and support person for persons with various intellectual and physical disabilities at L’Arche, St. Louis. She is passionate about accessibility and technology in research for all. In her free time she enjoys roller skating, crafting and trying to read several novels at once.
Lisa is a Senior Clinical Research Specialist in the department of Neurology and manages the Cognitive Assessment Unit (CAU) for the Knight ADRC. She began her career at Washington University in 1999 working on various behavioral research projects in Psychiatry, moving to Radiology as a Senior Clinical Research Coordinator in 2007 where she was first introduced to the MAP and DIAN studies, specifically the imaging procedures under those protocols. She decided to make the transition to her current position in 2021, where she remains involved with the MAP and DIAN studies, as well as ADNI and LEADS under the leadership of Jason Hassenstab.
I am a clinical research coordinator performing cognitive assessments with the Memory and Aging Project. I graduated from The University of Missouri in Columbia (MIZZOU) with my bachelors in biology and psychology. Throughout school, I worked as a mental health technician at CenterPointe Hospital. I also previously worked in the Child and Adolescent Therapy Research Group at Mizzou. I grew up in Arnold, MO just south of St. Louis. In my free time, I enjoy watching scary movies and reading. I am passionate about mental health, especially in older populations.
I am a clinical research coordinator who performs cognitive assessments on participants in the Memory and Aging Project. I’ve often alternated back and forth between working with animals and humans, including teaching anger management to at-risk youth after getting my bachelor’s in Psychology at Indiana University and then studying chimpanzees for my master’s at Central Washington University. I have a huge passion for research overall, and I am so excited to be involved in Alzheimer’s research at Washington University in St. Louis. In my free time, I love to hike, garden, play video games, watch horror movies, and spend time with my three rabbits and two dogs.
Matt Welhaf, PhD is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Cognitive Technology Research Lab (CTRLab). He completed his PhD at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro under Dr. Mike Kane and received both his B.S. and M.S. at Nova Southeastern University studying with Dr. Jonathan Banks. Matt’s expertise is in understanding and improving the measurement of attentional consistency or how well people can maintain optimal task focus to successfully, and consistently, perform goal related actions. His early research focused on mind-wandering (pun intended) and how the content of peoples mind-wandering can vary. His current research involves understanding how accelerated long-term forgetting plays out in preclinical and autosomal dominant AD.
Kara graduated from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville with her B.S. in Psychology and Minor in Anthropology. Kara worked while in school at an autism clinic working as a Registered Behavior Technician administrating Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). After graduation, Kara worked at PCS Behavioral Health – providing outreach to children and adults with developmental disabilities. Kara soon realized that she would want to attend graduate school and she completed her M.A. at SIUE for Adult Clinical Psychology. During her graduate program practicum, she worked at SIUE Counseling Services as a counselor for the college population. Kara learned during her graduate program her passion towards neurodegenerative disorders (i.e., Alzheimer’s) and after graduation wanted to pursue research in the neurological field. Kara enjoys in her free time painting, playing video games and board games (e.g., Scrabble, Boggle, Spades, Euchre), going to the casino, and watching true crime documentaries and spending time with her husband Bradley.
Sarah Adams was a Clinical Research Coordinator with the CTRLab and the Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network Expanded Registry (DIAN EXR), specializing in the implementation of Dr. Hassenstab’s remote cognitive assessments in DIAN participants and researcher-to-software developer translation services. She holds a BA in Psychology from McKendree University and an MS in Experimental Psychology from Western Illinois University. She previously worked in the Cognitive Control and Psychopathology Lab with Dr. Todd Braver on the Danforth campus of Washington University and as an animal caretaker at the Legendary Morgan Farm in Lebanon, IL. Under non-pandemic conditions, she attends fitness and martial arts classes to offset her primary hobby of having a terrible diet; enjoys reading, drawing, and spending time with the two members of her Cat Lady Starter Kit, Pippa and Voxel; and uses semicolons in sentences to show she has been to college.
Marisol Tahan graduated with her B.S. in Biology from Westminster College (UT). She is an advocate for technology in research and has worked in the field since day one. She is the lead research coordinator for the Healthy Aging and Senile Dementia (HASD) ARC Study where she gets to interact with the lovely volunteers of the Memory and Aging Project. She enjoys getting to meet new people every day and introducing them to technology and research.
Marisol has two pups, Zoe and Ellie, who are her loyal coworkers in WFH times. See their bios for more.
Jessica Nicosia, PhD was a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the in the Cognitive Technology Research
Laboratory (CTRLab). She graduated with her Ph.D. in 2021 from the Department of Psychological and
Brain Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, working with Dr. David Balota and received her B.A.
and M.S. degrees from the University of Michigan in 2016, where she studied with Dr. Cindy Lustig. She
has expertise in how attentional control, mind-wandering, and memory change in the context of healthy
aging and Alzheimer disease (AD). Her current research interests involve evaluating the sensitivity of
remote cognitive tests in predicting preclinical AD.
Maddie was a Psychometrist performing cognitive assessments with the Memory and Aging Project. She graduated from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville with a B.S. in Psychology, along with minors in Criminal Justice and Pre-Law. After college, she started working as a Medical / Legal Advocate for survivors of sexual assault in Illinois. She is originally from Pekin, IL where she grew up with two younger brothers. She has a little black cat named Kyber, after the Kyber Crystals that power lightsabers in the Star Wars universe. Her passion has always been in social justice and making the world a better place for all. Alzheimer’s research is an important part of advancing our world and helping those who struggle with memory loss. She loves helping others and giving people a voice when they do not have one.