Publications and Resources

Getting Involved in the Lab

Chris Baldassano: Chris got his PhD in Computer Science at Stanford (using machine learning methods to study the human visual system) before becoming a postdoc at the Princeton Neuroscience Institute and then an Assistant Professor in the Columbia Psychology Department.
Personal Website
Personal Blog


Marta Silva: After finishing her Integrated BSE/MSE in Biomedical and Biophysical Engineering, Marta joined the University of Barcelona for her doctoral students which were completed in 2023. In her work she focuses on breaking new ground on how memories from one's past get represented in the brain by tracking, prospectively, essential electrophysiology properties for everyone’s real-life episodic event experience.

PhD Students

Jiawen Huang: After finishing UCL’s BSc Psychology program, Jiawen stayed at UCL as a RA to build a database of people watching movies in fMRI. He is interested in how memory works in context, such as during movie viewing. He also hopes to explore methods to study memory with more complex tasks such as interactive games.
Taylor Chamberlain: After finishing her BA at University of Chicago, Taylor worked as a software developer, and then returned to UChicago to work as a lab manager in the psychology department. She's interested in using fMRI and behavioral experiments to study how memory and attention interact, particularly in more naturalistic task paradigms.
Caroline Lee: Caroline finished her MS in Computer Science at NYU's Courant Institute in 2017. She is interested in how the brain organizes and represents semantic structure and the use of machine-learning based joint-modeling approaches to explain the dynamics of brain and behavior. Her spare time is spent debugging TensorFlow code and attempting to play classical guitar.
Zall Hirschstein: After graduating from Bard College as an advisee of Dr. Justin Hulbert, Zall spent two years at Albany Medical College doing neuropathology research and three years as the Aly Lab manager here at Columbia. He now joins both the DPM and Aly Labs as a graduate student to investigate how our memory systems coordinate with the rest of the brain to support the demands of attention and perception.

Lab manager

Narjes Al-Zahli: After finishing her BA in Computer Science and Psychology at Columbia University, Narjes joined the DPM and Aly Labs as a lab manager and research assistant. She is interested in understanding the connection between temporal schemas, time perception, and predictability. In her free time, she enjoys rock-climbing, reading and being in nature.

Undergraduate Senior Thesis students

Katie Mae Peters: Katie Mae Peters' passion for action films started the moment she watched Keanu jump a bus over the gap in an incomplete LA freeway. Since then she spent the past ten years in the film industry gaining experience by working with everyone from Dog the Bounty Hunter to Ron Burgandy. Her eye for creative producing has led her to create several award winning films and earn several grants including a 2021 Hollywood Foreign Press Fellowship. She currently attends Columbia University where she is researching the negative impacts certain color grading and production design choices in film have on the way audiences form empathetic attachments to POC characters and foreign countries.
Yifang Liu: As a junior studying Neuroscience and Behavior at the School of General Studies, Yifang is currently working on her senior thesis project that delves into the effects of agency on memory performance in multi-step sequential planning. Her project was inspired by her love for gaming and seeks to investigate how agency can impact memory in more realistic contexts. She also explores her passions for photography and video games in her free time. These creative pursuits serve as a wellspring of inspiration for her, especially when it comes to the naturalistic stimuli they offer!
Hannah Zeng: When Hannah Zeng is not hopping around making interfaces and installations, she studies cognitive science. She joins the lab to understand how we dynamically make sense of the ever-changing event structure in the real world, such as appreciating a piece of music or playing games. She has written about science as a science communicator and translator, which is part of her small attempt to promote open science.

Research Assistants

Akshay Manglik: Akshay is an undergraduate at Columbia College studying Computer Science. He is interested in applying computational techniques to analyze neural representations in neuroimaging, especially in the context of memory and imagination. In his free time, he enjoys dancing as a part of Columbia Raas, participating in Quiz Bowl, and baking.
Morell Kenmoe: Morell is a class of '25 pre-med student at Columbia University studying Neuroscience and Behavior. He is interested in learning more about human behavior and decision making from both the psychological and biological perspectives. In his free time he enjoys playing basketball, listening to music, and spending time with friends and family.

Former Lab Members

Halle Dimsdale-Zucker (Postdoc)

Samantha Cohen (Postdoc)

Matthew Sachs (Postdoc)

Hannah Tarder-Stoll (PhD student)

Matt Siegelman (PhD student)

Max Bennett (MS, Computer Science)

Sunjae Shim (Undergraduate Senior Thesis student)

Mareike Keller (Undergraduate Senior Thesis student)

Gloria Charite (Undergraduate Senior Thesis student)

Karina Feng (Undergraduate Senior Thesis student)

Sam Hutchinson (Undergraduate Senior Thesis student)