Breadcrumb

  1. Research
  2. the CoNECt lab
  3. Our Team

Olusola Ajilore MD, PhD

  • Associate Head for Faculty Development
  • University of Illinois Center for Depression and Resilience (UI CDR) Professor of Psychiatry
  • Director, Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program
  • Director, Clinical Research Core/Center for Clinical and Translational Science
  • Director, Adult Neuroscience Residency Research Track
  • Co-Director, UICOM Medical Scientist Training Program
  • Department of Psychiatry
  • University of Illinois-Chicago
Dr. Ajilore's research goal is to understand the pathophysiology of major depressive disorder in the context of medical co-morbidities and late life using novel magnetic resonance imaging techniques. His group focuses on using structural and functional brain connectivity to study the brain as a network.

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Alex Leow MD, PhD

  • Professor in Psychiatry and Bioengineering
  • University of Illinois Chicago
Joining the University in 2009, Dr. Leow received clinical training in Psychiatry and research training in biomedical imaging, both at UCLA. Having co-authored more than 70 articles, Dr. Leow's current research interests focus on developing novel probabilistic reconstruction, tractography, and network analyses techniques for high angular resolution diffusion imaging (HARDI) and their clinical applications.

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Jacob van Doorn MS

  • Graduate Research Assistant
  • Department of Psychiatry, UIC
Jay went to the University of Kentucky for his B.S. in Biology in 2016, and received his M.S. in Bioengineering from the University of Illinois Chicago in 2019, studying the use of EEG to analyze temporal dynamics of meditators. He now studies the brain on a macro-scale, in particular how the brain ages utilizing the tools at the cutting edge of neuroimaging. He has three major research interests: 1) development of new analytical tools for studying the brain on a macro-scale, especially the dynamics of brain function through time, 2) how hormonal cycles and changes to hormones affect the brain's network dynamics through a lifetime, and 3) sex-specific risk factors for dementias, such as Alzheimer's disease, as determined by brain network degradation.

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Kathyrn Cushing

  • Psychiatry Volunteer
Kathyrn Cushing

Zainab Jabri BS

  • Volunteer Research Assistant
  • Department of Psychiatry, UIC
Zainab Jabri is currently a sophomore pre-med student at UIC’s Honors College majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in Business Administration. She is a Research Assistant interested in studying mental illness and utilizing technology to further investigate brain disorders and methods of treatment. She assists with neuropsychological testing/screening visits and MRI patients in Unobtrusive Monitoring of Affective Symptoms and Cognition using Keyboard Dynamics (UnMASCK) study.

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Jessica McAleer BA

  • Graduate Research Assistant

Jessica is a PhD student in the Graduate Program in Neuroscience. She joined the CoNECt Lab under Dr. Ajilore in 2020 to research mood disorders, specifically depression and anxiety. Jessica received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Illinois Chicago in 2019 with a minor in Biological Sciences.

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Theresa Nguyen BA

  • Graduate Student

Theresa Nguyen is currently an MD/PhD student in the BME department. She received her B.A. in Molecular and Cell Biology, with an emphasis in Neurobiology, from UC Berkeley. She is interested in investigating affective disorders and will be working on the unmasck project in the CoNeCT lab. 

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Milena Radoman MS

  • Graduate Research Assistant
Milena is a graduate student in the CoNECt Lab with Dr. Olusola A. Ajilore. She received her B.A. in Neuroscience from Wellesley College in 2015. Milena is working under a joint mentorship between Dr. Olusola A. Ajilore and Drs. K. Luan Phan and Stephanie M. Gorka (currently at the Ohio State University). Her research focuses on identifying the neurobiological risk factors for mood and substance use disorders, with a specific emphasis on individual differences in threat and reward responding. Milena’s long-term objective is to translate knowledge gained from her research into the development of more effective prevention, intervention and treatment efforts for patient populations.

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Homa Rashidisabet

  • Ph.D. Student in Bioengineering
Homa Rashidisabet

Braeden Rodriguez

  • Graduate Research Assistant, the CoNECt lab
  • Graduate Program in Neuroscience
Braeden Rodriguez is a PhD student in the Graduate Program in Neuroscience. At Kalamazoo College they majored in chemistry, concentrating in Biochemistry, and a completed a minor in Psychology. At the University of Chicago, they worked on projects investigating the dorsolateral striatum’s role with respect to Parkinsonian motor deficits, nicotine aversion, and nociception. In the CoNECt lab, Braeden studies the intersection of Internalizing Psychopathologies (Depression, Anxiety, etc.) and Alcohol Use Disorder by means of global brain connectivity. 

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Michelle Sheena BS

  • MD/PhD Student
Michelle is currently a graduate student in the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) at UIC. She graduated from Tulane University in 2016 with a BS in Neuroscience, and double minors in Spanish and Studio Art. Michelle is working under a joint mentorship between Dr. Katie Burkhouse and Dr. Olusola Ajilore; her research in the Burkhouse/Ajilore lab focuses on family history of psychopathology and dysfunctional neural responses (fMRI/EEG). She is also interested in data visualization, health humanities, and medical education.

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Aksu Gunay BS

  • Graduate Research Assistant/ PhD Student
Aksu graduated from the Biology Department of Middle East Technical University (METU). After graduation, she became a Post-Bachelor Research Fellow at the Department of Neurology at Northwestern University for two years. Now, Aksu is a Ph.D. student in the Graduate Education Medical Sciences Ph.D. Program in Neuroscience Concentration. She joined the CoNeCT lab with Dr. Olusola Ajilore and the Rasenick lab with Dr. Mark Rasenick. Currently, she is working on the Unobtrusive Monitoring of Affective Symptoms and Cognition using Keyboard Dynamics (UnMASCK) study.

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Daksh Bhargava MS

  • Research Associate I, the CoNECt lab
  • Medical Student

Daksh is a medical student at UICOM. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Madison with a BS in Biochemistry in 2019. He completed his MS in Medical Physiology from Case Western Reserve University in 2021. Daksh is currently working under the mentorship of Dr. Ajilore to support the Rembrandt research study.

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Jheel Shah

  • Volunteer Research Assistant, the CoNECt lab
  • Department of Psychiatry, UIC

Jheel Shah is medical student at the University of Illinois College of Medicine. She has interests in psychiatry especially anxiety and depression. She is interested in learning more about the ability to provide mental health care to in need populations including access to increased medical resources.

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Zach Davis BS

  • Research Volunteer, the CoNECt lab
Zach is a 4th year medical student at the University of Illinois Chicago, pursuing a career in psychiatry. He is working with Shirley Stephenson on the CURB-2 study as a Recruitment and Retention Specialist, is a part of the Community Outreach Intervention Projects research team, studying low-threshold buprenorphine, and is joining the CoNECt lab with Dr. Olusola Ajilore. He received his B.S. in Chemical Physics from Wheaton College in 2019, where he modeled electron transitions in pH indicators with time-dependent density-functional theory.

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Faraz Hussain MS, CRC

  • Research Specialist
Faraz Hussain

Andrea Piscitello

  • Research Specialist
Andrea Piscitello

Aifeng Zhang PhD

  • Research Associate II
Aifeng Zhang is a research associate who conducts imaging study by assisting with the data collection, processing and descriptive results. She received her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from University of Southern California.

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Ananya Agarwal

  • Undergraduate Research Assistant, the CoNECt Lab

Ananya began her undergraduate studies pursuing a degree at UIC in biological sciences in 2021. She is a member of Jessica McAleer’s TACSIP Project, which is in Dr. Olu Ajilore’s CoNECt Lab. She is interested in studying behavior modulation and emotional regulation in patients with neurological conditions such as depression and/or anxiety disorders.

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Paresa Chowdhury BS

  • Research Associate, the CoNECt lab

Paresa is a research associate in the The Computational Neuroimaging and Connected Technologies (CoNECt) Lab. She graduated from Loyola University Chicago in May 2021 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a minor in Biology. Since a young age, she has been passionate about clinical healthcare, abnormal psychology, and neurological disorders.

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Angie Georgaras BS

  • Research Associate
Angie is a research associate in the The Computational Neuroimaging and Connected Technologies (CoNECt) Lab. She graduated from Loyola University Chicago in December of 2020 with a double major in Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience and Psychology and a minor in Computer Science. She plans to pursue a PhD in neuroscience and is interested in studying network abnormalities in individuals that struggle with emotion dysregulation and low positive affect.

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Stephen Noh

  • Undergraduate Research Assistant, the CoNECt lab

Stephen Noh began his Bachelor of Science (BS) in Liberal Arts and Sciences, Major in Psychology, in the fall of 2022. He is research assistant for Dr. Olusola Ajilore’s lab, CoNeCT Lab.

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Siya Patel

  • Undergraduate Research Assistant, the CoNECt lab

Siya is an undergraduate student majoring in Integrated Health Studies. She joined the CoNECT lab under Jessica McAleer and Dr. Ajilore in 2023 as a volunteer research assistant. The research she is involved in investigates how transcranial stimulation impacts the emotional processing and regulation of individuals with anxiety.

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Isabella Reyes

  • Undergraduate Research Assistant, the CoNECt Lab

Isabella Reyes is an undergraduate student at the University of Illinois Chicago majoring in Psychology and Criminology. She is working as a Research Assistant in the CoNECt Lab overseen by Dr. Olusola Ajilore and PhD Candidate Jessica McAleer.

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Lucrezia Rondelli

  • Undergraduate Research Assistant, the CoNECt lab

Lucrezia began her studies in psychology three years ago at George Washington University in D.C., and is predicted to finish her B.A. in December 2024. She is a research volunteer in The CoNeCT lab.

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Niki Persia Sabetfakhri MS

  • Graduate Research Assistant, the CoNECt lab
  • Department of Psychiatry, UIC

Niki is a graduate student in UIC's Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP). She earned her BS in Molecular and Cell Biology, with an emphasis in Neurobiology, from UC Berkeley (2016) and her MS in Physiology from the University of Michigan (2017), focusing her capstone on adult hippocampal neurogenesis in maladaptive fear.

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Ava Sommer

  • Undergraduate Research Assistant, the CoNECt Lab

Ava is an undergraduate student in the Honors College majoring in Neuroscience with a minor in Chemistry. In 2023, she joined Dr. Ajilore’s CoNECt Lab as a part of Jessica McAleer’s TACSIP research project. The TACSIP research project studies transcranial alternating stimulation and its neuromodulatory effects on patients with anxiety and depression.

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Sahil Sood BS

  • Volunteer Research Assistant, the CoNECt lab
  • DO Candidate
Sahil graduated with his Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2021. Since then he has since been enrolled in medical school at William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine. He is a volunteer research assistant of Dr. Ajilore’s CoNeCT laboratory at UIC learning more about computational neuroscience and psychiatry. He is interested in using this knowledge to further his love for neuroscience and neurology and hopes to use what he has learned thus far and beyond as a future neurologist. 

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Katherine Stotts

  • Undergraduate Research Assistant, the CoNECt Lab
Katherine is an undergraduate student at UIC and is working towards her B.S. in Biological Sciences. She received her A.S. and A.G.S. in Biology from Moraine Valley Community College in 2023. In 2023, she joined Jessica McAleer’s TACSIP research project, a neuromodulation project in Dr. Ajilore’s CoNECt Lab. The TACSIP research project studies transcranial alternating stimulation and its neuromodulatory effects on patients with anxiety and depression.

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Whitney Wyche BS

  • Predoctoral Researcher
Whitney Wyche is a graduate student in the Graduate Program in Neuroscience at UIC-COM. She received her Bachelor of Science in Biology at Spelman College in Atlanta, GA, and completed the Post-Baccalaureate Research Education Program at The University of Iowa. There Whitney studied the cellular and molecular factors contributing to network organization in major depressive disorder with Rainbo Hultman.

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