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Current Lab Members

Jonathon Crystal

Principal Investigator

Jonathon Crystal received his BSc from University of Toronto in 1992, ScM from Brown University in 1994, and PhD from Brown University in 1997. He was previously a faculty member at University of Georgia and William & Mary. He is currently a Professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Indiana University. He is also a faculty member of the Program in Neuroscience, the Cognitive Science Program, and the Center for the Integrative Study of Animal Behavior, all at Indiana University. He is currently the Editor in Chief of Learning & Behavior. Currently, he is the Director of the Program in Neuroscience.

Danielle Panoz-Brown

Graduate Student

Danielle Panoz-Brown is currently a graduate student in the Comparative Cognition Lab. She received a B.S. in Psychological Science from Georgia College & State University in 2011, and a M.A. in Experimental Psychology from UNCW in 2015. Over the last several years she has worked as a research assistant in numerous neuroscience and behavioral pharmacology labs. Her primary research interests include psychopharmacology, behavior analysis, and comparative cognition with special interests in animal models of learning and memory.

Cassandra Sarria

Graduate Student

Cassandra Sarria is currently a graduate student in the Cognitive Science and Psychological and Brain Sciences programs. She received a B.S. in Biology from the University of Central Florida in 2018. She is interested in studying prospective cognition in non-human animals and hopes to continue with a career in academia. In her free time Cassandra is an avid baker and enthusiastic cat mom.

Amanda Gucwa

Laboratory Technician

Amanda Gucwa graduated from Indiana University in 2018 with a B.S. in Neuroscience and in Animal Behavior. In the Comparative Cognition Lab, she assists with a variety of studies concerning episodic memory and episodic memory in Alzheimer model rats. Her future plans include pursuing a pHD in Behavioral Neuroscience and pursuing a career in research. When not in the lab, she enjoys jogging, reading, and spending time with her pets.

Jie-En Wu

Undergraduate Researcher

Jie-En Wu is currently a junior at Indiana University. She is assisting with source memory research in the Comparative Cognition Lab. At school, she is the co-captain of the Science Olympiad and varsity golf teams, a freshman mentor, as well as an active member of the Habitat for Humanity chapter. In her free time, Jie-En enjoys playing golf, swimming, baking, and watching Netflix.

Christina Sluka

Undergraduate Researcher

Christina Sluka is a senior at Indiana University studying Animal Behavior. She is working with both Dr. Crystal and Dr. Allen through the STARS and Cox Research programs. Current scientific interests include animal memory, inter-species social interactions, predatory-prey relationships, and animal conservation. Long term goals include pursuing a PhD in Zoology and working in research both in the lab and the field. She is also a member of the Indiana University Marching Hundred and pursues interests in music, art, paleontology and gaming.

Stephen Lang

Undergraduate Researcher

Stephen Lang is a junior at Indiana University who is studying neuroscience. He is assisting an item in context study examining episodic memory using olfaction in the Comparative Cognition Lab. Stephen intends to apply to medical school after graduation. Outside of coursework, he enjoys activities such as soccer, skiing, and ballroom dance.

Harsh Patel

Undergraduate Researcher

Harsh Patel is a senior at Indiana University studying Neuroscience and Psychology. He is currently assisting with episodic memory derived from olfactory trials in rats, which could have implications on human neurological disorders. His dream is to attend medical school and become a pediatrician. Outside of research and coursework, he enjoys playing ukulele, snapchatting, and watching episodes of Friends multiple times.

Dasuni Sirisooriya

Undergraduate Researcher

Dasuni is currently a junior pursuing a Neuroscience B.S and Psychology B.S. with a minor in Clinical Science. In the lab, she studies both episodic memory in rats using items in context to characterize Alzheimers Disease risk factor genes as it progresses with age. After graduation, she intends to continue her education in medical school, in hopes of becoming a psychiatrist. Outside of school work, Dasuni enjoys listening to music, reading, and watching movies.

Sejna Alibegovic

Undergraduate Researcher

Sejna Alibegovic is a sophomore at Indiana University studying Biology and minoring in Chemistry and Slavic Languages and Culture. She is currently a member of the Comparative Cognitive Laboratory assisting in the on-going study of episodic memory in rats. In the future, she hopes to attend medical school. In her free time, Sejna loves running, reading, drawing, and spending time with friends and family.

Olivia Harris

Undergraduate Researcher

Olivia Harris is a junior at IU pursuing degrees in Neuroscience and International Studies as well as a minor in Psychology. She is in the Groups STEM Initiative Program. Olivia is interested in mental disorders and neurodegenerative diseases. After undergrad, she hopes to attend medical school (for a M.D/Ph.D.) or grad school. Olivia enjoys spending time with friends, playing soccer, traveling, cooking, and reading.

Caroline Tann

Undergraduate Researcher

Caroline Tann is a junior at IU studying Biology and minoring in Chemistry and French. As a member of the Comparative Cognition Lab, she is assisting with the study of episodic memory in rats. Caroline plans to attend medical school after graduation. In her free time, Caroline enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time with close friends and family.

Olivia Rowe

Undergraduate Researcher

Olivia Rowe is a junior at Indiana University, majoring in Biology and minoring in both Psychology and Gerontology. After finishing her undergraduate studies, she plans to attend medical school to pursue her dreams of becoming a doctor specializing in geriatrics. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, having game nights, and painting.

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Ethan Wood

Undergraduate Researcher

Ethan Wood, a sophomore, is majoring in Biology and minoring in Chemistry and Norwegian. After undergraduate studies, he plans to attend medical school. In his free time, he enjoys working out, hanging with friends, and watching Netflix.

Cooper Tennent

Undergraduate Researcher

Cooper Tennent is a junior at Indiana University studying Biology. In the Comparative Cognition Lab, he is assisting with the study of episodic memory in rats. Post-graduation, he intends to continue his education in medical school and plans to pursue a specialty that allows him to help people suffering from dementia and related neurodegenerative diseases. In his free time, Cooper enjoys spending time with friends and performing with his improv comedy troupe.

Tola Ibikunle

Undergraduate Researcher

Tola Ibikunle is a senior at IU studying Chemistry, Neuroscience, and Biology, and minoring in Psychology. As a member of the Comparative Cognition Lab, she is assisting with the study of episodic memory in rats. Tola plans to attend medical school after graduation. In her free time, Tola enjoys reading, finding new recipes, hanging out with friends and family, and going to the gym.

Natalia Chaudhry

Undergraduate Researcher

Natalia Chaudhry is currently a junior at Indiana University studying biology and global health promotion. In Dr. Crystal's Comparative Cognition Lab, she helps study episodic memories in rats in pursuit of developing a memory model that can be used to conduct Alzheimer's related studies accurately. In the future, she hopes to be involved with Doctors Without Borders and continue furthering innovations in the Alzheimer's field. Outside of the lab, she enjoys volunteering at IU Methodist, learning about new cultures, and promoting equal access to medical care through GlobeMED and partnerships with Nicaraguan clinics.

Cami Albers

Undergraduate Researcher

Cami Albers is a freshman at Indiana University studying Animal Behavior. As a member of the Comparative Cognition Lab, she is assisting in the study of episodic memory in rats. In the future, she hopes to find herself doing field research as a Wildlife Biologist. In her free time, Cami enjoys reading, writing, baking, and watching movies with family and friends.

Sarah Flannery

Undergraduate Researcher

Sarah Flannery is a freshman at Indiana University studying Neuroscience. As a member of the Comparative Cognition Lab, she is assisting with the study of episodic memory in rats. In the future, she hopes to attend grad school and pursue a research-related career in Neuroscience. In her free time, Sarah enjoys dancing, watching movies, and spending time with friends and family.

Xinzhu Zhang

Research Associate

Xinzhu Zhang graduated from Indiana university in 2018 with a BS in Biology with honors. She assists the Crystal lab with the study of episodic memory in rats. In the future, she plans to pursue her PhD in sensory ecology and behavior. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with nature, talking about and interacting with animals as well as watching her favorite show Grey's Anatomy. She is forever proud to be part of Timmy Global Health and IU Dance Marathon.

Mira Antonopoulos

Technical Assistant

Mira is a sophomore at IU pursuing a Neuroscience B.S. with minors in Spanish and Psychology. She is currently assisting with research studying episodic memory in rats, and her future plans include pursuing a Ph.D. in Neuroscience. In her free time, Mira enjoys dance, movies, and spending time outdoors, especially on or near the water.

Luke Swartz

Technical Assistant

Luke Swartz is currently a Sophomore at Indiana University studying Biology with a certificate in Liberal Arts & Management and minors in Chemistry and Psychology. As a member of the Comparative Cognition Lab, he is assisting in the study of episodic memory in rats. In the future, he hopes to attend medical school after graduation and later become an anesthesiologist. In his free time, Luke enjoys spending time with friends and family, reading books, and watching Netflix.

Manpreet Kaur

Technical Assistant

Manpreet is a sophomore at IU. She is majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in Spanish. She plans to attend medical school and aspires to be a neurosurgeon. Outside of studies, she volunteers at Teachers Warehouse each week. In her free time, she likes to read especially on new research, play games, and hang out with her friends.

Katie Thieme

Technical Assistant

Katie Thieme is currently a junior at Indiana University studying Neuroscience. As a member of this lab, she studies episodic memory in rat models of Alzheimer's Disease throughout aging. She plans to attend medical school after graduation in hopes of becoming a pediatrician. Katie enjoys spending her free time with friends, going to concerts, and playing a variety of musical instruments

Jonathan Breckler

Technical Assistant

Jonathan is a freshman at IU studying Molecular Life Science. He plans to attend medical school and specialize in trauma surgery, and will hopefully also be able to continue research in Alzheimer's. The end goal is to offer medical services to undeveloped countries. In his free time he likes to swim on the IU Swim Club, binge watch Shameless, and travel (across the campus to the bubble tea place).

Clara Hall

Technical Assistant

Clara Hall is a freshman at Indiana University studying Animal Behavior. As a member of the Comparative Cognition Lab, she is assisting in the study of episodic memory in rats. In the future, she hopes to uncover the intelligence in animals with a focus on non-human primates. In her free time, Clara enjoys playing tennis, violin, and spending time with friends.





Samantha Colin

Laboratory Technician

Samantha Colin graduated from Purdue University in 2016 with a B.S. in Brain and Behavioral Sciences. At Purdue, she was involved in researching a rat model of epilepsy. In the Comparative Cognition Lab, she studies a rat model of source memory to better understand the genetic influences on dementia. Her future plans are to obtain her Ph. D in medical neuroscience from IUPUI and become a professor. When not handling rats, Sam enjoys lifting, Netflix, reading, and spending time with her family and friends.

Courtney Weaver

Undergraduate Researcher

Courtney received a B.S. from Indiana University in 2018 in Biology with a minor in Chemistry in order to become a veterinarian. In the Comparative Cognition Lab, she is involved in the APOE project and item in context experiment where she handles rats as well as collects and analyzes data. She is passionate about attending vet school and intends on specializing in an area of veterinary medicine. Her time away from the lab is spent either at her favorite place on campus, Herman B. Wells Library, or eating different ethnic foods on 4th street.

Sarah Myers

Undergraduate Researcher

Sarah Myers received a B.S. in Neuroscience at Indiana University in 2018. She is assisting with the odor trials investigating memory in rats. She hopes to continue to graduate school and pursue a research-related career. Sarah is also a member of IU's water polo team. When she isn't at the pool or in class, she enjoys reading, watching Netflix, and being with friends and family.

Jesse Kestenman

Laboratory Technician

Jesse graduated from Indiana University in 2017 with a B. S. in Neuroscience. In August, he will be attending medical school to apply his passion for neuroscience to become a physician, specializing in surgery or anesthesia. In Dr. Crystal's lab, Jesse is involved in studying the episodic memory of rats with odor related tasks. He is interested in this research due to it's potential to help the scientific community learn more about Alzheimer's disease. In his free time, Jesse loves to play guitar, golf, hike, and spend time with his family and friends.

Isaac Somekh

Undergraduate Researcher

Isaac Somekh is currently a senior at Indiana University studying neuroscience, biology and psychology. At the Comparative Cognition lab, Isaac is currently completing an honors thesis under the supervision of Dr. Crystal and has taken part in collecting data for an episodic replay study. His current scientific interest includes cellular and molecular neuroscience, comparative cognition and neurodegenerative diseases. Long term goals involve attending graduate school in the hopes to pursue a research-related career in neuroscience or biotechnology.

Melinda Stewart

Undergraduate Researcher

Melinda graduated from Indiana University with a B. A. psychology and counseling. Her research interests include exploring parallels between human and animal brains specifically pertaining to mental illness. In the Crystal lab, she aids in experimentation as well as collection and interpretation of data. Melinda is attending NYU to pursue a Master's in counselling. Her future goals are to obtain her PhD in Clinical Psychology and become a practitioner. Her hobbies include volleyball, kickboxing, traveling and interior decorating.

Michelle Soper

Undergraduate Researcher

Michelle Soper received a B.S. from Indiana University in 2018 with a major in biology and minor in psychology. She is currently attending optometry school. She is a member of Comparative Cognitive Laboratory assisting with the study of episodic memory on rats. In her free time, she loves to play video games and playing piano.

Stefan Dalecki

Undergraduate Researcher

Stefan Dalecki graduated from Indiana University with a B.S. in Neuroscience and Cognitive Science. He is involved in studying multiple types of memory in rats and how the findings might benefit the research of memory related diseases such as Alzheimer's. Stefan hopes to continue his education past undergraduate school into either graduate or medical school. He enjoys spending his spare time playing futsal and rock climbing.

Sydney Brotheridge

Undergraduate Researcher

Sydney graduated from Indiana University with a B.S. in neuroscience and minors in psychology and biology. Sydney plans on pursuing a Ph.D. in medical neuroscience and going into research dealing with neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's Disease. Sydney enjoys cooking and being with friends and family.

Kjersten Cox

Undergraduate Researcher

Kjersten majored in neuroscience and minored in psychology at Indiana University. She received her A.A. with a concentration in psychology from College of Lake County in 2014. Currently, she assists in the study of episodic memory for olfactory stimuli. Her research interests include neurodegenerative diseases and psychopharmacology. After IU, Kjersten's plans to continue her studies with a graduate degree in psychopharmacology, behavioral neuroscience or clinical neuroscience. In her free time, Kjersten enjoys watching documentaries, and creating art.

Krysten Garcia

REU Intern

Krysten is a junior at Johns Hopkins University studying Behavioral Biology and Psychology. In the lab, she was involved with the study on the role of the hippocampus in episodic memory. She is primarily interested in the development of mental health and memory disorders and plans to attend medical or graduate school. In her free time, Krysten enjoys playing soccer, dancing and watching movies.

Meredith Gentry

Undergraduate Researcher

Meredith Gentry graduated from Indiana University with a B.S. in neuroscience and biology. She assisted in collecting data for the odor-related memory tasks in the comparative cognition lab. Meredith plans to follow up her undergraduate degree by attending graduate school and pursuing a research-related career. In her free time she enjoys watching movies, running, and spending time with family and friends.

Hannah Corbin

Undergraduate Researcher

Hannah is a junior at Indiana University studying Neuroscience and Statistics. Hannah primarily collects the data coming from the odor trials related to memory. In the future, she hopes to continue on to graduate school and focus on neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease. When she isn't working or going to class, she likes to spend her time outdoors by hiking or playing soccer.

Xan Smith

Graduate Student

Xan Smith graduated from Earlham College in 2013 where she majored in Psychology. Following graduation, she joined the Comparative Cognition Lab as a recipient of the Visiting Undergraduate Research Fellowship. Her research interests include source memory, Alzheimer's disease, and rat models of neurodegenerative diseases. In her free time Xan enjoys table top games, playing oboe, biking, and discovering new types of teas.

Bianca Almeida

REU Intern

Bianca Almeida is a Neuroscience undergraduate student at Federal University of ABC, in Brazil. In the Crystal Lab, she is involved with the study of episodic memory. She has great interest in animal memory, time perception, and psychopharmacology. She wants to pursue a master degree in Neuroscience and Cognitive Sciences. In her free time, she likes to read and to watch movies and TV shows.

Severine Hex

REU Intern

Severine is a junior at Cornell University pursuing a program of her design through the Rawlings Presidential Research Scholar program and the College Scholar Program. Her program incorporates Neurobiology and Behavior, Psychology, Linguistics and Philosophy in order to explore non-human language in a comparative and interdisciplinary fashion. After graduation in 2018, she intends to pursue a PhD, and in the future hopes to become a professor of comparative ethological study. When not researching, Severine is training for bodybuilding competitions, writing, reading, or drawing.

Hailey Meyer

Undergraduate Researcher

Hailey Meyer is a senior at Indiana University studying chemistry and neuroscience. She is involved in studying the effects of chemotherapy on the episodic memory of rats via a radial arm maze. After graduation, Hailey plans to attend medical school. In her free time, she enjoys running, paddle boarding, and spending time with her family.

Matthew Pizzo

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Matthew Pizzo graduated from University of Georgia in 2005 with a PhD in Psychology. Since that time he has held the posts of Postdoctoral Research Fellow at University of York as well as Visiting Assistant Professor at Bucknell University. As a Research Associate in the Comparative Cognition Lab, Matt investigated episodic and prospective memory in rodents. His other areas of research interest include circadian timing and the mechanisms of time-place learning. He is a self-appointed foodie, enjoys hiking, traveling as well as homebrewing.

Spencer Kann

Lab Technician

Spencer Kann graduated from Indiana University in 2015 with a B.S. in Neuroscience. In the Comparative Cognition Lab, he studies rat models of learning and memory to better understand the cognitive processes and genetic components involved in Alzheimer's disease. His favorite book is Catch-22. His interests in the field lie primarily in learning/memory, music, and decision making. When not handling rats, Spencer enjoys movies, cooking, computer games, and making music.

Amanda Doyle

Research Technician

Amanda Doyle graduated from Indiana University in 2013 with a BSc in Psychology and an area certificate in Neuroscience. In the past, she has researched the electrophysiology and motor behavior of mice modeling Huntington's disease under Dr. George Rebec. Amanda intends on earning her PhD to study the neuropsychological bases of anxiety and panic. When not working in the lab, Amanda enjoys making chocolates, dancing, and instructing aerial fitness classes.

Alex Bratch

Undergraduate Researcher

Alex Bratch was a senior at Indiana University majoring in Psychology and Philosophy. In the Comparative Cognition lab, Alex primarily studied working memory using a change detection paradigm. In addition, Alex also studied visual perception and object recognition through the IU Vision lab and the Perception and NeuroImaging lab. Alex is now pursuing his PhD at Outside of the lab, Alex enjoys playing music and hiking.

Nilda Yarelis Rivera-Reyes

Undergraduate Researcher

Nilda Yarelis Rivera-Reyes is a senior at University of Puerto Rico majoring in Psychology and Mental Health. After her graduation in 2015, she aims to get a Ph.D. either in Psychology or Neuroscience. In the future she wants to become a neuropsychologist. Her research interests are in animal behavior from a clinical perspective (mainly neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease), memory and cognition, and to understand how the brain works using neuroimaging techniques. Nilda likes to go to the beach, play dominoes, spend time with her family and friends, and watch movies.

Aaron Ketzenberger

Undergraduate Researcher

Aaron Ketzenberger is a senior at Indiana University majoring in Psychology. After graduation, he intends to pursue a PhD in psychology. His primary research interests include: memory, comparative cognition, and language acquisition. In addition to being a research assistant, Aaron is also an undergraduate teaching assistant. In his free time, Aaron enjoys baking, dancing, and windowsill gardening.

Wes Alford

Laboratory Technician

Wesley Alford graduated from Indiana University in 2009 with a Bachelors of Science in Psychology. He is attending graduate school at Brandeis University. In the Comparative Cognition Lab he developed a model of source memory in the rat, and he studied this model to better understand this complex cognitive process. Additionally, as a lab technician, he helped to train new research assistants and maintained a variety of behavioral equipment. He has also studied acute slices of cortical tissue from a complex systems prospective. When the weather is fortunate enough he enjoys cycling, and on less fortunate days he fills time by watching movies.

Ashlyn Mannery

Undergraduate Researcher

Ashlyn Mannery is a senior at Washington & Jefferson College majoring in Psychology with a Neuroscience emphasis. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Psychology after graduating in the spring of 2014. Her research interests include memory and cognition, behavior, and decision making. As a career, Ashlyn is considering Neuropsychology. In her free time, she enjoys working out, skating, and bowling.

Diana Arman

Undergraduate Researcher

Diana Arman is a freshman at Indiana University pursuing a Neuroscience degree and a certificate in Animal Behavior. In the Comparative Cognition Lab, she is involved in studying working memory in rats and developing an animal model of learning and memory, which can benefit the research and treatment of memory disorders. After completing her undergraduate education, she plans to attend medical or graduate school. In her free time Diana enjoys painting, playing tennis, and practicing violin and piano.

Austin Dunn

Undergraduate Researcher

Austin Dunn is a Junior at Indiana University studying Neuroscience. After graduation he plans to attend medical school and his end goal is to become a food allergist. Outside of school and the lab Austin spends whatever free time he has doing CrossFit at CrossFit Bloomington.

Joshua Cain

REU Intern

Josh Cain is a rising senior from Drake University majoring in Neuroscience. He is participating in CISAB's animal behavior research experience for undergraduates at IU. In the Comparative Cognition laboratory, Josh works on a study that investigates working memory in rats and the influence of age on spatial memory. After graduating, his goal is to obtain a PhD in cognitive neuroscience. His interests in the field primarily lie in memory, language, and sensation/perception.

Megha Redkar

Research Programmer

Megha Redkar graduated from the University of Mumbai, India in 2013 with a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Information Technology. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Science degree in Computer Science at Indiana University and working as a Research Programmer in the Comparative Cognition Lab. Megha enjoys learning about networks and intends to obtain a certification on CCNA routing and switching. In her free time, she enjoys watching stand up comedy shows and music videos.

Katelyn Stevens

Undergraduate Researcher

Katelyn Stevens is a sophomore at Indiana University, majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in Spanish. After she finishes her undergraduate degree, Katelyn plans to attend medical school. She is also a part of the Special Events committee for the Indiana University Dance Marathon and Honorvol. When she isn't working in the lab, Katelyn enjoys playing intramural soccer, reading, and dancing.