Meet our lab

Principal Investigator

Katherine Duncan

Principal Investigator, PhD

Katherine competed her PhD at New York University, studying how hippocampal subfields contribute to memory formation and retrieval. She then moved uptown to Columbia University where she studied interactions between the hippocampus and dopaminergic system. In the summer of 2015, she returned to the University of Toronto, where she had studied as an undergraduate student. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at the St. George campus.

Katherine’s CV

Contact information: duncan@psych.utoronto.ca


Xiaoping Fang

Postdoc, PhD

Xiaoping is a post-doc, working with both Katherine and Meg Schlichting. Her previous research focused on language learning, in particular, how people learn new meanings for words they already know. In both labs, she will be investigating the mechanisms underlying the integration of relevant memories and hoping to bridge the memory and language research areas. In her free time, she likes to go hiking, camping, climbing, and to explore the city.

Contact information: xpfang4@gmail.com

Personal website: https://sites.google.com/site/xpfang4/

Xiaoping’s CV

Graduate Students

Anuya Patil

3rd Year PhD Student

I am a graduate student in the psychology department at the St. George campus of University of Toronto. Before coming to UofT, I completed a Postbaccalaureate Psychology Certificate Program from Columbia University, after which I served as a lab manager in the Davachi Lab at New York University. Currently, I am using behavioural and neuroimaging techniques to investigate the effect of novelty and reward on episodic memory.

Anuya’s CV

Contact information: anuya.patil@mail.utoronto.ca

Alexandra Decker

3rd Year PhD Student

I am a PhD student in the psychology program at U of T, and am co-supervised by Katherine Duncan and Amy Finn. Before joining the lab, I received my BA in psychology from McGill University, and an MA in psychology in the Mabbott lab at the Hospital for Sick Children. My current research focuses on how fluctuations in sustained attention affects memory in both healthy adults and children.

Alexandra’s CV

Contact information: Alexandraleerdecker@gmail.com

Personal Website: https://www.alexandradecker.com/

Kyle Nealy

1st Year PhD Student

How is space and time represented in the brain, and how do these representations impact how we learn and remember? My research aims to find answers to these questions by analyzing brain and behaviour data across species using a variety of cutting edge collection and analysis techniques.

Before joining the Duncan lab, I received my BSc in Psychology, Economics, and Mathematics from the University of Toronto. If I’m not in the lab, you can find me training for my next triathlon, teaching band, or hiking the Ontario wilderness.

Kyle’s CV

Contact Information: kyle.nealy@mail.utoronto.ca

Ariana Youm

MA Student

I am a graduate student in the Psychology department at the University of Toronto co-supervised by Dr. Katherine Duncan and Dr. Melanie Cohn (Krembil Research Institute). Before joining the lab, I completed my BSc degree in the Psychology Research Specialist Program at U of T. I am interested in the interaction of memory and attention — specifically, how acetylcholine impacts memory, and what its role is in the dysfunction of memory in normal and pathological aging.

Ariana’s CV

Lab Managers

Sarah Berger

Lab Manager

I recently graduated from Queen’s University as a psychology major and biology minor. I’m particularly interested in learning about cognitive development and neuroscience in the context of learning and memory. I am concurrently working as a lab manager in the Budding Minds Lab. In my free time I like to bake desserts and go running outside. I am hoping to pursue graduate studies in psychology in the future.

Contact Information: duncanlabmanager@gmail.com

Hannah Cho

Lab Manager

Hello! I’m Hannah, and I’m a recent graduate from the Cognitive Science and Neuroscience programs at the University of Toronto. I’m currently working as the Lab Manager for the Duncan Memory Lab and the Learning and Neural Development Lab, and also as an Administrative Associate in the Consciousness and Wisdom Studies Lab. I’m interested in pursuing further studies in cognitive psychology, with a keen interest in learning and applying methods from varied disciplines to obtain an integrated understanding of cognitive processes. I’m particularly drawn to how different cognitive processes interact and influence each other. Outside of research, I enjoy drawing, swing dancing, and spending time with loved ones.

Contact Information: duncanlabmanager@gmail.com

Individual Project Students

Enri Boshti

Individual Project Student

I am currently a third year student at the University of Toronto studying neuroscience and biochemistry. I plan to pursue graduate studies that combine both fields in order to further contribute to our understanding of complex neurological mechanisms.

Victoriya Kozhemyakina

Individual Project Student

I am a third year student completing a double major in cell and molecular biology and psychology. I’m interested in cognitive psychology and how different factors influence memory encoding and retrieval. Currently I’m volunteering at Sunnybrook hospital in the physiotherapy clinic.

Research Volunteers

Roxanne Choy

Research Volunteer

I’m currently going into my fifth year of undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto, with the intention to graduate with a double major in neuroscience and psychology. I have a passion for studying the various mechanisms through which addiction can be influenced by various motivational states, and have recently taken interest in cognitive neuroscience, with a computational twist. When I’m not in the lab or studying, you probably won’t be able to find me – I’d very likely be camping somewhere far from the city!

Ellen Puhalovich

Research Volunteer

I’m currently a third year student at the University of Toronto. I plan to graduate with a major in cognitive science as well as a double minor in computer science and statistics. I’m particularly interested in applications of computer science to support research and enhance our understanding of the mind. After undergrad, I hope to continue my studies with a focus on artificial intelligence.

Denise Bu

Research Volunteer

I am currently a third-year student at Western University, completing an honours specialization in biochemistry and cell biology. I have always been fascinated in learning more about cognitive development, particularly with respect to memory. In my spare time, I enjoy trying new things and picking up new hobbies, as well as travelling and experiencing new cultures.

Layan Elfaki

Research Volunteer

I’m currently going into fourth year at UofT, double majoring in Psychology and Health and Disease. I’m passionate about the study of the mind and uncovering mechanisms through which it operates to potentially develop early diagnosis methods for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease. My current research involves uncovering the effects of novelty on proactive interference using an eye-tracking paradigm.

Katie MacIntosh

Research Volunteer

I am currently a fourth-year undergraduate student, working on a double major in psychology and linguistics. I’m particularly interested in cognitive, abnormal, and positive psychology. In my free time I like taking photos and studying foreign languages. I am hoping to pursue graduate studies in psychology in the future.

Arushi Katyal

Research Volunteer

I am a third year student at McGill University completing my B.A. in Psychology with a research focus. At McGill, I am involved with the Peer Support Centre and The Empathy Journal, as I am passionate about all things mental health and helping others. Outside of psychology, I am also interested in sociology, political theory, and American history. In the future, I hope to pursue graduate studies in clinical psychology.

Padideh Hassanpour

Research Volunteer

Before joining Professor Duncan’s lab, I completed my undergraduate studies here at the University of Toronto, double majoring in Women and Gender Studies and Equity Studies. With hopes of pursuing a career in the criminal justice system, I went on to complete my MPhil in Criminology at the University of Cambridge. Now, a year later, I find myself deeply intrigued by various psychological areas of study, including memory and motivation. With a little luck and some grit, I plan on applying my interdisciplinary background to a career in clinical psychology.

Sukhman Sandhu

Research Volunteer

I am a University of Toronto forth year candidate in Psychology and Human Biology. I am hoping to pursue clinical psychology in the future. My past research experience include the effects of the environment in children’s development and resilience, effects of ECE’s cognitive sensitivity on toddlers performances on task, and the impact of dialectical behavioural therapy on individuals with borderline personality disorder.


Alexander Gordienko

Lab Programmer/Research Volunteer

I am a first year Computer Science and Neuroscience double major at the University of Toronto. Both fields interest me greatly and I aim to pursue a career that integrates them well. My current work involves building virtual 3D environments to facilitate relevant research in the hippocampus.

Lab Alumni

Postdoctoral Fellows
Andrew Bauer, Data Scientist at Feedzai

Undergraduate Thesis Students
  • Sara Pishdadian, PhD — Clinical Neuropsychology, York University
  • Dylan Tucker, Medical School, McMaster University
  • Shafquat Arefeen, Financial Data Analyst, Ontario Securities Commission
  • Eugenia Barkova, Software Engineer
  • Azara Lalla, M.Sc — Experimental Psychology, McGill University
  • Hannah Tarder-Stoll, PhD, Columbia University
  • Helen Liu, MHSc, Healthcare Analyst at the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB)

Individual Project Students
  • Yaxin Liu, Graduate Student, Emory University
  • Freda Jian, Graduate Student, Queen's University

Research Opportunity Project Students
  • Isis So
  • Nastasia Kujbid
  • Nika Zahedi Neysiani

Lab Managers/Research Volunteers
  • Louisa Man, Masters - Clinical Psychology, Queen's University
  • Rachel Downey, PhD - Clinical Psychology at Concordia University
  • Freha Mian, Masters - Counselling Psychology at Yorkville University
  • Samin Khan
  • Shijing Wang, MSc - Institute of Medical Science
  • Wangjing Yu, PhD - Psychology at Columbia University
  • Danielle Lim, MA/PhD - Clinical Psychology at Ryerson University
  • Dongyan Lin, MSc - Neuroscience, McGill University
  • Mohammad Ali, MSc - MINDS Program, McMaster University
  • Monique Sousa

Lab Programmers
  • Jihad El Sheikh, Software Developer Intern, CaseBank Technologies
  • Aatina Munir
  • Sneha Dasgupta