Research: I am interested in the neural basis of higher cognitive function. Specifically, my research focuses on working memory, attention, and cognitive control as these are the building blocks of all cognitively complex behavior and thought. I use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), cognitive testing, and computational modeling to develop an integrated understanding of these dynamic neural systems, from the activity of single cells to behavior. Within this context, there are three basic types of questions that I am pursuing:

  • Functional Organization of Prefrontal Cortex and its role in the neural systems of higher cognition.
  • Functional Specialization, Distributed Representation, and Interactions among Brain Areas
  • Plasticity and Development

In summary, I am interested in the organization and role of the prefrontal cortex in working memory, attention, and cognitive control. In order to fully understand the organization and role of the prefrontal cortex, one must also understand how this organization can be changed by interactions within the prefrontal cortex and with other brain regions, and by experience, disease and development.

Copyright photos courtesy of Elizabeth Jameson (

News & Announcements

Welcome new Grad Student Natalia!

We have a new first-year PhD Student in the lab – Natalia Khodayari. Natalia hails from Northern California, most recently UC Davis, and is well experienced with EEG. We’re excited to have her in the lab!

Lab Manager gets second place in JHU’s class poker tournament!

Data collection, skill, and luck works in many different ways in the Courtney Lab. Eda, our Lab Manager, took a 2-week intensive poker class taught by Professor Avi Rubin, and got second place in the final class poker tournament! Congratulations Eda!

Considering graduate student applications!

We will be considering graduate students for the 2019-2010 application cycle. If you are interested in applying, please send an e-mail to Susan Courtney at

Research Assistants present at the Baltimore SFN Chapter Meeting!

Research Assistants Nora and Soowan had the opportunity to present and discuss their research at the 2019 Baltimore SFN Chapter Meeting this past week. Nora, now a Senior with her eyes set on Medical School, has been with the Courtney Lab her entire time at Hopkins! Her project was entitled “Does warning that a stimulus… Read more »

The Courtney Lab hosts the creators of Brainstorm – EEG Workshop

On March 14th and 15th, the Courtney Lab hosted the creators of Brainstorm, Sylvain Baillet and Martin Cousineau, for an intensive 2-day EEG data analysis workshop. The workshop included hands-on EEG data analysis and lectures on EEG processing and EEG signals.   Brainstorm is a collaborative, open-source application dedicated to the analysis of brain recordings. Link… Read more »

Myranda wins another research award!

In addition to the prestigious APS award Myranda Gormley—our superstar undergraduate lab member—received a while ago, she’s also just received a Dean’s Undergraduate Research Award (DURA; for her project on stress and cognition.  This award provides substantial funding for conducting her research. Congrats to Myranda!