Due to the passing of our beloved mentor and colleague, Dr. Susan Courtney, we are not accepting positions for this lab at this time. You may find her obituary from our JHU community on the Hub.

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 our new PhD student, Nathaniel Allen!

Nathaniel is finishing his senior year at Florida Tech studying neuropsychology. He will be joining the Courtney Lab this Fall 2023, and we can’t wait!

Dr. Courtney is on a sabbatical this academic year (’22-’23)

Stanford University Psychology Building

Dr. Courtney is on a sabbatical this year, focusing on developing new research projects and collaborations. In the fall of 2022, she was a Visiting Scholar at Stanford University, hanging out with many amazing people.  She had a great time with Anthony Wagner’s group learning about their work on the relationship between attention and episodic...

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!