Principal Investigator


Joe Hopfinger, Ph.D.

Joe Hopfinger is a Professor in the Department of Psychology & Neuroscience at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and he is the new editor of the journal Cognitive Neuroscience: Current Debates, Research, and Reports. He is a member of the Cognitive Psychology Program and the group leader of the Human Neuroimaging Group in the Department of Psychology & Neuroscience. He is also affiliated with the Biomedical Research Imaging Center (BRIC), the Neurobiology Curriculum, and the Department of Exercise and Sport Science. Dr. Hopfinger received his B.S. in Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of California at Davis. His research interests include the neural mechanisms of attention, distraction, and visual perception, and more recently neural plasticity, online training, and neurostimulation. His lab employs multiple techniques including electroencephalography (EEG), event-related potentials (ERP), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS). Outside of the lab, he enjoys hiking, playing soccer/football/tennis with his kids, and reading.


Graduate and Medical Students


Jonathan Parsons

Jonathan is a graduate student in the Cognitive Psychology program. He received a BSc in Psychology from McGill University in Montreal, Canada and an MA in Psychology from UNC. His research aims to better understand voluntary and reflexive forms of orienting attention, using a variety of neuroimaging and neuromodulatory techniques. He loves music and has played the drums in a variety of rock and jazz bands.


Kristin Meyer

Kiki is a dual graduate student in the Cognitive and Clinical Psychology Programs. After receiving her B.S. from Birmingham Southern College, she spent time as an Americorps volunteer in the Birmingham City Schools and as part of a clinical research team working to improve interventions for HIV + patients. Her primary research projects are aimed at understanding relationships between impulsivity and cognitive control over reward response across development, and her personal interests include exploring hiking trails and dog park time with her pup.


Jake Bowling

Jake is a fourth year student in the School of Medicine. He received his B.S. from the University of South Carolina with a major in Biological Sciences and a minor in Chemistry. His research interests include the functional neuroimaging of cognitive processes, cranial nerve involvement in multiple sclerosis, and the use of infrared imaging for the early detection of shock. His personal interests include tennis, photography, and ultimate frisbee.


Undergraduate Students


Julia Goncalves

Julia is a second-year student with a major in Biology (BS) and a minor in Spanish. She is fascinated by neuroplasticity, is a member of the Student Government and Alpha Delta Pi, and hopes to attend medical school after college.


Miranda Holt

Miranda is an undergraduate student in the College of Arts and Sciences. She will receive her B.S. in Biology and a Chemistry minor from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2020. Her research interest is neuroplasticity and her personal interests include reading, traveling, and being outdoors.


Ryesa Mansoor

Ryesa is an undergraduate student hoping to study Nutrition and Public Health with minors in Neuroscience and Korean. Her research interests gravitate towards understanding eating behavior and motivation, neuropathology, as well as cognitive neuroscience and the mechanisms behind attention. Her personal interests outside of academics include traveling, baking, and working out. After graduating, Ryesa hopes to attend medical school to specialize in psychiatry or neurology.


Matthew Seong

Matthew is an undergraduate student pursuing a B.S. in Psychology and Neuroscience with minors in Computer Science and Neuroscience. His research interests are fMRI data analysis or anything to do with neuroscience, and his personal interests include photography, food, and dance.


Neyla Topa

Nelly is a senior at UNC pursuing a B.S. in Psychology and Biology with a minor in Chemistry. Following graduation, she hopes to earn a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with a research focus on the underlying biological factors and longer-lasting cognitive aspects of addiction and addictive behaviors. When not in the lab, she spends her time crafting, exploring new coffee shops, and spending time with family and friends.


Lab Alumni


Prerna Bholah
Chrissy Camblin
Vicki Chanon
Maggie Creamer
Feng Du
Cassie Ford
Taylor Hartzog
Emily Parks
Anthony Ries