Principal Investigator

Dr. Jason Yeatman

Dr. Jason Yeatman is an Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Education and Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at Stanford University. As the director of the Brain Development and Education Lab, the overarching goal of his research is to understand the mechanisms that underlie the process of learning to read, how these mechanisms differ in children with dyslexia, and to design literacy intervention programs that are effective across the wide spectrum of learning differences. A major component of this work is the development of new quantitative brain imaging methods for modeling the neurobiological basis of cognitive development.


Mareike Grotheer

Mareike is a post-doctoral scholar in both the Brain Development and Education Lab and the Vision and Perception Neuroscience lab, with the intention of forming further bridges between the Graduate School of Education and the Psychology Department at Stanford. In her current research, Mareike explores the neural substrates of math and reading using a multimodal approach that includes functional, diffusion and quantitative MRI, as well as behavioral measures. Generally, Mareike is interested in how education, learning and experiences shape the brain.

Alex White

Alex has long been interested in visual perception, attention, and reading. He studies those topics with a combination of psychophysics, eye-tracking, fMRI, and computational modeling. One recent discovery is that skilled readers can’t recognize two words simultaneously, due to a processing bottleneck in a specific part of the brain’s reading circuitry. As a postdoc at Stanford, Alex is studying that part of the brain in more detail, with the goal to explain individual differences in reading ability.

Maha Ramamurthy

Maha is broadly interested in the intersection of higher-order mechanisms, like attention, in the functional reorganization of the brain. Naturally occurring conditions like amblyopia and dyslexia particularly interest her. At Stanford, her studies will focus on the role of visual attention in Dyslexia.

Graduate Students

Patrick Donnelly

Patrick joined the Brain Development and Education Lab in July, 2015 after participating in the I-LABS Summer Internship Program.  He received his B.A. in Child Development from Tufts University, focusing on dyslexia and the reading brain under the direction of Dr. Maryanne Wolf at the Center for Reading and Language Research. Patrick is particularly interested in the influence and impact of reading interventions/curricula, both print and digital, in helping struggling readers acquire fluency. He began his Ph.D studies in the Department of Speech & Hearing Sciences in September 2016.

Elle O'Brien

Elle O'Brien is a computational scientist with a focus on neural engineering,  biophysical modeling, and signal processing. She received her BA in Mathematics from Agnes Scott College and her MS in Neuroscience from the University of Washington. She has studied cochlear implants, binaural hearing, speech perception modeling and biological oscillators. Elle has also worked as a software developer and network administrator and codes recreationally; her most recent hobby is feeding large text files to neural networks and watching what comes out. As a member of the BDE Lab and a PhD student in the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, her work concerns understanding the nature of auditory processing deficits in dyslexia and discovering the neural computations that underlie reading. Elle is an active science communicator who has spoken about auditory research on NPR, and is currently focused on sharing science history.

Research Assistants

Megumi Takada

Megumi joined the lab after teaching at public elementary schools in South Korea and Seattle. She graduated from Wellesley College in 2017 with a B.A. in Neuroscience and Education. During her undergraduate years, Megumi worked in Dr. John Gabrieli's lab at MIT, where she helped manage an intervention study and investigated cognitive and neural differences in arithmetic processing.  Her teaching experience has led to her current intersts, primarily in understanding individual differences in reading and math development, as well as the various factors that impact learning.

Kenny Tang

Kenny joined the lab after graduating from UCSC with an undergraduate degree in Cognitive Science. While at UCSC, Kenny worked in two labs -- one in which he explored how AR technology could be utilized within preschool classrooms to teach pre-reading children how to recognize words, and another in which he explored attention, the periphery, and its effects on reaction times. While in Santa Cruz, Kenny also worked part-time as a Preschool Teacher Aide where he found a passion in working with children and child education.

Lab Alumni

Emily Kubota

Graduate Student, Stanford University Department of Psychology

Libby Huber

Research Scientist, UW Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences

Sung Jun Joo

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Pusan University, Korea


Douglas Strotdman