According to myth (and likely just a myth), the famed explorer Ernest Shackleton took out a small ad in a newspaper and wrote: “Men Wanted for Hazardous Journey. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful. Honor and recognition in case of success.”
Here from our headquarters in Minnesota, we can similarly promise small wages and bitter cold. (Not so much the complete darkness and constant danger.) And as for success, honor, and recognition? Time will tell. But the merry band of folks below believe in our mission, and we hope that you will too.
Spring 2019: The Lab at our annual Spring Social, where we continue our tradition of Trivia Night. (This particular night we won the first round!)
Current Lab Members
Natasha Ahrweiler, Undergraduate Research Assistant
Natasha is an undergraduate sophomore at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. She is majoring in Neuroscience and spends her free time in the outdoors backpacking and camping. She is interested in the intersection of criminal law and neuroscience and plans to attend medical school after her undergraduate career in hopes of becoming a neurosurgeon.
Yuhan Bao, Law Research Assistant
Yuhan Bao is a 2021 J.D. Candidate at the University of Minnesota Law School. She double-majored in Law and English at Xiamen University in China. Being an experienced translator and interpreter, she is excited about facilitating communication with academics in China and exploring the intersection between law and neuroscience.
Warren Cormack, Law Research Assistant
Warren Cormack is a 2021 J.D. Candidate at the University of Minnesota Law School. He completed degrees in Cognitive Neuroscience and Philosophy: Law and Policy at Washington University in St. Louis. He also spent a semester at the University of Edinburgh’s Philosophy, Psychology & Language Sciences school. He enjoys biking, rowing, and the outdoors. He is excited about the intersection of philosophy, neuroscience, and law.
Julie Griep, Law Research Assistant
Julie is entering her final year of law school at the University of Minnesota, and has an undergraduate degree in biomechanical engineering from Marquette University in Milwaukee. She also has experience working on Research & Advanced Technology for Fresenius Kabi, a medical device company in IL. Julie is very interested in the intersection of medical devices and the law, as well as the emphasis that ethics plays in this area. She is also interested in artificial intelligence and the law, and enjoys lively discussions on whether AI is always beneficial to humans or not. Outside of seemingly endless education (and as a classic midwestern native), Julie enjoys bouldering, biking, and running in all four seasons, going up north to her family’s cabin in the summer, and she has traveled to 18 countries.
Brendan Johnson is a Montana native, finishing his coursework at the University of Minnesota Law School. Brendan is a student director and competitor on the University of Minnesota Law National Moot Court Team and focuses his studies on the confluence of tech, tech policy, and constitutional law. An avid hiker, camper, and climber, Brendan likes to be outdoors when not attempting to solve the world’s legal problems.
Monica is an undergraduate sophomore at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, majoring in Sociology of Law, Crime, and Deviance and minoring in psychology. Monica graduated from Hinsdale Central High School as an Illinois State Scholar. When she is not doing her studies, she spends her time in the art studios and playing with the University’s North Star Band. Monica plans to continue onto Law School after her undergraduate career.
Jennifer Novo, Law Research Assistant
Jennifer is a Class of 2021 J.D. candidate at the University of Minnesota Law School. She graduated with honors from the University of Chicago in 2016 with a Psychology major and a Biology minor. While an undergraduate, she worked as a lab assistant for the Prendergast Lab in the Institute for Mind and Biology, which focused on chronobiology. She is interested in the intersection between psychology, technology, and the law.
Anish Sethi, Undergraduate Research Assistant
Anish is an undergraduate sophomore at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities majoring in neuroscience. He likes to spend his spare time playing soccer, coding websites and apps, and running. He is also an EMT with the University of Minnesota’s Emergency Medical Services and is involved with multiple extracurricular activities on and off campus. Anish hopes to attend medical school after his undergraduate years.
Kennon Wales is an undergraduate sophomore at the University of Minnesota. She is majoring in Political Science and Technical Writing and Communication with the sub-plan legal discourse and public policy. She recently completed an internship at Tubman in the legal department. After graduation, she hoped to attend law school. In her free time, she enjoys watching movies and attempting to solve crossword puzzles.
Lab Collaborators Beyond Minnesota
Professor Wu Xiyu is a Professors at Zhejiang University Law School in China. In Fall 2013, Professor Wu visited the University of Minnesota Law School to improve American-Chinese dialogue on issues related to law and neuroscience. In Spring 2014, Professor Wu taught the first Law and Neuroscience course in China. We are now exploring possibilities for joint research projects and translations of neurolaw works into Chinese. (Thanks for coming to Minnesota Wu!)
(Included here are some alums from the Law and Neuroscience course as well.)
Mikaela Brandt-Fontaine is an undergraduate at the University of Minnesota, majoring in Genetics and Cell Development with a focus in the study of hormonal development. As a pre-med student, she interested in exposure to clinical volunteer work, as well as bioethics.
Deniz Cataltepe graduated from Harvard College, where she was a premed concentrating in History and Science, with a secondary concentration in Global Health and Health Policy. She has conducted research in the F.M. Kirby Neurobiology Center (Children’s Hospital, Boston), and worked in the United States Attorney’s Office (District of Massachusetts). She is working with the Lab on a historical study of the relationship between the fields of neurology and psychiatry.
JP is an undergraduate sophomore at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities where he is double majoring in Biology and Human Physiology. JP recently transferred from the University of St. Thomas where he played basketball. Outside of the classroom, he is involved with volunteering at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, Special Olympics Club and coaching youth basketball. Upon the completion of his undergraduate degree, he hopes to attend medical school and earn an MD/MBA dual degree.
Geordin graduated from the Univ. of Minnesota, majoring in psychology. Geordin has extensive research assistant experience across many labs, and helped the Neurolaw Lab in its research efforts at the Driven To Discover Building at the Minnesota State Fair. (Thanks Geordin!)
Sydney is an undergraduate senior at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, majoring in neuroscience. She will receive her B.S. in Neuroscience in May 2019. Sydney is a lab manager and research assistant for the Shen Neurolaw Lab. Sydney is a published author in the field of neurolaw, having co-authored a publication on youth sports concussion incidence and lead-authored a legal review on the effectiveness of legislatively-mandated concussion education interventions. Sydney has accepted a healthcare consultant position with Wipfli LLP upon her graduation in May 2019, where she will join their health care facility and capital planning team. Sydney plans on returning to the University of Minnesota to complete her MBA and / or MHA sometime in the near future. In her free time, Sydney is the President of and a competitor for the University of Minnesota Gymnastics Club, where she has served as an executive board member for three years. Sydney also enjoys spending time outdoors, reading, and perusing local breweries.
Christine Egan graduated from the University of Minnesota with a major in Neuroscience and minors in Public Health, Psychology, and Behavioral Biology. She is interested in pursuing a career in public health that relates to her passion for neuroscience and worked on the Grand Challenges research project to improve the brain health of Minnesota youth athletes.
Laura graduated from the University of St. Thomas Law School in 2014, and was a great member of our Fall 2013 Law and Neuroscience class. Laura was able to translate her law and neuroscience background directly into success in the legal marketplace. In her own words: “The Law and Neuroscience course had a significant impact on my development as a young legal professional. Through the coursework and conversations I participated in, I was exposed to new areas of artificial intelligence I had not previously explored. Months later, I was able to speak intelligently and passionately about this new interest in an interview with my current employer. Today I have been given the opportunity to work at IBM where I am developing the skills to be able to protect the intellectual property behind technologies like Watson.” (How neat! Thanks Laura and good luck with the robots!)
Hallie Hillemann is an undergraduate student at Lawrence University, where she is pursuing a B.A. in Psychology and a B.M. in Violin Performance. In addition to her work with the Lab (on jury decision-making), she has collaborated with Lawrence Psychology professors Matthew Ansfield, Jeremy Bakken, and Beth Haines on both faculty and student-led research projects with topics ranging from adolescent technology use to performance anxiety. In 2014, she was part of one of two groups of Lawrence students selected to present a poster at the Society for Research on Adolescence biennial meeting. Hallie spent the academic year after working with the Lab studying abroad in Vienna, where she taught English in a public school, and will spend the summer of 2015 working at Camp Huntington, a camp for individuals with developmental disabilities.
Dr. Tyler Johnson, MD
Dr. Tyler Johnson, MD, is a rising second year at the University of Minnesota Law School. He will receive his JD in 2019. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Wisconsin (majoring in biology and genetics), and earned his MD from The Ohio State University College of Medicine. Tyler is interested in policy and regulatory work involving health care and medicine. Outside of his academic and career interests, Tyler enjoys mountain biking, snowboarding, playing instruments (guitar, drums, piano), and finding new breweries.
Jordan was born and raised in southwestern North Dakota. He graduated from the University of Minnesota completing course work in Neuroscience and Entrepreneurship. He is a student of life and is passionate about learning and acquiring knowledge across all spectrums. Outside of academics he enjoys water sports, hiking, camping and playing chess. Jordan will attend medical school.
Rtusha graduated from the University of Minnesota in May 2016. She majored in Studies in Cinema and Media Culture, with a minor in Political Science. Her interest in being a filmmaker and her desire to tell important and meaningful stories led her to Dr. Shen and the Shen Neurolaw Lab. After leaving Minnesota, she completed a Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Producing at Columbia University.
Weiwen Leung is an Economics PhD student from Singapore, and is considering specializing in behavioral economics with a policy focus. In his spare time, he enjoys cycling, jogging, and playing chess. He’s climbed Mount Kinabalu (4095m) and has cycled between the Malaysian cities of Penang and Kuala Lumpur (400km).
Jaleh McTeigue is an undergraduate student at Mount Holyoke College, where she has designed the college’s degree program in Neuroscience and Law. She hopes to apply the intersection in litigation of brain injury or development of cognitive enhancement ethics and policy. At Mount Holyoke she is Vice President of the Class of 2018 and Vice President of Debate Society. Previously, she has conducted protein crystallization research at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Currently, she is working as a science and technology policy intern with Congressman Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico in Washington D.C.
Caitlin Opperman is a student at the University of Minnesota Law School (’18). After receiving her B.A. in psychology from Macalester College, Caitlin worked as a psychometrist administering neuropsychological assessments to pediatric patients with epilepsy and other neurobehavioral disorders. She is interested in criminal law and health law and excited about exploring these areas through neuroscience.
Andrew Park is a recent graduate of the University of Minnesota, earning his Bachelor of Science in Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development in the spring of 2018. During his time as an undergraduate, he worked as a research assistant for the Das Lab in the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics. He is an aspiring law student currently in the 2019-2020 application cycle. He also works as a legal assistant for Danielson Legal, LLC, a Cambridge-based IP and technology law firm. In his free time, he enjoys working on his car, spending time with friends, and listening to music.
Ryan Pesch graduated from the University of Minnesota Law School in 2016. His fascination with the sciences stems from his experience working in a genetics lab despite his undergraduate major in Philosophy. In law school, he focused primarily on the intersection of technology and the law, intrigued by topics such as 3D printing, cybersecurity, and biotechnology. After graduation, Ryan plans on pursuing a doctorate in the sciences and a judicial clerkship.
Joshua Preston is a student in the University of Minnesota’s Joint Degree Program in Law, Science & Technology (JD/MA Bioethics) and a research fellow at Baylor College of Medicine’s Center for Science and Law. In addition to his neurolaw and bioethics scholarship, he is a published historian, poet, and essayist. To learn more, visit www.JPPreston.com.
Tom Pryor graduated, summa cum laude, from the University of Minnesota Law School, and completed a Ph.D. in Political Science in the University of Minnesota Department of Political Science. His dissertation focused on judicial decision-making. An expert on experimental methods, he worked with the Lab on empirical projects related to legal decision-making. Dr. Pryor is now an Associate Attorney at Faegre Baker Daniels in Minneapolis.
Carly Rasmussen is a senior at the University of Minnesota-Twin completing dual degrees in Neuroscience and Psychology. She is currently finishing her thesis investigating the factors underlying social perception in the Jiang Lab. In addition, she serves as associate editor for Sentience, the undergraduate psychology research journal. In her free time, Carly enjoys playing volleyball, reading and writing, and drinking copious amounts of coffee.
Kelsey graduated from the University of Minnesota in May 2016 with degrees in Psychology and Art, with a minor in Neuroscience. She worked in audio and media for theater and film for two years, and has worked in research in the cognitive psychology labs of Dr. Wilma Koutstaal and Dr. Mark McCourt. After graduation, she joined the Circus! (Really: she is the senior audio technician for one ofCirque Du Soleil’s touring companies.
Kai Saito is a Microbiology and Neuroscience major at the University of Minnesota, with a minor in Global Studies. She hopes to pursue her M.D. after graduation, and ultimately work with Doctor Without Borders. Her fascination with the human mind and neurodegenerative disorders has led to her immersion in neuroscience studies.
Tayla graduated with a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies from the University of Minnesota and is now pursuing a Master of Public Health in Social and Behavioral Health Sciences at the University of Toronto. Her research interests include evaluating the effectiveness of legal and clinical systems utilized by survivors of intimate partner violence in underrepresented communities.
Dr. Adam Steiner received his Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Minnesota. His lead-authored 2014 piece on “regret” in rats was published in Nature Neuroscience and made national and international headlines, including being the basis for a Letterman Top 10 List. Dr. Steiner’s long term interest is to understand the process of decision making: first by understanding the neural correlates and second by integrating the neural correlates of decision-making with theories in economics and learning psychology. To this end, he is interested in pursuing the neural correlates of decision-making in the frontal cortex, more specifically how are decisions made when taking the future into context and how do these events correlate with the ideas initially presented in the psychology of learning and behavior? With the Neurolaw Lab, Dr. Steiner collaborated on projects including brain death and the use of neuroscience by legislators.
Robin is a 2L at the University of Minnesota Law School. He earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in Law, Societies, and Justice and in Psychology from the University of Washington in 2017, as well as minors in Philosophy and Political Science. He plans to complete his Juris Doctorate in the Spring of 2020 and serve as a Judge Advocate in the Marine Corps. He is particularly interested in the intersection of criminal law and psychology and hopes to ultimately join the FBI as a special agent.
Emily Twedell graduated with honors from Grinnell College in 2015 with a degree in Psychology and Neuroscience. She is currently involved in a variety of research projects at the University of Minnesota, spanning from cognitive psychology under Dr. Yuhong Jiang to the gait metrics of Parkinson’s disease under Dr. Scott Cooper. With the Shen NeuroLaw Lab, Emily worked on projects related to the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Law and Neuroscience, including grant exploration and education/outreach opportunities. Emily is completing a neuroscience post-doc, and intends to pursue her PhD in Neuroscience.
Jake is an undergraduate at St. Olaf College who helped develop the web site for the Law and Neuroscience coursebook. (Thanks Jake!) Jake’s unique summer of research in both neurolaw and neuroscience was featured here in 2013. In Jake’s words: “This is definitely the best summer I’ve ever had. I feel successful in both experiences, and I am definitely getting the most out of both of them. I wasn’t certain what I wanted to do post-Olaf, but now I’m sure I want to pursue graduate school in neuroscience.”
Yihan Wu is an undergraduate at the University of Minnesota, majoring in Cultural Anthropology, Anthropological Linguistics, and Cognitive Psychology. She aims to pursue a Ph.D. in neuroscience, and worked with the Lab on projects related to decision-making and neuroscience in the policy process.
Micaela Yarosh is an undergraduate senior at the University of Minnesota with a double major in math and applied music, and has a minor in economic theory. In addition to her work in the lab and school, Micaela served as a founder and President of Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi sorority for the past two years, and is currently a volunteer tutor at an after-school program for K-12th grade students. Micaela aspires to continue exploring the intersection of science and law by attending law school in the next several years.
Alina Yasis studied at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for two years before she transferred to the University of Minnesota, where she is majoring in Psychology and minoring in Neuroscience. Her interest in brain science was sparked after she took a behavioral neuroscience class in her sophomore year. She plans to pursue a Ph.D in neurosciences.
Wanbing was an undergraduate at the Univ. of Minnesota majoring in psychology and minoring in neuroscience, with a particular interest in the neuroscience of aging, culture, and emotion. Wanbing is now pursuing a Master’s degree in psychology at Brandeis University. She took the Law and Neuroscience course, and writes that through the class and work with the Lab she came to realize how closely the brain is related to the well-being and identity of a person, and how important it is to review the purposes of our law and envision the future directions that our legal system is possibly heading because of advancements in neuroscientific research. (Thanks Wanbing, and good luck!)
Brian received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Minnesota in 2015 and is now a Visiting Professor of Economics at Davidson College. He previously taught at Grinnell College. His research interests include game theory, behavioral economics, and financial economics.