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.
Current Lab Members
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.
Sydney Diekmann is an undergraduate at the University of Minnesota, studying neuroscience. She will receive her BS in Neuroscience in May 2019. Sydney graduated from Tartan Senior High School in 2015 with honors and following participation in the PSEO program for two years. During high school, she participated in club gymnastics, High Schools’ Against Cancer and Relay for Life, and animal rescue groups. Since beginning college, Sydney has continued her involvement in club gymnastics as a board member and competitor for the University of Minnesota Gymnastics Club. Sydney has also participated in various volunteer programs within the medical field, including Fairview Home Care and Hospice. Following graduation, Sydney hopes to attend graduate school at the University of Minnesota for nurse practice, with eventual completion of both Masters and Doctor of Nurse Practice programs. From there, she hopes to work in the public health and medical field as a nurse practitioner.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Lab Collaborators Beyond Minnesota
Professor Wu Xiyu is a Professors at Zhejiang University Law School in China. In Fall 2013, Professor Wu visited the Univesrity 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!)
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.
(Included here are some alums from the Law and Neuroscience course as well.)
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!)
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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!)