About Us The Lab

The Lebel lab is a multidisciplinary environment that is rich in neuropsychology, neuroscience, imaging, language, and child development expertise.

Our laboratory uses different magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques to study brain structure and function in children. These techniques include diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), anatomical imaging, quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM), and resting state functional MRI (rsfMRI). Specifically, members of our lab are interested in using these techniques to investigate brain plasticity in response to learning, treatment, or intervention, and brain maturation in children with developmental disorders such as fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The overarching goal of the research in our lab is to provide a better understanding of brain structure, function, and plasticity with the hope of improving, delivering, and monitoring treatment for children with learning and behavioral challenges.

Catherine Lebel, PhD

Principal Investigator

Associate Professor | Department of Radiology | University of Calgary

My research uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to study brain development in children and adolescents. Using a variety of MRI techniques, I study how brain structure and function change with age, or in response to treatments and interventions. I am specifically interested in how brain maturation and brain plasticity are related to cognition and behaviour, and how these relationships may be different in children with developmental disorders. The aim of my research is to better understand brain changes, with the ultimate goal of providing earlier identification and more effective treatments for children with developmental disorders.

Glenda Maru

Administrative Assistant

Glenda is Admin Assistant to the whole CAIR team and “Lab Mom” when needed! I have BA in Sociology and Political Science. I worked in front line social work for many years. Now I enjoy working at the Med. School helping research and supporting students. I hope to speak Neuroscience one day!

Mercedes Bagshawe​

Research Coordinator

I completed my undergraduate degree in Psychology with a minor in Biological Sciences from the University of Calgary. My research interests are in the areas of mental health, psychobiology and neuropsychology with a focus on child & adolescent neurodevelopment.

Mary Kate Dichoso

Research Assistant

Though I graduated with a Commerce degree, I have high interests in the psychology and neurology department. I also enjoy working with kids as my current research focus is cognitive development in children.

Postdoctoral Fellows

Xiangyu Long, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

I am a postdoctoral fellow in the Developmental Neuroimaging Lab of Dr. Catherine Lebel. I obtained my Ph.D. at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Germany under the supervision of Prof. Arno Villringer and Dr. Daniel Margulies. Now my present research is focusing on the implementation of resting-state fMRI and diffusion tensor imaging on the typical development and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder effects on children’s brain, such as which brain areas that typically develop with age and which brain areas could be used as bio-markers for the fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.

Ashley Ware, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

I am from Wilmington, North Carolina, and I am a postdoctoral fellow in the Developmental Neuroimaging Lab. I obtained my PhD at the University of Houston, where I investigated differences in brain structure and function in children with neurodevelopmental disorders and in individuals with acquired brain injury. My current research focuses on structural brain development across the lifespan in children with acquired brain injury through the use of MRI. Outside of work I enjoy going to the mountains, skiing, pilates, traveling, and going to the beach.

Kathryn Manning, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

I am a postdoctoral fellow in the Developmental Neuroimaging Lab. I completed by PhD in the Department of Medical Biophysics, Western University under the supervision of Dr. Ravi S. Menon at the Centre for Functional and Metabolic Mapping at the Robarts Research Institute where I investigated the longitudinal effects of sports-related concussions and impacts. With Dr. Catherine Lebel I aim to explore the development of the young brain using multi-parametric MRI techniques combined with data-driven image analysis approaches. By relating these signatures of brain development with comprehensive clinical scores we aim to isolate differential trajectories that underlie compromised health and disease.

Jing Zheng, PhD

POSTDOCTORAL FELLOW

I am a postdoctoral fellow in the Developmental Neuroimaging Lab. I earned my Ph.D. from China Pharmaceutical University, before which I was a visiting student at University of California at Davis, where I studied the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which environmental pollutants disrupt intracellular Ca2+ signalling and neuronal plasticity in in vitro primary culture models under the supervision of Dr. Isaac Pessah. I am currently learning how to analyze MRI data in Dr. Catherine Lebel lab. My current projects are to investigate how maternal environment (such as Bisphenol A and obesity) affect brain development of the offspring by applying anatomical MRI techniques to preschool kids and mice, and using molecular biological approaches in mice models to interpret underling mechanisms observed in human sample. Outside of work, I am into playing soccer and running.

Graduate Students

Preeti Kar, B.Sc.

Graduate Student, Medical Science Program

I am a PhD student in Medical Science. My project involves neuroimaging in preschool children with prenatal alcohol exposure. In my spare time, I love to dance, play the piano and travel.

Rebecca Hay, B.Sc.

Medical Student

I am currently a second year medical student at the University of Calgary, and previously graduated from Neuroscience at Carleton University. My current project is examining the relationship between prenatal depression, and behavioural and brain structure outcomes in children. Outside of school I love hiking, photography and painting.

Ayushi Shukla, MSc

PhD Candidate

I’m a PhD student from New Delhi, India. After completing my MSc in Neuroimaging from King’s College, London where I used neuroimaging techniques to investigate the neural correlates of pain in individuals suffering from Chronic Widespread Pain and fibromyalgia, I worked as a research assistant at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience, India. My current project investigates effects of mild traumatic brain injury on brain structure and function in the paediatric population. When I’m not working or being a bookworm, I enjoy bouldering, running, hiking and escaping to the mountains.

Daphne Nakhid, B.Sc.

Graduate Student, Neuroscience Program

Originally from Toronto, I graduated with a BSc. Double Major in Biology and Psychology from Dalhousie University. As a Neuroscience graduate student, my research looks at brain development in adolescents with prenatal alcohol exposure. In my spare time you can find me running, climbing or reading a book.

Kassondra Pedenko, B.Sc.

Graduate Student, Biomedical Engineering Program

I graduated with a B.Sc. in Bio-Medical Science from the University of Guelph in 2019. As a Biomedical Engineering graduate student, I am interested in investigating the relationship between mental health, literacy, and white matter neurodevelopment in the brain. In my spare time, you can find me rowing, in the mountains, or travelling!

Undergraduate Students

Andrea Guedez

Volunteer Student

I have recently completed my undergraduate degree in Medical Sciences with a double major in Physiology and Pharmacology from Western University. I am interested in research relating to childhood development, and the relationship between maternal factors and fetal/adult development. In my spare time I like to hike, spend time with friends and try new things!

Hannah Rahim

I am currently in my fourth year of the Bachelor of Health Sciences Program at the University of Calgary, majoring in Biomedical Sciences. My current project is using fMRI to examine how the organization of semantic memories in the brain varies with age and sex. In my free time, I enjoy playing piano, running and baking.

Irene Manalastas

I am currently in my second year of Nursing at the University of Calgary. My interest in research stems from my passion for improving patient outcomes in pediatric populations. My current project investigates white matter microstructure and its relation to externalizing behaviors in young children with prenatal alcohol exposure. In my free time I enjoy running, playing the guitar and eating sushi!

Claire Donnici

I am a fourth-year undergraduate student finishing my degree in biomedical sciences at the University of Calgary. My project looks at associations between maternal anxiety during the perinatal period and the development of brain structure and function in young children. Outside of school, I enjoy spending time with my big Italian family and volunteering in the community.

Sunny Guo

I am a fourth-year undergraduate student completing my honours thesis in neuroscience at the University of Calgary. My primary research interests lie within neuropsychology and my current project is looking at the effects of pediatric mild traumatic brain injury on brain microstructure and its post-acute and chronic effects on executive function. Outside of school, I love spending time with my friends, playing guitar, and cruising around on my skateboard!

Emma Tarasoff

I am a fourth-year undergraduate student completing my B.Sc. in Neuroscience at the University of Calgary. My current project focuses on the typical development of white matter microstructure in preschoolers. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with friends, playing crib, and travelling.

Taylor Groulx

I am originally from Northern Ontario, and I graduated from Western University with a BSc double major in Medical Science and Psychology. I then completed a graduate certificate degree in Biomedical Neuroscience from the University of Florida before moving to Calgary. My research interests include neurodevelopment, neural plasticity, and concussion. In my spare time, I enjoy playing the piano, dancing, hiking in the mountains and doing yoga!

Collaborators

Deborah Dewey, PhD.

Professor | Department of Paediatrics | University of Calgary

Bruce Pike, PhD

Professor | Department of Radiology | University of Calgary

Frank MacMaster, PhD

Assistant Professor | Department of Paediatrics | University of Calgary

Signe Bray, PhD.

Assistant Professor | Department of Radiology | University of Calgary

Ashley Harris, PhD.

Assistant Professor | Department of Radiology | University of Calgary

Ben Gibbard, MD

Assistant Professor | Department of Paediatrics | University of Calgary

Carly McMorris, PhD

Assistant Professor | Werklund School of Education | University of Calgary

Alumni

Camila Thieba, B.Sc. M.Sc.

Study Coorinator

Tyler Pollock, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Jessica Reynolds, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Alina Benischek, MSc

MSc Student

Bryce Geeraert, B.Sc.

Graduate Student, Biomedical Engineering Program

Melody Grohs, MSc

PhD Student, Neuroscience Program

Quinn Andre, B.Sc.

Graduate Student, Medical Neuroscience Program

Iman Musani, B.Sc.

Volunteer Student

Candice Parmar​

VOLUNTEER STUDENT

Sarah Fletcher

Volunteer Student

Dmitrii Paniukov, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Alyssa Mah, MSc

MSc Student

Bri Adamson