yugaoYu Gao, Ph.D.
Principle Investigator
Associate Professor of Psychology

5602C James Hall
Department of Psychology
Brooklyn College
The Graduate Center of the City University of New York
Email: yugao at
Office: 718-951-5000 x 6033 Fax: 718-951-4814

Doctoral Students

img_7015.jpgYong Lin Melissa Huang
Melissa is a 3rd year PhD student in the Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience program at CUNY Graduate Center. She obtained  her B.A. in Psychology and M.A. Experimental Psychology at Brooklyn College. Melissa examines risk factors for psychopathy and externalizing problems from a biopsychosocial perspective. She is particularly interested in investigating its biological, psychosocial, and environmental correlates through different critical developmental stages.

20150128-Portrait_small-24 copyScott Koenig 
Scott graduated from Ohio State University with a B.S. in neuroscience and is now a doctoral student in the Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience program at the CUNY Graduate Center. He is interested in the role of emotions and psychopathic traits in moral decision-making.

liatLiat Kofler 
Liat is a doctoral student in the Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience program at CUNY Graduate Center. She earned her B.S. in Biomedical Sciences with a minor in Psychology from the University of Waterloo. Liat is investigating the social and biological correlates of antisocial behavior and psychopathic traits.


unnamedTingting Wu

Tingting is a Research Associate in the lab. She received her B.S. in Biological Science from Nanjing University in 2007 and her Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuroscience from Beijing Normal University in 2013. She joined the lab in 2018. Her current works focus on examining how externalizing problems and related traits impact brain responses in adolescents using functional magnetic resonance imaging.

Masters Students

Katlyn Website pictureKatlyn Schroder

Katlyn earned her B.A. in Psychology from Rutgers University and is currently earning an M.S. degree in Cognitive Neuroscience at the CUNY Graduate Center. Her research examines the relationship between trait anxiety and autonomic nervous system reactivity in healthy adults.

Screen Shot 2019-12-01 at 9.19.44 PMCatherine Chan

Catherine is a first-year Master’s student in the Cognitive Neuroscience Program at the CUNY Graduate Center. She has a great interest in conducting research and is particularly fascinated with moral decision-making.

Eva Santucci – 
Amanda Waldron – 

Shawn earned her Ph.D. the Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience program from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She is interested in emotion regulation and cognitive reappraisal as they relate to moral action and decision making. She is also interested in understanding how social adversity and parenting styles affect the development of antisocial behavior. Shawn is currently a post-doctoral researcher at Indiana University.

unadjustednonraw_thumb_fc.jpgWei Zhang ( 
Wei Zhang earned her Ph.D. in the Cognition, Brain, and Behavior Psychology Program from the  Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Her research focuses on understanding the ​biological and environmental factors that contribute to the development of antisocial behavior. She completed her post-doc at Queens College and is now an assistant professor at New Jersey City University.

HELIOCUVEHélio Clemente Cuve ( 
Hélio completed his M.A. in Experimental Psychology as a Fulbright Scholar at Brooklyn College. He is interested in understanding the neurobiological mechanisms underlying the heterogeneity in social cognition, with a focus on typical and atypical emotion recognition in clinical populations with Autism and Alexithymia, as well as in the general population. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of Oxford.

Liat graduated from the Cognition, Brain and Behavior Psychology program at the Graduate Center, CUNY. She is a licensed mental health counselor, and had earned a master’s degrees in Mental Health Counseling and Industrial and Organizational Psychology from Brooklyn College. She received her bachelor’s in psychology from Touro College, NY. Liat is interested in the transmission of family violence as it manifests in the relationship between parental aggression and children’s adjustment behaviors. She is particularly interested is early identification of externalizing behaviors in children, and potential means for prevention and intervention.

Current rotation/visiting students
Kammy Deng

Current undergraduate research assistants
Yehudis Keller, Seniha Kolenovic, Naimah Munim, Sumaya Javaid

Past research assistants/visiting students
Stephan Brandt, Stephanie Leung, Stephon Broome, Krystal Mendez, Muin Syed, Medina Mishiyeva, Jessica Lin, Shanel Daudy, Isabel Long, Helena Oldenhof, Zoren Degtyarev, you & Abraham Alex.

IMG_7221 weizhang (1) photo 4

MelissaShawn  20180504_101332(0)  20180504_100443Zoren  20171110_185224   DSC_1670