Beaton_Elliott_Square_0.jpgElliott A. Beaton, Ph.D.


Dr. Elliott Beaton joined the psychology department as an assistant professor in 2012 and directs the Stress, Cognition, and Affective Neuroscience (SCAN) Laboratory.  His research is focused on how stress affects brain development in children and adults at high-risk for mental illnesses including anxiety disorders and schizophrenia with a focus on informing early intervention, mitigation, and prevention. To this end, Dr. Beaton and his team use a variety of tools including functional and structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in combination with psychophysiological, hormonal, immunological, and cognitive measures.  His current research program is funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (Beaton K99/R00 - 5R00MH086616-05), the Louisiana Board of Regents, and via subcontracts with other universities. 

Concurrent to his research program, Dr. Beaton is a member of the UNO Faculty Senate and teaches undergraduate and graduate level courses: Introduction to Biological Psychology, Affective Neuroscience, Human Sexual Behavior, and Neurobiology of Learning and Memory.  In September of 2015, he was awarded the UNO Early Career Research Prize.  This prize is awarded to a faculty member at the rank of assistant professor who has distinguished themselves in their creative and scholarly activities.

Dr. Beaton is also an active member of the community promoting scientific education and interest in brain science for children in pre-K to grade 12 and has participated in several outreach events since joining UNO, such as the Girl Scouts STEM Extravaganza, and the New Orleans Zephyrs STEM Education Day.  He is a committed supporter of regional, national, and international groups that assist families of children with neurodevelopmental disorders.

Graduate Students

Marais_Ade_Square_0.jpgAde Marais, MBE, M.Ed., M.A.

Graduate Research Assistant

Ade received her B.A. in Secondary English Education from Nicholls State University. She also received her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in curriculum planning and evaluation of adult programs as well as her M.A. in Linguistics and Rhetoric & Comp from the University of New Orleans. Ade was also knighted (MBE) for her work in English public schools for advocating correct placement for special population students.

With over 16 years of experience in working in secondary and post-secondary schools, Ade joined the SCAN Lab in Fall 2014 under the supervision of Dr. Elliot Beaton. Using functional MRI, Ade is studying the neurocorrelates of empathy and theory of mind in in children diagnosed with chromosome 22q11.2DS and autism against their typically-developing counterparts. Her interests lean toward identifying an emergence of physiological and psychophysiological patterns that may result in schizophrenia.

Ashley_Sanders_Square_0.jpgAshley Sanders, B.S.

Graduate Research Assistant


Since 2013, Ashley has worked closely with children and their families affected by 22q11.2DS. During her undergraduate training, she worked in the Aquatic Microbiology Laboratory at Loyola University. While conducting research in the lab, she gained extensive experience in bench chemistry. After receiving her B.S. in Biological Sciences, Ashley worked in Dr. Carl Weems’ lab at the University of New Orleans. There, they researched the psychophysiological correlates of stress and anxiety in families affected by trauma (i.e. Hurricane Katrina). Additionally, she worked as a psychometrician under the supervision of Drs. Christine Powanda and Rafael Salcedo, where she administered over 400 IQ tests and psychological batteries to both juveniles and adults.

During the summer of 2013, Ashley began working in the SCAN Lab at UNO with Dr. Elliott Beaton. She continues her graduate training under his supervision. During her time in the SCAN Lab, Ashley lead the deployment and integration of the Biopac psychophysiological equipment which includes analyzing vagal tone, electrodermal activity, and heart rate variability data for over 100 participants. For her masters’, Ashley plans to investigate the psychophysiological and hormonal correlates of stress and anxiety in families affected by 22q11.2DS.

David Stephenson_Square_0.jpgDavid Stephenson, M.A., M.S.

Graduate Research Assistant

David received his B.S. in psychology from the University of Alabama Birmingham. As an undergraduate student, he studied facial recognition using eye tracking technology in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). He then received his M.A. in Experimental Psychology from the University of Alabama in Huntsville, where he examined how personality traits and cognitive/behavioral tendencies including anxiety and acceptance influence empathic pain perception.

David joined the SCAN Lab at its inception in 2012 and his resarch is focused on developing advanced statistical methods including SEM, HLM, machine learning, and Bayesian modeling techniques investigate how multivariate attributes of children with 22q11.2DS may predict vulnerability to stress and anxiety.  These methods include the use of neuroimaging programs (SPM, FSL, AFNI) to assess correlates of effective neural function in response to various cognitive tasks, the use of advanced morphometry and semi-automation to improve registration and segmentation of subcortical and cortical structures, and the utilization of graph theory to better characterize network distribution and brain regional connectivity in children with neurodevelopmental disorders.shley plans to investigate the psychophysiological and hormonal correlates of stress and anxiety in families affected by 22q11.2DS.


Megan Goldfarb, M.A.

Graduate Research Assistant


Megan Goldfarb, MA, LPC received her B.S. in Psychology from Tulane University and her Master of Arts in Counseling from John Carroll University in Ohio. Over her ten year career, Megan has worked with hundreds of clients navigating the process of recovery. Her experience includes working with adults with substance abuse and addiction disorders, bi-polar and anxiety disorders, depression, and schizophrenia, and those who have experienced trauma and natural disasters throughout the world. She’s also worked in a variety of settings, first in the community as a case manager, then as a community college instructor, and most recently as a drug addiction counselor at a local rehab. In between, she’s studied everything from mate selection in spiders to suicide in Samoa. But her interests have always lied in the biological underpinnings of mental illness and behavior. She joined Dr. Elliott Beaton’s SCAN Lab in the Fall of 2016.

Graduate Students At-Large

Diana2_small.jpgDiana Hobbs, M.S.







Undergraduate Research Students

large_peter_brown_website_image.jpgPeter Brown






Place Holder.jpgGerald McCollam, B.S.








bethany_portrait_Cropped_0.jpgBethany McCurdy, B.S.

Research Assistant







MMphoto.jpgMichael Medina, B.S.

Research Associate






Place Holder.jpgJasmine Mobley

Research Assistant






Place Holder.jpgTBA

Clinical Coordinator/Laboratory Manager






Brain Segmentation Team





Andrea_small.JPGAndrea Tountas, M.S.






Christian_small.JPGChristian Ames, B.S.

Research Assistant




Carolina_small.jpgDiana C. Andrade, B.S.

Honors Student




Bacigalupi_Rachel_Square_0.jpgRachel Bacigalupi, B.S.

Research Associate





Lauryn_Square_0.jpgLauryn Burleigh, B.S.

Research Associate





Nathan_small.JPGNathan Jamison, L.M.S.W.

Clinical Coordinator




Turcan_Lily_Square_0.jpgLily Turcan, B.S.

Laboratory and Clinical Coordinator





Amanda Pennington COSURP Awardee 2015-16_0.jpg

Amanda Pennington







Place Holder.jpgJonathan P. Walther, B.S.

Research Assistant





Place Holder.jpgLeslie Kelley, M.S.







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Tatiana S. Begault, B.S.

Honors Student