Lab Members

Matthew Nelson, PhD
Principal Investigator
Dr. Nelson is an Assistant Professor in the Neurosurgery Department at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, beginning there in 2019. He attended the University of Michigan for undergraduate study as the recipient of honor’s scholarships from the College of Engineering and the State of Michigan, receiving bachelor’s degrees in Chemical Engineering and in Biopsychology with Honors. He received his PhD from Caltech in Computation and Neural Systems in 2012, performing monkey neurophysiology research in reaching and decision-making in the lab of Richard Andersen, complemented by research into the neurophysiological methods and the biophysical nature of local field potential recordings. He then performed postdoctoral studies with Stanislas Dehaene in the Neurospin Research Center near Paris, France using intracranial recordings in patient volunteers to study sentence processing. In 2017 he took a postdoctoral position in Northwestern University jointly with Marsel Mesulam studying language comprehension and production in Primary Progressive Aphasia patients, and with Matthew Tate performing neurophysiological studies of sentence comprehension in neurosurgical patients.

Brett Wilsey
Undergraduate Researcher, Summer Program in Neuroscience (SPIN)
Brett graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelors in Neuroscience from Colorado College in May 2021. In her senior year, she completed an honors thesis on the optimization of language learning from both neurological and psychological perspectives; therefore, she was excited to join the Nelson Neurophysiology lab in summer 2021 to further investigate language processes in the brain. She participated in the Summer Program in Neuroscience (SPIN) at UAB and assisted with data collection, analysis, as well as a literature-based project examining the role of the thalamus in language.

Bryant Barrentine
Undergraduate Researcher
Bryant is part of the Early Medical School Acceptance Program at UAB and will graduate in 2023 with bachelor’s degrees in neuroscience and computer science. Bryant is writing Matlab code for the lab analyzing behavioral and intracranial neural data during sentence comprehension.

Sukhmani Boparai
Undergraduate Researcher
Sukhmani is part of the Early Medical School Acceptance Program at UAB as well and will graduate in 2023 with a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience and minors in chemistry and Spanish. Sukhmani is investigating the potential neural basis underlying the linguistic and grammatical differences between the French and English languages through analysis of an intracranial neurophysiology dataset.


Megan Rich, PhD, 2020-21, Postdoctoral Fellow

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