Skip to content Where Legends Are Made
Research & Economic Development ORED Offices Make a Gift

MRI Research Facility

Our Team

Staff Directory

Steering Committee

Sharlene Newman, PhD

Sharlene Newman, PhD (BE in electrical engineering and mathematics, MS and PhD in biomedical engineering). Dr. Newman is a cognitive neuroscience who uses MRI to understand human neurocognition. She completed her postdoctoral training in cognitive neuroscience at Carnegie Mellon before starting a tenure-track position in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Indiana University where she was eventually promoted to full professor and became the Class of 1948 Herman B Wells Endowed Professors. Newman moved to the University of Alabama in 2019 and is the executive director of the ALRI, director of the UA MRI Reseach Facility, a professor in the department of psychology, and adjunct professor in electrical and computer engineering. In 2022, Newman was elected as a neuroscience fellow in AAAS.

Rajesh Kana, PhD

Rajesh Kana, PhD, is the director of the Center for Innovative Research in Autism and professor in psychology. Dr. Kana also directs the Neuroscience Research Theme in the Alabama Life Research Institute and was the director of the undergraduate neuroscience program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham prior to coming to UA. His research investigates the neurobiology of social, cognitive and affective processes in both typical and atypical development. He studies people with developmental disorders, including Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and also neurotypical individuals in order to learn more about the similarities and differences at the brain, behavior, and cognitive levels. He utilizes neuropsychological assessments and MRI techniques to measure brain structure, function, connectivity, and metabolite levels. His research is directed at identifying a neurobiological marker for ASD and to understand the impact of cognitive and behavioral interventions on the brain in children and adults with ASD.

Firat Soylu, PhD

Firat Soylu, PhD, is an associate professor in the College of Education and director of the educational psychology PhD Program (includes an educational neuroscience PhD concentration) and the undergraduate educational neuroscience program. He also leads the Embodied Learning Design and Educational Neuroscience Lab. His work is within the newly emerging field of educational neuroscience. Dr. Soylu’s current research mainly focuses on numerical cognition and mathematics learning, in addition to his wider interests in STEM learning and computational modeling. He conducts behavioral, neuroimaging (both MRI and EEG/ERP), and design-based investigations. 

Neuroimaging Labs