Ifat Levy, PhD

Associate Professor of Comparative Medicine and of Neuroscience

Office 203-737-1374 Email ifat.levy@yale.edu

I am interested in the neural mechanisms underlying decision-making in humans, in individual differences in these mechanisms, and in the possible contribution of decision traits to pathological behavior. Our research focuses on decision-making under uncertainty, and on value learning and encoding. To study these topics we combine behavioral economics methods with functional MRI, as well as eye tracking and physiological measurements.


Helen Pushkarskaya, PhD

Associate Research Scientist in Comparative Medicine

Email helen.pushkarskaya@yale.edu

I focus on individual differences in judgment and decision making in both healthy and clinical populations. The most recent group of projects investigates (1) abnormal patterns in reward processing and uncertainty attitudes in Obsessive Compulsive and Hoarding disorders, and (2) social choices in individuals with hypomanic temperament. My research combines data from clinical interviews, behavioral and neuroimaging experiments, and large-scale surveys. I received my undergraduate training in Math and Physics at Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics and postdoctoral training in Psychology at the Ohio State University. Before moving to Yale, I was a faculty member in Agricultural Economics at University of Kentucky.


Ruonan Jia

Graduate Student 

Email ruonan.jia@yale.edu

I am a PhD student in the Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program, and joined the lab in 2015. Prior to coming to Yale, I studied General Biology and got the degree of B.S. from Nanjing University, China. I am interested in studying decision-making under uncertainty in patients with psychiatric disorder, and how stress can influence people’s decision-making behavior.

headshot lori vaskalis.jpg

Ruby Larisch

Postgraduate Associate 

Email ruby.larisch@yale.edu

Ruby joined the Levy lab as a postgraduate associate in November 2018. Ruby earned a BA in Psychology from Reed College, and has previously worked in auditory research with the Barr-Gillespie lab at Oregon Health and Science University, and in behavioral economics with the Hackenberg lab at Reed College. Ruby is especially interested in improving ecological validity in decision-making tasks.


Megha Chawla

Postgraduate Associate

Email megha.chawla@yale.edu

Megha is a post-graduate researcher at the Levy Lab where she is using functional and structural neuroimaging data to examine the effects of development on the behavioral and neural correlates of decision making. She graduated with honors from the University of Southern California where she obtained a BA in Psychology. She then obtained an MRes in Developmental Neuroscience and Psychopathology from the joint program run between University College London and Yale University. Megha is passionate about using neuroimaging to elucidate the typical and atypical development of brain processes across the lifespan.


Oluwafikunmi (Kunmi) Sobowale, MD

Resident Research Associate

Email kunmi.sobowale@yale.edu

Dr. Sobowale is a psychiatry resident at the Yale School of Medicine. His interest is preventative and early interventions to alleviate the burden of disease of mental illness, particularly mood disorders, for vulnerable populations including women, children, and adolescents. Currently, he is exploring whether reward processing deficits can be used to improve mental illness diagnosis and identify those at high-risk. His education includes University of Chicago (MD), Stanford Inter-University Center for Japanese Studies, and Yale University (BA: Behavioral Neuroscience).


Undergraduate interns

Sarah Healy sarah.healy@yale.edu

Dominic Schnabel dominic.schnabel@yale.edu

Lab Alumni

Associate Research Scientist

Helen Pushkarskaya, PhD


Jennifer Fanning

Ellen Furlong (Laurie Santos' lab)

Lior Rosenberg Belmaker

Lital Ruderman

Haley Yarosh (lecturer)

Graduate Students

Zhihao Zhang

Postgraduate Associates and Research Assistants

Austin Anderson

Daniel Ehrlich

Sarah Kim

Kirk Manson

Simon Podhajsky

Visiting Students and Researchers

Wenting Chen

Venkat Lakshminarayanan


Sarah Abdallah                

Esthena Brutten              

Emily Chen                       

Adrianne Conant             

Matson Conrad                 

Amrutha Dorai                  

Rebecca Garland             

Esteban Garza                 

Matthew Girardi               

Franziska Goer                           

Daniel Henick                   

Aruba Hussein                  

Patrick Kenney                  

Ariel Kirshenbaum            

Katarina Krasulova            

Genny Ladiges

Patricia Lu

Ishtiaq Mawla

Ona McConnel

Katherina Mueck

Yumiko Nakamura

Jessica Perfetto

Alex Popkin

Naintara Rajan

Katherine Rich

Naima Ross

Pooja Salhotra

Sana Samnani

Danielle Shorenstein

Lucas Sin

Frazer Tessema

Jeannie Tran

Nancy Wang

Dan Weiner

Jonathan Yu

High-School Students

Sean Gao

Yogasai Gazula

Charlotte Wang