People

The Hank Virtual Environments Lab consists of faculty, staff, and students with a wide variety of interests from both the Computer Science Department and the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences.

Jodie M. Plumert, Ph.D.

Professor and Chair, Department of Psychology

Education: Ph.D., University of Minnesota, 1990, Child Psychology; B.A., Kalamazoo College, 1985, Psychology

Research Interests: Jodie Plumert is a Professor of Psychology and a Collegiate Fellow of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Iowa. She co-directs the Hank Virtual Environments Lab with Joe Kearney. Her research interests include cognitive development, perceptual-motor development, and unintentional childhood injuries. She is especially interested in using virtual environment technology to study how youth make gap decisions and time their movement when crossing roads with traffic. Dr. Plumert is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Association for Psychological Science (APS). She has served on the executive commitee of Division 7 of APA and as an associate editor of the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. 

Email: jodie-plumert@uiowa.edu

Links: Personal webpage


Joseph K. Kearney, Ph.D.

Professor, Computer Science Department, & Associate Dean for Research and Development, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Education: Ph.D., University of Minnesota, 1983, Computer Science

Research Interests: Joseph Kearney is a Professor of Computer Science and a Collegiate Fellow of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Iowa. He co-directs the Hank Virtual Environments Lab with Jodie Plumert. His current research focuses on behavior, scene, and scenario modeling for virtual environments. With funding from the National Science Foundation and the National Center for Injury Prevention, he is investigating how virtual environments can be used as laboratories for the study of human behavior. He has also published research in psychophysics, computer vision, modeling of human movement, and computer animation.

Email: joe-kearney@uiowa.edu

Links: Personal webpage


Breanna Williams

                                   b

Lab Coordinator

Education: B.S., University of Iowa, 2016, Psychology

Research Interests: I recently graduated from the University of Iowa with a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in French. I have had experience in a wide spectrum of research labs and have worked with diverse populations ranging from children with ADHD to postpartum mothers. As lab coordinator, I have the opportunity to organize research that investigates how children and adults perceive, act, and think using immersive virtual environments. My long-term goals include continuing on to graduate school for clinical psychology. 

Email: breanna-williams@uiowa.edu

 


Elizabeth O'Neal

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Psychology

Education: B.S., University of Alabama at Birmingham, 2009, Psychology; B.A., Mississippi State University, 2003, Communications

Research Interests: Broadly speaking, I'm interested in using virtual environments to study what can lead to injury in children, as well as how to prevent injurires in children. My most recent research looks at mother and child perceptions of safety as well as parent/child communication about safety.

Email: elizabeth-oneal@uiowa.edu


Morgan Parr

m

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Psychology

Education: B.S., University of Alabama at Birmingham, 2017, Psychology                                                                             

Research Interests: As a clinical student, I am interested in understanding the effects of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) as well as Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) on children’s ability to navigate virtual environments and how this affects their risk of injury.                                                                                                              

Email: morgan-parr@uiowa.edu                  

                


Pooya Rahimian

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Computer Science

Education: M.S., East Carolina University, Software Engineering

Research Interests: As a second year student, it is very exciting to work in this lab. My research focuses on the technical aspects of VR and evaluating the effects of distractions on pedestrian decision-making.

Email: pooya-rahimian@uiowa.edu


Yuanyuan Jiang

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Computer Science

Education: B.S., Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications

Research Interests: My interest is in computer graphics and virtual environments. It is great to have the chance to work in the intersection of computer science and psychology, because it is an interesting domain where computer technology creates direct applications in an exciting way.

Email: yuanyuan-jiang@uiowa.edu


Lakshmi Subramanian

z

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Computer Science

Education: B.E., Kongu Engineering College, Affiliated to Anna University, 2007, Computer Science; M.E., PSG College of Technology, Affiliated to Anna University, 2014, Virtual Prototyping and Digital Manufacturing                                                                    

Research Interests: My research interests is in virtual reality and applying it for simulation of driving assistance systems. I am also interested in leveraging virtual reality technologies for studying human behaviors.                                                                                         

Email: lakshmidevi-subramanian@uiowa.edu         


Soumyajit Chakraborty

MCS Candidate, Department of Computer Science a

Education: B.Tech in Computer Science from Narula Institute of Technology, affiliated to Maulana Abul Kalam Azad University of Technology, West Bengal, India

Research Interests: My interest is to build games and apps for virtual reality. I am very excited to do work in the Hank lab because right now I am able to play with virtual reality. I will do PhD in virtual reality under the supervision of Prof. Joe Kearney.

Email: soumyajit-chakraborty@uiowa.edu

 


 

Shiwen (Estelle) Zhou

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Research Interests: I am a first year student, so my interests are a little unclear at this point. I definitely want to go to graduate school, and I am going to choose my focus area between developmental and social psychology. I am here to further my knowledge and research experience. I am really excited to be a part of this lab! 

Email: shiwen-zhou@uiowa.edu


 

Ahsley Buksa    

                                a

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Research Interests: My name is Ashley Buksa, and I am a junior Health and Human Physiology major on the Health Promotion track. My research interests include studying the development of decision making in children over time. Also, I am intrigued by what leads to injury in children and adults and how to prevent these injuries. 

Email: ashley-buksa@uiowa.edu

 


Sophia Mallaro

                                      u  

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Research Interests: I am a third year computer engineering undergraduate student. I am interested in the advancement of virtual reality technology and how it can be used to study behavior and improve quality of life. 

Email: sophia-mallaro@uiowa.edu

 

 


Jessica Flathau

                                      j  

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Research Interests: I am a Junior Neurobiology major on the Pre Med track.  My research interests include studying how the brain development of children progresses.  In the future, I would like to research more into the brain areas associated with psychological disorder development in children. 

Email:  jessica-flathau@uiowa.edu

 


q

Xinyu Qian

                                        

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Research Interests: I am a senior undergraduate student majoring in Computer Science and Mathematics. My research interests include applying computer science technology, such as Virtual Reality, to improve our life.

Email:  xinyu-qian@uiowa.edu


Hanxi Tang a

                                        

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Research Interests: I am a freshman majoring in Human Physiology and minoring in Psychology.  My research interests include studying cognitive and behavioral psychology as well as cell biology.  I am fascinated by the interdisciplinary research approach here at Hank Lab. I hope to learn more about computer science and its application in psychological research.

Email:  hanxi-tang@uiowa.edu


Aldrin Paulo Roman A

                                        

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Research Interests: I am a first year Psychology major. My research interests are specifically in Developmental and Clinical Psychology. In the future I hope to contribute to finding treatments for mental disorders as well to learn more about how a person's childhood and adolesecne affects their adulthood. 

Email: aldrinpaulo-roman@uiowa.edu