Vanderbilt Kennedy Center

Our Team


Laurie E. Cutting, Ph.D.

  • Patricia and Rodes Hart Endowed Chair
  • Associate Professor of Special Education, Psychology, Radiology, and Pediatrics at Vanderbilt University
  • Director of the Education and Brain Sciences Research Lab at Vanderbilt University

Laurie E. Cutting

Dr. Cutting received her degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders in 1997 from Northwestern University. During her doctoral work at Northwestern University, she completed internships at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, Yale University School of Medicine's Center for Learning and Attention, and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.  After receiving her doctorate, Dr. Cutting subsequently completed a two-year post-doctoral fellowship in Developmental Cognitive Neurology at the Kennedy Krieger Institute/Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Cutting then joined the Kennedy Krieger Institute as a Research Scientist and faculty at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.  In 2002-2003, she completed an AAAS Executive Branch Science Policy fellowship.  Prior to moving to Vanderbilt, Dr. Cutting was an Associate Professor of Neurology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and an Associate Professor of Education at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Cutting moved to Vanderbilt University in September 2009 and is currently a Patricia and Rodes Hart Endowed Chair. She is an Associate Professor of Special Education, Psychology, Radiology, and Pediatrics. Dr. Cutting is the Director of the Education and Brain Sciences Research Lab at Vanderbilt University, which conducts research regarding neurobiology and the treatment of reading disabilities.

Sheryl L. Rimrodt, M.D.

  • Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Special Education, Vanderbilt University
  • Senior Research Scientist of the Education and Brain Sciences Research Lab at Vanderbilt University

Sheryl L. Rimrodt, M.D.

Dr. Sheryl L. Rimrodt is a developmental pediatrician with board certification in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities. She obtained her B.S. in Mathematical Sciences from Stanford University, her M.D. from University of California, San Diego, and her post-doctoral training in Neurodevelopmental Disabililties at the Kennedy Krieger Institute and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. While at Johns Hopkins, Sheryl was an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Research Scientist within the Kennedy Krieger Institute, Developmental Cognitive Neurology, Education and Brain Research Program (EBRP). Her current appointments are as an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Special Education, Vanderbilt University and Senior Research Scientist of the Education and Brain Sciences Research Lab at Vanderbilt University.

Dwayne Dove, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Post-Doctoral Fellow, Education Brain Sciences Research Lab
  • Clinical Fellow, Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics

Dwayne’s research focuses on Kindergarten children by using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to study the brain pathways that are critical for pre-reading skills and early literacy. This work is part of his post-doctoral training in neuroimaging, neurobehavioral assessment, and clinical research. His clinical training includes an MD, training in general pediatrics, and ongoing training in developmental-behavioral pediatrics. Dwayne’s clinical practice will focus on the developmental, behavioral, and learning disorders that cause school difficulties in young school-age children. All parts of his career are centered on an interest in how children learn in school.


Scott Burns, M.S.

Scott S Burns, M.S.

Scott's primary responsibilities include the design, implementation and analysis of MRI studies across various subject populations and writing research articles and posters. He is also developing a few internal software packages to assist in analyzing previously completed neuroimaging projects. His research interests include the development of scalable, easy to use image analysis systems and the associated image processing algorithms. Scott received his B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Miami in Coral Gables, FL and his M.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Washington University in Saint Louis. Previously, he worked at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging in affiliation with Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, MA.

Julie Delheimer, B.S.

Julie Delheimer

Julie’s primary responsibilities include recruiting, consenting, and intake screening of research participants, as well as the daily progress for most of Dr. Cutting’s projects. Although she started out with dreams of becoming an elementary school teacher, Julie ultimately received her B.S in Psychology in May 1985 from University of Illinois. After many years of working as a Research Analyst in Adult Psychology research at the University of Illinois and Vanderbilt, in December 2010 she transferred to VU Special Education with EBRL. Julie enjoys finding new ways to make the research experience in the lab enjoyable and rewarding for the children and their families.

Hannah Rowland, M.Ed.


Hannah manages the lab's behavioral team, which includes training & supervising graduate research assistants, overseeing behavioral data collection & storage, as well as reporting results to participant families. Hannah earned her B.A. in Psychology and French from Samford University in Birmingham, AL. While working on her M.Ed. in Human Development Counseling at Vanderbilt University, Hannah served as a research assistant in the Education and Brain Sciences Research Laboratory. After graduating in 2012, she joined the lab full-time.

Angela Sefick, B.S.


Angela’s primary responsibilities include recruitment, consent, and intake screening of research participants. She also manages IRB communications and Dr. Cutting’s Adult study. She received her B.A. in biology at Ohio State University and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in public health with a concentration in health education. Previously, she worked at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in the Department of Hematology and Oncology in the School Intervention Program as a research assistant. Her research interests include public health education and primary prevention of chronic illness, especially in children.

Katherine Swett, M.F.A.


Katherine's primary responsibility is to analyze fMRI data to help better identify the neural underpinnings of reading comprehension; she works with child, adolescent, and adult readers, with and without reading disabilities. Katherine received her B.S. in Mathematics and English from Virginia Polytechnic Institute, and her M.F.A. in English from George Mason University. She was previously a fellow at the National Institute for Deafness and other Communication Disorders at the NIH, where she studied spontaneous language production in fMRI.


Laura Barquero

Laura is a doctoral student in Special Education. She received her M.S. in Biology from Middle Tennessee State University and worked in labs at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in the Department of Hematology/Oncology and the Department of Stem Cell Biology before beginning her PhD program. Her current research interests include reading difficulties, response to reading intervention, and functional neuroimaging.

Stephen Bailey

Stephen is a student in the Educational Neuroscience PhD program. He received bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and philosophy from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. After graduating, he managed operations for Teach For America, a teacher recruitment and training organization, in Alabama. His current research interests include the development of reading and language networks in children and how educational experiences can shape them.

Adelle Burton

Katherine Fioret

Kryseana Harper

Crysti Jones

Kate Paradis

Daniel Sherlock

Rachel Wheeler

Marissa Zimmel

Marissa is a second year High Incidence SPED Master's student at Vanderbilt and started working as a Research Assistant in the lab in August 2012. Marissa assists with organizing participant files, decoding computer tasks, and supporting colleagues with assessment administration. Marissa earned her B.A. from Stonehill College in 2010 and is particularly interested in intervention programs and students with reading disabilities.


Bobette Bouton

Bobette is a doctoral student in Middle School Education at the University of Georgia. She received her M.A. in Curriculum and Design from Vanderbilt University and worked in labs at VanderbiltUniversity Special Education Department before beginning her PhD program. Her current research interests include socio-emotional development in young adolescence.

Qiuyun Fan, Ph.D.

Qiuyun earned her PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Vanderbilt Univesrity in May 2013. She joined EBRL in Fall 2009 and obtained her MS degree in Biomedical Engineering at Vanderbilt University in May 2011. Qiuyun's work focuses on MR method development, image processing, and data analyzing. Her research interests include Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI), High Angular Resolution Diffusion Imaging (HARDI), and neurocorrelates of reading ability.

Evon Batey Lee, Ph.D.

  • Associate Professor of Pediatrics
  • Licensed Developmental Psychologist
  • Psychological Assessment Coordinator, Vanderbilt Kennedy Center

Dr. Lee received her M.A. and Ph.D. in psychology from Vanderbilt University. She joined the faculty of the Department of Pediatrics in the Vanderbilt School of Medicine in 1981 and began working in the Division of Child Development where she conducted developmental and psychological assessments of infants and children with a wide range of developmental disabilities as part of a multidisciplinary team. Her clinical experiences expanded to include evaluations of children who were born prematurely in the NICU Follow-up Clinic, children with significant hearing impairments through a Cochlear Implant Team, and children with autism spectrum disorders. She served as Principal Investigator for the Greater Nashville District of the Tennessee Early Intervention System from 2000-2007 and is currently the Psychological Assessment Coordinator for the Participant Recruitment and Assessment Core of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, a core faculty member on the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center’s LEND (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities) Training Project, and an Associate Professor of Pediatrics.

Xiangzhi Meng, Ph.D.

  • Visiting Fulbright Scholar, 2012-2013
  • Co-Director, Joint Center for Child Development and Learning, Peking University-Hong Kong Polytechnic University
  • Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Peking University

Dr. Meng spent ten months of the 2012-2013 academic year as a Fulbright Visiting Scholar hosted by the EBRL. Dr. Meng received her Ph.D in cognitive psychology from Beijing Normal University (Beijing, China) and her M.A. in educational psychology from Shandong Normal University (Jinan, Shandong, China).

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