Lab Members

Principal Investigator

  • Dr. Ryan Darby's research interests involve using neurologic methods to investigate the anatomy, psychology, and philosophy involved in disorders of the brain.  In addition to being the lab's Principal Investigator, he runs the Vanderbilt Frontotemporal Dementia Clinic.


  • James Eaton, MD

    Assistant Professor
    Cognitive Division, Department of Neurology

    Dr. James Eaton is a neurologist and an Assistant Professor of Neurology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Dr. Eaton’s research interests include the interplay between inflammation and the immune system with neurodegenerative disease. Dr. Eaton sees memory referral patients as part of the Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Neurology in the Department of Neurology and serves as a co-investigator with the Vanderbilt Memory and Aging Project and the Vanderbilt Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center.

    Dr. Eaton completed medical school at the Zucker School of Medicine in New York. He completed his residency in neurology at Vanderbilt University Medical School followed by a neuroimmunology fellowship and a cognitive and behavioral neurology fellowship at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He joined the Vanderbilt faculty in 2022.

  • Ciaran M. Considine, PhD, ABPP-CN

    Clinical Neuropsychologist
    Cognitive Division, Department of Neurology

    Dr. Ciaran Considine’s research interests involve investigation of the relationships between neuropsychological functioning, sleep disorders, and autonomic functioning within neurological conditions. He is the supervising neuropsychologist for the Vanderbilt site’s ALLFTD study, lead by Dr. Darby, as well an attending neuropsychologist for the Vanderbilt Frontotemporal Dementia Clinic.

  • Amy Brown

    Assistant Professor
    Cognitive Division, Department of Neurology

    Dr. Brown is a movement disorder specialist who is licensed to practice medicine in Tennessee and Kentucky, and has been a member of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology since 2019. She joined Vanderbilt University Medical Center faculty in July 2019 as a postgraduate movement disorders fellowship and has stayed on as an Assistant Professor.  She is the director of the VUMC CurePSP Center of Care. 

Research Team

  • Tony Phan, AB

    Clinical Translational Research Coordinator II

    Tony Phan is a Clinical/Translational Research Coordinator in the Darby Lab. He graduated from Princeton University in 2018 with a concentration in Molecular Biology and a certificate in Engineering Biology. He is studying the neurological basis of different symptoms, such as psychosis and behavioral disturbance, in patients afflicted with Alzheimer's disease, behavioral-variant frontotemporal dementia, Lewy body dementia, and similar neurodegenerative disorders.

  • Jerica Reeder, B.S.

    Clinical Translational Research Coordinator III

    Jerica Reeder is a Clinical Translational Research Coordinator III in the Department of Neurology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She earned her bachelors of science in psychology with a minor in biology and sociology from Tennessee Technological University. Jerica is the lead coordinator for ALLFTD working with various dementia-related disorders such as Frontotemporal Dementia, Primary Progressive Aphasia, Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, Corticobasal Syndrome, FTD-Motor Neuron Disease and Alzheimer's Disease. In addition, she coordinators the clinical drug trial, Alector, enrolling GRN positive Frontotemporal Dementia Patient. Jerica co-facilitates the FTD support group and FTD community events. 

  • Siyi Wang, B.S.

    Clinical Translational Research Coordinator I

    Siyi Wang serves as a Clinical/Translational Research Coordinator in the Darby Lab. Seh received her bachelor's degree from Vassar College with a major in psychological science. Her research interest includes cognitive symptoms in the neurodegenerative diseases, as well as measurements and interventions. Specifically, Siyi works with patients having frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) syndromes and populations having a significant family history or genetic causes of FTLD. In addition to clinical neuroscience, Siyi is also interested in promoting health equity and is actively involved in research on social determinants of health (SDOH).

  • Lindsey Keener, B.S.

    Clinical Translational Research Coordinator I

    Lindsey Keener is a Clinical/Translational Research Coordinator in the Darby Lab. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a focus in Neuroscience from Vanderbilt University. While an undergraduate, Lindsey interned in the Darby Lab for two years, a valuable experience that culminated in a research project studying the association between lack of empathy in frontotemporal dementia (FTD) patients and their susceptibility to criminal antisocial behavior. Lindsey works on ALLFTD, a longitudinal research study that serves those with FTD and other FTD-related disorders.  

  • Kiiya Shibata, M.S., CCC-SLP

    Speech Language Pathologist, PhD Candiate
    Hearing and Speech Sciences

    Kiiya Shibata is a licensed speech-language pathologist and PhD student at Vanderbilt University. She completed her Bachelor of Arts (2013) and Master of Science (2015) in Communicative Disorders at San Francisco State University. After practicing as a clinician for six years in the areas of neurogenic communication disorders and voice disorders, she began the PhD program in the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences at Vanderbilt University. Her current research focuses on the relationship between frontotemporal lobar degeneration and laryngeal functioning. 

Post-Doctoral / Graduate Students

  • Behanz Akbarian, MS

    PhD Student, Biomedical Engineering

    Behnaz Akbarian is a Biomedical Engineer, PhD Student. She was born in Tehran, Iran and obtained her MS degree from Iran University of Science and Technology. She commenced her graduate studies in 2022 with a keen interest in biomedical signal and image processing, fMRI, pattern recognition, EEG and ECoG recording and analyzing, intracortical recording, computational neuroscience, animal surgery and electrode implementation. Currently, her research endeavors are focusing on utilizing neuroimaging techniques to investigate brain diseases.

    For further information about her research, please refer to her Google Scholar profile at

Undergraduate Interns

  • Zoe Shacham

    Undergraduate Research Intern

    Degree Summary: Major in Psychology, minors in Data Science and Human & Organizational Development

    Interests in research: I am interested in the relationships between executive function and social-emotional behavior, specifically antisocial and aggressive behaviors. 

    Hobby: Going on hikes and exploring new coffee shops!

  • Claudia Ellington

    Undergraduate Research Intern

    Claudia Ellington is an undergraduate premedical student majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in Spanish at Vanderbilt University. She is interested in the progression of neurodegenerative disorders to better understand the intricate workings of the brain and unravel how specific regions impact patients' emotions, cognition, and behavior. Outside of the lab, her hobbies include volunteering with VSVS, NPAF, and the American Red Cross in addition to dancing and exploring the Nashville area.

Previous Lab Members

Aaron Tetreault

  • University of Tennessee College of Medicine - MD Student 

Alma Farooque 

  • University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health - MD student

Matthias Tholen 

  • University of Salzburg - PhD candidate

Charlie Dawson

  • Meharry Medical College - MD student