• Reyna L Gordon, PhD

    Music Cognition Lab
    Associate Professor
    Department of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery
    Investigator and Training Faculty
    Vanderbilt Genetics Institute
    Vanderbilt Brain Institute
    Vanderbilt Kennedy Center
    Department of Psychology, Vanderbilt University
    Office Address
    Room / Suite

    Dr. Gordon is a tenured Associate Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where she co-directs the Vanderbilt Music Cognition Lab. She also has faculty appointments at the Vanderbilt Genetics Institute, the Vanderbilt Brain Institute, the Department of Psychology, the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, and the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise, and Public Policy. The Lab is a dynamic group that engages Vanderbilt students from a wide range of graduate degree programs and staff and postdocs from diverse academic backgrounds. Dr. Gordon currently leads several National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants, including an NIH Director’s New Innovator Award and a National Science Foundation Integrative Strategies grant. 

    Dr. Gordon received a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Arts (Italian minor) from the University of Southern California, an M.S. in Neuroscience from the University of Provence, and a Ph.D. in Complex Systems and Brain Sciences from Florida Atlantic University.  She also completed postdoctoral training in developmental disabilities at the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center. Dr. Gordon has always craved and sought interdisciplinarity in her professional work, leading to her current research program focused on the relationship between rhythm and language abilities from behavioral, cognitive, neural, and genetic perspectives.

    Dr. Gordon has enjoyed creating interdisciplinary collaborative opportunities in the field and supporting public awareness of science by developing infrastructure for new initiatives on campus, chairing symposia and other seminar series, fostering research partnerships with community organizations, and serving on the Board of the Society for Music Perception and Cognition. Her work has been profiled in the Nashville Scene, NPR’s All Things Considered, the BBC, and PBS.

  • Miriam Lense, PhD

    Assistant Professor
    Director, Music Cognition Lab

    Dr. Lense received her PhD in Clinical Psychology from Vanderbilt University in 2014. She completed her clinical internship and postdoctoral training at the Marcus Autism Center at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory University School of Medicine. Her research and clinical work focuses on infants, children, and adults with or at-risk for developmental disabilities, with a particular emphasis on autism spectrum disorder and Williams syndrome. She has developed two novel lines of research examining individual differences in social-emotional and cognitive processes in these populations including (1) auditory neuroscience/music cognition as a window into affective, social, and cognitive processes; and (2) stress biology in individuals with or at-risk for neurodevelopmental disorders. Her current research examines the development of rhythmic entrainment in the first years of life, relationships between rhythm and social communication/engagement, musical engagement experiences in individuals with and without developmental disorders, and relationships between music and sensory processing.

  • Daniel Gustavson, PhD

    Research Assistant Professor
    Genetic Medicine

    Dr. Gustavson is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He received his PhD in Cognitive Psychology from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2016. There he used experimental and longitudinal twin approaches to examine how executive functions relate to substance use, anxiety, and depression symptoms in adolescents and young adults, including how these constructs play a role in everyday self-regulation problems (procrastination, impulsivity). Dr. Gustavson was also a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, San Diego from 2016 to 2019. He continued to study cognition using longitudinal twin studies, this time with a stronger focus on cognitive aging and Alzheimer’s disease, also incorporating data from genome-wide association studies.

    Dr. Gustavson joined Vanderbilt University Medical Center in 2019, where he coordinates projects in the Music Cognition Lab. He is also a member of the Vanderbilt Genetics Institute. His research continues to use a longitudinal, multidisciplinary approach to study cognitive changes across the lifespan, including their genetic and environmental associations with mental health and self-regulation. He is also examining how measures of musical ability relate to cognitive and mental health outcomes using an array of genetic methods (twin and adoption studies, genomic SEM, polygenic risk scores), and is assisting Dr. Gordon to organize a consortium on the genetics of musicality. Outside of the university, Dan is a guitarist, drummer, painter, and beer brewer.

  • Enikő Ladányi, PhD

    Adjunct Assistant Professor

    Enikő Ladányi was a post-doctoral fellow at the Music Cognition Lab between 2019 and 2022. Her research in the lab focused on the relationship between the development of language and rhythm abilities in infants and children. In 2022, she joined the Department of Linguistics of the University of Potsdam as a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow to investigate the relationship between the development of grammar, executive functions and rhythm abilities and to develop a video game measuring these abilities.
    Eniko is still involved in projects on the relationship between rhythm and language abilities at the Vanderbilt Music Cognition Lab as an Adjunct Assistant Professor.
    Find her CV, publications and more here: https://enikoladanyi.com/

  • Srishti Nayak, PhD

    Research Instructor
    Dept of Otolaryngology-HNS

    Srishti Nayak, PhD is an interdisciplinary scientist and researcher at the Vanderbilt Music Cognition Lab. She is also a visiting scholar at the Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) Psychology department, and affiliated faculty at the Vanderbilt Genetics Institute. Her research interests span human communication, musicality, and neurocognitive skills, and how these unfold across the lifespan. She holds a PhD from Boston University in the Psychological and Brain Sciences, with a focus on brain, behavior, cognition, and development. She joined our faculty in 2022 after completing postdoctoral training with Dr. Reyna Gordon in the genetics and neurobiology of communication and musicality. As an international scholar from India, she has studied and worked across many countries. During her undergraduate studies in the Cognitive Sciences, she was awarded scholarships to attend York University (Canada), and to participate in an international exchange program at the National University of Singapore.

    Alongside her research interests, Srishti is also a passionate educator with 10 years of university teaching experience across Princeton University, Boston University, and guest lectures at other institutions. Her teaching has been supported by multiple competitive fellowships. She currently mentors research trainees across Vanderbilt, Boston University, and MTSU.

    Outside of work, Srishti loves rock climbing, kayaking, comic books, and any music with a great bass line.