• Reyna L Gordon, PhD

    Music Cognition Lab
    Assistant Professor
    Department of Otolaryngology
    Assistant Professor
    Department of Psychology

    Office Address
    Room / Suite

    Dr. Gordon is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where she 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 dynamic group that engages Vanderbilt University students from a wide range of graduate degree programs and staff from diverse academic backgrounds. Dr. Gordon currently leads three National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants, including an NIH Director’s New Innovator Award and a career development award from the NIDCD.

    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 co-founded the Program for Music, Mind & Science at Vanderbilt and 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

    Research Instructor
    Genetic Medicine

    Dr. Gustavson is a Research Instructor 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.