Curriculum Vitae

Last update: 2018-08-22

(Note re this page: My apologies for the formatting, something changed in the theme I am using and lost me nearly all my < br > ‘s)

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Joey Ka-Yee Essoe (劉家宜), Ph.D.

Rm 206, 550 N. Broadway, Baltimore, MD 21201

Current Position

  • Post-Doctoral Research Fellow. (2018-Pres)
    Advisor: Joseph F. McGuire, M.A., Ph.D.
    The Johns Hopkins Center for OCD, Anxiety, and Related Disorders for Children
    Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Department, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
    Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine


With a research background in cognitive neuroscience specialising in lifespan learning and memory, my research interest is to translate learning and memory research into effective treatment for paediatric psychiatry, and to apply cognitive neuroscience techniques to evaluate treatment outcome.

To this end, my current research focuses on novel implementations of research-based memory techniques in exposure therapy, using technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and functional neuroimaging (fMRI).

Besides my work, I enjoy theological studies, whiskey, running, good company, and good food. I am fluent in English and Chinese (dialects: Mandarin and Cantonese), speak enough Japanese to ask for food (often resulting in pleasant surprises), and dabble in biblical Greek and Hebrew.



  • Ph.D. (2018), Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
    • Major: Cognitive Neuroscience; minor: Quantitative Psychology.
    • Dissertation committee: Jesse Rissman, Ph.D. (Chair), Elizabeth L. Bjork, Ph.D., Kimberley Gomez, Ph.D., Robert A. Bjork, Ph.D.
  • C.Phil. (2016), Psychology, UCLA.
  • M.A. (2014), Psychology, UCLA.
    • Major: Behavioural Neuroscience; minor: Quantitative Psychology.
    • Advisors: Jesse Rissman, Ph.D. (primary), and Alan Castel, Ph.D. (secondary).
  • B.A. (2006, Cum Laude), Psychology (Emp. Psychophysiology), San Francisco State University (SFSU), CA.
    • Advisor: Mark Geisler, Ph.D.

Additional Training

2017-2018 Graduate Researcher
UCLA Psychology Department and Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior
Project: fMRI decoded neurofeedback for paediatric psychiatry
Advisors: Joseph McGuire, Ph.D. and Hakwan Lau, D.Phil., UCLA
2016-2018 Graduate Researcher
UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior
Project: Virtual reality (VR) and fear conditioning
Advisor: Joseph McGuire, Ph.D.
 2012-2018 Graduate Researcher
Rissman Memory Lab,UCLA Psychology Department
Project: examined context-dependent memory and long-term retention using VR and fMRI.
Advisor: Jesse Rissman, Ph.D.
 2011-2012 Research Associate
NeuroScape (F.K.A. Gazzaley Lab), UCSF Depts. Neurology, Physiology, & Psychiatry
Project: examined working memory maintenance on perceptual conflict resolution—in dual- and tri-task conditions—using a driving videogame.
Advisors: Adam Gazzaley, M.D., Ph.D., and Joaquin Anguera, Ph.D.
 2010-2012 Research Assistant
NeuroScape (F.K.A. Gazzaley Lab), UCSF Depts. Neurology, Physiology, & Psychiatry
Project: Simultaneous EEG/fMRI and cognitive ageing
Advisors: Michael Rubens, B.S.
 2001-2005 Undergraduate Researcher
Cognitive Psychophysiology Lab, San Francisco State University Psychology Dept.
effects of sleep quality on verbal recall tasks, olfactory and visual EEG response to near-threshold stimuli, effects of animal-human interaction on stress.
Mark Geisler, Ph.D.


2014-2017 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship
2017 Doctoral Student Travel Grant, UCLA
2016 Finalist: Mustard Seed Foundation, Harvey Fellows
2013-2016 DARPA Young Faculty Award, PI: Dr. Jesse Rissman
2013-2014 UCLA Graduate Research Mentorship (GSM) Award
2013 Alternate List Honorable Mention: National Academy Ford Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellowship
2013 Honourable Mention: National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship
2013, 2014 UCLA Graduate Summer Research Mentorship (GSRM) Award
2012-2013 UCLA Distinguished University Fellowship
1997 Distinction in Human Biology, the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination (HKCEE).

Honours and Memberships


* denotes student mentees

  1. Essoe, J. K-Y. and Rissman, J. (in press). Functional Neuroimaging Methods in Memory Research. In H. Otani & B. Schwartz (Eds.), Handbook of Research Methods in Human Memory. New York, NY: Routledge.
  2. Reggente, N., Essoe, J. K.-Y., Aghajan, Z. M., *Tavakoli, A. V., McGuire, J. F., Suthana, N. A., & Rissman, J. (2018). Enhancing the ecological validity of fMRI memory research using virtual reality. Frontiers in Neuroscience12, 408. [PDF]
  3. McGuire, J. F., Orr, S. P., Essoe, J. K.-Y., McCracken, J. T., Storch, E. A., Piacentini, J. (2016). Extinction Learning in Childhood Anxiety Disorders, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Implications for Treatment. Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics, 16(10), 1155-1174.
  4. Essoe, J. K-Y. (劉家宜), Reggente, N., *Ohno, A. (大野愛), *Baek, H. (백윤지), & Rissman, J. (in prep). Enhancing learning and retention of foreign vocabulary using distinctive virtual contexts.
  5. Essoe, J. K-Y., *Ohno, A., & McGuire, J. F. (in prep). Therapeutic Applications of Virtual Reality in Paediatric Psychiatry: A Systematic Review.

Mentorship Experience

Former Mentees in Academia

UCSF Mentees

1.     Jason Samaha Ph.D. student in Psychology at the U. of Wisconsin-Madison (advisor: Bradley Postle).
2.     Cammie Rolle Later, research associate at Gazzaley Lab, UCSF. Currently, Ph.D. student in Psychiatry, at Stanford University School of Medicine (advisor: Amit Etkin).
3.     Kayla Bowen Later, M.A. in developmental psychology at SFSU; then, research associate at the Health Equity Institute, SFSU. Accepted into UC Hastings J.D. program for Fall 2017.

UCLA Mentees

4.     Ai Aileen Ohno Awards received during mentorship (6): UCLA Library Research Poster Grant (2016, 2017), Outstanding Poster Award at UCLA Undergraduate Research Week (2016), UCLA Undergraduate Research Fellowship (URFP, 2016), American Association of Japanese University Women Scholarship (2015), and Kiichi Egashira Memorial Scholarship (2015).
5.     Hera Yonji Baek Currently, lab manager at Rissman Memory Lab, UCLA.
6.     Joseph Tran Later, research assistant at the Ahmanson-Lovelace Brain Mapping Centre, UCLA (advisor: Mirella Dapretto).
7.     Xin Song Ph.D. student in Psychology, at the U. of Minnesota (area: Cognitive & Brain Sciences).
8.     Priyanka Mehta Ph.D. student at Brain & Cognitive Science at U. of Rochester (advisor: Ben Hayden).
9.     Jacob Yu Villa Master student in Symbolic System at Stanford University.
10.  Ru Ekanayake Later, graduated high school (highest honours). Currently, student at Cornell University.

Former Mentees in Medicine and Industry

UCLA Mentees, Current Positions

1.     Dana Frostig Research associate at Posit Science Co., San Francisco.
2.     Jenny Zhou Pharm.D. student at UCSF School of Pharmacy.
3.     Daniel Lin Product manager at Yahoo! Previously, product designer at Jawbone.
4.     James Mutter Lead quality assurance engineer at Flipagram for Android.
5.     Alvin Voung Co-Founder and CEO of Escality, LLC


Research References

  1. Joseph F. McGuire, Ph.D. [web]
    Current PI / Post-doc Advisor
    Assistant Professor, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins Medicine
  2. Jesse Rissman, Ph.D. [web]
    Current Collaborator, Former PI / Graduate Advisor
    Director, Rissman Memory Lab. [web]
    Assistant Professor, Psychology, Psychiatry & Biobehavioural Sciences Depts., UCLA
  3. Elizabeth L. Bjork, Ph.D. [web]  
    Former Dissertation Committee Member
    Director, Bjork Learning & Forgetting Lab. [web]
    Professor and Senior Vice Chair, Psychology, UCLA
  4. Robert A. Bjork, Ph.D. [web] 
    Former Dissertation Committee Member
    Director, Bjork Learning & Forgetting Lab. [web]
    Distinguish Research Professor, Psychology, UCLA
  5. Adam Gazzaley, M.D., Ph.D. [web]
    Former PI / Advisor
    Director, Gazzaley Lab. [web]
    Professor, Neurology, Physiology, & Psychiatry Depts., UCSF

Research & Teaching References

  1. Mark Geisler, Ph.D. [web]
    Former PI / Mentor, Honours Thesis Advisor
    Director, Cognitive Psychophysiology Lab. [web]
    Professor, Psychology Dept., SFSU
  2. Erin M. Ramage, M.A., Ph.C.
    Former Mentor / Colleague
    Lecturer, Psychology Dept., UNLV

Mentorship References

  1. Jason Samaha [web]
    Former Student/Research Assistant
    Doctoral Student, Postle Cognitive Neuroscience Lab.
    Departments of Psychology & Psychiatry,
    University of Wisconsin-Madison
  2. Cammie Rolle [web]
    Former Student/Research Assistant
    Doctoral Student, Etkin Lab.
    Department of Psychiatry,
    Stanford University
  3. Dana Frostig [web]
    Former Student/Research Assistant
    Research Associate, BrainHQ, Posit Science
    San Francisco, CA

Supplemental: Selected Volunteer Community Service

University Bible Church, Westwood, Los Angeles, California (2012-2018) [Web]

2015 – 2018 Musician (Vocal, Electric Guitar).
2013 – 2018 Counsellor and Teacher.

§ Develop original Bible studies for small groups, including Christianity 101, topical studies, the books of Hebrews, Ephesians 4, and 1 Peter.

§ Mentorship for UCLA undergraduate women in navigating academia as Christians.

2013 – 2016 Sound and Visual Arts Technician.

Psychology in Action, UCLA, Los Angeles, California (2012-Pres) [Web]

A non-profit UCLA graduate student group that communicates psychology research to the general public.

2016 – Pres. Advisory Board Member.
2014 – 2016 President.

§ Coordinate web log (blog), community outreach, and annual symposium.

§ During my presidency, blog readership grew from 9,700 to 25,700 monthly views.

2013 – 2014 Web Publication Division Leader.

§ Coordinate authors and blog posts, moderate reader comments and correspondence.

§ Improved and maintained web presence. Website design and maintenance.

2012 – 2018 Blog Author.

Other Organisations

2013 – Pres. Author. A web log with original contents about my research, original Bible study contents, theology, and the integration of Christianity into the life of a scientist.
2010 – 2012 Committee Member. YoungLives, Concord, CA (A non-profit serving teenage mothers).
§ Provide safe friendship/mentorship and practical assistance to parenting teen girls from the underserved social-economic sectors, many are victims of sexual or physical abuse.

§ Offer academic advices, encouraging them to pursue university education and break the cycle of poverty despite adversities.

2007 – 2012 Teacher. Edgewater Covenant Church, Pittsburg, CA.

§ Design and teach theologically precise and age-appropriate classes for children (8-12y).

2002 – 2012 Canine Behaviour Consultant. Atlantis Dog Training, SF Bay Area, CA.
§ Dog training education (simultaneous shaping and positive reinforcement).

§ Paid service was discontinued in 2003, but continued in volunteer consultation for local foster families, new adopters, rescue groups, and those in financial needs.

2009 Columnist (Pen-name 子遙), Chinese Christian Herald Monthly (a non-profit newspaper).
§ Four-part series (published in Chinese) aimed to help Chinese immigrants cope with cultural changes: personal experience in communication with American-born or -raised children, interracial marriages, acculturation adjustments, and learning resources.
2009 Internship. Oakland Zoo, Oakland, CA.
§ Assisted in the care and training of the animals, including giraffes and spotted hyenas, common eland, Dama gazelle, Egyptian geese, griffon vultures, and warthogs.
2001 – 2002 Canine Behaviour Consultant, Assessment and Placement Division. Asians for Humans, Animals, and Nature, San Francisco, CA (an animal rescue group)
§ Assessment newly arrived animals and potential adoptive homes.

§ Dog training education for volunteers, foster homes, and adopters.

§ Website maintenance and animal transportation.