Aging, Imaging and Memory Lab

Researcher - Dr. Kristy Nielson

The Research

Research in the Aging, Imaging, and Memory (AIM) Lab uses neuroimaging to understand how the neural substrates of memory and executive functioning decline in aging and Alzheimer’s disease; genetic influences on these neural substrates; early biomarkers predicting future decline; sex, gender, and emotion processing differences in risk for age-related cognitive decline and dementia; and interventions such as exercise targeted at preventing, reducing, and adapting to decline. Studies in the lab involve both graduate and undergraduate researchers as investigators, presenters and authors.

Current Studies Include:

  • The effects of emotion, alexithymia, and emotion regulation on memory and executive functioning;
  • Sex differences in cognitive aging and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Neural changes associated aging, as measured by MRI, functional MRI, and EEG;
  • Biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease, combined with cognition and neuroimaging.
  • Exercise interventions to reduce and prevent cognitive decline

Graduate Students

Sarah Evans, B.S.


Elizabeth Paitel, Ph.D.


Elizabeth R. Paitel, Ph.D. graduated from St. Norbert College in 2016 with a B.A. in psychology and Spanish. There she conducted research as a McNair Scholar in behavioral neuroendocrinology and cognitive neuroscience. Working in the Aging, Imaging, and Memory (AIM) Laboratory, she earned an M.S. in Clinical Psychology and a Ph.D. in Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience. Dr. Paitel’s primarily research interests use EEG to characterize age-related changes in neurocognitive functioning, with an emphasis on early detection of risk for Alzheimer’s disease during healthy, asymptomatic stages. Her current role as a Postdoctoral Researcher is a joint position with the Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Psychology in which she is pursuing advanced modeling of EEG data during executive functions, including cerebellar source localization. Her future research will also examine preventative and intervention measures for pathological aging.


  • Paitel, E.R. & Nielson, K.A. (2023). Cerebellar EEG Source Localization Reveals Age-Related Compensatory Activity Moderated by Genetic Risk for Alzheimer’s Disease. Psychophysiology, 00, e14395. doi: 10.1111/psyp.14395

  • Paitel, E.R., Peters, S.D., Lobermeier, M., & Lopez-Cowell, R.A. (2022). Age-Related No-Go P300 Amplitudes are Moderated by Exposure to Early-Life Stress. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 180, 1-9. doi: 1016/j.ijpsycho.2022.06.016
  • Paitel, E.R., & Nielson, K.A. (2021). Temporal Dynamics of Event-Related Potentials during Inhibitory Control Characterize Age-Related Neural Compensation. Symmetry(special issue, Cognition, Neuroscience and Asymmetry), 13(12). doi: 10.3390/sym13122323
  • Elverman, K.H., Paitel, E.R., Figueroa, C.M., McKindles, R.J., & Nielson, K.A. (2021). Event-Related Potentials, Inhibition, and Risk for Alzheimer’s Disease Among Cognitively Intact Elders. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 80(4), 1413-1428. doi: 10.3233/JAD-201559
  • Paitel, E.R., ^Samii, M., & Nielson, K.A. (2020) A Systematic Review of Cognitive Event-Related Potentials in Mild Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer’s Disease. Behavioural Brain Research, 396. doi: 1016/j.bbr.2020.112904
  • Correro II, A.N., Paitel, E.R., Byers, S.J., & Nielson, K.A. (2019). The Role of Alexithymia in Memory and Executive Functioning Across the Lifespan. Cognition and Emotion (special issue, Alexithymia), 35(3), 524-539. doi: 10.1080/02699931.2019.1659232
  • Cowell, R.A., Paitel, E.R., & ^Peters, S. (2019). The Context of Caution: An Examination of Age, Social Context, and Sex on Measures of Inhibitory Control and Risky Decision-Making. The International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 90(1), 84-103. doi: 10.1177/0091415019836100
  • Bailey, D. J., Makeyeva, Y. V., Paitel, E. R., Pedersen, A. L., Hon, A. T., Gunderson, J. A., & Saldanha, C. J. (2017). Hippocampal Aromatization Modulates Spatial Memory and Characteristics of the Synaptic Membrane in the Male Zebra Finch. Endocrinology158(4), 852-859. doi: 10.1210/en.2106-1692

Christan Otteman, B.S.


Mary Polking, B.S.


Erik O'Reilly, B.S.



Current Undergraduate/Post-graduate Research Assistants

Current Undergraduate/Post-graduate Research Assistants

  • Taha Ahmad
  • Jai Hsieh-Bailey
  • Jenna Rugzi
  • Rachel Piscoran
  • Reece Bergeron
  • Brighid Hanlon
  • Gabriel Sisarica

Notable Lab Alumni

  • Timothy J. Arentsen, Ph.D.
  • Sheila Baer, Ph.D.
  • Benjamin Bock, Ph.D.
  • Steve Byers, Psy. D.
  • Alissa Butts, Ph.D.
  • Anthony N. Correro, Ph.D.
  • Veronica Dixon, M.S.
  • Shaun English, Ph.D.
  • Kirk I. Erickson, Ph.D.
    (as an undergraduate)
  • Christina Figueroa, Ph.D. 
  • Katie Hazlett Elverman, Ph. D.
  • Nathan Hantke, Ph.D.
  • Trevor Hyde, Ph.D.
  • Anna Kiel, M.S.
  • Scott A. Langenecker, Ph.D.
  • Riley Marinelli, B.A., D.P.T
  • Mitchell A. Meltzer, Ph.D.
  • Andrew Newsom, Ph.D.
  • Elizabeth R. Paitel, Ph.D.
  • Mark Powless, Ph.D.
  • Katherine Reiter, M.S. Ph.D.
  • Julie Riederer, M.S.
  • Linda F. Stone, Ph.D.
  • Laura Klockow Wulff, Ph.D.
  • Douglas Yee, M.S.

Where are they now?

Lab Photos


AIM Lab EEG training with (left to right) Henry Licht, Christian Otteman, Dr. Elizabeth Paitel, Sarah Evans, and Riya Bhasin (under the cap).


           EEG, O'Reilly, Polking, Mrotek

EEG session prep with (left to right) Erik O’Reilly, Mary Polking (in the stylish cap!), and Dr. Leigh Ann Mrotek


   Sarah Evans and Elizabeth Paitel

Sarah Evans and Elizabeth Paitel at the Society for Neuroscience conference, October 2019


    AIM Lab Team

AIM Lab Team at the Walk to End Alzheimer's Disease, Milwaukee, WI, September 2019.


    AIM Lab in Zurich

AIM Lab in Zurich for Cognitive Aging Conference 2019 (EUCAS), April 2019 (Elizabeth Paitel, Dr. Nielson, Anthony Correro)



Dr. Nielson and AIM Lab at Fiserv Forum

Dr. Nielson and AIM Lab at Fiserv Forum, January 2019 (if needed, L-R is: MU Athletics Director Bill Scholl, Sarah Evans, Elizabeth Paitel, Zane Ballard, Bill Lorber, Dr. Nielson, MU Provost Kimo Ah Yun, MU President Michael R. Lovell.




           EEG team training, 2017



Poster session at EUCAS 2017, Volkshaus, Zurich. Find the AIM Lab presenters, Anthony Correro and Elizabeth Paitel!



Elizabeth Paitel presenting at EUCAS 2017, Volkshaus, Zurich

          Nielson Lab, Otteman, Presenting 2022

Christian Otteman (right) presenting at the 62nd annual meeting of the Society for Psychophysiologial Research, Vancourver, B.C., Canada, September 2022


    Nielson's Lab in Genoa

AIM Lab in Boccadasse (Genoa), Italy for a research collaboration.  Featuring Henry Licht (far left) and Christian Otteman (far right) with INSL and NMCL students (Marquette Biomedical Engineering; Julie Wagner, Frankie Ingram, and Owen Lutz).



Elizabeth Paitel presenting at the 48th annual meeting of the International Neuropsychological Society, Denver, CO, February 2020.



At the EUCAS dinner at the Zunfthaus zur Meisen in Zurich, Switzerland, April 2017



Us at the EUCAS Dinner at the Zunfthaus zur Meisen, Zurich



                  Day 1 of EEG training



                   Day 1 of EEG training 2016




Anthony Correro, presenting at the 1st International Convention of Psychological Science in Amsterdam, Netherlands, March 2015.



AIM Lab (left to right): David Marra,
Riley Marinelli, Christina Figueroa,
Dr. Nielson, Katie Hazlett, 
Anthony Correro,
and Kate Reiter 
at the Nora Finnigan Werra Faculty Achievement Award (Association of Marquette University Women) luncheon, 2014.