Jacob Lafo, M.S.

BiographyLafo

Jacob Lafo, M.S. is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Clinical & Health Psychology (Neuropsychology Track). He was born and raised in Boston, MA and received his Bachelor of Arts from Skidmore College in 2008, majoring in neuroscience and minoring in Spanish. Following graduation, Jacob worked as a clinical research associate in the Laboratory for Autonomic and Peripheral Nerve Disorders at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA. He joined the UF Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory in 2012 and has been mentored by Dawn Bowers, Ph.D., ABPP-CN. He entered the program on Dr. Bowers’ R21, “Emotion Regulation, Executive Function, and Parkinson Disease,” and was later awarded an NINDS T32 fellowship in Interdisciplinary Training in Movement Disorders & Neurorestoration. Jacob is currently completing his one-year internship in clinical neuropsychology at Brown University, with rotations at the Providence VA Medical Center and Butler Psychiatric Hospital.

Research Focus

Jacob’s research primarily focuses on cognitive and emotional features of movement disorders, including Parkinson’s disease and Essential Tremor. Specifically, he is interested in characterizing phenotypic similarities and differences among movement disorders and underlying pathophysiology in basal ganglia and cerebellar circuits. In combination with traditional neuropsychological testing, Jacob has used EEG, fMRI, and psychophysiological methods to examine aspects of emotion regulation and reactivity. His dissertation is entitled, “Emotion Perception and Reactivity in Essential Tremor.” At Brown University, he is involved in research projects investigating cognitive predictors of post-stroke gait rehabilitation and proficient use of advanced upper limb multi-function prostheses.

Publications

Lafo, J. A., Mikos, A., Mangal, P.C., Scott, B.M., Trifilio, E., Okun, M.S., & Bowers, D. (2017) Startling Facts about Emotion in Essential Tremor: Blunted reactivity to unpleasant and pleasant pictures. Parkinsonism & Related Disorders, 34. 54-58. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.parkreldis.2016.11.003

Jones, J. D., Mangal, P., Lafo, J.A., Okun, M. S., & Bowers, D. (2016). Mood Differences Among Parkinson’s Disease Patients With Mild Cognitive Impairment. The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 28 (3). 211-216. http://doi.org/10.1176/appi.neuropsych.15090221

Lafo, J. A., Jones, J. D., Okun, M. S., Bauer, R. M., Price, C. C., & Bowers, D. (2015). Memory Similarities Between Essential Tremor and Parkinson’s Disease: A Final Common Pathway? The Clinical Neuropsychologist, 29(7), 985–1001. http://doi.org/10.1080/13854046.2015.1118553

Jones, J. D., Butterfield, L. C., Song, W., Lafo, J.A., Mangal, P., Okun, M. S., & Bowers, D. (2014). Anxiety and Depression are Better Correlates of Parkinson’s Disease Quality of Life than apathy. Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, 27(3), 213-218. doi:10.1176/appi.neuropsych.13120380

Jones, J. D., Hass, C., Mangal, P., Lafo, J.A, Okun, M. S., & Bowers, D. (2014). The Cognition and Emotional Well-being Indices of the Parkinson’s Disease Questionnaire-39: What do they really measure? Parkinsonism & Related Disorders. 20(11), 1236-1241.

Wang, N., Gibbons, C. H., Lafo, J.A., & Freeman, R. (2013). Alpha-Synuclein in cutaneous autonomic nerves. Neurology, 81(18), 1604-1610.

Siepmann, T., Gibbons, C. H., Illigens, B. M., Lafo, J.A., Brown, C. M., & Freeman, R. (2012). Quantitative pilomotor axon reflex test: a novel test of pilomotor function. Archives of Neurology, 69(11), 1488-1492.

Abstracts/Presentations

Lafo, J.A., Mangal, P., Scott, B.M., Trifilio, E., Foote, K., Okun, M.S., & Bowers, D. (2017). Construct validity of the University of Florida DBS Cognitive Rating Scale: What cues neuropsychology to raise a red flag for DBS candidacy? Poster presentation at the 45th annual meeting of the International Neuropsychological Society, New Orleans, LA. (Abstract: Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society).

Mangal, P., Lafo, J.A., Renfroe, J., Scott, B.M., Okun, M.S., & Bowers, D. (2017). Emotion regulation and modulation of electrocortical responses in Parkinson’s disease. Poster presentation at the 45th annual meeting of the International Neuropsychological Society, New Orleans, LA. (Abstract: Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society).

Scott, B.M., Lafo, J.A., Mangal, P., Bradley, M., Perlstein, W., Okun, M.S., & Bowers, D. (2017). Emotion-semantic priming and electrocortical reactivity in Parkinson’s disease. Poster presentation at the 45th annual meeting of the International Neuropsychological Society, New Orleans, LA. (Abstract: Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society).

Lafo, J.A., Mikos, A., Scott, B., Okun, M., Bowers, D. (2016). Startling Facts about Emotion in Essential Tremor: Blunted emotional reactivity as indexed by the startle eyeblink response. Poster presentation at the 44th annual meeting of the International Neuropsychological Society, Boston, MA. (Abstract: Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society).

Mangal, P., Lafo, J.A., Scott, B., Okun, M., Bowers, D. (2016). Intentional Enhancement Of Electrocortical Responses To Emotional Pictures By Parkinson Patients: Relation To Executive Function. Poster presentation at the 44th annual meeting of the International Neuropsychological Society, Boston, MA. [Abstract: Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society].

Scott, B., Lafo, J.A., Almeida, L., Okun, M., Bowers, D. (2016). Differential Effects of Apathy, Depression and Anxiety on Cognitive Function in Patients with Parkinson’s Disease, Essential Tremor and Dystonia. Poster presentation at the 44th annual meeting of the International Neuropsychological Society, Boston, MA. [Abstract: Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society].

Lafo, J.A., Bowers, D., Marsiske, M., Marra, D., Thomas, K., Jones., J. D., Hass, C., Reynolds, B., Steindler, D., & Bauer, R (2015). Effects of Combined Cognitive Training and Physical Exercise on Spatial Navigation and Learning in Older Adults. Poster presentation at the 43rd annual meeting of the International Neuropsychological Society, Denver, CO. [Abstract: Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society].

Jones, J.D., Hass, C., Lafo, J.A., Mangal, P.C., Okun, M.S., & Bowers, D. (2014). The Cognition Index of the Parkinson’s Disease Questionnaire-39: What Does it Really Measure? Poster presentation at the 42st annual meeting of the International Neuropsychological Society, Seattle, WA. [Abstract: Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society.

Jones, J.D., Mangal, P.C., Lafo, J.A., Okun, M.S., & Bowers, D. (2014). Mood and Amotivation symptoms in Parkinson patients with and without Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI): Comparison of 3 MCI classification approaches. Poster presentation at the 42st annual meeting of the International Neuropsychological Society, Seattle, WA. [Abstract: Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society]

Mangal, P., Lafo, J.A., Jones, J.D., Okun, M., Bradley, M., Bowers, D. (2015). Emotional memory, the Late Positive Potential, and Parksinson’s Disease. Poster presentation at the 43rd Annual Meeting of the International Neuropsychological Society, Denver, CO. [Abstract: Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society].

Lafo, J.A., Jones, J.D., Mangal, P.C., Okun, M.S., Price C.E., Bauer, R.M., & Bowers, D. (2014). Visuoperceptual task impairments in Parkinson’s disease: A pathway-specific association of executive function and memory? Poster presentation at the 42nd annual meeting of the International Neuropsychological Society, Seattle, WA. [Abstract: Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society]

Mangal, P.C., Jones, J.D., Lafo, J.A., Foote, K., Okun, M.S., Bauer, R.M., & Bowers, D. (2014). Cognitive and Brain Reserve in Parkinson disease (PD): Predictors of Cognitive Changes over Time. Poster presentation at the 42nd annual meeting of the International Neuropsychological Society, Seattle, WA. [Abstract: Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society]

Reed, A., Ewigman, N., Kuhn, T., Fernandez, A., Snyder, A., Lafo, J.A., Bertone, A., Gylys, J., Harman, J., Christiam, H., Davis, J., Putanansu, K., & Bauer, R. (2014). Using Video Conferencing to Increase Psychological Care for the Underserved: Updated Findings From the Skype Trial. Poster presentation at the annual meeting of the Society for Student Run Clinics, Nashville, TN.

Lafo, J.A., Jones, J.D., Okun, M.S., Bauer, R.M., Price C.E., & Bowers, D. (2013). Memory Dissociations in Essential Tremor and Parkinson Disease: A Final Common Pathway? Poster presentation at the 41st annual meeting of the International Neuropsychological Society, Waikoloa, HI. [Abstract: Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society]

Mangal P.C., Jones, J.D., Lafo, J.A., Okun, M.S., & Bowers, D. (2013). The Variability of Classifying PD-MCI Based on Differing Criteria. Poster presentation at the 41st annual meeting of the International Neuropsychological Society, Waikoloa, HI. [Abstract: Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society]

Wang, N., Gibbons, C., Lafo, J.A., & Freeman, R. (2012). Alpha Synuclein as a Cutaneous Biomarker of Parkinson’s disease. Abstract presented at the 64rd American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA.

Gibbons, C., Lafo, J.A., Smith, G., Singleton, R., & Freeman, R. (2012). The quantification of sudomotor nerve fibers: a multi-center study in diabetes. Abstract presented at the 2012 International Symposium on the Autonomic Nervous System, Paradise Island, Bahamas, October 2012.

Illigens, B., Lafo, J.A., Freeman, R., & Gibbons, C.H. (2011). Sudomotor Dysfunction in Patients with Diabetes Compared to Healthy Subjects with Low Sweat Output. Neurology, 76, 2011 (Suppl 4): A574. Abstract presented at the 63rd American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting, Honolulu, HI, April 2011.

Siepmann, T., Illigens, B., Lafo, J.A., Gibbons, C.H., & Freeman R. (2011). Quantitative Pilomotor Axon-Reflex Test (QPART): A Novel Assessment of Autonomic Small Fiber Function. Neurology, 76, 2011 (Suppl 4): A576. Poster presented at the 63rd American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting, Honolulu, HI, April 2011.

Teaching Experience

Teaching Assistant (Fall 2014 – Spring 2015). Measurement, Research Design and Statistics I & II (graduate), Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida. Supervisor: Dr. Michael Marsiske, Ph.D.

Guest Lecturer (October 11, 2016). Cognitive Profiles of Dementia Subtypes. In Cognitive Neuroscience of Aging (undergraduate), Department of Psychology, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Guest Lecturer (February 23, 2016). Emotion Processing in Essential Tremor. Presented at Center for Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration Case Conference, Department of Neurology, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Guest Lecturer (April 7, 2015). Disorders of Childhood and Adolescence. In Abnormal Psychology (undergraduate), College of Public Health & Health Professions, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Guest Lecturer (January 27, 2015). Executive Functions. In Cognitive Neuroscience of Aging (undergraduate), Department of Psychology, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Honors/Awards

Jenny Sivinski Memorial Award for Excellence in Community Service, Awarded by the University of Florida Department of Clinical & Health Psychology (November, 2016; $500)

The Clinical Neuropsychologist/American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology Student Project Competition Award, Runner-up; In recognition of first-authored publication, Memory Similarities Between Essential Tremor and Parkinson’s Disease: A Final Common Pathway?” (June, 2016; $500)

NINDS T32 Predoctoral Interdisciplinary Fellowship in Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration, NS82168 (July 2015 – June 2017)

University of Florida Office of Research Travel Grant (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017; $800) Clinical Excellence Merit Award, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA (2011; $800)

Skidmore Periclean Honor Society (May, 2008)

Skidmore Dean’s List (2004-2008)

Professional Roles and Peer Review

International Neuropsychological Society, Student member


American Psychological Association Division 40- Clinical Neuropsychology, Student member

Ad Hoc Reviewer, Journal International Neuropsychological Society (2016, 2017)

Ad Hoc Reviewer, Movement Disorders Clinical Practice (2016)

Ad Hoc Reviewer, Journal International Neuropsychological Society (2015)

University and Community Service

Free Therapy Night Specialty Clinic, Co-Director (July 2013- June 2017, promoted to co-director August, 2014)

  • Co-directed student-run volunteer clinic providing psychotherapeutic care to uninsured/underserved communities in Gainesville-Alachua County area

Association for Neuropsychological Students in Training (ANST), Student Representative (April, 2016 – June 2017) University of Florida Chapter, Gainesville, Florida

2012 Cohort Representative (August, 2012 – June, 2017) Department of Clinical & Health Psychology University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida