Dr. Sunderaraman is a licensed clinical neuropsychologist who received her PhD from Drexel University and completed her neuropsychology internship at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Before joining the faculty at the Boston University School of Medicine in July 2021, she completed postdoctoral training at Columbia University Medical Center. She is actively involved in leadership positions in various committees including as the Science Officer of the Early Career Neuropsychologist Committee, as a core-member of the Asian Indian committee of neuropsychologists, as a committee member of the International Neuropsychological Society’s Awards committee, as the program chair of the Teleneuropsychology Special Interest Group (part of INS), and the National Academy of Neuropsychology’s Clinical Research Grants Committee. Dr. Sunderaraman has obtained several federal- and foundation level grants including NIH/NIA’s (K99/R00) Pathway to Independence Award, NIH/NIA’s Ruth L. Kirschstein Postdoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F32), the Foundation for Rehabilitation Psychology’s Dissertation Award, and the National Academy of Neuropsychology’s Clinical Research Grant. She has published several peer-reviewed articles and book chapters in highly rated journals.
Dr. Sunderaraman has expertise in neuropsychological assessment. She has unique cross-cultural experiences in the US and in India. She is fluent in English, Hindi, Marathi and Tamil. She is skilled in project management, writing grants and scientific reports, and in international outreach activities. Dr. Sunderaraman is passionate about science and research and established a programmatic line of research in three areas:
1. Financial decision making, financial awareness, and financial loss
Leveraging her dissertation research, Dr. Sunderaraman has continued to actively study the contributors and correlates of financial decision making and one’s awareness of such decision making. She has studied cognitive (e.g., numeracy, executive functioning) and neural markers (e.g., cortical thickness, white matter integrity, functional connectivity) of these constructs. As traditional methods of assessing financial decision making are getting outdated, she aims to develop modern and objective methods based on digital technology; while using metacognitive frameworks to study financial awareness. Towards this end, Dr. Sunderaraman received NIH/NIA’s K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award in 2019 to study online money management. Based on a novel simulated credit card task she developed, Dr. Sunderaraman is collecting data to examine the psychometric properties of this task and investigate how decisions are made by those with and without cognitive impairments. Over time, she aims to understand how financial decisions and awareness of these decisions change over time, factors contributing to financial mistakes, and ways in which financial loss can be prevented or mitigated.
2. Digital Biomarkers and Brain Health
An active area of interest for Dr. Sunderaraman is the intersection of technology with various brain metrics assessed via cognitive and functional tests, brain imaging such as PET and MRI scans, and fluid biomarkers such as blood and CSF. Dr. Sunderaraman is co-leading the efforts on two ancillary projects from the Framingham Heart Study that involve digital assessments, one of which also involves imaging (e.g., PET, MRI). She has worked on identifying some of the challenges encountered in accurately collecting cognitive data via teleneuropsychology, and currently seeks to understand the moderators and mediators of brain health when tracked over time.
3. Characterizing Individuals of South Asian Descent
Dr. Sunderaraman is interested in investigating various life course related contextual, cognitive, and health-related factors that may impact this community. Overall, her work aims to improve research on diversity and brain health by, 1) identifying those at high risk for developing cognitive decline and neurogenerative conditions, and 2) exploring factors that might mitigate risk for developing cognitive decline and factors that might maintain or enhance brain health and well-being.