Research Team

Meet the people behind the research.

Jennifer A. Bugos


Dr. Bugos received her B.M (music education) from the University of Florida, M.M. (music education) from the University of Central Florida, and Ph.D. (music education and minor gerontology) from the University of Florida. She currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Music Education at the University of South Florida where she teaches undergraduate courses in General Music Methods, Internship, and Senior Seminar. She also serves as the Music Education Internship Coordinator. Dr. Bugos teaches graduate courses such as Foundations and Principles of Music Education and Lifelong Learning in Music Education.


Jennifer Bugos taught piano, general music, children’s choir, and recorder ensemble for many years in Orange and Seminole County, Florida. While pursuing her doctorate, Bugos served as a secondary caregiver for her grandparents which led to an interest in gerontology. She wrote and facilitated a McKnight Brain Research Grant to examine the effects of individualized piano instruction on cognitive abilities in older adults. Bugos pursued post-doctoral work in the Clinical-Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory under the direction of Dr. William Perlstein. While teaching and performing research at East Carolina University, her previous appointment, Bugos received funding from the Retirement Research Foundation to study, “Bimanual Coordination on Successful Aging: Results of a Model Music Program”.


Dr. Bugos’ main research interests include the neurological basis for music perception and cognition with regard to human development, lifespan learning, and cognitive transfer. Her research has been featured at national and international conferences such as the MENC National Conference, Society for Neuroscience, and the International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition. She has published in many journals such as the Bulletin for the Council of Research in Music Education, Research Perspectives in Music Education, and Aging and Mental Health.


Dr. Bugos is a very accomplished researcher as well as a wonderful research mentor to all students who work in her lab.


Selena Rashid


My name is Selena Rashid and I am a second year student majoring in Biomedical Sciences and minoring in International Studies. I am currently a resident assistant in Poplar Hall and this is my first year doing research with Dr. Bugos. I hope to one day attend medical school and further my goal of becoming a Physician.



Albert Klimczak


Albert Klimczak is a third year student at the University of South Florida, originally from Lorain, Ohio. He will receive his B.A. in Health Sciences and minor in Psychology, in the Fall of 2016. Albert plans to pursue a doctorate degree in Physical Therapy after he finishes his undergraduate studies. He has been a volunteer researcher for the School of Music since the Fall semester of 2015. His main research focus is studying the effects of music training on the cognitive and neurological processes in middle aged adults.


















Hannah Penny


Hannah is currently an undergraduate freshman studying Cell and Molecular Biology at USF. She will be applying to medical school after graduating and has interests in Neurology, Dermatology and Orthopedic Surgery.

In her free time, she plays the piano and the cello and enjoys going to the gym, running and playing soccer. She will be working on the Impact of Piano Training on Cognitive, Motor, and Psychosocial Outcomes in Parkinson’s Disease. This will be her first research project under Dr. Bugos.

Vybhav Jagannath


Vybhav is a freshman Biomedical Sciences major at the University of South Florida. He is pursuing his ideal career in psychiatry, while also leading the USF Green and Gold A Cappella Ensem-BULL. Vybhav works as part of the NEA Study alongside Dr. Bugos and is extremely happy that he can pursue his passion for music while conducting research regarding it.



Chloe Kantoris


Chloe Kantoris is a biomedical science major who is currently working on the NEA Older Adults Study and the Middle Age study. Her career goal is to become a pediatrician. 

Advaitaa Ravipati


Advaitaa Ravipati is a fourth year student at the University of South Florida pursuing a dual

degree in Biomedical Sciences and Public Health with a minor in Biomedical Physics. She is currently working on the NEA Older Adult Study.

Maverick Mangosing


Maverick is a third year majoring in Cell and Molecular Biology. Since his father was in the military for twenty-four years, he moved many times as a child. Maverick was born in Japan and then moved to England, South Carolina, and finally Florida. His main goal right now is to be accepted to USUHS, the nation's only military medical school, located just outside of Washington D.C, in order to become either a surgeon or a cardiologist. He enjoys playing ultimate frisbee, football, basketball, and occasionally playing his ukulele or violin. 


Leah Marie Vidal


Leah is currently an undergraduate sophomore studying Microbiology at USF. Leah was born in the U.S. Virgin Islands and then moved to Florida where she began her undergraduate studies. She will be applying to Physician Assistant school after graduation. Leah is currently a part of The Impact of Piano Training on Cognitive Performance and Psychosocial Well-Being in Older Adults study under Dr. Bugos and in her free time enjoy swimming and traveling.


Heather Stewart


Heather Stewart is a senior majoring in Integrative Animal Biology with a minor in Public Health. In the summer of 2015, Heather started out by helping with the testing and Lego training of preschool children in order to determine the affects of music training on children's executive functions. She chose to write her honors thesis on this topic as well as train to test for an older adult study. Now she is working as a tester on an NEA funded study on the cognitive and psycho-social affects of piano training and brain training on older adults.


Ashley Gonsalves


Ashley Gonsalves is a senior at the University of South Florida pursuing a bachelor degree in biomedical sciences. Ashley seeks research opportunities that are engaging, creative and relevant, allowing her to develop academic and professional skills. She began working with Dr. Bugos Fall of 2015. Currently Ashley is a research assistant serving as a primary tester on the research study: The Impact of Piano Training on Cognitive Performance and Psychosocial Well-Being in Older Adults, funded by the National Endowment of the Arts. 


Christopher Marsilisi


My name is Christopher Marsalisi and I am currently a third year student at the University of South Florida studying Cellular and Molecular Biology as well as a student of the USF Honors College. I have been researching consistently for Dr. Jennifer Bugos at the University of South Florida’s School of Music for the past four semesters. In addition, I am heading Dr. Bugos’ research study titled Musical Experience on Auditory Processing and Executive Function in Middle Age. My team and I are excited to reveal correlations between long term music training and cognitive skills for individuals in the middle age, as neuroplasticity due to music training has not been extensively studied in this age group.