Joey Ka-Yee Essoe (劉家宜), Ph.D.


Post-Doctoral Research Fellow [Full CV][web]
Advisor: Joseph F. McGuire, Ph.D. 
Division: Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Department: Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Institution: The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine


  • B.A., Psychology (Emphasis: Psychophysiology), Graduated Cum Laude
    San Francisco State University (SFSU), San Francisco, CA
  • M.A., Psychology (Major: Behavioral Neuroscience; Minor: Quantitative Psychology)
    University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Los Angeles, CA
  • C.Phil., Psychology (Major: Cognitive Neuroscience; Minor: Quantitative Psychology)
    University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Los Angeles, CA
  • Ph.D., Psychology (Major: Cognitive Neuroscience; Minor: Quantitative Psychology)
    University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Los Angeles, CA

Research Interests

My research background is in cognitive neuroscience, with a speciality in learning and memory enhancement.  My research focuses on applying learning and memory enhancement strategies to optimise evidence-based treatments for childhood neuropsychiatric conditions. I am also interested to apply cognitive neuroscience techniques to evaluate treatment outcomes. Toward this end, my research uses novel technologies such as immersive virtual reality (VR), mobile applications (apps), and functional neuroimaging (fMRI) to examine strategies to enhance therapeutic learning in evidence-based behavioural therapies.

Personal Interests

Besides my work, I enjoy theological studies, 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.


  • Tourette’s Association of America Young Investigator Award (2019-2022)
  • Tourette’s Association of America Young Investigator Travel Award (2020, 2022)
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship
  • UCLA Doctoral Student Travel Grant
  • DARPA Young Faculty Award, PI: Dr. Jesse Rissman, Role: Graduate Researcher
  • UCLA Graduate Research Mentorship (GSM) Award
  • UCLA Graduate Summer Research Mentorship (GSRM) Award (2)
  • UCLA Distinguished University Fellowship
  • Distinction in Human Biology, the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination (HKCEE).
  • Mustard Seed Foundation, Harvey Fellows (Finalist)
  • National Academy Ford Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellowship (Alternate List Honorable Mention)
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (Honourable Mention)

Leadership Positions and Society Memberships


* denotes student mentees

  1. Patrick, A.K., Ramsey, K.A., Essoe, J.K.-Y., McGuire, J.F. (Accepted). Clinical Considerations for an Evidence-Based Assessment for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Psychiatry Clinics.
  2. Essoe, JK-Y, Reggente, N, Ohno, AA, Baek, HY, Dell’Italia, J, Rissman, J, (In-Revision). Enhancing Learning and Retention with Distinctive Virtual Reality Environments and Mental Context Reinstatement. [Preprint, in-revision at NPJ Science of Learning].
  3. Essoe, J. K.-Y., Patrick, A. K., Reynolds, K., Schmidt, A., Ramsey, K. A., McGuire, J.F. (2022). Recent Advances in Psychotherapy with Virtual Reality: Closing the Research-to-Practice Gap. Advances in Psychiatry and Behavioral Health 2:79-93.
  4. Essoe, J.K.-Y., Ramsey, K.A., Singer, H.S., Grados, M., McGuire, J.F. (2021). Mechanisms Underlying Behavior Therapy for Tourette’s Disorder. Current Developmental Disorders Reports.
  5. Essoe, J.K.-Y., Ricketts, E.J., Ramsey, K.A., Piacentini, J., Woods, D.W., Peterson, A.L. , Scahill, L., Wilhelm, S., Walkup, J.T., & McGuire, J.F. (2021). ­­­Homework Adherence Predicts Therapeutic Improvement from Behavior Therapy in Tourette’s Disorder. Behavioural Research and Therapy.
  6. Essoe, J.K.-Y., Reggente, N., *Ohno, A.A., *Baek, H.Y., Dell’Italia, J., Rissman, J. (in-prep). A Novel Approach to Enhance Learning and Retention: VR, Contextual Support, and Mental Reinstatement. Nature Human Behaviour.
  7. Ramsey, K., Essoe, J. K.-Y., Storch, E. A., Lewin, A. B., Murphy, T. K., & McGuire, J. F. (2020). Urge intolerance and impairment among youth with Tourette’s and chronic tic disorders. Child Psychiatry & Human Development. 2020 Oct 23:1-1.
  8. Ramsey, K. A., Essoe, J. K.-Y., Storch, E. A., Lewin, A. B., Murphy, T. K., & McGuire, J. F. (2020). The role of affect lability on tic severity and impairment in youth with Tourette’s disorder. Journal of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders27, 100578.
  9. McGuire, J.F., Piacentini, J., Storch, E.A., Ricketts, E.J., Woods, D.W.W., Peterson, A.L., Walkup, J.T., Wilhelm, S., Ramsey, K.A., Essoe, J.K.-Y., Himle, M.B., Lewin, A.B., Chang, S., Murphy, T.K., McCracken, J.T., & Scahill, L. (2020). Defining Tic Severity and Tic Impairment in Tourette Disorder, Journal of Psychiatric Research.
  10. McGuire, J. F., Ginder, N., Ramsey, K., Essoe, J. K.-Y., Ricketts, E. J., McCracken, J. T., & Piacentini, J. (2020). Optimizing behavior therapy for youth with Tourette’s disorder. Neuropsychopharmacology45(12), 2114-2119.
  11. Canella, R., Essoe, J. K.-Y., Grados, M., & McGuire, J.F. (2020) Overcoming Challenges in Exposure Therapy. In T.S. Peris, E.A. Storch, J.F. McGuire (Eds). Exposure Therapy for Children with Anxiety and OCD: Clinician’s Guide to Integrated Treatment. (pp. 383-404) Cambridge, MA: Elsevier Academic Press.
  12. Essoe, J. K.-Y., Grados, M. A., *Myers, N., Singer, H.S., McGuire, J. F. (2019). Evidence-based Treatment of Tourette’s Disorder and Chronic Tic Disorders. Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics. 2019; 1-13.
  13. Reggente, N., Essoe, J. K., Baek, H. Y., & Rissman, J. (2019). The Method of Loci in Virtual Reality: Explicit Binding of Objects to Spatial Contexts Enhances Subsequent Memory Recall. Journal of Cognitive Enhancement, 1-19.
  14. 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.
  15. Essoe, J. K-Y. and Rissman, J. (2018). Functional Neuroimaging Methods in Memory Research. In H. Otani & B. Schwartz (Eds.), Handbook of Research Methods in Human Memory. New York, NY: Routledge.
  16. 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]