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 specialization in lifespan learning and memory.  My research interests focus on applying learning and memory enhancement strategies to optimize 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 like immersive virtual reality (VR) and functional neuroimaging (fMRI) to examine strategies to enhance exposure therapy and extinction learning.

Personal Interests

Besides my work, I enjoy theological studies, running, 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 (2019-2021)
  • 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. McGuire JF, Ginder N, Ramsey K, Essoe JK-Y, Ricketts EJ, McCracken JT, & Piacentini J. (In press). Optimizing Behavior Therapy For Youth with Tourette’s Disorder. Neuropsychopharmacology.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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]