Faculty and Graduate Student Mentors

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DR. AARON BLAISDELL

FACULTY ADVISOR

Dr. Aaron Blaisdell is a UCLA Psychology Professor, and a member of the Brain Research Institute, the Integrative Center for Learning & Memory, and the Evolutionary Medicine program. He received a BA in Anthropology (SUNY Stony Brook), an MS in Anthropology (Kent State University), a Ph.D. in Behavioral Neuroscience (SUNY Binghamton), and had 2 years of postdoctoral training (Tufts University). Dr. Blaisdell directs the UCLA Comparative Cognition Lab where he studies comparative cognition, behavioral neuroscience, and evolutionary mismatch. He co-founded the Ancestral Health Society and is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Evolution and Health.

CLAUDIA AGUIRRE

GRADUATE STUDENT MENTOR

 

AMANDA BAKER

GRADUATE STUDENT MENTOR

 

JORDAN BARBEC

GRADUATE STUDENT MENTOR

 

EMMA BRIGHT

GRADUATE STUDENT MENTOR

Emma Bright is a fifth year graduate student in the Health Psychology program with a minor in Quantitative Psychology. Her primary advisor is Dr. Annette Stanton and her secondary advisor is Dr. Ted Robles. Broadly, she is interested in how individuals cope with and adjust to chronic stressors, such as cancer. Her current research focuses on how psychosocial factors can impact health behaviors and quality of life for people with chronic illnesses and their loved ones. Outside of the lab, Emma makes time to run long distances, listen to podcasts, and experiment in the kitchen.

SHANNON BURNS 

GRADUATE STUDENT MENTOR

 

LUCY CUI

GRADUATE STUDENT MENTOR

Lucy Cui is a second year PhD student. She is specializing in Computational Cognition as part of the Cognitive Psychology program. Her research interests include cognitive differences between novices and experts, expertise development through perceptual learning, and optimization of learning technologies. Outside of school, she competes at Dancesport ballroom dance competitions, reads nonfiction books, and practices yoga.

CAROLINE DIEHL

GRADUATE STUDENT MENTOR

 

ANIKA GUHA

GRADUATE STUDENT MENTOR

Anika is a 3rd year clinical psychology PhD student working with Dr. Cindy Yee-Bradbury and Dr. Gregory A. Miller. She graduated from Wellesley College with a bachelors degree in neuroscience. Her research focuses on using psychophysiological methods (task-based and resting-state fMRI, EEG, etc.) to understand mechanisms of cognitive function and emotion regulation in psychopathology, particularly psychotic disorders. She is interested in elucidating biomarkers that inform the prediction of who develops psychopathology, what contributes to the maintenance of psychopathology, and who will respond best to particular treatments.
 

JULIA HAMMETT

GRADUATE STUDENT MENTOR

Julia Hammett is a 4th year Clinical Psychology graduate at UCLA, where she works with Tom Bradbury and Ben Karney in the Marriage  Lab. Her specific research focus is on predictors and outcomes of intimate partner aggression and violence. Julia likes to spend time with her husband and dog, practice yoga, and go shopping.

MARCIE HAYDON

GRADUATE STUDENT MENTOR

Marcie Haydon is a fourth-year graduate student in the Health Psychology program with a minor in Quantitative Psychology.  Her research examines risk and resilience factors that affect health and well-being in individuals who have experienced stressful life events, particularly diagnosis of a life‐threatening illness such as cancer.  At present, she is interested in the protective effects of positive psychological states, with an emphasis on developmental transitions and modifiable targets for intervention.  Outside of school, Marcie enjoys baking, hiking, and growing veggies in her garden.

LAUREN HOFSCHNEIDER

GRADUATE STUDENT MENTOR

Lauren Hofschneider is a second-year graduate student in the Health Psychology area and works with Dr. A. Janet Tomiyama. She is interested in how perceptions of status and scarcity determine what people eat and how these factors all tie together to broaden our understanding of food insecurity. Her passion for mentoring young, budding researchers stems from her long academic journey as a former native of the small Pacific Island, Saipan, to UCLA Ph.D. student. In her off-time, you may catch her at Wooden taking boxing lessons, scouring the farmer’s market for her next meal, or taking a bus over to Santa Monica to people watch.

MARIA KARAN

GRADUATE STUDENT MENTOR

Maira is a second year doctoral student in the developmental psychology area. Her research focuses on adolescent development. In particular, she is interested in how sleep influences adolescents’ brain and behavioral development. She employs fMRI and daily diary methodology to explore these topics as a graduate student researcher in the Adolescent Development Lab. During her free time she enjoys practicing vinyasa yoga and going on hikes.

JD KNOTTS

GRADUATE STUDENT MENTOR

 

ISABELLE LANSER

GRADUATE STUDENT MENTOR

 

NINA LICHTENBERG

GRADUATE STUDENT MENTOR

 

JOAO GUASSI MOREIRA

GRADUATE STUDENT MENTOR

 

GIOVANNI RAMOS

GRADUATE STUDENT MENTOR

Giovanni Ramos received his B.A.s in Psychology from Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico and Florida International University. His research broadly focuses on reducing mental health disparities among ethnic/racial minority families with an emphasis on Latinx mental health. To achieve this goal, he is interested in examining innovative methods to deliver mental health care such as technology-based interventions, brief treatments, and task shifting through the use of paraprofessional work forces.

CHRISTINA SANDMAN

GRADUATE STUDENT MENTOR

 

BENJAMIN SEITZ

GRADUATE STUDENT MENTOR

Benjamin Seitz is a second year PhD student in the Learning and Behavior area. He graduated from Binghamton University in 2017 where he was advised by Ralph Miller and David Sloan Wilson. He currently works with Aaron Blaisdell and Janet Tomiyama and studies how basic learning and memory processes affect food consumption and eating behaviors. His other research interests include evolutionary predispositions to the human memory system and computational models of reinforcement learning. Outside the lab, Ben enjoys playing soccer, hiking, and snowboarding.

STACY SHAW

GRADUATE STUDENT MENTOR

Stacy is a fourth-year graduate student in the developmental psychology program at UCLA where she works with James Stigler and Gerardo Ramirez. Her research focuses on using experimental designs to better understand math anxiety, problem solving, and creativity. Before graduate school, she worked as a educational analyst for RTI international where she focused on evaluating education programs and initiatives. She received her bachelor’s degree in Human Development from California State University, East Bay after transfering from Las Positas Community College. 

ALEXANDRA STOLYAROVA

GRADUATE STUDENT MENTOR

Alex Stolyarova is a third-year PhD student in Behavioral Neuroscience program. Alex is a member of Dr. Alicia Izquierdo’s lab, where she studies how animals make decisions and learn from surprising outcomes of their choices under conditions of uncertainty. Her recent work has focused on interactions between the amygdala and prefrontal cortex in supporting such behaviors. As mathematical modeling plays an important role in Alex’s own work, she is strongly committed to mentorship of undergraduate students with a passion for both neuroscience and computation. Apart from science, Alex enjoys sailing, dancing, playing tennis, and spending time with her family, friends and her cat named Kat.

MAKO TANAKA

GRADUATE STUDENT MENTOR