Research Assistants & Post-baccs 


Allie Barrett

Carnegie Mellon University

B.S. Neuroscience, 2023


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Eden Hu

Carnegie Mellon University

B.A. Psychology and Statistics & Machine Learning, 2020

Hometown: Shanghai, China

Research Interests: Impacts of mindfulness and people analytics

Fun Fact: I play the trumpet (badly)!


Sara Jahanian

Carnegie Mellon University

B.Sc. Statistics & Data Science, Psychology Concentration, 2020



Elijah Lawrence

University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown

B.S. Psychology, 2016

Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

Research Interests: Clinical psychology; coping and emotion regulation strategies as preventative measures and ways of improving well-being

Fun Fact: My preschool teacher taught us how to sing Head Shoulders Knees and Toes in Korean, and I still remember how to sing it.



Chae Lee

Carnegie Mellon University

B.S. in Psychology, 2021

Hometown: Seoul, Korea

Research Interests: Clinical/health psychology, motivation, optimization, how to effectively manage stress and turn stress into a source of motivation

Fun Fact: I binge-watched the entire episodes of The Office in 2 weeks!


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Evelyn Li

Carnegie Mellon University

B.S. Cognitive Science, 2023

Hometown: Qingdao, China

Research Interests: My research interests focus broadly on cognitive psychology and how our psychological mechanisms function under different environments, particularly under stress and other challenging circumstances.

Fun Fact: I love making crepes and will always say yes to a nutella banana crepe, even at 12 AM.



Anya Novikova

UPMC Center for Integrative Medicine

Hometown: Wellesley, MA



Shreeman Pericherla

University of Pittsburgh

B.S. Neuroscience, 2022

Hometown: Hollidaysburg, PA

Research Interests: mediation, exercise and nutritional effects on the mind

Fun Fact: I love playing wrestling and tennis 


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Lexi Pizzuto

University of Pittsburgh

B.S. Psychology, May 2020

Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio

Research Interests: Mindfulness interventions, meditation, mood and anxiety disorders, trauma therapy, and mental health and wellness

Fun Fact: I drink at least four cups of coffee a day



Stephen Price

Carnegie Mellon University

B.S. Computational Biology, 2021

Hometown: Spring, TX

Research Interests: mindfulness, sleep, health psychology

Fun Fact: I never wake up with an alarm.


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Stephanie Rifai

Carnegie Mellon University

B.S. Statistics; Social and Decision Sciences, 2015

Hometown: Rockville Centre, New York

Research Interests: Stress-coping, mindfulness research, decision-making

Fun Fact: I biked from Pittsburgh to Washington D.C.!



Max Robbins

Carnegie Mellon University

BXA in Trumpet Performance and Psychology, 2022

Hometown: Rochester, NY

Research Interests: Human motivation, specifically in creating music, and how music affects well-being and development in children. I am also interested in auditory signals and the emotions associated with them.

Fun Facts: Avid whistler and lover of grapes


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Matthew Silva

Carnegie Mellon University

B.A. in Psychology, 2021

Hometown: Boca Raton, FL

Research Interests: Mental Health and Illness, emotion regulation, and human cognition.

Fun Fact: I play trombone for the CMU Kiltie Band!



Jaymee Suh

Carnegie Mellon University

B.S. in Cognitive Neuroscience, 2021

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

Research Interests: Neural and genetic mechanisms of mental disorders; burnout and how it can be prevented; drug delivery and personalized medicine

Fun Fact: I can recite the periodic table in order!


Jacob Wang

Carnegie Mellon University

B.S. Statistics & Machine Learning, Cognitive Science, 2022

Hometown: Shanghai, China

Research Interests: Neuroscience based analysis of happiness and mental wellbeing

Fun Fact: I chose my own English name because I’m Chinese.


Jia Wu

Middlebury College

Neuroscience and Psychology, 2020

Hometown: Shanghai, China; Manila, Philippines

Research Interests: Clinical and Health Psychology/ Neuroscience; I'm interested in the psychological and neurobiological mechanisms by which mind-body interventions, such as meditation, influence physical and mental wellbeing in areas such as relationships and connectedness, self and identity, trauma and adversity, resilience and emotional regulation, and addiction

Fun Fact: I love paraw sailing and doing other activities on white sand beaches in the Philippines with friends and family


Sarah Wu

Carnegie Mellon University



Lab Alumni 


Megan Lipsett

University of Colorado at Boulder '06
B.A. Psychology
California Institute of Integral Studies '11
M.A. in Integrative Health Studies

Hometown: Dillon, Colorado and Berkeley, California

Research Interests: how subjective mindsets (thoughts and beliefs about the world) impact psychological, emotional, physiological, and behavioral mechanisms and modulate stress pathways, health-related behaviors, and social structures. I am passionate about exploring the mediation of these subjective mindsets through modalities (e.g. meditation, mindset interventions, and cognitive reappraisal) designed to generate self-awareness, self-compassion, stress-resilience, ecological awareness and social belonging

Fun Fact: I have studied traditional indigenous wisdom practices in India, Peru, Southeast Asia, Bali, Central America, and China.



Maggie Caffrey

Carnegie Mellon University, 2020

B.S. in Biological Sciences and Psychology

Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA

Research Interests: Biological factors influencing mental health, and how different ways of thinking can influence psychological markers

Fun Fact: I have been playing the clarinet since fourth grade



Gowri Sunder 
Carnegie Mellon University '18
BHA in Psychology and Art

Hometown: Palo Alto, CA

Research Interests: Clinical psychology, specifically looking into the development of mood disorders and applications of art and mindfulness.

Fun Fact: My favorite art museum is either the Dali museum or the Rijksmuseum



Seh-Joo Kwon
Carnegie Mellon University '17
B.S. in Biological Sciences and Psychology

Hometown: Seoul, South Korea

Research Interests: I'm interested in how adolescent social experiences shape social-cognitive processes using neural mechanisms, and how that ultimately affect behavior and downstream psychopathology 

Fun Fact: lived in 9 countries!

Fun Fact: I lived in 9 countries and currently my "home" is Zimbabwe.



Daniel Choi
University of Pittsburgh '17
B.S. in Psychology and Sociology

Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

Research Interests: Neural mechanisms behind cognitive consequences of stress, anxiety, depression.

Fun Fact: Photography is a passion of mine.


Please click on the following link to download Daniel's curriculum vita: Daniel Choi CV

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Spencer Dunnison
Carnegie Mellon Universiy '18
B.H.A. in Cognitive Neuroscience and Vocal Performance

Hometown: Vancouver, Canada

Research Interests: Clinical Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience; the meditative qualities of music; how music can affect pain

Fun Fact: I have sung the Canadian and US national anthems for a US vs Canada women's national team rugby game



Sandy Chen
Carnegie Mellon University '18
B.S. Psychology and Policy & Management 

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

Research Interests: I/O Psychology - how stress and mindfulness can enhance productivity and performance and the mechanisms behind burnout and how it can be prevented

Fun Fact: I love stuffed animals



Yusuf Mehkri
Carnegie Mellon Universiy '20
B.S. in Biological Sciences and Psychology

Hometown: East Brunswick, NJ

Research Interests: Health psychology; The long term effects of stress and depression on the mental and physical well-being of a person. The effects of psychological interventions on positive affect, resilience and acceptance in terminally ill patients.

Fun Fact: I did Mixed Martial Arts for four years throughout middle school and junior high. I hope to take it one step further and learn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu one day.



Samanda Valente

Carnegie Mellon University '20

B.S. in Neuroscience, Concentration in Neurobiology 

Hometown: Ponce, PR. 

Research Interests: I am interested in the biological effects and social impacts that mindfulness meditation and interventions can have on people. Other interests also lie in the biological pathways for memory processing and learning. 

Fun fact: I am a dual a citizen of two countries (Venezuela and Portugal) and hold permanent residencies of other two ( US and Dominican Republic).

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Haadi Ali

Geisinger Commonwealth Medical School '22

University of Pittsburgh Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences '17

Doctorate of Medicine- In Progress (Minor: Chemistry)

Hometown: Hartford, Ct

Research Interests: I am enthusiastic about exploring the effects of healthy living, mindfulness and successful adaptation to states of adversity in the treatment of chronic conditions such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases with the goal of integrating these approaches to traditional medical treatment plans.

Fun Fact: hen I backpacked France in 2016, I spent too much money on madalines (A soft French pastry), and had to spend a few nights in a Parisian mosque where I had an unforgettable experience aiding Syrian refugees.


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Hayley Rahl

Doctoral Student, University of Minnesota

B.S. in Psychology, Carnegie Mellon University, 2014

Hometown: Northern Virginia

Interests: Developmental psychopathology, adolescence, resilience, trauma/maltreatment, prevention/intervention

Fun fact: I have been on over 100 domestic flights!


Michael Tumminia

Stockton University '15
B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Behavioral Neuroscience

Hometown: Freehold, NJ

Research Interests: Globally, I am interested in investigating how mindfulness interventions (classroom-based, smartphone-based, and retreats) can enhance social-emotional learning and academic achievement. Specifically, I aim to explore how mindfulness training can improve self-regulation in adolescents and how this might influence academic and behavioral outcomes (reducing dropout, aggression/suspensions, improving GPA, etc). In short, my goal is to learn how these interventions can be improved, standardized, and tailored to change trajectories especially during critical transitional periods.

Fun Fact: In April of 2010, I played the lead role (Prisoner #8612) in the first ever live performance of the classic Stanford Prison Experiment study in front of psychologist Dr. Philip Zimbardo.



Hayoung Woo
Carnegie Mellon Universiy '17
Psychology with a minor in Cognitive Neuroscience

Hometown: Seoul, South Korea

Research Interests: Social and Affective Neuroscience; Neural mechanisms and heath implication of social relationship and connection

Fun Fact: I love cats!



Halley Hu 

Duke University

B.S. in Economics | B.A. in Philosophy, 2010

Washington University in St. Louis School of Law

J.D. | LL.M. in Taxation, 2013   

Hometown: Wuhan, China

Research Interests: While I am relatively new to psychology research, I have been interested in various topics in psychology for most of my life. My current interests are predominantly in personality and social psychology and positive psychology. I am especially fascinated by close relationships, well-being, and motivation.

Fun Fact: I once created a dating spreadsheet that contained a dozen tabs, multiple formulas, and very sophisticated statistical analyses. It still lives in my Google Drive.


Amanda Yang

Carnegie Mellon University

B.S. in Cognitive Science, 2021

Hometown: Beijing, China

Research Interests: Neuroscience, applications of cognitive science

Fun Fact: I had seven rabbits before.


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Malcolm Udeozor

Carnegie Mellon University

B.S. in Cognitive Neuroscience, 2019

Hometown: Potomac, Maryland. 

Research Interests: Micro & Macro Neurobiology, Neural Plasticity. Neuroimmunology, Psychoneuroimmunology.

Fun Fact: I eat, sleep, and breath Spongebob Squarepants 



Hyemin Jeong

Carnegie Mellon University

B.S. in Biological Sciences and Psychology, Pre-dental, 2019

Hometown: Seoul, Korea

Research Interests: Cognitive psychology, stress and stress reduction, mental health and depression

Fun fact: I wish to get a pet chinchilla one day!



Kristie Lindblom

Point Park University

B.A. Dance, Elementary Education, 2003

Lesley University

MA Interdisciplinary Studies, 2015

Hometown: West Windsor, NJ

Research interests: somatic movement and healing, mind/ body connections, mindfulness

Fun fact: I had a professional dance career before entering academia.



Chinmaya Lele

University of Pittsburgh

B.S. in Electrical Engineering, 2015

M.S. in Information Science/ Telecommunications, 2018

Hometown: Pune, India

Research Interests: Mental Health-Illness and Coping is primarily my research interest because of its importance and the connected areas to it which could have a long term impact on a person. Health Neuroscience is another domain which I am interested in working in!!

Fun Fact: I have bungee jumped from a height of 855ft. 



Omar Elmady

Carnegie Mellon University

B.S. Psychology with Clinical Concentration, 2021

Hometown: Brookfield, CT

Interests: the phenomenology of suffering and its overcoming, jungian psychotherapy, and the mechanisms of resilience.

Fun fact: I can speak Arabic!