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Our Team


Lab Director


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Autumn Kujawa, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology and Human Development at Vanderbilt University and a licensed clinical psychologist. Her research integrates multiple methods, including psychophysiology, neuroimaging, and behavioral measures, to examine vulnerabilities for mood disorders across development and translate findings to develop more targeted and effective interventions. Dr. Kujawa earned her Ph.D. from Stony Brook University and completed a clinical internship and postdoctoral research fellowship in the neuroscience of mental health at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Kujawa was recognized as a Rising Star by the Association for Psychological Science, received an Early Career Award from the Society for Psychophysiological Research, and has been awarded research funding from the National Institute of Mental Health, Klingenstein Third Generation Foundation, American Psychological Foundation, and Brain and Behavior Research Foundation (NARSAD). Outside of clinical research and teaching, she enjoys hiking and camping with her family and dog. CV


Research Faculty


DSC_1999_22Kaylin Hill, Ph.D. was a postdoctoral scholar through the NIH T32: Development of Psychopathology: From Brain and Behavioral Science to Intervention Training Program, and is now a Research Assistant Professor supported by an NIMH K23 award. Kaylin’s research utilizes multiple methods, including psychophysiology, behavioral measures, and self-report/structured interviews, to examine cognitive and affective processes. Kaylin is most interested in assessing intergenerational risk factors and the rigor of commonly used methods to support assessment and identification of vulnerability factors for mood disorders. Kaylin graduated summa cum laude from Butler University, earned her Ph.D. from Purdue University, and completed her clinical internship at the University of Notre Dame. Outside the lab, Kaylin enjoys adventuring and spending time with her family.


Post-Doctoral Scholars


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Julia Garon-Bissonnette, Ph.D. is an incoming postdoctoral researcher in the HEALthy Brain and Child Development (HBCD) study primarily working with Drs. Laurie Cutting, Autumn Kujawa, and Kathryn Humphreys at Vanderbilt University. She is currently completing her Ph.D. in Psychology at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières. During her graduate studies, she developed a particular expertise on childhood adversity, pregnancy, reflective functioning, infant development and the mother-infant relationship. Julia’s research focuses on how parental and child individual, interpersonal, and psychosocial risk and protective factors interact in predicting infant behavioral and socioemotional development and parent-child interactions. Outside the lab, she enjoys backcountry skiing, cycling, reading, and spending time with her family and friends.

 

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Christian Bean, Ph.D. is a postdoctoral scholar in the NIH T32: Development of Psychopathology: From Brain and Behavioral Science to Intervention Training Program, working primarily with Drs. Autumn Kujawa and David Cole. He received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Kent State University and completed his predoctoral clinical residency at Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care. Christian is broadly interested in improving our understanding of how maladaptive cognitive and affective processes confer risk for the development and maintenance of depression and anxiety. He often employs ecological momentary assessment methods with the goal of identifying modifiable risk factors. When not working, he enjoys watching anime and cleaning up after his two dogs, Frodo and Sam. CV

 


Graduate/Professional Students


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Sam Pegg, M.S. is a sixth-year doctoral student in the Clinical Science area and works under Dr. Autumn Kujawa. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Miami in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a minor in Biology. Following her time at UM, she worked as a Clinical Research Coordinator at the Dauten Family Center for Bipolar Treatment Innovation at Massachusetts General Hospital for two years. Samantha is broadly interested in studying the underlying mechanisms of mood disorders. More specifically, she is interested in the social and emotional processes involved in the development and maintenance of these disorders. Outside of the lab, Samantha enjoys hiking, watching movies, and spending time with her family, friends, and her dogs, Tater and Yuka. CV

 

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Emilia “Emili” Cárdenas, M.S. is a sixth-year doctoral student in the Clinical Science area. Emili graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2016 with a dual degree in Psychology and Art. Emili then worked as a research coordinator in the Lab for Affective and Translational Neuroscience at McLean Hospital for two years. Emili is interested in advancing translational neuroscience to promote resilience in vulnerable children and families. Specifically, she is interested in using multimodal methods (e.g., ERPS, heart rate variability, behavior) to investigate predictors of caregiving behavior and postpartum health. When Emili is not in the lab, she enjoys hiking, climbing, taking wheel-throwing classes, and watching live music. CV

 

 

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Lindsay Dickey, M.Ed. is a fifth-year PhD student in the Clinical Science area and predoctoral fellow supported by an NIH F31 award. Lindsay’s research centers on processes contributing to the development and treatment of internalizing psychopathologies. She is particularly interested in applying advanced quantitative methods to improve our understanding of early emerging risk factors and longitudinal trajectories. Her current projects involve the application of supervised machine learning algorithms to multi-method data, including EEG, ecological momentary assessment, and clinical information to optimize the classification and prediction of depression. When not working, Lindsay enjoys most sports/outdoor adventures, attempting new recipes, and building epic forts with her two kids.

 

Venanzi_adj2P1044274 copyLisa Venanzi, M.Ed. is a fourth-year doctoral student in the Clinical Science area. She received a B.S. in Psychology from the College of William and Mary and an M.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Vanderbilt. Lisa is interested in neural markers of social reward and emotion regulation as predictors of adolescent suicidality, with a long-term goal of applying these findings to improve treatment response. Outside of the lab, she enjoys buying super cheap flight tickets to wherever and traveling, eating the best pizza in Nashville (Smith & Lentz), and napping in her hammock. She has two cats named Paul Hollywood and Teacup, and they coincidentally happen to be the best cats in the world.

 

Yinru_Professionl HeadshotYinru Long, M.Ed. is a second-year doctoral student in the Clinical Science program and works under Dr. Autumn Kujawa. She received a B.A. in Applied Psychology and Philosophy from Boston College and an M.Ed. in Prevention Science and Practice from Harvard. Yinru is interested in using multimodal approaches to advance personalized interventions for mood disorders in marginalized populations, specifically racial and sexual minority adolescents. She is particularly interested in identifying risk and resilience factors that are trans-diagnostic through understanding cognitive, emotional, and behavioral mechanisms involved in the development and maintenance of depression and anxiety. In her free time, Yinru enjoys spending time with her cats, collecting vintage cassettes, and producing hip-hop music. CV

 

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McKenzie Greene is currently a student in the Child Studies master’s program. She graduated from Butler University in 2021 with a degree in Health Sciences. She is interested in researching the impacts of maltreatment on children & optimal interventions for non-traditional familial dynamics. Outside of the lab, she enjoys being outdoors, reading, and exploring trendy thrift stores.

 

 

 

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Qifeng (Ricky) Sun, is a second-year student in the Data Science Institute master’s program at Vanderbilt University. He graduated from Bates College in 2022 with a degree in Psychology and Economics. He is deeply invested in the field of Natural Language Processing and is dedicated to harnessing the potential of data science tools, including generative AI and machine learning, to advance psychological counseling and mental health interventions. Outside the world of data science and Lab, Ricky is passionate about music (A Capella, piano) and sports (rock climbing, and tennis). 

 

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Krupali Patel is a first-year master’s student in the Child Studies program working under Dr. Autumn Kujawa. She received her B.S. in Psychology from the University of Central Florida after which she worked as a clinical trial coordinator at the San Diego VA Hospital. Krupali is interested in studying the relationship between emotion dysregulation, cognitive functioning, and mood disorders in school-aged children. Specifically, she is interested in cognitive training as a potential supplement to traditional psychotherapy. Outside of the lab, Krupali enjoys reading and spending time with friends and family.

 

 


Staff


jackmaya.98@gmail.com-7a303e3dMaya Jackson, M.Ed., NCC is the Lab Manager of the Mood, Emotion & Development Lab. She graduated from Vanderbilt University in May 2020 with a Bachelor of Science in Child Development and Psychology and a minor in Spanish, receiving the Peabody College Willis D. Hawley Award for her commitment of service to others. She also received a Master of Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Vanderbilt University in May 2023. Maya has been part of the MED Lab since 2018, working as a Research Assistant and Project Coordinator. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology or Counseling Psychology. Maya is broadly interested in using multimodal approaches to study differentiations in social and emotional development across the lifespan to inform prevention and intervention endeavors. She has particular interests in grief responses, resiliency, and intergenerational trauma. In her free time, Maya enjoys watching anime and documentaries, going to the farmer’s market, and trying out different food spots. 

 

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Ana (Mia) Sandoe is working as the PATH (Predicting Adolescent Transition after Hospitalization) study coordinator under Dr. Autumn Kujawa for her post-bacc research. She graduated with a B.S. in Psychology from Florida State University in May of 2023, cum laude, and with honors. During this time, she worked under Dr. Jesse Cougle as an undergraduate lab manager and study coordinator. Additionally, she completed her honors thesis on the correlates of perceived impairment in those with borderline personality disorder. Mia is interested in neuropsychology and the use of brain imaging in detecting risks and treating mood and personality disorders in adolescents and young adults. After her post-bacc, she plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. In her free time, Mia enjoys reading, hiking, traveling, and listening to her favorite band, The Beatles!

 

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Georgia Moon is working as the project coordinator of the Happy Families Study. She graduated in May 2023 from Temple University with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Cognitive Neuroscience. During her time at Temple, she served as a research assistant at the Child Health and Behavior Lab under Dr. Drabick, in which she aided in the facilitation of a school-based intervention designed to teach children anger-management and coping skills. Simultaneously, she worked as a research assistant for the Friend to Friend Project, an intervention designed to reduce relational aggression in school settings, at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She completed her honors thesis on whether peer processes moderate the relations between emotion processing and oppositional defiant disorder among children. Her career goal is to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and ultimately help children and adolescents impacted by trauma heal. In her free time, Georgia enjoys crocheting, reading on her Kindle, and playing the guitar.


lab_website_MFMeredith Faivre
is working as the project coordinator of the Pregnancy to Parenthood Study as a post-bacc researcher. She graduated from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) with a B.A. in Psychology in June 2023. In her time at UCLA, she worked with Dr. Bridget Callaghan in the Brain and Body Lab, researching stress and its correlations with physiological and emotional development. She completed her honors thesis on the association between early life adversity and physiological responses to stress in adulthood. She also worked at a math tutoring center throughout undergrad and loves working with children, both in a research and academic setting! Meredith is looking forward to applying to Ph.D. programs in clinical psychology or masters programs in counseling in the near future. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, dancing, and spending time outdoors.

 

AngelaAngela Qian is an EEG Lead across all ongoing studies. She graduated from Vanderbilt University in May 2024 with a B.S. in Cognitive Studies and Medicine, Health, & Society and a minor in Neuroscience. She worked under Dr. Sophia Vinci-Booher in the Learning and NeuroDevelopment Lab on a study using fMRI to evaluate brain changes throughout early learning. She completed her honors thesis on the influence of patient comfort and mental health on information-seeking behaviors during prenatal appointments. In the future, Angela plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with additional specialization in Neuropsychology. Outside of the lab, she likes climbing, hiking, and discovering new hobbies.

 


Undergraduate Research Assistants

Jada Finley – Jada is a senior majoring in Child Development and Cognitive Studies with a minor in Psychology. Jada is interested in studying the development of preventative measures and treatments for children, addressing suicide risk, depression, and anxiety.
Stephanie Cantellano Gomez – Stephanie is a junior majoring in Cognitive Studies and Child Development with a minor in Medicine, Health, and Society. Her research interest is heavily focused on intervention of psychopathological disorders (including anxiety depression and anxiety) within teenagers who come from low socioeconomic backgrounds.
Wesley Hong – Wesley is a sophomore majoring in Psychology and Computer Science. Wesley is broadly interested in research in Clinical Psychology.
Griffin Murch – Griffin is a junior majoring in Psychology and Cognitive Studies with a minor in Data Science. His research interests currently revolve around emotions and empathy, particularly their connection to psychopathology and suicide risk.
Celia Roberto – Celia is a senior majoring in Psychology and Medicine, Health, and Society with a minor in Neuroscience. Celia’s research interests include assessing suicide risk in adolescents and developing interventions for adolescent mental health.
Nora Wang – Nora is a senior majoring in Psychology and Cognitive Studies. She is interested in the prevention and intervention of mood disorders, anxiety, and self-harm/suicidal behaviors in at-risk adolescents and young adults.
Christopher Tanaka – Chris is a junior majoring in Neuroscience and Child Development. Chris’ research interests include interventions for suicidal behaviors in adolescents, risk factors for depression in teens, and predictors of children’s mental health outcomes.
Vanessa Weis – Vanessa is a junior majoring in Cognitive Studies and Child Development. Vanessa is interested in assessing ways different interventions can address neurophysiological symptoms of depression and anxiety in adolescents.
Yipeng Zhong Yipeng is a sophomore majoring in Cognitive Studies. Yipeng’s current research interests include peripartum depression.
Yichi Zhang
Yichi is a junior majoring in Cognitive Studies with a minor in Asian Studies and music. Her research interests lie broadly in neurodevelopment with a focus on the socialization of affect between mothers and infants as well as the behavioral development of autism, ADHD, and their biological underpinnings.