Meet our Research Specialists and Associates 

Melissa: Research Specialist

Melissa graduated with highest honors from the University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill in 2017 with a B.A. in Psychology and minor in Social and Economic Justice. Melissa has a background in clinical research from her time at UNC, and has been a research assistant to multiple projects before joining the ANDP lab. She has studied cognitive and behavioral factors contributing to anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders and broadly explored health behaviors in relation to affective experiences. Melissa currently works on the Mood and Motivation Study and the Theta Burst Stimulation Study. Previously, she was also one of our staff working on the LGB Youth Study and the Inflammation and Depression Study. Melissa’s research interests include dysregulated emotion, adolescent development of mood and anxiety disorders, self-injurious thoughts and behaviors, experience sampling methods and technology use. She aspires to understand how individuals develop the ability to cope with stress and regulate their emotions and plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Melissa likes to spend her free time cooking, eating, traveling, and tries to get out in nature as often as possible.

 Melissa can be contacted at nancem@upmc.edu

Tori: Research Specialist

Tori graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2018 with a B.S. in Psychology and Sociology. During her undergraduate career, Tori was involved in research examining adolescent and young adult experiences with body image and sexual development, and the pathways influencing disruptions in healthy development. Tori currently works as a research specialist on the Cognitive Inflexibility and Phenotypic Heterogeneity in Eating Disorders Study and the Theta Burst Stimulation Study. Her plan is to pursue a graduate degree in Clinical Psychology. Her personal research interests include early life trauma, mood disorders, and their relationship to healthy adolescent development. In her free time, Tori enjoys drawing and painting, learning new recipes, and spending time outdoors.

Tori can be contacted at blazinskit@upmc.edu

Nicole: Research Associate

Nicole graduated from Gettysburg College in 2019 with a B.A. in Psychology and minors in Neuroscience and Educational Studies. She currently works as a research associate on the Development of Anhedonia Study. Prior to joining the ANDP lab, she researched minority stressors in the LGBTQ+ community and their relation to suicidality. Additionally, she has worked extensively in community outreach programs with migrant workers and survivors of domestic violence/sexual assault. These experiences inspired her to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in the future, focusing on the effects of childhood and adolescent trauma on socioemotional development. Nicole spends her free time baking, crocheting, and tending to her succulent garden. 

Nicole can be contacted at buckleymn@upmc.edu

 

Previous Research Associates and Specialists

MorganResearch Specialist

Morgan graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with Honors in Psychology and a background in biology and neuroscience. In the ANDP Lab, Morgan worked as a research specialist working on the Mood and Motivation Study, the LGB Youth Study, and the Theta Burst Stimulation Study. Previously, she worked on the Inflammation and Depression Study. During Morgan’s senior year at Pitt, she completed an Honors Thesis that investigated the roles of social and non-social stressors in the neural response to reward and prediction of future depression in adolescent girls. She was also involved in a lab that studied anxiety and physiological responses to stress in those who are susceptible to migraines. Morgan’s personal research interests include stress, brain development, socio-emotional processing, and risk for psychopathology during adolescence. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, baking, and going out to eat at new restaurants.

Morgan is pursuing a Ph.D. in Psychology at Virginia Tech.

Ekaterina: Research Associate

Ekaterina graduated from Chatham University in 2018 with a B.S. in Human Biology and a minor in Psychology. She was a member of the S-STEM Scholars Program, funded by the National Science Foundation, and graduated with highest honors. During her junior and senior years, Ekaterina was involved in two research studies: the first study examined the function of dopamine transporters under the influence of various pre-workout drugs, and the second study focused on the roles of gut microbiomes on anxiety and memory. She was also an intern at Magee-Womens Research Institute and the Garden of Zoological Research in Tel-Aviv University. Ekaterina worked as a research associate working on the Cognitive Inflexibility and Phenotypic Heterogeneity in Eating Disorders Study. Her plan is to pursue a DPT/Ph.D. dual degree in the near future. Her primary research interest is to examine the relationship between physical exercise, nutrition, and psychopathology. Some of Ekaterina’s hobbies include traveling, exercising, and painting.