Meet our Research Specialists and Associates 

Nicole: Research Specialist

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 and the Theta Burst Stimulation Study. Prior to joining the ANDP lab, she researched minority stressors in the LGBTQ+ community and their relation to suicidality. Nicole has spent a great deal of her time engaged in community outreach programs focused on the intersection between immigration, food justice, and education inequalities. Additionally, she has worked extensively in community outreach programs with migrant workers and survivors of domestic violence/sexual assault. These experiences have inspired her to pursue a doctoral degree focused on reducing systemic inequalities in development among children from diverse backgrounds with the hopes of using this research to inform local social policy development. Nicole spends her free time baking, crocheting, and tending to her succulent garden. 

Nicole can be contacted at buckleymn@upmc.edu

 

Alyssa: Research Specialist

Alyssa graduated from UCLA in 2020 with a B.A. in Psychology and minor in Environmental Systems and Society. She completed her honors thesis on the associations between parental depression, parental ADHD, and interparental conflict on adolescent internalizing problems. During undergrad, she worked in Dr. Steve Lee’s ADHD and Development Lab where she assisted with the Developmental Research on Emotion and Mental Health in Girls Study. She is now a research associate in the ANDP Lab working on the Theta Burst Stimulation Study and Development of Anhedonia study. Alyssa is interested in examining risk factors for depression and suicidality in adolescents and hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. In her free time, she likes to read, go thrift shopping, and explore quaint places around the city.

 

McLean: Research Specialist

McLean graduated from Oberlin College in 2019 with a B.A. in Neuroscience and Psychology and a minor in Dance. She is passionate about research examining transdiagnostic neural factors that contribute to the development, maintenance, and treatment of psychological conditions. Before joining the DYADS study, she worked on research examining the neural processing of social rejection and physical pain in young adults who engage in non-suicidal self-injury, a project exploring how drugs and pain modulate the memory and threat-response systems involved in anxiety and PTSD, and a study focusing on the neurophysiological mechanisms that underlay emotional response inhibition as it relates to psychopathology. Following her work with Dr. Forbes, McLean hopes to enter a Ph.D. program in Clinical Psychology, where she can study dimensional models of psychopathology by investigating the neural phenomena that help explain dysfunction across traditional diagnostic categories. Outside of the lab, McLean loves doing yoga and running, taking care of her cat and plants, and spending time with her friends.

McLean can be contacted at sammonmm@upmc.edu

 

Previous Research Associates and Specialists

Melissa: Research Project Coordinator

Melissa graduated with highest honors from the University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill with a B.A. in Psychology and minor in Social and Economic Justice. In the ANDP Lab, Melissa worked on the Inflammation and Depression Study, the Mood and Motivation Study, the LGB Youth Study, the Theta Burst Stimulation Study, and the DYADS Study. Melissa’s research interests include the development of mood and anxiety disorders, self-injurious thoughts and behaviors, and technology use. She aspires to understand how individuals develop the ability to cope with stress and regulate their emotions. Melissa likes to spend her free time cooking, traveling, and going out in nature as often as possible.

Melissa is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Psychology at the University of Missouri- St. Louis.

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 worked 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.

 

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.