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People

PEOPLE

The PEP lab team is an interdisciplinary group of researchers and students who work together towards understanding positive emotional processes and their relevance for understanding adaptive and maladaptive relevant psychological-health outcomes.
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Lab Director

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - People

June Gruber, PhD
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June Gruber received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and B.A. in Psychology from UC Berkeley, where she was an NIMH Predoctoral Fellow in Affective Science. After completing her Ph.D. in 2009, she began as an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Yale University, and in 2014 relocated to the University of Colorado Boulder. Dr. Gruber is a licensed clinical psychologist and has published over 90 articles and chapters and co-edited Positive Emotion: Integrating the Light Sides and Dark Sides and the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Positive Emotion and Psychopathology. Her work has been recognized by the Association for Psychological Science’s Rising Star Award and Janet Taylor Spence Award for Transformative Early Career Contributions, NARSAD Young Investigator Award, and Yale University's Arthur Greer Memorial Prize for Outstanding Junior Faculty. She has written science essays in Slate and Scientific American, and currently co-writes a column "Letters to Young Scientists" for Science Careers. Dr. Gruber directed the Experts in Emotion Interview Series, created an online course in Human Emotion available freely through YouTube and iTunes U, and given a TEDx talk on the “dark side” of happiness. Dr. Gruber is currently the Interim Editor for Perspectives on Psychological Science.

Lab Coordinator

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleCynthia Villanueva, B.A.
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Cindy received her B.A. in Psychology and Minor in Linguistics from UC Berkeley. Broadly speaking, she is interested in emotion regulation and the etiology and treatment of mental illness. More specifically, Cindy is interested in how individual differences in affective language and emotion differentiation (or the degree to which people experience similar emotions as discrete) may contribute to the understanding of positive emotion disturbance in mood disorders. She is also intrigued by the potential interplay between emotional intelligence, access to mental health services, and stigmatization of psychopathology, especially amongst minority and rural populations. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, and combine her love of writing to elucidate the experiences of those living with mental illness. In her free time, she likes to read, draw, practice taekwondo, and attend local concerts.

Thesis Students

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleAli Teague

Ali recently graduated from CU Boulder with a B.A. in Neuroscience and Psychology, and a Minor in Spanish in May 2018. She is interested in the role of the vagus nerve as a part of the parasympathetic nervous system and its connections, possibly via brainstem nuclei, to the multiple aspects of emotions and mood. Specifically, she is interested in the possible malfunctions of these connections that could explain many aspects of mood disorders like bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder. Ali plans to attend graduate school to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology after she graduates from CU and to investigate these ideas further. In her free time Ali loves to read and play goalie for the CU Boulder club soccer team.

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleStephanie Yu

Stephanie is a senior at CU Boulder majoring in Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology as well as Music. She has previous research experience in biology labs and joined the PEP Lab to expand her scope of research to experience psychology research. She will be working on an honors thesis during her senior year and plans to go to medical school after her undergraduate career. In her free time, she enjoys playing the violin, golfing, skiing, and spending time with friends and family.

Affiliated Graduate Students

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleYoni Ashar
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Yoni is a doctoral student in clinical psychology interested in the brain, emotions, and contemplative science at CU Boulder. He is currently investigating the placebo response in the treatment of depression, and the effects of Compassion Meditation on behavior and brain function. In collaboration with the PEP lab, he is examining a pilot survey on empathic responses to distress in bipolar disorder. He has a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Maryland, College Park.

 

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleMarianne Reddan
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Marianne Reddan is a 4th-year graduate student in cognitive psychology at CU Boulder. She completed her undergraduate in Psychology in the laboratory of Elizabeth Phelps at NYU, and then continued to investigate fear in the laboratory of Daniela Schiller at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Marianne is interested in how emotions are represented in the brain and uses machine learning techniques to 'decode' emotion-related neural activation. In collaboration with the PEP lab, Tor Wager and Jamil Zaki she is working on an R01 grant examining emotion and social cognition in bipolar disorder and depression. In her rare free time she toys with arduinos and poetry.

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleYael Millgram

Yael is a PhD student in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where she works with Maya Tamir. She completed her M.A. in clinical psychology at the Heberew University and ever since she is interested in emotion regulation in psychopathology. Specifically, she is interested in the motivation to experience specific emotions among healthy and clinical populations. In collaboration with the PEP lab she is examining emotional preferences in bipolar disorder. Her research focuses on what people who suffer from psychopathology want to feel, why they want to feel this way and what are the consequences of their motivation for emotion regulation and mental health.

Research Assistants

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleJennie Jaggers

Jennie Jaggers graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a B.A. in Psychology in 2017. She is interested in researching the correlation between Bipolar mixed mood states and negative emotion alleviation through alcohol/substance abuse behaviors. She is also interested in studying positive urgency in Bipolar I individuals. Her duties at the PEP Lab include behavioral analysis and reporting, participant diagnostic screening, and experiment testing. Before joining the PEP Lab research team in early 2016, Jennie was an undergraduate research assistant at the University of Edinburgh while studying abroad in Scotland. She is a member of the International Honor Society in Psychology, and has experience as a Mental Health Technician. In her free time, Jennie enjoys painting, skiing, design, and watching satirical comedies. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeoplePrianca Thirumalai

Prianca Thirumalai is a recent graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she acquired her B.A. in Psychology and Evolutionary Biology/Ecology. She has always been captivated by the intricacies of psychology and the plethora of threads from which human experience can be weaved. She believes that both the parallels and variances between humans and other life forms are deserving of significant consideration. Prianca's intrigued by fungi's capability to uniquely affect brain processes via their sometimes psychoactive qualities. She hopes to eventually conduct research with the intention of discovering psychologically beneficial applications of psychoactive compounds that can be derived from the realm of fungi. In her free time, she enjoys artistic pursuits of all varieties, including drawing, graphic design, painting, sculpting, writing, and vegan cooking.

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleEmily Burr

Emily Burr received her B.A. in Psychology from Princeton University in 2015. She is particularly interested in mood disorders and anxiety and her senior thesis focused on gender differences in displays of anxiety and depression triggered by body image issues. She is also interested in the foundations of mental illness and the role of epigenetics in the course of disorders. Before joining the PEP lab, Emily was a research assistant at Temple University's Adult Anxiety Clinic in Philadelphia working on studies meant to test CBT interventions for patients with social anxiety. Currently, she is a Behavioral Health Technician on an inpatient adult psychiatric unit at the Medical Center of Aurora and she plans to pursue a doctorate in Clinical Psychology. In her free time she enjoys reading and kickboxing.

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleZachary Anderson

Zach received his B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Cognitive Neuroscience from Carnegie Mellon University.  He is interested in studying the neural and physiological changes that occur as the result of mood disorders and how these same disorders might alter how individuals experience emotion.  Before working in the PEP lab, he worked in a lab which employed machine learning algorithms to identify patterns of neural activation associated with various concepts and procedures.  He hopes to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology where he can study disturbances in mood using a variety of modalities.  When not in lab, he enjoys reading, hiking, and weightlifting.

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleChloe Plaisance

Chloe Plaisance recently graduated from CU Boulder with a B.A. in Psychology in May 2018. She discovered psychology in high school and has been in love ever since. Her specific interests are in mood disorders, personality, and psychopathology. After graduation in May of 2018, Chloe plans to pursue a graduate degree in clinical psychology and specialize in forensics. Outside of the lab, Chloe is a member of Gamma Phi Beta Sorority and the Human Rights chapter of Global Brigades. She also loves exploring everything Boulder has to offer, from shopping on Pearl Street to hammocking on Flagstaff Mountain.

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleMontana Ploe

Montana Ploe is a sophomore psychology major at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her particular interests include the study of psychological and mood disorders and how they affect the daily lives and relationships of the individual with the disorder. She hopes to attend graduate school for a doctorates in Clinical Psychology. Outside of the lab Montana's interest include traveling, hiking, watching and performing theatre, and reading.

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleHeather Brown

Heather is a Psychology and Neuroscience major at CU Boulder who aspires to get her PhD in one or both of these areas of study. She is specifically interested in early warning signs and predispositions for psychiatric disorders, and implementing cognitive and behavioral therapies as a primary approach to treatment. Also, she aims to reform early education to include DBT life skills such as mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness in order to improve quality of life and societal functioning. In her free time she enjoys doing homework and working because there is no such thing as free time.

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleRachel Karasik

Rachel Karasik is finishing her sophomore year working towards her undergraduate degree as a Psychology major with a minor in Classics at the University of Colorado at Boulder Class of 2020. Rachel is very excited to participate in the PEP lab as a research assistant throughout the rest of her undergraduate experience. Her interests lie in studying the mental health of adolescents and hopes to become a high school psychologist. She enjoys singing, acting and playing with her Chihuahua, Rocky.

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleEllie Johnson

Ellie Johnson is a junior at CU Boulder majoring in psychology and neuroscience with specific interests in the etiology, therapeutic treatment, and pharmacology associated with severe psychopathologies. After finishing her undergraduate degree, she is split between pursuing a PhD in clinical psychology or attending medical school. Ellie joined the PEP Lab in order to expand her knowledge and experience in the realm of research, mood disorders, and etiology. In her off time, she enjoys rock climbing, snowboarding, and writing.

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleJalen Tompkins

Jalen Tompkins is a senior undergraduate student at CU Boulder majoring in Psychology with a minor in sociology and leadership studies. She is a team captain of the Colorado Women's Soccer team. She has set many team and personal records as a goalkeeper, leading the buffs to two NCAA tournament playoffs. She has previous experience in human factors psychology and has found a new interest in clinical psychology after studying abnormal psychology. Following completion of her undergraduate studies, she hopes to pursue soccer professionally, then attend graduate school.

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeoplePhantom RA

I love the PEP lab.

Lab Affiliates

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleAnsel Gruber-Saucedo

Ansel is the youngest member of the PEP lab. He has been deemed high on sociability and approach related positive affectivity, and continues to work on his emotion down-regulation skillset. He has been known to engage in tummy-time in the lab.

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Lab Alumni

Postdoc Affiliates

University of Colorado Boulder: Keith Welker, Ph.D., Holly Earls, Ph.D.

External: Jordi Quoidbach (Harvard), Sylvia Morelli (Stanford), Aleksandr Kogan (U Toronto)

Graduate Students and Affiliates

University of Colorado Boulder: Margaret Tobias, Alta du Pont, Natasha Hansen, Michael Flux Caruso, Hollis Karoly (affiliated)

Yale University: Sunny Dutra, Kirsten Gilbert, Hillary Devlin, Aleena Hay, Amanda Purcell, Victoria Webb, Jonathan Phillips, Yoona Kang, Vera Vine, Elizabeth Tepe

External: Desmond Ong (Stanford), Brett Ford (UC Berkeley), Monika Lohani (Brandeis), Kasey Stanton (Notre Dame), Laure Dombrecht (University of Ghent), Razia Sahi (Georgia State University)

Thesis Students

University of Colorado Boulder: Gaia Cooper, Joseph Fischer, Alexandra Teague, Stephanie Yu, Gaia Cooper, Joseph Fischer

Yale University: Anny Dow, Elizabeth Reeves, Adam Fields, Franziska Goer, Gregory Barnett, Winfield Call, Barbara Paradis, Sohini Bandy, Cristina Ruiz, Benjamin Billingsley

External: Corinne Sejourne (Brown)

Research Assistants

University of Colorado Boulder: Laure Dombrecht, Dylan Therwhanger, Mikaela Cail, Nyall James, Katherine Lynch, Tamsen Francis Reed, Margaret (Maggie) Mullen, Kate Spencer, Claudia Sellers, Elizabeth Weis, Martina Mettes, Thomas Jennings, Conor Gilson, Sigrid Kite, Dominic Fraser, Duncan Willians, Eva Lahmann, Megan Bettenberg, Meaghan MacGeraghty, Mandy Sanchez, Julia Stern, Alayna Samson, Esha Mehta, Daniela Rogers, Julian Royce, Erika Iisa, Caroline Rhoads, Liza Silverman, Robert (Bobby) Tellez, Alex Bergay, Chancee Forestier, Lily Nussbaum, Abigail Horn, Luciana Massaro, Lara Wieland, Patton Loop, Marlene Palomar, Ariel Cain, Kayla Eversole, Natalie Coleman, Neeka Zarei, Annie Davis, Emily Burr, Luke Weston, Zachary Anderson, Ksusha Kondratyuk, Tasha Abbott, Devin Brooks, Lexi Nyeki, Laura River, Leah Bauder, Aylah Sroloff, Spencer Young, Sophie Arterbrun, Marit Whittle, Hugh Miller, Angelina Alvarez, Sophie Arterburn, Ligia Batista, Catherine Boyle, Andrew Campbell, Paige Cantliffe, Inna Chang, Alisha Ciardi, Olivia Eggert, Natalie Eidson, Lynden Fasso, Joseph Fischer, Stephanie Frisinger, Melissa Gray, Roland Johnson, Tara Kengott, Jamie Morgan, Alex Napolitan, Alexa Pages, Skye Rowles, Joseph Truong, Yuwei Xu, Onilia Zorio,Ksusha Kondratyuk, Tasha Abbott, Devin Brooks, Lexi Nyeki, Laura River, Leah Bauder, Aylah Sroloff, Spencer Young, Sophie Arterbrun, Marit Whittle, Hugh Miller, Angelina Alvarez, Sophie Arterburn, Ligia Batista, Catherine Boyle, Andrew Campbell, Paige Cantliffe, Inna Chang, Alisha Ciardi, Olivia Eggert, Natalie Eidson, Lynden Fasso, Joseph Fischer, Stephanie Frisinger, Melissa Gray, Roland Johnson, Tara Kengott, Jamie Morgan, Alex Napolitan, Alexa Pages, Skye Rowles, Joseph Truong, Yuwei Xu, Onilia Zorio

Yale University: Anjali Ambani, Sohini, Bandy, Grace Bang, Gregory Barnett, Tamara Beetham, Benjamin Billingsley, Victor Bloch, Evan Bragdon, Madeleine Broder, Cecilia Brown, Margaret Brown, Winfield Call, Caroline Carns, Alexsandr Chandra, Francesca Coxe, Laura Dietman, Marcus Dilallo, Anny Dow, Andrew Duarte, Nicole Ellerbeck, Avtalya Feldman, Joseph Fernandez, Adam Fields, Cody Fisher, Kristina Foster, Carter Funkhouser, Franziska Goer, Reuben Hendler, Benjamin Herron, Andrew Hill, Regina Hitchery, Faisal Syed Hussaini, Zachary Kafoglis, Natalie Lapides, Melissa Lavoie, Haikel Lim, Rowan Lockery, Nora Loughry, Bo Malin-Mayor, Payal Marathe, Ishtiaq Mawla, Christie Musket, Ashley Norris, Tiffany Pang, Barbara Paradis, Emily Pfannenstiel, Vivian Phelan, Tatiana Piskyla, Jenna Poggi, John Purcell, Whitney Quackenbush, Elizabeth Reeves, Amy Rodriguez, Jessica Rosenthal, Cristina Ruiz, Corinne Ruth, Julia Salinger, Jacob Saslow, Faith Schombs, Vina Seelam, Corinne Sejourne, Celinda Smith, Marlene Thompson, Nora Thompson, Daniel Turcza, Manuel Valle, Ellery Wiebe, Vicky Zhang