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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 psychopathology. At different times the lab consists of post-baccalaureate project coordinators and research assistants, undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows.
Lab Photo Archive

Lab Director

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - People

June Gruber, PhD

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 has authored over 90 articles and chapters and co-edited the book Positive Emotion: Integrating the Light Sides and Dark Sides as well as the forthcoming book Positive Emotion and Psychopathology with Oxford University Press. She enjoys teaching and disseminating the study of emotion and psychopathology, and has 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. 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. Her work has been funded by the NIMH, NSF, and the Brain and Behavior Foundation (NARSAD), and received media coverage from the BBC, NPR, New York Times, Huffington Post, Washington Post, Forbes, and Psychology Today. Dr. Gruber is currently an Associate Editor for Perspectives on Psychological Science and is a licensed clinical psychologist.

Lab Coordinator

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleCynthia Villanueva, B.A.

Cindy received her B.A. in Psychology and minor in Linguistics from the University of California, Berkeley. She is interested in the etiology and treatment of mental illness, and in particular, how emotion regulation and sleep may be targets for intervention. She is also interested in the stigmatization of mental illness, especially amongst minority populations. Before joining the PEP Lab, she studied resiliency and sex differences in veterans with post-traumatic stress at the San Francisco VA Medical Center. She plans to pursue a doctoral program 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 punk rock shows.

Thesis Students

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleAli Teague

Ali Teague is a junior undergraduate student at CU Boulder studying Psychology and Neuroscience with a minor in Spanish. She is specifically interested in the way mood disorders effect the experience of positive emotions and what roles hormones play in depression and anxiety disorders. Ali plays goalie for the CU Boulder club soccer team, and loves to read in her free time. She plans to attend graduate school for a PhD in Clinical Psychology after she graduates from CU. Ali is excited to be a part of the PEP lab and learn as much as she can about mood disorders and positive emotions.

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

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 - PeopleHollis Karoly

Hollis is a graduate student in the clinical psychology area at CU Boulder. Broadly, she studies the etiology and treatment of alcohol use disorders by combining neuroimaging, genetic and behavioral methods. More specifically, she has become interested in characterizing alcohol-induced adaptations within reward and craving systems in the brain, including the affective contributions to craving as well as the craving for specific emotions. In collaboration with the PEP lab, she is exploring the role of emotional desires and links with clinical symptoms.

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleMarianne Reddan

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 - PeopleMichael Vanderlind

Michael is a fifth-year PhD student in Yale's clinical psychology program, where he works with Jutta Joormann. His research aims to document the nature of positive emotion within affective disorders and to identify cognitive and biological mechanisms that underlie positive emotion (dys)regulation within healthy and clinical samples. Michael uses a multitude of methods (e.g., eye-tracking, psychophysiology, EEG) to address these research aims. In his spare time, Michael enjoys hiking the Connecticut trails, surveying the New Haven eateries, and traveling to Colorado to visit the PEP lab!

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.

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleLara Wieland

Lara is a 1st year graduate student at the University of Goettingen in Germany and has worked as a Visiting Research Assistant at the PEP Lab. At the University of Freiburg where she received her B.S. in psychology she has studied attention in obsessive-compulsive disorder. Now she is particularly interested in attentional processes and emotion regulation in bipolar disorder. In collaboration with the PEP lab she is currently examining attentional biases and links with mania and positive affectivity. She hopes to become a clinical psychologist and combine practice and research in the future. In her free time she enjoys hiking, cooking, reading and traveling.

Research Assistants

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleJennie Jaggers

Jennie Jaggers is Psychology major in the University of Colorado at Boulder Class of 2017. Outside of serving as an undergraduate research assistant, she is a Student Ambassador and a member of the Chi Omega sorority. Jennie has also been involved in psychology research at the University of Edinburgh while studying abroad in Scotland. Her interests lie in personality, mood disorders, and psychopathology, and she plans to pursue a doctorate degree. Jennie is incredibly excited to participate in the PEP lab!

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 - PeopleLuke Weston

Luke Weston holds an MPS in clinical psychology and a B.S. from UMD College Park. Prior to coming to Boulder, Luke worked with Dr. De Los Reyes studying informant discrepancies in the assessment of adolescents, taught undergraduate statistics, and worked at the APA streamlining their electronic publication dissemination processes. When he's not busy working as a programmer, Luke is likeliest to be found working in a kitchen cooking and brewing his next meal.

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 - PeoplePatton Loop

Patton is a junior psychology major and is also pursuing his minor in business and a minor in Spanish. He is interested in how concepts of psychology can apply to the workplace and specifically how it can be used to benefit employee selection and to analyze consumer behavior. Additionally, he is interested in addiction and mood disorders and how different factors can contribute to vulnerability to them. He hopes to attend graduate school in the future and is excited to work in the PEP lab to gain some valuable experience. Outside of the lab Patton loves to travel and ski. He has spent 2 summers living in Spain where he has studied and taught English.

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeoplePhantom RA

I love the PEP lab.

Lab Mascot

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.

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleRupee Gruber-Saucedo

Rupee is the original PEP lab mascot. Despite her tendency to chew data files and experience "too much" positive emotion, she loves attending lab social events and chasing squirrels.

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Lab Photo Stream

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

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

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: 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