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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 is an Assistant Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Colorado and Director of the Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Laboratory. She received her Ph.D. and B.A. from UC Berkeley, where she was an NIMH Predoctoral Fellow in Affective Science, and was previously an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Yale University before moving to CU Boulder. Dr. Gruber is a licensed clinical psychologist and has published over 100 articles and chapters, and has edited 2 books including: 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 several early-career awards including 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. Dr. Gruber teaches courses on emotion, happiness, and abnormal psychology 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. She enjoys writing columns in Slate and Scientific American, and has a new mentoring column for young scientists in Science Careers. Dr. Gruber is an Associate Editor and the former Interim Editor-in-Chief 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.

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 - PeopleHannah Milad

Hannah is currently taking classes with CU's post-baccalaureate pre-health program in an effort to apply to MD or DO programs in 2019. She graduated from Northwestern University in 2014 with a degree in Sociology and Legal Studies, then worked at a medical supply company as a Product Manager for Anesthesia supplies. She wrote her senior thesis on the perceptions of stimulant use on college campuses and is excited to continue research with the PEP lab. She is interested in learning more about the dysfunctional consequences of positive emotion and contradicting existing literature on the topic. Hannah is from Chicago (go Cubbies) and loves being with family, biking, watching the Office, and traveling.

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleSofie Mehrotra

Sofie is currently a senior double majoring in Computer Science (BA) and Psychology. She is particularly interested in personality development as well as data science and data analytics. She has experience in mobile app development and was a course assistant for data science in previous semesters. This year Sofie looks forward to finally getting a chance to dive deeper into the clinical side of psychology. In her free time, she likes to eat good food, play video games, and hangout with her pet gecko Paku!

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleElizabeth Hoelscher

Lizzie is a Junior at University of Colorado Boulder majoring in psychology and sociology. She is specifically interested in adult and child psychopathology in victims of abuse, resulting trauma, and appropriate clinical treatments. She became involved with the PEP lab to expand her knowledge of clinical research and to gain a better understanding of mood disorders, their etiology, and their impact on a person's day to day life. After finishing her undergraduate degree, Lizzie wants to pursue a doctorate in clinical psychology. Outside of the lab, Lizzie is a captain for Colorado Crew and an officer for the International Honor Society in Psychology and Psychology club. She is passionate about volunteer work, the outdoors, and reading.

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleAnnaliese Scheer

Annaliese is a senior studying Psychology and English Literature with a minor in French at CU Boulder. She is particularly interested in mood disorders and anxiety in adolescents, Autism Spectrum Disorder and ABA therapy, as well as how mental illness exists over the lifespan. Mostly, she is passionate to ameliorate the lives of those with mental illness by becoming a professional psychologist and working to implement appropriate interventions. She joined the PEP lab in order to become more experienced in research, mood disorders, and etiology. In her free time, she enjoys eating brunch, watching films, reading, and speaking French. She hopes to eventually pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology and become a licensed therapist.

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeoplePhantom RA

I love the PEP lab.

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.

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleElizabeth Lemon

Elizabeth is a graduate student in the Clinical Psychology program at CU Boulder, in the CREST Lab, where she is pursuing her research interests in mood and anxiety disorders during pregnancy and the postpartum period. As a PEP Lab affiliate member she is investigating pregnancy and birth as transformative life experiences. Elizabeth received her BA in Psychology from Humboldt State University, California in 2007 and her MA in Psychology from Boston University in 2008. Before joining the CREST Lab, Elizabeth worked for six years in the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Women's Mental Health as the Program Manager.

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, Holly Earls (affiliated)

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), Andrea Baldelli (affiliated), Derek Dean (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: 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, Jalen Tompkins, Emily Burr

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