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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 adaptive and maladaptive relevant psychological-health outcomes.
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Lab Director

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - People

June Gruber

June Gruber is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Colorado and Director of the Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Laboratory. Dr. Gruber is a licensed clinical psychologist and has published over 100 articles and chapters and has edited the Oxford Handbook of Positive Emotion and Psychopathology and Positive Emotion: Integrating the Light Sides and Dark Sides with Judith Moskowitz. Her work has been recognized by several early-career awards including the Association for Psychological Science’s Rising Star Award and the Janet Taylor Spence Award for Transformative Early Career Contributions, the Society for Research in Psychopathology's Early Career Award, and two NARSAD Young Investigator Awards. Dr. Gruber is currently an Associate Editor and was the former Interim Editor-in-Chief for Perspectives on Psychological Science. Her teaching has been recognized by the 2022 Boulder Faculty Assembly Excellence Award in Teaching & Pedagogy and the 2020 UROP Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award. For more info. see Dr. Gruber's webpage.

Lab Coordinator

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleLuiza Rosa

Luiza Rosa is a research coordinator in the PEP Lab. She received her B.S. in Psychology and B.A. Art at the University of California Santa Barbara. After attending cultural psychology class in her undergraduate degree combined with her international student status, Luiza started wondering about how different cultures express verbally and physically different emotional states and how that may affect diagnosis and symptoms of psychopathology. Thus, her main research interest is how different cultural backgrounds (country of origin, ethnicity, race, religion, and so on) can affect and explain why we feel the way we feel. In her free time, Luiza enjoys painting and drawing.

Graduate Students

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

Cynthia M. Villanueva is a 3rd-year graduate student in the Clinical Psychology PhD program and primary graduate student in the PEP lab at the University of Colorado Boulder. She is also a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship recipient. Her research interests focus on emotion-related processes in psychopathology, with a particular emphasis on examining individual differences in emotion language and emotion regulation in bipolar and unipolar mood disorders. She is also interested in how stigmas against talking about mental illness and expressed emotions may contribute to health inequities in minoritized communities.

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleStevi G. Ibonie

Stevi Ibonie is a 1st-year graduate student in the Clinical Psychology PhD program at the University of Colorado, Boulder, as a primary student in the PEP Lab. She obtained her B.A. in Psychology and minor in counseling, clinical, and school psychology from UC Santa Barbara. Previously, Stevi worked with Professor Sheri Johnson, at UC Berkeley studying mood-disorders, where she developed an interest in how social relationships may influence the trajectories of individuals with psychopathologies. During her PhD, she plans to focus on the influence of social functioning and relationships on psychopathologies, with specific interest in mood and behavioral disorders and how positive social relationships with peers may improve the prognosis of individuals experiencing mental health difficulties. Stevi enjoys all kinds of outdoor activities, such as stand up paddle-boarding, hiking, and gardening with the help of her cat.

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleAli Raza

Ali is a Ph.D. student in Computer Science at CU Boulder working with Prof. Tamara Sumner and Prof. Bill Penuel and co-mentored with Dr. Gruber. His research interest includes STEM education, HCI, Information Visualization, Visual thinking, and Accessibility. He is currently investigating how visual analytics can help middle school teachers in ways that promote equity in their classroom from teaching and curriculum standards. In collaboration with the Pep lab, he is interested in learning more about emotions and quantifying methods from the field and getting trained as a cognitive scientist.

Research Assistants

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleRachael Hargrove

Rachael Hargrove is a post-baccalaureate student studying psychology and neuroscience at CU Boulder. Before deciding to pursue her passion of psychology, she worked as a consultant and program manager in the information technology industry. She is interested in researching the etiology and treatments of mood disorders and is also interested in exploring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health. She is very grateful for the opportunity to work in the PEP lab and to learn more about various research techniques in psychology. After graduating, she plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology where she hopes to research, develop, and provide treatments to those who have psychological disorders. In her free time, Rachael enjoys playing with her two dogs and exploring the world through travel. She is also a certified yoga teacher and enjoys sharing the ways in which mindfulness can help those who have experienced trauma and other challenges.

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleManuel Alvarez

Manny is Currently a sophomore at CU Boulder actively pursuing a double bachelors degree in Neuroscience and Psychology with a minor in Philosophy. His fascination stems from the intersection between neuro and psych, and of the two way street that arises between your psyche and the underlying neuropsychic mechanisms. Upon graduating from CU Boulder, I plan on earning a PhD with the ultimate goal of being a Research Professor. When I'm not nerding out and getting lost in the sauce on all things brain related, I like to spend time on whatever my latest project is! Which at this time is the complete renovation of a school bus.

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleJuliana Czar

Juliana is a sophomore at CU Boulder studying Neuroscience and Psychology. She is very excited to gain a deeper understanding of psychopathology through the PEP lab and develop valuable research techniques that she can exercise in her future career. She is interested in exploring the impacts of Covid-19 on the preoperational stage of neurodevelopment and social cognition in children, (ages 2-7), and how these theoretical alterations in development may affect their future ability to build healthy relationships. After graduating, Juliana plans to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical child and adolescent psychology. Outside of the classroom Juliana enjoys live music, hiking the flatirons, and writing.

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleAmanda Rodriguez

Amanda Rodriguez is a senior at CU Boulder pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Philosophy. She is currently in the arts and sciences Honors Program. After graduation, Amanda plans to pursue her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology followed by a lifetime career in psychological research and psychotherapy. Her interests include the exploration of mindfulness/insight meditation approaches within psychiatric disorders, trauma, somatic integration of mind-body development, well-being, and comorbid/substance use disorders. She is committed to furthering her proficiency in the variety of tasks performed in conducting psychological studies and experimental design with her individual and collective contribution toward the success of the innovative and pioneering research lab. Her favorite hobbies are hiking, rock climbing, meditating, and listening to audiobooks!

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleAnsel & Silvan Gruber-Saucedo

Ansel and Silvan are Boulder natives and the youngest members of the PEP lab. They are deemed high on sociability and approach related positive affectivity, and current projects include enhancing emodiversity and optimizing emotion regulation skillsets. They have been known to offer advice about mixed emotions and engage in art as a medium of emotion expression in the lab.

Current Collaborators

Paulo Boggio – Mackenzie Presbyterian University, Sao Paulo, Brazil
McKell Carter – University of Colorado Boulder
Wil Cunningham – University of Toronto
Sidney D'Mello – University of Colorado Boulder
Brett Ford – University of Toronto
James Gross – Stanford University
Sheri Johnson – UC Berkeley
Dacher Keltner – UC Berkeley
Hedy Kober – Yale University
Kateri McRae – University of Denver
Iris Mauss – UC Berkeley
Greg Murray – Swinburne University of Technology, Australia
Jordi Quoidbach – ESADE
Maya Tamir – The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Diana Tamir – Princeton University
Jeanne Tsai – Stanford University
David Watson – University of Notre Dame
Lauren Weinstock – Brown University
Eric Youngstrom – UNC Chapel Hill
Jamil Zaki – Stanford University

Lab Alumni

University of Colorado Boulder (Recent Alumni): Tripti Kathuria (postdoctoral researcher), Juli Joachimsthaler (thesis student), Marqus Avalos, Sophia Gardinier, Elizabeth Hoelscher (thesis student, UROP recipient), Rachael Hargrove (thesis student), Isabel Hunt (high school volunteer), Madeleine Billings (undergrad), Lilla Kovacs (visiting Fulbright Scholar), Montana Ploe (thesis student, UROP recipient) Jade Musinger (thesis student, UROP recipient), Gabrielle Kizeev (UROP recipient), Reid Boyce (UROP recipient), Alexandra Teague (thesis student), Stephanie Yu (thesis student, BSI scholar), Jalen Tompkins (undergrad), Heather Brown (undergrad, UROP recipient), Emily Burr (post-bac), Zachary Anderson (post-bac), Alexa Cotler (visiting undergrad), Jennie Jaggers (post-bac), Annaliese Scheer (post-bac), Prianca Thirumalai (post-bac), Liza Silverman (post-bac), Chloe Plaisance (undergrad), Hannah Milad (post-bac), Sophia Mehrota (undergrad), Patton Loop (undergrad), Anny Dow (co-thesis student, Yale w/Greg Samanez-Larkin), Corinne Sejourne (co-thesis student, Brown w/Lauren Weinstock), Sarah Hagerty (affiliated grad, primary Hutchison), Yoni Ashar (affiliated grad, primary Wager/Dimidjian), Marianne Reddan (affiliated grad, primary Wager), Hollis Karoly (affiliated grad, primary Hutchison), Emily Jensen (affiliated grad, primary D’Mello), Lucca Elroy (affiliated grad, primary D’Mello), Yael Millgram (affiliated grad, primary Tamir), Elizabeth Lemon (affiliatd grad, primary Dimidjian), William Abe (undergrad), Ellie Johnson (undergrad), Rachel Karasik (thesis student, UROP fellowship).

Yale University: Sunny Dutra (grad), Kirsten Gilbert (grad), Hillary Devlin (grad), Aleena Hay (grad), Amanda Purcell (grad and former lab manager), Hannah Raila (grad), Victoria Webb (affiliated grad), Jonathan Phillips (affiliated grad), Yoona Kang (affiliated grad), Vera Vine (affiliated grad), Elizabeth Tepe (affiliated grad), John Purcell (RA and former lab manager), Elizabeth Reeves (thesis student and lab manager), Adam Fields (thesis student), Franziska Goer (thesis student), Gregory Barnett (thesis student), Winfield Call (thesis student), Barbara Paradis (thesis student), Sohini Bandy (thesis student), Cristina Ruiz (thesis student), Anjali Ambani, Grace Bang, Tamara Beetham, Benjamin Billingsley, Victor Bloch, Evan Bragdon, Madeleine Broder, Cecilia Brown, Margaret Brown, Caroline Carns, Alexsandr Chandra, Francesca Coxe, Laura Dietman, Marcus Dilallo, Anny Dow, Andrew Duarte, Nicole Ellerbeck, Avtalya Feldman, Joseph Fernandez, Cody Fisher, Kristina Foster, Carter Funkhouser, 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, Emily Pfannenstiel, Vivian Phelan, Tatiana Piskyla, Jenna Poggi, John Purcell, Whitney Quackenbush, Amy Rodriguez, Jessica Rosenthal, 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.


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