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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.
Lab Photo Archive

Lab Director

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - People

June Gruber

June Gruber is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience in the Clinical Program 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. For more info. see Dr. Gruber's webpage.

Lab Coordinator

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleStevi Ibonie

Stevi Ibonie is a recent graduate from UC Santa Barbara, where she obtained a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in counseling, clinical, and school psychology. In the past years, she has worked with Professor Sheri Johnson, at UC Berkeley, studying mood-disorders. From this experience, she started to become interested in how social relationships may influence the trajectories of individuals with psychopathologies. Specifically, Stevi is interested in mood and behavioral disorders, and how positive social relationships with peers may improve the prognosis of individuals experiencing mental health difficulties. She is also very interested in personality disorders, and hopes to study them in the future. She plans to go on to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, with a focus on the influence of social factors on psychopathologies. Stevi enjoys all kinds of outdoor activities, such as gardening, stand up paddle-boarding, hiking, and camping. 

Grad Students

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleCynthia Villanueva

Cynthia M. Villanueva is a graduate student in the Clinical Psychology PhD program and primary graduate student in the PEP lab at the University of Colorado Boulder. 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 - PeopleAli Raza

Ali is a 2nd year 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.

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleStevi Ibonie

Stevi Ibonie is the current Lab Coordinator and will be beginning her Clinical Psychology PhD in Fall 2021 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 - People

Lilla is a visiting Fulbright scholar and visiting graduate student scholar in the PEP lab. Lilla is a fourth-year Ph.D. student at the Department of Clinical Psychology and Addiction at ELTE, Budapest, Hungary. She received her MA with a specialization at Clinical and Health Psychology at ELTE. During her MA studies she received a one-year Erasmus scholarship: she completed an academic semester at the University of Milano – Bicocca, followed by an internship at the acute psychiatric department of San Paolo Hospital, Milano. Lilla’s Ph.D. research focuses on the maladaptive emotion regulation strategies of healthy adults and clinical populations. In 2019 Lilla joined the SE-NAP 2 Genetic Brain Imaging Migraine Research Group at Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary, where she has deepened her knowledge in neuroscience via assisting fMRI scans and analyzing fMRI data. Lilla received the Fulbright Scholarship and the Rosztoczy Scholarship, enabling her to spend 9 months at the PEP Lab in 2021. She enjoys doing sports and yoga in her free time, and she is a music festival enthusiast.

Research Assistants

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleJade Musinger

Jade Munsinger is a senior majoring in psychology and EBIO at CU Boulder, with a certificate in peace and conflict studies. She is supported by a UROP research assistantship and is pursuing a senior thesis on emotion regulation difficulties and bipolar risk in emerging adults during the COVID-19 global pandemic. She is excited to be a part of the PEP lab team to to expand what we know about human emotion and psychopathology. Driven by a desire to help people and make a positive difference in the world, Jade plans to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology after graduation. When not in class or lab, she enjoys her work with children and adolescents with behavioral and developmental delays at Brain Balance. With her free time, Jade also loves spending time with animals and going to concerts

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleReid Boyce

Reid Boyce is currently a senior majoring in Neuroscience and Psychology at CU Boulder. He is is supported by a UROP research assistantship and is interested in studying neuroimaging and the effects of brain abnormalities as a result of emotional dysregulation and mood disorders. He hopes to gain insight into research methodology and clinical experience through the PEP lab, as well as deepen his understanding of positive emotions and psychopathology. After graduating he plans to enroll in medical school and pursue a career as a neurosurgeon. He also enjoys volunteering, swimming, spending time on the lake with his family, and riding dirt bikes.

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleGabrielle Kizeev

Gabrielle (Gabi) Kizeev is a senior at CU Boulder majoring in neuroscience and psychology. She is supported by a UROP research assistantship and is interested in exploring her broad interests in emotions and mental health at the PEP lab and is eager to expand her knowledge of research techniques in a clinical setting. After graduating, Gabi plans to go to graduate school to get a master’s degree in molecular and cellular biology with the ultimate goal of receiving a Ph.D. in neuroscience. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her friends, exploring different cultures through travel, playing video games, and relaxing with a good book, TV show, or movie.

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleJuli Joachimsthaler

Juli Joachimsthaler is a junior at CU Boulder majoring in psychology. He is interested in the etiology, as well as the development of treatment for mood disorders. He is excited to engage in the practicalities of the research process through researching positive emotion dysregulation at the PEP Lab. After graduating he plans on pursuing a doctorate in Clinical Psychology, where he is motivated to continue his research training as well as receive clinical training. In his off time, he enjoys playing soccer, going snowboarding, and hiking.

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleMadeleine Billings

Madeleine (Maddie) Billings is currently a junior at CU Boulder majoring in Neuroscience and Psychology. She is interested in studying the complexities of the brain and how these complexities manifest into mental health disorders and human behavior at large. She is excited to gain a deeper understanding of the research process and gain critical research experience through her work in the PEP lab as well as learn more about human emotion and mood disorders. After graduating, she plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuroscience. Aside from academic pursuits, Maddie enjoys spending time with family and friends, being active in the beautiful outdoors, and practicing yoga and meditation. She feels so grateful to be a part of a lab that conducts such meaningful research that has the ability to impact and improve so many individual’s daily lives.

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 - PeopleMarqus Avalos

Marqus Avalos is a junior majoring in psychology and minoring in business. Through the PEP lab, he wants to gain a firsthand experience of what it is like to work in the field of psychopathology, as this is his area of interest. Following graduation, he will earn either a Ph.D. or Psy.D in psychology. He wants to work with and treat patients who have been diagnosed with mood or personality disorders and improve their lives in any way possible. He hopes to practice somewhere on the East Coast, such as Chicago or New York. At the end of his career, he wants to be able to look back on it knowing that he had a lasting and meaningful impact on his patient’s lives. Out of school, Marqus enjoys watching basketball and working out.

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleElizabeth Hoelscher

Elizabeth Hoelscher is a post-baccalaureate research assistant in the PEP lab and is also a professional research assistant at Brown University. She graduated with a B.A. in psychology and sociology with a certificate in public health at the University of Colorado Boulder. She completed her honors thesis through the PEP examining emotion regulation in emerging adults at risk for mood disorders. Elizabeth is interested. Elizabeth's primary research interests include emotions, adverse health-related outcomes, and functional impairment in acute mental disorders. Namely, she is especially interested in how sociological factors correlate to the emergence of psychopathology and the ability to access effective treatment. 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 relationship with overall health.

Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab - PeopleMontana Ploe

Montana Ploe is a volunteer post-baccalaureate research assistant in the PEP lab and is the laboratory manager for Dr. Abigail Marsh at the Laboratory on Social and Affective Neuroscience at Georgetown University. Montana graduated summa cum laude from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2020 with a B.A. in psychology. She completed her honors thesis in the PEP lab on psychopathy, reward dysregulation, and social connection in first-year college students which was awarded the Imogene Jacobs Psychology Thesis Award. Montana’s primary research interests focus on the intersections of clinical and affective neuroscience and include understanding psychopathy, adverse and positive emotions, and functional impairment and potential benefits (i.e. boldness) due to psychopathic traits. Montana has been a member of the PEP lab since the spring semester of 2018 and remains affiliated to continue growing in her clinical skills.

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

(updating in progress)

University of Colorado Boulder (Recent Alumni): 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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