Chiemeka Ezie · Our fearless former lab manager is now a medical student at NYU
Aaron S Heller, PhD
Aaron is a clinical psychologist and affective neuroscientist who received his BA from UC Berkeley, his PhD from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and postdoctoral training at Weill Cornell Medical College. He is interested in better understanding the temporal dynamics of emotion and how they relate to individual differences in risk for psychopathology. He uses a variety of methods including brain imaging (fMRI), psychophysiological (facial EMG, skin conductance) and mobile Health to better understand these relationships.
Lara Baez, M.S.
Prior to attending UM, Lara pursued her undergraduate studies in Behavioral Biology, Psychology and French at Johns Hopkins University, and completed a post baccalaureate fellowship in the Genetic Epidemiology Branch at the National Institutes of Health. She is interested in integrating neuroimaging and Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) to discover how changes in the brain affect real-time emotional fluctuations in individuals with mood disorders.
Brittany Jaso, M.S.
Brittany graduated from Cornell University with a B.A. in Psychology. She then spent two years as a research fellow in the Experimental Therapeutics and Pathophysiology Branch at the National Institute of Mental Health. Her primary research interests lie in using Ecological Momentary Assessment to explore short- and long-term emotion dynamics. She uses a variety of methods (fMRI, skin conductance, heart rate variability, self-report measures) to further elucidate the relationship between emotion dynamics and transdiagnostic behavioral and neurobiological risk factors for psychopathology.
Nikki Puccetti is a graduate student in the adult-track clinical psychology doctoral program. She earned her B.A. in Psychology with Research Distinction from The Ohio State University. Nikki is broadly interested in better understanding cognitive and affective risk factors for mood and anxiety disorders. Using fMRI, Nikki aims to link individual differences in neurobiological processes with day-to-day cognitive and affective experiences that leave one vulnerable to developing psychopathology. Ultimately, this work can help direct preventative and early interventions for those most at risk for experiencing mood and anxiety disorders.
Bill is interested in affective dynamics, and how individual differences in the features of our emotional lives predict risk and resilience in psychopathology. A goal of Bill's research is to use computational modeling to uncover the factors that compel our emotional lives, and to identify the sources of aberrant affective experiences in clinical populations. As a member of the MANATEE Lab, Bill is involved in the preprocessing and analysis of neuroimaging data, and Ecological Momentary Analysis (EMA) programming and data analysis. In his spare time, Bill practices the trumpet and plays jazz music.
Andrew earned a B.A. degree from Emory University double majoring in Psychology and Human Health. Andrew is interested in better understanding how environmental aspects of an individual’s life effect emotional volatility, stress perception, and mental distress. He hopes to find more translational applications for psychometrics such as Ecological Momentary Analysis (EMA) data in the assessment of psychopathology. Andrew’s role in the lab currently entails subject screenings, data collection, and analysis as well as the creation of procedural protocols. In the future, he intends to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology.
Travis (Rick) Reneau
Rick is a recent graduate of the University of Miami, where he received a double major in Computer Science and Psychology. Originally from St. Augustine, FL, he plans to attend graduate school and his research interests include affective neuroscience, the mechanisms behind anhedonia, and alternatives for treatment-resistant depression. In his free time, he enjoys dancing with his crew Unit 305.
Claudia is a Neuroscience major from Eastchester, New York. Her research interests include better understanding learning and memory and their relation to psychopathology. In her free time, she enjoys exploring the city of Miami.
Conor is a Computer Science major from Philadelphia, PA. He is interested in learning computer programming through interdisciplinary research. In the Manatee Lab, Conor assists in downloading and processing Ecological Momentary Analysis data. Outside of the lab, Conor likes to practice Spanish.
Noah is a Neuroscience major with minors in Public Health and Spanish. He is interested in the development of affective and other psychological disorders. He plans to attend medical school in order to become a Pediatrician. Outside of the lab, Noah plays for the UM Club Volleyball team.
Noelle is a second year Neuroscience and Criminology double major from Long Island, New York. Her future interests in research revolve around mental health illnesses as well as memory and emotion. In her free time, she enjoys trying new foods and exploring all that Miami has to offer.
Evelyn Menkes is a neuroscience major in her junior year. Her main interests lie in affect and emotion. She is interested in attending medical school in hopes of becoming an OBGYN. She enjoys playing the violin and writing music in her free time.
Gillian is a 3rd year Neuroscience major and criminology minor from Montoursville, PA. Her main research interests are developmental psychopathology and affective neuroscience. She plans to attend graduate school for neuroscience or neuropsychology. She enjoys playing golf and hiking in her free time.
Anuj is a 4th year Neuroscience major from Jacksonville, FL. He is interested in researching affective neuroscience. He plans to attend medical school after graduating and plays basketball and searches for new music in his free time.
Lauren is a Psychology major from Dallas, TX. Her research interests include the relationship between emotion, social interaction, and depression as well as other related mood disorders such as Bipolar Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. She is interested in attending graduate school in hopes of getting her PhD to practice clinical psychology.
Vilet is a Psychology and Mechanical Engineering dual degree from Miami, Florida. She plans to attend graduate school and her research interests include memory, affect and emotion and how they relate to the development of psychopathology. In her free time she enjoys reading, watching movies, and learning new skills.
Cate's research focuses on characterizing the development and dynamics of the learning, memory, and decision-making processes that shape our behavior. She uses a broad array of methodological approaches to examine the cognitive, computational, and neural processes that inform our choices and actions.
Ross Otto is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at McGill University. Ross’s work relies on a combination of computational, behavioral, and psychophysiological, and (more recently) “big data” techniques to understand how people make decisions both in the laboratory and in the real world.
Kiara's primary focus lies in researching factors that play a role in the etiology, comorbidity, and maintenance of anxiety and obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders. She is particularly interested in translational factors and integrative risk models, including the role of stress, self-regulatory deficits, and emotional tolerance.
MANATEE Lab Alumni
Jackie Yang · Jackie is currently a medical student at NYU
Ariel Gonzalez · Ariel is currently a research assistant with Angela Laird at FIU
Betelhem Yimer · Betelhem is currently pursuing a Master's in International Health at Georgetown University