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.
Nikki Puccetti, M.S.
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. In particular, she uses both lab-based tasks and ecological momentary assessment to examine the temporal dynamics of affect and related cognitive styles (i.e. repetitive negative thinking). Nikki’s research programs aims to link individual differences in neurobiological processes, measured by fMRI, with real-world cognitive and affective experiences that leave one vulnerable to developing psychopathology. Ultimately, she hopes this work can help direct preventative and early interventions for those most at risk for experiencing mood and anxiety disorders. Nikki will complete her predoctoral clinical internship in 2022-2023.
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.
Claire graduated from the University of Miami in 2021 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Her research interests include cognitive and affective processes and their role in the development and maintenance of psychopathology. Outside of the lab, she enjoys spending time on the water, exercising, and playing with her dogs and cat.
Sofia is a Neuroscience major with a minor in Chemistry. Her interests include developmental psychology, psychopathology, and the neural mechanisms behind disorders such as depression and anxiety. She plans to pursue a Masters in Neural Engineering alongside her Bachelors of Science. After graduation, Sofia would like to attend medical school and go on to be a psychiatrist. In her free time, she likes to write and read poetry.
Bianca is a neuroscience major with a minor in chemistry. Her main interests include the biological aspects of neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders. After graduation, she plans to attend medical school and become a clinical neuroscientist. In her free time, she enjoys running, the beach, and spending time with friends.
Madalyn is a psychology major with minors in microbiology and immunology and sociology. Her main interests include developmental and cognitive psychology. After graduation, she plans to attend graduate school and obtain her PhD. In her free time, Madalyn enjoys reading, yoga, and being outdoors.
Grace is a third-year biology major minoring in chemistry and psychology. Her main interests include abnormal psychology and genetics. After graduation, she plans to attend medical school and become a physician. In her free time, Grace enjoys running, reading, and yoga.
Clara Meyerfreund Lavrador
Clara is a Neuroscience major with minors in Chemistry, Criminology, and German. She is interested in the biological aspect of psychological disorders, especially personality disorders. While she does not know specifically what she wants to do yet as a career, she will be applying to graduate school and plans to follow a career in neuroscience research. During her free time, Clara enjoys making music, writing, and practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with the UM recreational club.
Anthony is a Psychology and Biology major with a minor in history on the pre-medical track. He is interested in the differences in emotional intelligences between gender and ethnic groups as well as treatments for illness that involve whole body healing. He plans to study osteopathic medicine and apply both psychology and medicine to his future career as a doctor. During his free time he likes to play guitar, write, read, and explore new things to learn, study, or experience.
Layne is a junior majoring in psychology, with minors in biology and journalism. Her main interests are neuropsychology and the biological aspects of psychological disorders. After graduation, she plans to attend graduate school to follow a career in psychological research. In her free time, Layne enjoys reading, swimming, and baking.
Craig is a second-year psychology major, interested in the applications of noninvasive neural recording techniques to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of internalizing disorders like anxiety and depression. He plans to study emerging noninvasive technologies, including nanoparticle recording, in graduate school. Outside of the lab, he can (hopefully) be found hiking in the mangroves.
Chris is a junior at University of Miami working toward a B.S. in computer science with a minor in mathematics. His interests include data analytics and machine learning, and how these can be applied to psychology research. He is also interested in psychopathology and its etiology. In his free time he enjoys cooking, baking, and hiking.
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 graduate student with Dr. Angela Laird at FIU
Betelhem Yimer · Betelhem is currently pursuing a Master's in International Health at Georgetown University
Andrew Boateng-Poku · Andrew serves as a Senior Media Strategist for a political firm and pursuing a Master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
Evelyn Menkes · Evelyn is currently a medical Student at New York Institute College of Osteopathic Medicine
Claudia DeLorenzo · Claudia is currently working at Cato Institute
Anuj Shah · Anuj is currently a medical student at University of Florida
Lauren Thomas · Lauren is currently a research assistant with Dr. Christian Grillon at NIH
Conor Gibbons · Conor is currently a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania
Gillian Mitchell · Gillian is currently working as a full-time Psychometrist Technician for the Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania
Brittany Jaso, PhD · Brittany is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Boston University’s Center for Anxiety & Related Disorders
Sarah Catherine Gillard · Sarah Catherine is currently pursuing a Master's in Integrative Neuroscience at the University of Edinburgh
Emily Moraes · Emily is currently a data analyst for Vetcove