Procedures for Prospective Graduate Students

Thank you for your interest in pursuing a PhD in Psychology at Emory.

Potential applicants who are interested in applying and wish to pursue research under my direction should follow the directions provided by the Department of Psychology and the Laney Graduate School. Due to the number of applicants, I am unable to individually respond to emails outside of the application process. I will be reviewing every application and will setup an initial zoom meeting prior to your formal invitation to an interview. In the interim, please see my answers to frequent questions below. I also strongly encourage all applicants to review the lab website and to contact the current graduate students for details about the lab culture.

Are you accepting graduate students this year?
Yes! I am considering applications for the Fall of 2022. Prospective students may apply through clinical science, cognitive and computational science, or behavioral and systems neuroscience concentration areas in the Department of Psychology.


Which students are a good fit for your lab?
I am interested in students who have strong interests in the biological basis of behavior and how this knowledge can be used to enhance our understanding of clinical outcomes or the development of behavior across the lifespan.

What makes an applicant competitive?
The most competitive applicants typically have:

  • Completed an independent research project and/or contributed to scientific papers or posters.
  • Students should be trained in at least one statistical or computational programming package (e.g., SAS, SPSS, Python, or R) and be able to describe how they have used it to test a hypothesis.
  • Experience working as a full/part-time research assistant or lab manager in their post-bac years.

**It is highly recommended that applicants highlight their research skills (especially those pertaining to coding and data analysis) and research experience, as these are often weighted most heavily.


What makes an applicant less competitive?

This lab is not a good fit for students who are:

  • Primarily interested in pursuing a PhD for purpose of clinical practice and not researching mechanisms (genetic and environmental) of behavior.
  • Not interested in working across multiple levels of analysis (e.g., behavioral genetics [twin analyses and genetic association studies], proteomics, epigenetics).
  • Not interested in pursuing biologically informed analyses that bridge different areas of science (e.g., behavioral, genetic, epigenetics).

What role does graduate students play in your lab?

Graduate students in the lab contribute to each of the ongoing research areas of the lab. I use a one-on-one mentoring style that allows students to develop their own research questions within each of these topic areas. I like to use an individual development plan for each student to identify training, research, and professional development goals for each year. In addition, I like to meet with students for 1-2 hours each week during the first three years. In these meetings, we work to develop their own hypothesis, help students learn/assist them with how to collect/gather and analyze data and write the manuscript. In addition, student training is supplemented by courses, workshops, and technical meetings in the lab. Graduate students also take leadership in the lab by presenting their research to their lab-mates every semester and leading article discussions during lab meetings each week. Students are also required to supervise and mentor at least one undergraduate lab. Students will receive mentoring guidance starting from the time they recruit the undergraduate to assist them with their research.

Regarding research products, graduate students are expected to attempt to convert their first-year review paper into a manuscript (if possible), submit their master’s thesis for publication by the end of their second year, develop an NIH (National Institutes of Health) R36 dissertation grant proposal for their qualifying exams, and submit the grant and complete each of the three aims for their thesis leading up to graduation. In addition to these 4-5 papers, students also have the opportunity to contribute to projects that are being conducted by postdoctoral fellows, lab staff, or my collaborators. All students are also expected to prepare and present their ongoing research projects at two or more national/international conferences each year.

Lastly, in addition to the department requirements for coursework all graduate students in my lab must take a graduate molecular or gene expression course AND a Structural Equation Modeling or Hierarchical Linear Modeling statistics course.

For more details on lab culture and policy, please contact the current graduate students.