Alumni

Dalora Najera
LPC, Lab Manager

Learn more about Dalora

Dalora joined the lab with prior experience in mental health and addictions counseling. She had also assisted with research in health disparities related to substance use outcomes and behavioral interventions to modify behaviors implicated in the continuation of substance use disorders. Her work was fundamental in the initiation of the BGA lab, as well as the implementation of the MAPme Project. She is currently working as a Behavioral Health Care Advocate for UnitedHealth Group.

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Karlye Phillips
Research Volunteer

Learn more about Karlye

In addition to acting as a Research Coordinator on a study exploring the effects of trauma-sensitive yoga on posttraumatic stress disorder and depression symptoms with the Veteran Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) in Atlanta, Georgia, Karyle volunteered in our lab from Fall 2017- Spring 2018. In particular, she assisted with the dataset integration across all laboratory projects

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Madeline "Maddy" Gordon
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Learn more about Maddy

Maddy joined the BGA lab interested in examining the potential role of religiosity and social support in risk for substance use from childhood to young adulthood. These interests stemmed from her undergraduate study at Emory, majoring in psychology and minoring in religion. She worked with the lab from Fall 2017 to Summer 2019, first as an undergraduate research assistant and then continued to volunteer part-time after graduation. Currently, she is a doctoral student in the Clinical Program at Yeshiva University’s Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology.

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Pamela Romero-Villela
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Learn more about Pamela

Pamela began working in our lab as an undergraduate student at Emory, while majoring in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology. From Winter 2017 to Summer 2019, she contributed to multiple BGA projects, conducting GWAS analyses to assisting with outreach for the MapMe Project. Following graduation, she was hired on as a research assistant. Pamela is currently a doctoral student at the University of Colorado Boulder. She works under Drs. Ehringer and Keller studying the unique bio-environmental factors that predispose minority groups to certain drugs and their unique challenges towards rehabilitation.

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Andrew Boateng-Poku
Undergraduate Research Assistant

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As a psychology major at Emory University, Andrew was interested in studying the relationship between social support, stress, depression, and substance use in African American adults. He was an undergraduate research assistant from Fall 2017 to Spring 2018, during which he presented at conferences and was the first author of a paper published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence. Upon graduating, he joined the lab of Dr. Aaron Heller at the University
of Miami.

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Clare Ubersax
Undergraduate Research Assistant & MAPme Ambassador

Learn more about Clare

She majored in both Anthropology and Human Biology Major, as well as minors in History Minor. Being a part of a large family and having four siblings, including a set of fraternal twins, Clare intrigued the by the fact that siblings, who share genes and environment, can grow up to lead to different lives. She joined the lab specifically to examine how genetic and environmental factors influence the development of mental health issues, including substance abuse problems. Furthermore, she was interested in different environments and how socioeconomic status can influence these outcomes. After graduating from Emory, she became a Economic Development and Social Impact Associate at Shipt.

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Nikkhil Ramgiri
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Learn more about Nikhil

Nikhil graduated from Emory with a double major in Biology and Psychology. He joined the BGA lab in the spring of 2018, after graduating from Oxford College the previous fall. He is worked on utilizing differential gene expression data from animal research to identify a functionally optimal set of loci that can account for nicotine dependence in the population. He plans to attend medical school in Fall 2021.

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Victoria Risner
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Learn more about Victoria

Victoria began as an undergraduate in the BGA lab during her sophomore year while majoring in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology. She graduated Emory College with her B.S. in Spring 2019 and began working as a Research Assistant for the lab. For her honor's thesis, Victoria examined the predictive utility of a multitrait polygenic risk score model using known genetic correlates of nicotine dependence. More generally, she is interested in how developmental time periods and stress interact with genetics to impact drug use outcomes. Victoria is currently applying for medical school to pursue a career as a doctor.

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Haley Hershey
MPH Graduate Research Assistant

Learn more about Haley

Haley graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.S. in Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience. She was an Master of Public Health student in the Epidemiology Department at Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University. In the lab, she was particularly interested in learning how social factors influence the incidence of health conditions across different populations and how they affect individuals’ lifetime health habits. She worked on MAPme data analysis and project planning. Upon earning her Masters, she became an epidemiologist for an Opioid/Overdose Response and Reduction Program.

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Yijin Xiang
MPH Graduate Research Assistant

Learn more about Yijin

Yijin earned her BSN degree in Shanghai Jiaotong University, in China and MPH in Epidemiology at Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University. She is interested in applying various longitudinal methods to better build models to predict how kids and teens’ psychological and physical status will develop. She was a lead on the MAPme team conducting data management-related activities, such as data manipulation, data cleaning, data preparation, data analyst and data visualization in R and R markdown for the project. She is currently a Biostatistician at Emory University and Children's Healthcare of America.

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Skyra Loche
Undergraduate Research Assistant & MAPme Ambassador

Learn more about Skyra

Skyra obtained a B.A. in Psychology at Emory College. She joined the lab as she was interested in investigating potential associations between stress and drug abuse within college-aged populations. She assisted in data collection for MAPme.

James Swanson
Undergraduate Research Assistant & MAPme Ambassador

Learn more about James

James studied biology at Emory. He was interested in the factors that influence our adaptive response to trauma and joined BGA lab to learn more about mental health.

Keland Yip
Undergraduate Research Assistant & MAPme Ambassador

Learn more about Keland

Keland was a sociology major and minored in Global Health, Culture, & Society. He joined the lab hoping to learn more about mental health and played an active role in MAPme. He hopes to eventually pursue medical school.

Jenani Srijeyanthan
Research Assistant

Learn more about Jenani

Jenani graduated from Emory with a B.S. after majoring in Neuroscience & Behavioral Biology and minoring in American Studies. She has continued working in the BGA lab as a part-time research assistant and focused on the identification of genomic loci for alcohol use disorder. She began this work in the lab during her junior year. She is generally interested in how stressors created by U.S. sociopolitical/socioeconomic policy may interact with neurochemistry to increase the likelihood of PTSD and/or substance use disorders, particularly in the case of institutionalized racism, trauma exposure, and marijuana. Currently, she is working as a coordinator at Partnership Against Dating Violence Prevention.

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Caroline Catherman
Undergraduate Research Assistant & MAPme Ambassador

Learn more about Caroline

While at Emory, Caroline was interested in studying the intersection between personality, depression, and sleep. She also participated in the MAPme project. She is currently pursuing a master's in journalism at Northwestern University - Medill School of Journalism.

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