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 lab, as well as the implementation of the MAPme Project. She is currently working as a Behavioral Health Care Advocate for UnitedHealth Group.

LinkedIn Page
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 to Spring 2018. In particular, she assisted with the dataset integration across all laboratory projects

LinkedIn Page
Madeline "Maddy" Gordon
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Learn more about Maddy

Maddy joined the 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.

LinkedIn Page
Pamela Romero-Villela
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Learn more about Pamela

Pamela Romero-Villela joined the lab in January 2017. During her time in the lab, Pamela worked on a genome-wide association study of individual symptoms of alcohol withdrawal to tease apart the unique and shared genetic influences of this wide-ranging syndrome. In addition, Pamela co-lead the beginning of the MAPme Project, a student-led study on college health and substance use. Pamela left the lab in June 2019 and started graduate school to pursue a PhD in statistical genetics that fall. Now, Pamela is a PhD candidate at the University of Colorado Boulder and studies how genome-wide and differential variation influences complex traits, with a continued focus on substance use.

LinkedIn Page
Andrew Boateng-Poku
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Learn more about Andrew

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.

LinkedIn Page
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.

LinkedIn Page
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.

Linkedin Page
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.

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.

LinkedIn Page
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.

LinkedIn Page
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.

LinkedIn Page
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.

LinkedIn Page
James Swanson
MAPme Ambassador

Learn more about James

James Swanson graduated from Emory University in 2021 with a degree in Biology. He worked in the lab from March 2018 to September 2019. His first research project looked at the prevalence and correlates of intimate partner abuse experienced among Emory Students. For his second project, he used the MAPme data to look at whether current GAD symptoms were associated with one's cumulative experience of traumatic events. Currently, he is a medical student at Loyola Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, and is interested in pursuing a surgical specialty.

Ronaldo Patiño Flores
MAPme Ambassador

Learn more about Ronaldo

Ronaldo recently graduated from Texas A&M University with a BA in Psychology. He worked in the BGA Lab during the summer of 2020 through Emory's LGS Soar Program. He is interested in attending graduate school and studying cognitive processes such as attention, decision making, and how they are involved in risky behavior.

Keland Yip
Undergraduate Research Assistant & MAPme Ambassador

Learn more about Keland

Keland Yip graduated from Emory University in 2021 with a B.A. in Sociology and Global Health, Culture, & Society. He worked in the lab from Spring 2018 to Fall 2020. While in the lab, Keland primarily worked on the pilot MAPme study and was initially involved in a sub-study investigating the relationship between various types of trauma and depression. He later transitioned to supporting the study’s media and community outreach presence. While at Emory, Keland also conducted research on topics surrounding the social determinants of health. Currently, Keland is working as a clinical research coordinator at the University of Washington School of Medicine and will be attending medical school in Fall 2022.

Caroline Catherman
Undergraduate Research Assistant & MAPme Ambassador

Learn more about Caroline

Caroline Catherman worked in the lab from August 2018 to May 2020, when she graduated from Emory. While in the lab, she was first a MAPME ambassador then moved on to conduct a research study on how sleep, depression, and neuroticism interact, which was published in a research journal. After graduating from Emory, Caroline combined her love of creative writing and science. She got an M.S. in Journalism with a concentration in science, health, and environmental reporting from Northwestern University. She then got a journalism job reporting on science and health at the Orlando Sentinel in Orlando, FL.

LinkedIn Page
Maia Choi
Undergraduate Research Assistant & MAPme Ambassador

Learn more about Maia

Maia Choi graduated from Emory University in 2020. She started working in the lab when she attended Oxford College to remotely assist with data collect at the Oxford site as a MAPme Ambassador. After graduating from Oxford in 2019 and upon starting at Emory, she helped to expand data collection to Kennesaw State University and by developing outreach materials for MAPme participants. Additionally, she started working as an Undergraduate Research Assistant and fostered an interest in examining risk factors (e.g., stress and internalizing disorders) for substance use among college students. She continued this work following her graduation for a semester as a staff Research Assistant. Currently, she is a pursuing a PhD in Behavioral & Systems Neuroscience at Rutgers University, under the guidance of Dr. Danielle Dick.

Anjali Agarwal
Undergraduate Research Assistant & MAPme Ambassador

Learn more about Anjali

Anjali Agarwal graduated from Emory University in 2020. She was a member of the lab beginning in January 2018 up until her graduation, starting as a MAPme Ambassador, later also becoming an Undergraduate Research Assistant. During this time, she assisted in participant recruitment and data collection. She also assisted with the data analysis and poster creation for various projects that utilized MAPme data. Currently, she is a postgraduate student in Psychology at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia.

Ayushi Agarwal
Undergraduate Research Assistant & MAPme Ambassador

Learn more about Ayushi

Ayushi Agarwal graduated from Emory University in 2021 with a bachelor’s in Psychology. She joined the lab in Spring 2018, while enrolled in a class taught by Dr. Palmer, and remained a member of the lab until her graduation. When she joined the lab, she was a MAPme Ambassadaor and later became an Undergraduate Research Assistant. Her research interests are in the psychosocial correlates of alcohol and other substance use. She is planning on pursuing a masters or PhD in Psychology.

Sri Ponnazhagan
Undergraduate Research Assistant & MAPme Ambassador

Learn more about Sri

Sri Ponnazhagan graduated from Emory University in 2021. He started in the lab in Fall 2018 and was a member until his graduation. As a MAPme Ambassador, he examined the relationship between trauma and depression, using MAPme data. During his later years in the lab, as an Undergraduate Research Assistant, he conducted independent research projects that focused on substance use and executive functioning. Currently, he is a medical student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, having started in Fall 2021.

Priya Yadav
MAPme Ambassador

Learn more about Priya

Priya Yadav graduated from Emory University in 2022, with a bachelor’s in Psychology. She was a member of the lab from Spring 2021 to Spring 2022. During her time in the lab, she examined the effectiveness of social media on recruitment strategies for psychological research.

Matthew Gordon
MAPme Ambassador for KSU

Learn more about Matthew

Matthew Gordon graduated from Georgia State University. He was a member of the lab from Spring 2021 to Spring 2022. During his time in the lab, he helped with holding focus group discussions regarding the barriers to participation in genomics research by college-aged members of minority racial and ethnic groups. He will be starting a PsyD program at Loyola University Maryland in Fall 2022.

Javier Losada Radley
Laboratory Assistant

Learn more about Javier

Javier Losada Radley graduated from Emory University in 2021, with a bachelor's in Psychology and on the pre-med track. He joined the lab in the Summer of 2020 and was a member until Spring 2022 since he continued on as a Staff Research Assistant once he graduated. During his time in the lab, he helped with focus groups discussions, participant compensation, and he conducted independent research on participant retention strategies. Currently, he is an Associate Product Manager for PadSplit, an Atlanta-based startup that helps with affordable housing solutions.

Margy Chen
Undergraduate Research Assistant & MAPme Ambassador

Learn more about Margy

Margy Chen graduated from Emory University in 2022. She was a member of the lab from Summer 2020 to Spring 2022. During her time in the lab, she examined the the association between prescription opioid misuse and mood disorders with data from NSDUH 2019. She will be starting a Social Psychology PhD program at the University of Colorado Boulder in Fall 2022.

Jamaiica Hurston
Undergraduate Research Assistant & MAPme Ambassador

Learn more about Jamaiica

Jamaiica Hurston graduated from Emory University in 2022, with a bachelor’s in Psychology. She was a member of the lab from Spring 2021 to Spring 2022. During her time in the lab, she examined the relationship between stress coping strategies and polysubstance use. Currently, she is working as a Clinical Research Coordinator at the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive, and Kidney Diseases in the Section on Ethnicity and Health, and plans to eventually attend medical school.