Meet The Team!
Dr. Jillian Lee Wiggins: Director
Phone: (619) 594-2188
Research Interests: We study brain activation patterns involved in typical and impaired socio-emotional development (for example, social interaction with other people, reading people’s emotions, reacting to people’s facial expressions). In particular, we are interested in understanding factors (e.g., genetics, social, family) that affect brain function in children and adolescents without disorders, in addition to youth with autism, depression, anxiety, and irritability symptoms. To accomplish this, we use functional MRI, functional connectivity, genetic, behavioral, and neuropsychological tools. Dr. Wiggins is happy to talk with any interested students about these research topics.
Maria Kryza-Lacombe: Doctoral Student
Career goals: As part of the SDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, I am currently working toward my PhD in clinical psychology with a concentration in neuropsychology, and a research focus in affective and developmental neuroscience. My long-term goal is to pursue independent research in a multidisciplinary academic setting.
Research interests: I am interested in the neural correlates of (mal)adaptive functioning, and the interplay of bio-psycho-social factors that support adaptive development and wellbeing (e.g., genetic, physiological, cognitive, socio-emotional, environmental influences). Specifically, I am interested in understanding how we can learn from research findings examining these factors in individuals with and without disorders, in order to better predict risk for maladaptive development, and to find ways to intervene before adulthood.
Karen T. G. Schwartz: Doctoral Student
Career goals: To obtain a Ph.D. in clinical psychology; to pursue an academic career focused on intervention development, dissemination, and implementation for youth suffering from anxiety and/or depression.
Research interests: I am interested in studying the risk and protective factors that impact the onset and maintenance of pediatric anxiety and depression. Within that domain, I am interested in the development of depression in anxious youth, specifically looking at culture, social environment, emotional development, and neurological factors as predictors of depression onset and as potential indicators of appropriate intervention. Additionally, I am interested in exploring neurological mechanisms of action in psychosocial interventions that may predict treatment response within this population of internalizing youth.
Michael Liuzzi: Master's Student
Career Goals: Currently, I am working toward my Master of Arts in Psychology. At this point, I
am planning to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology, and, long-term, pursuing a career in
research in an academic setting or working to provide psychological services to adolescents.
Research Interests: Generally, I am interested in the development of psychopathologies in
adolescents and young adults. Specifically, I am interested in the development of depression
and anxiety, and accompanying risk and neurological factors.
Katie Strickland: Lab Manager
Career Goals: I recently discovered that working with kids is what I want to do with my life. I want to help them succeed so I plan on pursuing a Master’s and then going on to practice Occupational Therapy or School Psychology.
Isaac Christian: Research Assistant
Career Goals: I am interested in furthering our understanding of reality. I believe that consciousness is the key to this understanding, and in studying the brain, we not only learn more about ourselves, but also the nature of reality. I am particularly interested in developing intelligent machines and exploring the potential for consciousness in these artificial agents. I’m planning to pursue a Graduate degree in computational neuroscience with the goal of attaining my PhD thereafter.
Danielle Palumbo: Research Assistant
Career Goals: Providing help for others is what ultimately drew me to the field of psychology. However, the way the brain functions and its relation to behavior has always fascinated me, and has led me to want to pursue a career in neuropsychology.
Cassidy Owen: Research Assistant
Career Goals: After earning my BA in psychology at San Diego State University, I plan to continue my education by obtaining my Master’s degree. I would like to eventually open my own practice to counsel students with special abilities and help them work through struggles that no one should have to endure on their own.
Lilly Osuna: Research Assistant
Career Goals: I have always enjoyed working with children and adolescents. I am planning to further my education by pursuing a doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology in order to practice a combination of therapy and research. I believe that providing support and services to the youth could positively impact their lives and the lives of others.
Brianna Hernandez: Research Assistant
Career Goals: After I earn my BA in psychology from San Diego State University, I aspire to attend graduate school in pursuit of a doctoral degree in clinical psychology. I also want to specialize in pediatric neuropsychology in the hopes of helping children and adolescents with a variety of neurological disorders, mental disorders, and developmental and learning disabilities. I aim to make major positive impacts in the lives of children and adolescents who are seeking help.
Masters Student Alumni