Meet The Team!

BIG Emotions Study

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.

Lea Dougherty


Career goals:  

Research interests: 

Lauren Bozzetto


Career Goals:I plan to study how the experience of trauma in childhood shifts brain development in a Ph.D. program in the future. Specifically, I am interested in how trauma diverges from the pathway of typical brain development and the impact this shift has on socioemotional development. Through translational research and clinical application, I will work towards developing treatment and support for children who have experienced trauma. I will use my knowledge to advocate for children at risk

Research Interests: My research interests lie in the intersection of child development and neuropsychology. I plan to study how complex trauma affects typical and atypical brain development. Specifically, I will focus on studying how the experience of trauma impacts socioemotional development during childhood and adolescence.
Ruiyu Yang: Master's Student


Career Goals: I am currently working toward my Master of Arts in Psychology at SDSU and I aim to continue my study in a clinical psychology doctoral program and eventually, become a researcher in an
academic setting or provide evidence-based psychological services to people in need.

Research Interests: I am interested in the underpinning relationship between neural pathways and different psychological disorders such as depression and anxiety disorders. I plan to further my
understanding using different neuroimaging tools. I would also like to incorporate cultural and social factors (e.g., sexual minority status, socioeconomic status, cultural differences) into the research of psychological pathology and conduct interdisciplinary research in this field.


Marvin Yan: Master's Student


Career Goals:I am currently a student in SDSU’s Psychology MA program. I plan to continue my studies in a clinical psychology PhD program, with the final goal of conducting research as a psychology professor.

Research Interests:I am interested in understanding the neural and cognitive underpinnings of psychiatric disorders. More specifically, I am interested in how we can use neuroimaging to better predict the onset of psychiatric disorders and the efficacy of different treatment options for an individual. Also, I would like to explore how we can use technology to improve and optimize treatments.

Lizzie Hodgdon: Master's Student

Career Goals: I am currently pursuing my Master’s of Arts in Psychology at SDSU. I plan to continue my education through a doctoral program in Clinical Psychology. Ultimately, I aim to work as a principal investigator on translational neuroimaging research and serve as a scientific advisor for evidence-based treatment programs for children and adolescents.

Research Interests: My primary research interests are examining transdiagnostic neural correlates of emotional and cognitive functioning in psychopathology. Specifically, I hope to contribute to the understanding of affective, neurodevelopmental, and obsessive-compulsive disorders in children and adolescents, with the goal of improving diagnosis and treatment for these individuals.