Meet the Team!

Headshot of Doctor Jillian Wiggins wearing a teal top and standing in front of a dark grey background

Dr. Jillian Lee Wiggins

Director
Email: jillian.wiggins@sdsu.edu
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, and 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, and genetic, behavioral, and neuropsychological tools. Dr. Wiggins is happy to talk with any interested students about these research topics.

Doctoral Students

Headshot of Qiongru wearing black frames and striped shirt

Qiongru Yu

Doctoral Student
Email: qyu5775@sdsu.edu

Career Goals: I am working towards my Ph.D. in clinical psychology in the SDSU/UCSD joint doctoral program with a focus on neuropsychology. I am planning to pursue a career in independent research in academic settings in the future.

Research Interests: I am interested in studying the neural correlates of child psychopathology using a combination of neuroimaging, genetics, and behavioral approach. Specifically, I am interested in understanding the neural underpinning of anxiety and mood disorders comorbidity in children and incorporating the research findings to develop an effective and precise treatment for children with distinct symptom profiles.

Headshot of Johanna in frames smiling outside with plants in background

Johanna Walker

Doctoral Student
Email: jcwalker@sdsu.edu

Career Goals: I am working towards my Ph.D. in clinical psychology in the SDSU/UCSD joint doctoral program with a focus on experimental psychopathology. I am planning to pursue a career in independent research in a multidisciplinary academic setting in the future.

Research Interests: I am interested in the neural correlates of cognitive biases and emotion dysregulation that influence the development and maintenance of psychopathology in youth. Specifically, I am interested in using multimodal assessments (e.g., neural, physiological, cognitive, socio-emotional) to examine how these mechanisms explain the manifestations of issues, such as changes in attention, memory, and information processing, that contribute to the experience of internalizing disorders and suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

Ruiyu sitting on grass with trees in the background and her legs crossed

Ruiyu Yang

Doctoral Student
Email: ryang7428@sdsu.edu

Career Goals: I am currently a first-year doctoral student working toward my Ph.D. in clinical psychology in the SDSU/UC San Diego Joint Doctoral Program with a focus on experimental psychopathology. My career goal is to conduct independent research in the field of translational and affective neuroscience.

Research Interests: I am interested in examining the underlying mechanisms of neurodevelopmental and affective disorders with a combination of behavioral and neuroimaging tools. In particular, I look into the dynamic interactions among neurobiological processes, social and cultural conditions, and environmental factors and how these interactions manifest along the developmental trajectories in children and adolescents.

Master’s Students

Headshot of Master's Student Yifan Yuan wearing a pink and white striped shirt and standing in front of a tree

Yifan Yuan

Master’s Student
Email: yyuan1083@sdsu.edu

Career Goals: I am pursuing a master’s degree in Psychology at SDSU. After graduation, I plan to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and a career as a clinical scientist with the long-term goal of enhancing young people’s mental health.

Research Interests: I am interested in understanding how impaired social-emotional functioning leads to psychopathology in children and adolescents. I am excited about using brain imaging methods to understand the early development of mental illness and to inform efficient treatment plans.

Lab Staff

Lab manager and project coordinator in a yellow t-shirt standing outside and smiling

Brianna Hernandez

Project Coordinator/Lab Manager
Email: bhernandez3@sdsu.edu

Career Goals: With my M.A. in Developmental Psychology from San Francisco State University, I aim to continue my education at the doctoral level and will apply to clinical, counseling, and/or school psychology PhD programs in the future. In addition to becoming a licensed clinician and researcher, I also hope to apply my skills in the field of industry, specifically within statistical analyses.

Research Interests: During my master’s program, my thesis explored the links between self-worth, civic engagement, and the potential moderating effects of anti-immigrant discrimination among a sample of undocumented college students. Broadly, my interests encompass various forms of stress and resilience among marginalized groups, and I hope to continue this research in the future.

Headshot of lab coordinator Erin smiling

Erin Peterson

Project Coordinator
Email: eopeterson@sdsu.edu

Career Goals: Already having earned my B.S. in Psychology from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, I hope to one day pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and be a professor and researcher, and have my practice working with children with ASD and other developmental conditions.

Research Interests: I am interested in the socio-emotional development of children with neuro-developmental conditions and the neural underpinnings of how they process and express emotions and socialize with others. I hope to better understand these neural processes using fMRI to improve diagnosis and treatment for these individuals.

Headshot of Project Coordinator Stephanie Kaiser<br />
 wearing a white dress and standing outside

Stephanie Kaiser

Project Coordinator
Email: spkaiser@sdsu.edu

Career Goals: After receiving a B.A. in Psychobiology from the University of Virginia, I continued my interest in psychology research at Harvard University, doing MRI neuroimaging research. Long term, I hope to pursue either a Master’s in Clinical Counseling or a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology so that I can use my knowledge and interest in neuroscience to contribute to and improve the field of mental healthcare.

Research Interests: I am particularly interested in the biological mechanisms that are involved in the experience and regulation of emotion. I hope to learn more about connections between the brain and body in order to identify targets for treatments that improve behavioral outcomes. I am excited to join the TEND Lab to learn more about how affective and cognitive systems develop!

Headshot of Research Programmer Sophie Krivonosov wearing a floral top and standing in front of green foliage

Sophie Krivonosov

Project Programmer
Email: skrivonosov@sdsu.edu

Career Goals: I am currently working towards a bachelor’s degree in computer science. Following my undergraduate studies, I plan on getting my master’s degree and start working as a software engineer. Alongside my work, I intend to continue doing research in the field of neuroscience.

Research Interests: I’m fascinated by the way the brain works and understanding how it processes emotion. I want to learn about the connection between computer science and neuroscience, further diving into the exploration of solutions and technological advancements that help us understand cognitive function.

Research Assistants

Headshot of computational neuroscience research assistant Conner

Conner Swineford

Computational Neuroscience Research Assistant
Email: cswineford@sdsu.edu

Career Goals: I am currently working towards my Bachelor’s degree in Applied Mathematics. Once I graduate, I plan to pursue my master’s and use my computational skills to pursue research in mental disorders.

Research Interests: I am interested in understanding the mental illnesses that affect developing minds. I would like to understand how they originate, persist, and potentially can be mitigated.

Headshot of research assistant Sabrena in a dark green floral dress in front of a green tree background

Sabrena Tuy

Research Assistant
Email: stuy2746@sdsu.edu

Career Goals: Having received a BA in Psychology, I am pursuing a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis on Neuropsychology. I would like to open a private practice as a Clinical Neuropsychologist where I can provide individual and group therapeutic services and also conduct psychological and neuropsychological assessments. I am interested in continuing research related to Autism and Neuropsychology to see if there are ways to improve treatments specific to individuals and their diagnoses.

Research Interests: I am interested in researching the anatomical differences in functioning, social, and empathy influences in people with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Through the research I produce, I would like to be able to better develop or specify treatment options for neuroatypical and neurotypical individuals based on their brain functioning.

Headshot of computational neuroscience research assistant Krupali

Krupali Patel

Computational Neuroscience Research Assistant
Email: krpatel@sdsu.edu

Career Goals: After earning an undergraduate degree in Psychology, I accepted a position working at the San Diego VA as a study coordinator for clinical research involving PTSD in veterans. I plan to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical neuropsychology to combine evidence-based and experimental treatment for those experiencing early life trauma and brain injury.

Research Interests: My research interests focus on exploring the benefits of combining experimental treatments for trauma with existing evidence-based methods for children suffering from the effects of early life adversity, incorporating machine learning into diagnostic tools.

Headshot of Research Assistant Genevieve Thunberg wearing a red long sleeve and glasses, standing in front of green foliage

Genevieve Thunberg

Research Assistant
Email: gthunberg5443@sdsu.edu

Career Goals: I am currently working towards my BA in psychology and plan to gain my Ph.D. in Neuropsychology. With that degree, I aim to start research on Alzheimer’s and Dementia to hopefully make it easier for patients that are diagnosed and their loved ones left to take care of them.

Research Interests: I am drawn to the connection between neuroscience and psychology. I want to see how the brain physically works and how that’s linked to things such as behavior, personality, mental disorders, and TBIs. I am also interested in how illness changes the brain over time and the connection between mental illness and physical illness.

Headshot of Research Assistant Isabella Montgomery wearing a black shirt and a plaid blazer, standing in front of green foliage

Isabella Montgomery

Research Assistant
Email: imontgomery1552@sdsu.edu

Career Goals: I am currently working on my bachelor’s degree in Psychology and double majoring in Business Management. After completing my undergraduate studies, I plan to pursue a doctoral program in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis on Neuropsychology. Ultimately, I hope to open my own practice and provide clinical care by conducting neuropsychological evaluations.

Research Interests: My research interests include understanding how differences in neurochemistry correlate with personality, behavior, and mental disorders. I’m also very interested in investigating the risk factors associated with addiction, as well as how substance abuse and misuse lead to neurobiological changes. I’d like to better understand how drug use affects brain chemistry and the potential implications for mental health in individuals with a history of addiction.

Headshot of Research Assistant Isabelle Magee wearing a blue shirt and standing in front of a green foliage

Isabelle Magee

Research Assistant
Email: imagee2991@sdsu.edu

Career Goals: I am currently working towards my Bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in counseling and social change. After graduation, I plan to pursue a Master’s degree in clinical psychology and look forward to continuing working alongside those who are passionate about helping improve the lives of others.

Research Interests: My research interests center around topics of mental health. I am interested in treatments of psychopathology, such as mood and personality disorders, and the role anxiety plays in said disorders. I seek to look at the biological and psychological treatments and would like to have a better understanding of both, as combined efforts are important in pinpointing more effective treatments for individuals’ specific needs.

Headshot of Research Assistant Ashley Calbert wearing a black shirt and standing outside

Ashley Calbert

Research Assistant
Email: acalbert0873@sdsu.edu

Career Goals: I am currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in leadership. I hope to attend graduate school to attain a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. I also hope to be a source of accessibility and a resource for the Deaf community concerning therapy and mental health, as I have two deaf parents and am fluent in ASL.

Research Interests: My research interests lie in mental health and neuroscience. I am fascinated with how the brain works and the ways in which that connects to mental health issues, and how treatments can be developed through this.

Headshot of Research Assistant Madelin Gredvig wearing a green shirt and standing in front of green foliage

Madelin Gredvig

Research Assistant
Email: mgredvig2350@sdsu.edu

Career Goals: I am working towards my bachelor’s degree in Psychology. After graduating, I hope to continue my education and gain a Ph.D. in Neuropsychology. Ultimately, I want to help better our understanding of brain injuries and disorders and how we can improve the lives of those with them.

Research Interests: I am interested in how the brain forms our existence and lives through personality, temperament, and experiences. I am especially interested in researching how different disorders or injuries can impact these qualities and the brain.

Headshot of Research Assistant Reese Castle wearing a black shirt and standing in front of green foliage

Reese Castle

Research Assistant
Email: rcastle1665@sdsu.edu

Career Goals: I am working towards my Bachelor’s Degree in psychology, with a minor in counseling and social change. After graduating, I plan to pursue a Master’s in school counseling or marriage and family therapy. I am passionate about promoting the importance of happiness and working towards true satisfaction in life, especially among youth.

Research Interests: I am interested in the brain and behavior connection, particularly in the way we interact with others. I hope to eventually research topics related to human development, sexuality, and how various disorders affect our physiology. A particular neurological condition I am passionate about is synesthesia, and I am hoping to one day promote further research into its severe cases.

Headshot of Research Assistant Kayla Ta wearing a black shirt and standing in front of a gate & green foliage.

Kayla Ta

Research Assistant
Email: kta8175@sdsu.edu

Career Goals: With my B.A. in Psychology from San Diego State University, I later plan to pursue a master’s degree in counseling. My goal is to become a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in child psychology.

Research Interests: My focus is on how effectively evidence-based interventions will enhance emotional well-being in children and families impacted by psychological and developmental challenges. More specifically, I am interested in learning how we can utilize neuroscientific tools to deepen our understanding of children’s cognitive processing and emotional regulation.

Headshot of Research Assistant Katie Gray wearing a white shirt and standing in front of green foliage.

Katie Gray

Research Assistant
Email: kgray4729@sdsu.edu

Career Goals: I am currently pursuing my Bachelor’s degree in psychology with an emphasis in neuroscience and a minor in counseling and social change. After graduation, I plan to attend graduate school to attain a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. My goal is to become a licensed clinical psychologist and eventually have my own private practice.

Research Interests: I am mainly interested in the brain as it relates to mental health. I am particularly interested in how disorders such as depression and anxiety can impact the developing minds of children and adolescents. I hope to gain knowledge and understanding of ways in which more effective treatments for these disorders can be developed.

Headshot of Research Assistant Natalie Raviv  wearing a white shirt and glasses, and standing in front of a white wall.

Natalie Raviv

Research Assistant
Email: nraviv7436@sdsu.edu

Career Goals: I am currently pursing a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and double majoring in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences. After graduation, I plan to pursue a Master’s in Speech Pathology. Ultimately, I hope to work as speech-language pathologist for children and help others.

Research Interests: My research interests include mental health and speech pathology. I am interested in the functioning, communication, and development of people, and how disorders impact these things.

Headshot of Research Assistant Nicole Spiller wearing a red shirt and standing in front of green foliage.

Nicole Spiller

Research Assistant
Email: nspiller7044@sdsu.edu

Career Goals: I’m currently working towards a Bachelor’s degree in psychology with an emphasis in neuroscience. After graduating, I am planning on pursuing a Ph.D. in Clinical Neuropsychology. My goal is to work in a hospital setting for a while before transitioning to private practice.

Research Interests: I’m intrigued by the intersection of neuroscience and psychopathology, which is why I’m eager to immerse myself in research within these domains. My particular interest lies in exploring the intricate relationship between neuroscience and mental health, delving into how the complexities of the brain both shape and are affected by various mental disorders.

Headshot of Research Assistant Victoria Medina wearing dark grey shirt with an office in the background

Victoria Medina

Research Assistant
Email: vmedina3462@sdsu.edu

Career Goals: I am currently working toward my B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Child Development. After graduating, I plan to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical or developmental psychology. I hope to work in the criminal justice system as a victim advocate specializing with children or as a crime scene analyst.

Research Interests: I am interested in developmental psychopathology and developing treatments for ASD and anxiety disorders. I am fascinated by the interaction between developmental psychology and brain development, and how this relates to personality development and social functioning.

Headshot of Research Assistant Hannah Serrano wearing a yellow shirt and standing in front of a lemon tree.

Hannah Serrano

Research Assistant
Email: mserrano0501@sdsu.edu

Career Goals: Currently, I’m working towards my bachelor’s degree in Psychology and I hope to further my education and work toward a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology. My ultimate goal to eventually conduct research concerning children’s behavior.

Research Interests: As mentioned above, I am interested in the behavior of children and adolescents. My interest is especially piqued with the way that individual parenting styles can affect the externalized and internalized behavior of the child.

Headshot of Research Assistant Trinity Rivera wearing a red shirt and standing in front of a tree.

Trinity Rivera

Research Assistant
Email: trivera1364@sdsu.edu

Career Goals: I am working towards my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in history. After I graduate, I plan to pursue a Master’s degree in Criminology as I am very passionate about the field. With this, I hope to work in the Federal Bureau of Investigation to add a new perspective to the field.

Research Interests: My research interests are heavily based on psychopathology and developmental psychopathology to understand how it results in crime and criminal recidivism. My main focus lies in the stigma surrounding mental health, specifically schizophrenia, dissociative identity disorder, and bipolar disorder, in the criminal justice system and how it plays a role in the day-to-day lives of people throughout development.