Meet The Team!
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, 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

Email: mkryza-lacombe@sdsu.edu

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.

Qiongru Yu: Doctoral Student

Email: qyu5775@sdsu.edu

Career Goals: I am working towards my PhD 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 effective and precise treatment for children with distinct symptom profiles.

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Johanna Walker: Doctoral Student

Email: JCWalker@sdsu.edu

Career Goals: I am working towards my PhD 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.

Lizzie Hodgdon: Master's Student

Email: elizabeth.hodgdon@gmail.com

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.

Ruiyu Yang: Master's Student

Email: ryang7428@sdsu.edu

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.

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Marvin Yan: Master's Student

Email: myan5421@sdsu.edu

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.

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Tasmia Alam: Master's Student

Email: tasmiaalam@hotmail.com

Career Goals: I graduated with a B.A. in psychology from CSU, Channel Islands and will be starting the M.A. program for psychology at SDSU in the Fall of 2021. I hope to enroll into a Doctorate program in the developmental psychology field after that. Ultimately, I would like to work as an academic researcher in a research-based university.

Research Interests: I am most interested in studying neural development and differences within genders in the Asian-American adolescent community. Specifically, I would like to investigate whether the frontal lobe and hippocampal volume between sexes are drastically different in the Asian-American population, compared to the findings in previously studied demographical groups.

Lauren Bozzetto: Lab Manager
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Brianna Hernandez: Project Coordinator

Email: bhernandez3@sdsu.edu

Career Goals: Already having earned my BA in Psychology from SDSU, the next step in my career is to attend San Francisco State University to earn my MA in Psychology with a Developmental concentration. After this, I plan to apply to Clinical PhD programs in order to continue my research and become a licensed professional in the child mental health field. 

Research Interests: Broadly, I am interested in child mental health revolving around early adverse experiences. I am curious about mental health outcomes in youth who experience trauma and would like to examine how this affects their probability of developing externalizing or internalizing symptoms. Additionally, I am interested in resilience and factors that protect kids from psychopathology. Specifically, I intend to examine the role of culture and family. 

 

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Nathan Kirk: Project Coordinator

Email: natekirk41@gmail.com

Career Goals: After receiving B.A.s in Psychology and Education & Social Transformation, I am working towards applying to a doctoral program in Clinical Psychology. My goal is to gain experience as a researcher and clinician to develop trauma-informed treatments and provide clinical services to at-risk youth and their families. Ultimately, I hope to attain a position in an academic healthcare setting, where I can continue conducting research on early life trauma and providing clinical services to youth and families in need.

Research Interests: I am interested in understanding how early life stressors and trauma impact development and the onset of behavioral problems, as well as determining protective factors leading to increased resilience. Through my research, I hope to develop mental health interventions that will help inform my clinical services to improve outcomes for those experiencing early life adversity.

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Valeria Cordeiro: Research Assistant
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Peyton Brock: Family Coordinator

Email: peytonb1@vt.edu

Career Goals: After gaining post-baccalaureate research experience here at SDSU, I plan to pursue a doctoral program in Clinical Psychology. My ultimate goal is to conduct cutting-edge research in developmental psychopathology in a clinical or academic setting.

Research interests: I seek to understand how interactions between interpersonal relationships, adverse life experiences, and neural underpinnings contribute to the development of mood and personality disorders in children and adolescents. I am also interested in how transdiagnostic approaches to psychopathology and dimensional models of diagnosis can improve research and clinical practice.

Ana Urena: Research Assistant

Email: anaurenarosario@sdsu.edu

Career Goals: I am currently working towards my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Family and Child Psychology. My goal is to obtain advanced research and clinical expertise and collaborate in the development of mental health support services for children in diverse communities and work alongside families as well as professional institutions. Ultimately, I would like to use my knowledge and clinical expertise to further contribute to the awareness of child psychopathology by working on public policy.

Research Interests: Among the applied clinical areas I would like to focus on are depression and anxiety disorders in children and adolescents. I am particularly interested in the areas of prevention of trauma and the development of evidence-based treatment while addressing biological, cultural, and social differences and stressors.

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Gaby Ibarra: Research Assistant

Email: ibarragaby17@gmail.com

Career Goals: After earning my BA in Psychology, I am planning to pursue a Master of Arts in Psychology. My long-term goal is to earn a PhD in clinical psychology and pursue a career in independent research in an academic setting.

Research Interests: My research interests lie within the development of psychopathology in adolescents and young adults. I plan to study how these different mental disorders affect brain development and how they differ in typical and atypical brains. I hope to contribute to the understanding of these mental disorders, specifically in minority populations. 

Sam Villavicencio: Research Assistant

Email: samantha97vr@gmail.com

Career Goals: From a young age, I became interested in the human mind and behavior, which lead me to chose Clinical Psychology as my career, and I truly believe I have found my passion. I would like to work on one on one interventions with children in the future. 

 

Research Interests: TENDLab combines the things I am most interested in the field of psychology: the brain, psychopathology, and development of kids. I think it is fascinating to learn how every little thing in the brain has its specific function and the fact that if there is any sort of damage to a specific part, it will directly affect a person’s behavior. 

 

Meg Robinson: Research Assistant

Email: mirobinson100@gmail.com

Career Goals: I plan to get my Masters in Applied Mathematics in order to use mathematical and computational techniques to study the brain. After that, I plan to either pursue higher education or go into a biomedical / research based industry position. 

Research Interests: I am interested in studying computational neuroscience to learn more about the brain! Certain areas of research I want to pursue are in signal and image processing and data analysis. I love to learn and am constantly fascinated by the workings of the brain. 

Yuet Wing Cho: Research Assistant

Email: wingcho@connect.hku.hk

Career Goals: I am currently working towards my Educational Specialist degree in School Psychology at San Diego State University. My ultimate goal is to continue to pursue a research-focused Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology or School Psychology. Being trained to be a school psychologist has inspired me to incorporate my experiences with children in the school setting with clinical psychology. The interdependence of different psychology fields requires psychologists to have a broad knowledge of service emphases and client populations under our contemporary social system. Working with mental health children, youth and families has always been my passion and clinical psychology would definitely be the next step of my professional growth.

Research Interests: My primary interest is working with special education children with their families in the school setting. I am interested in understanding how brain activation patterns, structures, and functions affect children’s manifestation of psychological disorders and disabilities that impede their learning and socio-emotional and behavioral development at schools. While appreciating the indispensable effects of one’s ecological environment, the neural underpinnings and mechanisms of these disorders are truly fascinating and important in developing effective and efficient interventions and treatments for our precious kids. I am excited to incorporate my knowledge and experience in school psychology with clinical and neuropsychology and to explore the implications within schools.

Lexi Reneau: Research Assistant

Email: lexireneau00@icloud.com

Career Goals: I plan to one day pursue graduate school and focus on preventative work for children and adolescents, while focusing on their well being. I hope to use this knowledge in a career working within the criminal justice system to help and support my community.

Research Interests: I am very interested in behavioral, developmental, and neuropsychology and, hopefully, will get to continue to pursue these interests within a master’s or doctoral program in the future. I’m very interested in one’s childhood development and how this development, alongside one’s mind, might go on to influence their behavior, ability to interact with others, and future success.

Kassidy Tolbert: Research Assistant

Email: kasstolb@gmail.com

Career Goals: After earning my undergraduate degree in Psychology at SDSU, I plan to pursue a Master’s or Doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology. My long-term goal is to earn licensure and open my own private practice as a Child/Adolescent Psychologist specializing in mood, anxiety, and eating disorders.

Research Interests: I am interested in working with children and adolescents with mood, anxiety, and eating disorders. I hope to learn about the inner workings of the brain in relation to each of these disorders and what the best steps to treatment are based on these findings. 

Sydney Sheldon: Research Assistant

Email: ssheldon7622@sdsu.edu

Career Goals: I plan to attend graduate school and down the line become a therapist for all ages suffering with depression and anxiety. It is very difficult, especially today, for those in need to receive the treatment they require. I want to be a part of the solution in getting people adequate care.

Research Interests: I am very interested in how anxiety and depression work within the brain and ways to advance treatment. I love that many aspects of what I am interested in are represented in the TEND Lab. Working towards progressing treatment for severe irritability, autism, depression, and anxiety is extremely important and I am very excited to be a part of it.

Kai Klein: Research Assistant

Email: kaiklein02@gmail.com

Career Goals: I am currently working towards my Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. I want to start working in industry after my undergraduate and return to research as soon as possible. 

Research Interests: I am interested in what connections we can make between the behaviors of people and how their brain looks in an MRI. Quantifying qualitative data is something that interests me and is also very important to my position in this lab. 

Conner Swineford: Research Assistant

Email: conner.swineford@gmail.com

Career Goals: I am currently working towards my Bachelor’s degree in Applied Mathematics. Once I graduate, I plan to pursue my masters 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.

Erin Peterson: Research Assistant

Email: erin.olivia.peterson@gmail.com

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, researcher, and have my own 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.