Doctor Jillian Wiggins with 3 lab staff, 5 grad students, and 13 research assistants



Translational Emotion Neuroscience and Development Laboratory

We are a group of researchers at San Diego State University and the University of California, San Diego that studies the development of social and emotional functioning.

Dr. Jillian Lee Wiggins: Lab Director

New Psychology Professor Pioneers ‘The Final Frontier’

Headshot of Doctor Jillian Wiggins wearing a yellow top and standing in front of yellow shelves

While working at SDSU, Wiggins has the opportunity to create her own research program and further her research by scanning children in the MRI.

fMRI image of a brain

On April 9th, 2024, Dr. Jillian Lee Wiggins was featured in a San Diego Union-Tribune piece titled, “Brain imaging has promise to improve mental health treatment for kids. Here’s why.” Read the article at

Image of Dr. Jillian Wiggins wearing a teal dress posing behind a TEDx sign.

Dr. Jillian Lee Wiggins, Associate Professor of Psychology and Director of the Translational Emotion Neuroscience and Development Laboratory (TEND Lab) was chosen, out of 462 nominations, to give a TEDxSanDiego talk. She spoke on “Leveraging brain imaging to revolutionize the future of children’s mental health” on Wednesday, April 10, 2024 at the David and Dorothea Garfield Theatre in La Jolla.

Image of Dr. Jillian Wiggins wearing a teal dress presenting in front of a TEDx background.

Characterizing Childhood Irritability Across Ages and Stages

by Jillian Lee Wiggins, Amy K. Roy, and Lauren S. Wakschlag | May 20, 2024, | National Institute of Mental Health
The occasional meltdown is a common experience in childhood, as many parents and caregivers will attest. 

Red Flag: Childhood Irritability Could Signal Future Problems

by Jillian Lee Wiggins | May 6, 2021 | Big-Emotions-Study
Tantrums in the supermarket and meltdowns at social gatherings are almost a rite of passage for many children – and a lesson in patience for their parents.

Grants, Scholarships, and Awards

TEND Lab Receives New Grant!

Dr. Wiggins and the TEND Lab have received the NARSAD Young Investigator Award from the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, which will support their research over the next two years to investigate irritability in adolescents.

TEND Lab Receives University Grant

Dr. Jillian Lee Wiggins and TEND Lab competed for, and received, the University Grants Program Award from San Diego State University in order to investigate the neural markers of treatment response in children with depression and anxiety.

TEND Lab Receives 2 Competitive Grants!

Dr. Wiggins and the TEND Lab have received a competitive grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), through the Altman Clinical Translational Research Institute, as well as a grant from the SDSU Clinical and Cognitive Neuroscience Center to do brain imaging with teenagers with irritability.

TEND Lab Member Receives Amazing Scholarship

TEND Lab member, Maria Kryza-Lacombe, is one of the first-ever recipients of the Center for Clinical and Cognitive Neuroscience’s Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellowship.

TEND Lab Member Receives Another Scholarship

TEND Lab member, Maria Kryza-Lacombe, received a scholarship to attend the International Symposium of Contemplative Studies in San Diego. The scholarship reduces the cost of registration from $300 to just $50.

TEND Lab Member Receives Poster Award!

TEND Lab member, Karen Schwartz, won the 2016 Child and Adolescent Depression Special Interest Group (SIG) Poster Award for her poster entitled “An Exploratory Factor Analysis of Irritability in a Sample of Anxious and/or Depressed Youth.”

TEND Lab Members Receive Travel Award

TEND Lab members received Student Travel Awards from the SDSU Center for Clinical and Cognitive Neuroscience to attend several scientific conferences later this year.

SDSU logo

Highlight Events

March 2021

SDSU Student Research Symposium

TEND Lab members give presentations on our research findings at the Student Research Symposium, a two-day event put on by SDSU students ranging from undergraduate to master’s and doctoral students to acknowledge research accomplishments and findings.

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6363 Alvarado Ct., Ste 250, San Diego, CA 92120