Current Lab Members
Penn Lab – Fall 2022
Maia was born in Greenville, NC and raised in Durham, NC. She graduated from North Carolina Central University in both 2018 and 2022, earning a B.A. in Psychology and a M.A. in Psychology with a concentration in Clinical Psychology. Throughout her time at NCCU she served as a TA and worked under Dr. Jonathan Livingston, assisting with publications ranging in topics from African American women’s body image pathology to the role of activism and engagement on racial identity and self-esteem. She also completed internships at Central Regional Hospital in Butner, NC and Central Park School for Children in Durham, NC in the Spring of 2022. With an interest in examining psychiatric disorders in African Americans, Maia is looking forward to contributing to the Penn Lab and furthering the development of culturally competent treatment in those who have experienced their first episode of psychosis. In her free time, Maia enjoys spending time with her family, practicing yoga, and watching true crime documentaries.
Elizabeth was born in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. She graduated from University of Portland in Portland, OR with a B.S. in Biology and Spanish and went on to receive an M.S. in Early Intervention in Psychosis from King’s College London. During her time at KCL, she worked under Dr. Alexis E. Cullen on the Stress Inflammation and Psychosis study, in partnership with the GAP and PSYSCAN studies. She additionally had the opportunity to work in the Lambeth Early Onset Community Clinic, assisting the multidisciplinary team in supporting individuals experiencing first episode psychosis. Upon graduation she commenced work with Drs. Michael McDonell and Oladunni Oluwoye at Washington State University. She assisted on projects evaluating Washington State’s coordinated specialty care programs, health disparities in mental health services, and co-occurring substance use in first episode psychosis. She is interested in the implementation of novel evidence-based interventions to support the recovery of individuals experiencing early psychosis and addressing health disparities in the pathway to care and recovery for individuals experiencing first episode psychosis. In her free time, Elizabeth spends her time exploring nature, trying new recipes, and spending time with family.
Aslihan was born and raised in Samsun, Turkey but moved to Northern Virginia in 2014 to pursue higher education in the United States. She completed her B.S. in Psychology with a concentration in Clinical Psychology at George Mason University. At George Mason University, she worked on several research projects, during which her tasks ranged from conducting behavioral testing with transgenic mice to interviewing socially anxious adults about their stressful life events and emotion regulation strategies. Aslihan is currently a Ph.D. candidate at UNC-Chapel Hill in Cognitive Psychology, studying episodic memory impairments in children and adolescents genetically at-risk for schizophrenia with particular focuses on context processing and pattern separation. She is also working as a graduate research assistant on the PACE-Life Project. In her free time, Aslihan enjoys painting, woodworking, and rock climbing.
Undergraduate Research Assistants
Mia is currently a junior double majoring in Neuroscience and Psychology and minoring in Chemistry at UNC. She joined the Penn Lab in Spring 2022 as a research assistant for the Horyzons Project and the PACE-Life RCT. In the future, Mia plans to pursue further research studying the treatment and biological bases of serious mental illness. In her free time, she enjoys listening to music and taking photos.
Natasha is currently a junior at UNC who is majoring in Neuroscience and Medical Anthropology. She joined the Penn Lab in the summer of 2022 and works as a research assistant on the PACE-Life and Horyzons projects. After completing undergraduate studies, Natasha plans to pursue a medical degree and hopes to continue in the field of Neuroscience or Psychiatry. When she’s not busy with school or research, Natasha enjoys cooking and trying new foods, spending time outdoors, and reading.
Mohana is a junior at Carolina majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in Sustainable Studies. She joined the Penn Lab in the summer of 2022 as a research assistant. After undergrad, Mohana intends on attending medical school and later specializing in psychiatry. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, volunteering, and listening to music.
Similoluwa is currently a sophomore majoring in Psychology and double minoring in Cognitive Science and French at UNC. She joined the Penn Lab in the summer of 2022 as a research assistant for the RAPID and PACE-Life studies. After undergrad, Similoluwa plans to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology as well as continue research on the interrelationship between psychological stress, anxiety, and autoimmune diseases. In her free time, she enjoys photography, weightlifting, and dance.
Tumi is currently a 2nd year MPH student in the Health Policy concentration. She was born and raised in Abuja, Nigeria, before moving to the UK for her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry at the University of Edinburgh. She joined the Penn Lab in March 2023 as a research assistant for the RAPID study. After her MPH studies, Tumi plans to pursue an MD/PhD with the hope to provide, and improve access to, cancer care services for under served populations in Nigeria. In her free time, she loves dancing to Afrobeats/Amapiano (West African and Southern African music), doing her nails, running, reading, and traveling.
Hazel, who uses they/she pronouns, is currently a sophomore double majoring in Health Policy & Management and Information Science. They joined the Penn Lab in the fall of 2023. They have a broad interest in health, from technological aspects and policies to understanding individual cognition, narratives, and holistic healing. After undergrad, they plan to pursue a PhD in Health informatics with an aim to apply data-centric solutions and technological innovation to inform decision-making and enhance health outcomes. In their free time, they enjoy poetry and rollerblading.
Vinitha is a junior majoring in Health Policy and Management with minors in Neuroscience and Chemistry. She joined the Penn Lab in the fall of 2023. After graduation, she wishes to attend medical school and pursue a career in Neuroscience. In her free time, she enjoys painting, crocheting, and spending time with her family.