Lab News

September 2021

Daniel Huang, Megan Ngai, and Madelyn Robinson have joined the BABLab as Undergraduate Research Assistants! Welcome to the team Daniel, Megan and Madelyn – we are so excited to work with you!


August 2021

Kristen Chu gave a poster presentation from her undergraduate research related to racial Microaggressions and emotional reactions in college student at the American Psychological Association (APA) 2021 Convention. Congratulations Kristen!

Dr. Jennifer Somers has joined the BABLab as a Postdoctoral Fellow on UCLA’s T32 Program on Biobehavioral Issues in Mental and Physical Health. Welcome Jennifer- we are so excited to have you!


July 2021

Liz Harty and Lorena Gonzalez have joined the BABLab as Undergraduate Research Assistants! Welcome to the team Liz and Lorena – we are so excited to work with you!


June 2021

Maria Calderon has accepted a new position as a Lab Manager at the UCI School of Education. She will be working on the Next Generation Undergraduate Success Measurement Project under Dr. Richard Arum. Congratulations Maria – we will miss you!

Nicole Fonacier was honored in her graduation ceremony as part of the Psychology Research Opportunities Program (PROPs) at UCLA. Congratulations Nicole!

Kristen Chu, Chloe Schwartz, Emily Towner, and Dr. Bridget Callaghan had a paper accepted in the Journal of Affective Disorders Reports. You can view the paper here.


May 2021

Nicole Fonacier showcased a poster to display her research on Alexithymia and parental warmth for UCLA’s Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference (PURC).  Congratulations Nicole!

Nicole Fonacier presented her research on Alexithymia as a and parental warmth during the Undergraduate Research Week at UCLA. Congratulations Nicole!

Fran Querdasi received the Faculty Women’s Club Scholarship, to be awarded next academic year (2021-2022). Congratulations Fran- we are so happy for you!

Dr. Bridget Callaghan discussed the psychological impact of COVID-19 on parents and children, and provided advice to parents, in an article for the UCLA Newsroom. The article titled “As optimism returns, a reminder that life after COVID-19 will be stressful for many” is available at https://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/advice-parents-life-after-covid19

Deborah Banner has joined the BABLab as Senior Research Assistant! Welcome to the team Deborah- we are so excited to work with you!


April 2021

Charis Stanek has accepted a new position as a Researcher with Dr. Nahata at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, OH. Congratulations Charis- we will miss you!

Nicole Fonacier has been accepted into UCLA’s Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference (PURC) as well as UCLA’s Undergraduate Research Showcase (UGRW), UCLA’s largest undergraduate research symposium. She will be presenting her research project next month at both events – Congratulations Nicole!

Leticia Herrera has accepted an offer from Idaho State University’s Ph.D. program in Experimental Psychology. She starts in Fall, 2021. Congratulations Leticia – we will miss you!

Naomi Gancz has accepted an offer from UCLA to join the Brain and Body Lab as a student in the Ph.D. Graduate program. She will be joining us in Fall 2021. Welcome Naomi!

Alyssa Ortega has accepted a new position as a Behavior Technician at Behavior Frontiers. Congratulations Alyssa!

Keegan Buch was accepted into the Summer Research Internship Program with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). We are so excited for you Keegan!

Chloe Schwartz, Genesis Flores, and Kristen Chu presented their work in poster format at the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) Virtual Biennial Meeting. Congratulations Chloe, Genesis, and Kristen!

Dr. Bridget Callaghan gave a talk related on our study, Parenting Under Pressure: A mixed-methods study on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on parent-child fear regulation and family life at the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) Virtual Biennial Meeting.


March 2021

Genesis Flores was accepted into the Summer Research Internship Program with the Laboratories of Cognitive Neuroscience at Boston Children’s Hospital. We are so excited for you Genesis!

Andre Galenchik-ChanRory Simpson, and Yash Mehta have joined the BABLab as Undergraduate Research Assistants! Welcome to the team Yash, Rory, and Andre- we are so excited to work with you!

Kristen Chu had an abstract accepted with the Society for the Psychological Study of Culture, Ethnicity and Race (Division 45) programming for the 2021 meeting of the APA taking place online this year in August. Kristen will be presenting work from her undergraduate research related to racial Microaggressions and emotional reactions in college students.

Sienna Osadon has joined the BABLab as a Senior Research Assistant! Welcome to the team Sienna- we are so happy to have you on board!

Emily Towner gave a talk at a Gates Cambridge Symposium about her work on Virtual Social Interaction, Loneliness, and Well-Being among emerging adults during the COVID-19 Pandemic. You can view the talk here: https://youtu.be/FNcUIMiqB2I


February 2021

Maria Calderon has accepted a research assistant position at the Santa Fe Institute. Congratulations Maria!

Dr. Jennifer Somers will be joining our lab this Fall as a Postdoctoral Fellow on UCLA’s T32 Program on Biobehavioral Issues in Mental and Physical Health. Welcome Jennifer- we are so excited to have you!

Dr. Bridget Callaghan and her UCLA Psychology colleague Dr. Jennifer Silvers spoke to the UCLA Anderson Parents Group about the impact of COVID-19 on children and families and how parents can support their children and look after themselves during this challenging time. You can watch the recording here.

Dr. Bridget Callaghan was interviewed about the microbiome and its role in child development for The Mind, Body & Soul in Healing podcast. You can listen to the whole podcast here: https://harveyschwartzmd.com/2021/02/11/ep-1-microbiome-child-development/


January 2021

Dr. Bridget Callaghan was interviewed about brain and gut health for the Curious Neuron podcast. You can listen to the whole podcast here: https://www.curiousneuron.com/podcast/2021/1/5/ep-19

Dr. Jessica Uy has joined the BABLab as a Postdoctoral Researcher! Welcome to the team Jessica- we are so happy to have you on board!

Kristen Chu, Chloe Schwartz, Emily Towner, and Dr. Bridget Callaghan had an abstract accepted at the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) Biennial Meeting, taking place in April. Kristen will be presenting mixed methods research on the emotional and behavioral reactions to COVID-19 among parents and children.

Chloe Schwartz, Kristen Chu, Emily Towner, and Dr. Bridget Callaghan had an abstract accepted at the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) Biennial Meeting, taking place in April. Chloe will be presenting research on the inducing and buffering pathways of familial distress during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Genesis Flores had an abstract accepted at the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) Biennial Meeting, taking place in April. Genesis will be presenting her research project titled “What’s in the Box? The Effect of Negation on Children’s Belief in Misinformation.”

Charis Stanek, Emily Towner, Kristen Chu, and Dr. Bridget Callaghan had an abstract accepted at the Equip qualitative research conference, taking place in June. Charis will be presenting research on mixed-methods analysis of mental health in young adults during COVID-19.


December 2020

Dr. Bridget Callaghan joined UCLA’s Center for Scholars & Storytelling, Pearl Studio and CAPE for ANIMATION NATION for a YouTube Live conversation on ‘Finding Hope After Loss in Children’s Media’.  You can watch the recording here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASGkdNpxmk0


November 2020

Nicole Fonacier was accepted into the UCLA Psychology Research Program (PROPS) for her work in the BABLab. Congratulations Nicole!

Dr. Bridget Callaghan gave a research talk to the department of Psychology at Northeastern University.

Dr. Bridget Callaghan gave a research talk to the Psychology Department at California State University, Northridge.

Reese Wix has accepted an offer at the UCLA Hammer Museum. Congratulations Reese – we will miss you!


October 2020

Dr. Bridget Callaghan gave a talk to the faculty and students at the Center for Brain, Behavior, and Cognition at Penn State.

Mikey To joined Nicole Fonacier on her @whycommunitycollege platform, sharing his story with other Transfer mentees and providing them with insight on navigating the research world as a Transfer. Click here to connect with @whycommunitycollege, and visit our Gallery for photos of this event!

Nicole Fonacier continues to advocate for, mentor, and connect transfer students through her @whycommunitycollege platform. Click here to learn more about her digital platform and join her network or read an article abut her work in the Daily Bruin here! Congratulations Nicole for your continually incredible work!

Chloe Schwartz, Emily Towner, and Kristen Chu presented their work in poster format at the International Society for Developmental Psychobiology. Congratulations Chloe, Emily and Kristen! See the Gallery for pictures from the virtual conference.

Dr. Bridget Callaghan shared her insights on a panel related to promoting racial justice and equity through revisions to scientific practice/inclusion in academia at the International Society for Developmental Psychobiology virtual conference.

The Brain and Body Lab released its very first Newsletter, which you can access here! Here, we share some findings from our most recent studies, some updates from the BABLAB Team, and some activities for children/teens!

Tiffany Nassirian joined the BABLab as a senior research assistant. Welcome Tiffany!


September 2020

Charis Stanek received a scholarship from the Institute for the Development of Human Arts to study their course on healing systems: models, tools, and strategies to transform mental health practice. Congratulations Charis!

Kristen Chu, Chloe Schwartz, Emily Towner, and Dr. Bridget Callaghan released the Brain and Body Lab’s first preprint detailing our mixed-methods research aimed at understanding the impact that COVID-19 on parents and children/teens. Read our preprint here!

Kristen Chu, Chloe Schwartz, Emily Towner, and Dr. Bridget Callaghan had an abstract accepted at the International Society for Developmental Psychobiology (ISDP) virtual conference, taking place in October. Kristen will be presenting mixed methods research on the emotional and behavioral reactions to COVID-19 among parents and children.

Chloe Schwartz, Kristen Chu, Emily Towner, and Dr. Bridget Callaghan had an abstract accepted at the International Society for Developmental Psychobiology (ISDP) virtual conference, taking place in October. Chloe will be presenting research on the inducing and buffering pathways of familial distress during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Emily Towner and Dr. Bridget Callaghan had an abstract accepted at the International Society for Developmental Psychobiology (ISDP) virtual conference, taking place in October. Emily will be presenting research distress amid COVID-19 among those exposed to early life stress.

Alyssa Wieand has accepted an offer at the USC Imaging Genetics Center. Congratulations Alyssa – we will miss you!


August 2020

Michael To  received a Fellowship from UCLA’s Undergraduate Research Scholars Program (URSP) to help fund his independent research. Congratulations Mikey!

Leti Herrera  presented to the UCLA SPUR Sally Casanova Fellowship Program about investigating the effects of diet on autism-related behaviors. You can watch the presentation by clicking here.

Dr. Bridget Callaghan is presenting in an American Psychological Association Webinar for students on the topic of keeping your research on track during COVID-19.

Dr. Bridget Callaghan was interviewed on the podcast: Who You Needed, hosted by Helen Garcia. You can listen to the interview by clicking here.

Genesis Flores  joined the BABLab as a research assistant. Welcome Genesis!

Keegan Buch joined the BABLab as a research assistant. Welcome Keegan!

Maria Calderon joined the BABLab as a senior research assistant. Welcome Maria!

Charis Stanek joined the BABLab as a senior research assistant. Welcome Charis!


July 2020

Dr. Bridget Callaghan had a paper accepted in the journal Current Opinions in Behavioral Sciences! You can access a PDF of the paper on our ‘publications‘ page.

Dr. Bridget Callaghan received a Faculty Career Development Grant from UCLA!

Chloe Schwartz has accepted an offer at the Jeste Lab in the UCLA Semel Institute. Congratulations Chloe – we will miss you!

Leti Herrera  joined the BABLab as a research assistant. She will be conducting research with our lab as a part of the UCLA Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Summer Program. Welcome Leti!

Michael To was awarded the 2020-2021 Academic Advancement Program Scholarship on the basis of his personal commitment to scholarly excellence in the face of persistent barriers to his education, and for his demonstrated interest toward serving and advocating for my community – especially those underrepresented populations whom he represents – both currently and in his future endeavors. Congratulations Michael!

Sapir Yona joined the BABLab as a research intern. Welcome Sapir!

Shir Atias joined the BABLab as a research intern. Welcome Shir!

Nicole Fonacier developed a social media page to support Community College Students and provide resources for those looking to transfer to a 4-year University.  Her exceptional work with @whycommunitycollege has been written about by the Daily Bruin – congratulations Nicole! You may view the article here.


June 2020

Michael To was accepted into the Departmental Honors Program at UCLA, working in the Brain and Body Lab! Congratulations Michael!

Grant Grech has been accepted into the UCLA Pritzker Center’s Summer Child Welfare Academy program! Congratulations Grant! You may view more information here.

Fran Querdasi has been accepted into the UCLA Pritzker Center’s Summer Child Welfare Academy program! Congratulations Fran! You may view more information here.

Daisy Ramirez has been accepted into the UCLA Pritzker Center’s Summer Child Welfare Academy program! Congratulations Daisy! You may view more information here.

Aileen Gozali has accepted an offer from UCSF’s School of Medicine to become a doctor. She will start in Fall, 2020. Congratulations Aileen – we will miss you!

Alyssa Wieand showcased a poster to display her research on the impact of early life adversity on threat memory retention in children and adolescents for UCLA’s Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference (PURC). You may view the poster here. Congratulations Alyssa W.!

Alyssa Ortega was honored in her graduation ceremony as part of the Psychology Research Opportunities Program (PROPs) at UCLA. Congratulations Alyssa O.!

Alyssa Wieand was honored in her graduation ceremony as part of the Psychology Research Opportunities Program (PROPs) at UCLA. Congratulations Alyssa O.!


May 2020

Daisy Ramirez joined the BABLab as a research assistant. Welcome Daisy!

Chloe Schwartz, Aileen Gozali, Grant Grech, and Kristen Chu led two virtual Psychology Classes (grades K-3 and 4+) to students at the Creative Learning Place- a community of homeschool families learning together.

Alyssa Ortega presented her research on a comparative mental health analysis between transfer and traditional students during the Undergraduate Research Week at UCLA. Congratulations Alyssa O.!

Alyssa Wieand presented her research on the impact of early life adversity on retention of differentially valences memories in youth during the Undergraduate Research week at UCLA. Congratulations Alyssa W.!

Nicole Fonacier presented her research on Alexithymia as a mediator of Anxiety and Depression in early life stress during the Undergraduate Research Week at UCLA. Congratulations Nicole!

Michael To presented his research on Health Anxiety and media usage during COVID-19 during the Undergraduate Research Week at UCLA. Congratulations Mikey!


April 2020

Fran Querdasi has accepted an offer from UCLA to join the Brain and Body Lab as a student in the Ph.D. Graduate program. She will be joining us in Fall 2020. Welcome Fran!

Fran Querdasi won the Dean’s Scholar Award from UCLA! The award will support Fran’s Summer stipend for Year 2 and 3 of her training as well as additional start funding in Fall of Year 1. Congratulations Fran!

Emily Towner has accepted an offer from Cambridge University’s Ph.D. program, on full scholarship from the Gates Foundation (Gates-Cambridge Fellowship). She starts in Fall, 2020. Congratulations Emily – we will miss you!

Emily Towner was awarded the SARMAC Student Caucus Research Grant grant to present her research at Society for Applied Research in Memory And Cognition (SARMAC) XIV in Nagoya, Japan! Her upcoming PhD research focuses on learning in adolescence and how individual differences in the neural and cognitive mechanisms that underlie learning might influence mental health across the lifespan. Congratulations Emily!

Alyssa Wieand has been accepted into UCLA’s Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference (PURC). She will be presenting her research project next month – Congratulations Alyssa!

Alyssa Ortega has been accepted to present next month at the Undergraduate Research Showcase, UCLA’s largest undergraduate research symposium. Congratulations Alyssa O.!

Alyssa Wieand has been accepted to present next month at the Undergraduate Research Showcase, UCLA’s largest undergraduate research symposium. Congratulations Alyssa W.!

Nicole Fonacier has been accepted to present next month at the Undergraduate Research Showcase, UCLA’s largest undergraduate research symposium. Congratulations Nicole!

Michael To has been accepted to present next month at the Undergraduate Research Showcase, UCLA’s largest undergraduate research symposium. Congratulations Michael!


March 2020

Chloe Schwartz joined the BABLab as a Senior research assistant. Welcome to the team Chloe!

Grant Grech joined the BABLab as a research assistant. Welcome to the team Grant!

Alyssa Ortega presented her developing research project at the URSP Colloquium! Congratulations Alyssa O.!


February 2020

Kristen Chu has joined the BABLab as a full-time Lab Manager! Welcome to the team Kristen! Kristen joins our other full-time Lab Manager Emily Towner in leading the BABLab team – we are so happy to have her on board!

Paul Bloom (graduate student at Columbia University) is visiting BABLab to work on some collaborative projects. Paul will be in town for a week in February. We are excited to get some great science done while he is here!

Katelyn Phillips joins BABLab as a graduate student. Kate will be co-mentored by Dr. Callaghan. Her primary mentor is Dr. Nadine Kasparian of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and The University of New South Wales. Kate lives in Australia but will be visiting BABLab in March. Welcome to the team Kate!

Dr. Bridget Callaghan had a paper accepted by the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. See ‘publications’ page of the website to access a PDF of the paper.


January 2020

Dr. Bridget Callaghan has been chosen for an Early Career Impact Award from the Federation of Associations in Brain and Behavioral Sciences (FABBS). This award is presented to early career scientists of FABBS member societies during the first 10 years post-PhD and recognizes scientists who have made major contributions to the sciences of mind, brain, and behavior. Read more here and here.

Eason Taylor had his undergraduate research published in the 2019 Psi Chi Journal. Congratulations Eason! You can access the article here.

Michael To joined the lab in the position of research assistant for his Biomedical Major program. Welcome Mikey!


November 2019

BABLab Collaborator Dr. Amy Finlay Jones from Telethon Kids in Australia was awarded the Raine Foundation Bright Spark award to collaborate with the BABLab and to come and visit us here in the USA. Congratulations Amy!

Alyssa Ortega received a UCLA Psychology Research Program (PROPS) fellowship for her work in the BABLab. Congratulations Alyssa. O!

Alyssa Wieand received a UCLA Psychology Research Program (PROPS) fellowship to join the BABLab. Now we have two Alyssa’s! Congratulations Alyssa W!

Nicole Fonacier joined the BABLab as a research assistant. Welcome Nicole!

Reese Wix joined the BABLab as a research assistant. Welcome Reese!

Ananya Eeraveni joined the BABLab as a research assistant. Welcome Ananya!


October 2019

Emily Towner presented her work in poster format at the International Society for Developmental Psychobiology. See the Gallery for a pic!

Dr. Bridget Callaghan presented her work in talk format at the International Society for Developmental Psychobiology and accepted an award for her work (the Kurcharski Young Investigator Award). See the Gallery for a pic!

Dr. Bridget Callaghan was elected to the board for the International Society for Developmental Psychobiology. This is a 3-year term.

Dr. Bridget Callaghan presented a talk at the California State Foster Parent Association 43rd Annual Conference.

Aileen Gozali joined the BABLab team as a research assistant. Welcome Aileen!

Danielle Ladensack joined the BABLab team as a research assistant. Welcome Danielle!

Alyssa Ortega joined the BABLab team as a research intern. Welcome Alyssa!


September 2019

Dr. Bridget Callaghan was awarded the Kucharski Young Investigator Award from the International Society for Developmental Psychobiology. The Kucharski award honors the memory of David Kucharski, a promising young investigator in the field of developmental psychobiology. Callaghan was honored for her academic accomplishments and contributions to the field. Read the UCLA newsroom report on here.

Dr. Bridget Callaghan presented her work at the Conte Center @UCI, headed by Professor Tallie Baram.


August 2019

Eason Taylor had a research paper accepted for publication in the Psi Chi journal . The paper is titled: “Examining the Effects of Exercise on Frustration-induced Anxiety-like Behavior in Rats”. Congratulations Eason!

Dr. Bridget Callaghan was awarded her grant (R00 – Pathway to Independence Award from the National Institutes of Mental Health) to fund the Mind, Brain, Body study in the BABLab! We will use this money to look at how early experiences influence interactions between the gastrointestinal microbiome and the developing memory system.


July 2019

Emily Towner had an abstract accepted at the International Society for Developmental Psychobiology (ISDP), taking place in October in Chicago. She will be presenting her masters research from her time in the SAND Lab at UCLA.

Dr. Bridget Callaghan presented research at the Telethon Kids Institute in Perth, Australia.

Emily Towner joined the lab in the position of Research Associate. Welcome Emily – we are so pleased to have you join us!

Eason Taylor joined the lab in the position of Lab Manager. Welcome Eason – we are so pleased to have you join us!