Our Team

Bridget Callaghan, Ph.D.
Principle Investigator



Bridget is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and is the director of the Brain and Body Lab (BABLab), which opened in 2019. Before starting at UCLA, Bridget was a postdoctoral research fellow at Columbia University in New York, and completed her doctorate in Psychology and her training as a clinical psychologist at the University of New South Wales in Australia. Bridget has experience working with animal models of early adversity, as well as in behavioral, fMRI, and biological research within human populations. Born in Sydney, Bridget is a lover of the sun and beaches. When she is not in the lab, she likes to spend time with her husband Beau, and dog Vinnie, hanging out, hiking (i.e., doing bush walks) and eating grehttps://trello.com/b/Q8py2w59/tasksat food.


Jennifer Somers, Ph.D.
Post-Doctoral Fellow


Jenn is a Postdoctoral Fellow on UCLA’s T32 Program on Biobehavioral Issues in Mental and Physical Health. Before starting at UCLA, Jenn earned her doctorate in clinical psychology at Arizona State University. Her research interest is in biobehavioral processes through which close relationships support mental and physical wellbeing, especially among families facing socioeconomic disadvantage and contextual adversities. By evaluating bidirectional influences between children and their caregivers across multiple timescales (e.g., second-by-second processes that occur during social interactions, longer-term adaptation that unfolds across development), this research provides a framework for characterizing the effects of early social experiences on children’s development, which bears implications for both children and their caregiver’s wellbeing. During her time in the BABLab, she plans to study the effects of adverse early social experiences on parent-child biobehavioral synchrony and developing socioemotional and biological systems. Outside of the lab, Jenn enjoys spending time with friends and family, trying new recipes, and going to the beach with her rescue dog Rosie.


Desiree Delgadillo
President’s Postdoctoral Research Fellow


Dr. Desi Delgadillo is a first-generation college graduate. She earned her PhD from UC Irvine and is currently a President’s Postdoctoral Fellow at UCLA. As a Health Psychologist, her program of research focuses on the interplay between emotions, stress, close relationships, psychophysiology and the composition of the microbiome in both children and adults. Desi’s research aims to reveal mind-gut-microbiome connections that improve quality of life across socioeconomic status, ethnic groups, and health statuses across the lifespan. As an interdisciplinary researcher, her goal is to help create a new, integrated understanding of how microbial and psychological systems may work together to mutually perpetuate wellness. Outside of work, Desi loves to spend time with family and friends, adventure seek, and discover delicious new restaurants! If you look closely, you may find her smiling at a sunset while roller skating down the boardwalk in Santa Monica!

Fran Querdasi
Graduate Student



Fran is a Graduate Student in the Brain and Body Lab (BABLab) in the Psychology Department at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Fran is broadly interested in how experiences during childhood affect long-term health and resilience. In the BABlab, her research focuses on the development of social processes (e.g., cognitions, memory, reactivity to social stress) and interconnected biological systems (e.g., the gut-microbiome, HPA-axis, and brain). Fran also studies factors that foster well-being for children who have been exposed to early adversity, such as positive relationships. She graduated from Pomona College (1 hour east of Los Angeles!) with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology in 2018. Before joining the BABLab, Fran was a research coordinator at Stanford University, where she worked on projects investigating neurobiological development in infancy and the influences of early life experiences. Outside of the lab, Fran likes to spend time running, hiking, cooking, and traveling with family and friends.

Katelyn Phillips
Graduate Student


Katelyn is a Scientia PhD Candidate at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. She is working on a project about the psychological impact of congenital heart disease at the Heart Centre for Children at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead. She is excited to be collaborating with the Brain and Body Lab at UCLA during her studies. Prior to commencing her PhD, Katelyn worked as a Research Assistant at Monash University on a study about adult outcomes in autism. She has also completed a Masters of Clinical Psychology at the University of Technology Sydney, where in addition to her clinical training, she completed a thesis focusing on schema therapy in older adults. In her spare time, Katelyn enjoys performing in musical theatre, listening to podcasts, and running her moderately successful Dungeons & Dragons campaign for her friends!

Naomi Gancz
Graduate Student


Naomi studies how early experiences affect risk and resilience via the brain-gut-microbiome-axis. Her research approach incorporates various methods, including gut and oral microbiome analyses, neuroimaging, and electrogastrography. Naomi graduated from the University of Chicago in 2019 and worked as a study coordinator at the Pittsburgh VA before joining the BAB lab. Outside of the lab, she enjoys baking, walking dogs at the animal shelter, and exploring L.A. on her bike.

Paul Savoca
Graduate Student


Paul is a Graduate Student in the Brain and Body Lab (BABLab) in the Psychology Department at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He is interested in how early life experiences shape mental and physical well-being. His primary focus is on how interoceptive processes are altered over the course of development and following adversity. Paul graduated from Northeastern University in 2019 with a B.S. in Psychology. Prior to joining the BABLab, he worked as a clinical research coordinator in the Interdisciplinary Affective Science Lab at Massachusetts General Hospital. When not doing research, he enjoys watching soccer games, cooking, and hiking.

Shiba Esfand
Graduate Student



Shiba is a Clinical Psychology Graduate Student in the Brain and Body Lab (BABLab) at UCLA. She is primarily interested in implementing multimodal methods to examine how exposure to early life adversity, and current stressors, can shape neural development and reward processing. Shiba is also interested in investigating how these factors may increase the risk of developing internalizing disorders in childhood and adolescence. She graduated from Boston University in 2021, where she worked in Dr. Melissa Kibbe’s Developing Minds Lab. After graduation she worked with Dr. Diego Pizzagalli at the Laboratory for Affective and Translational Neuroscience. In her spare time Shiba enjoys reading fiction novels, exploring LA with her friends, and going to the beach.

Siyan Nussbaum
Lab Manager


Siyan is the Lab Manager in the Brain and Body Lab (BABLab) at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She is interested in the social-emotional development of children, particularly processes underlying the development of self and interpersonal emotion regulation, empathy and prosocial behavior shaped by early life experiences and memories. She graduated from Azusa Pacific University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Clinical/Counseling Psychology, and a Master’s Degree in Psychology from Pepperdine University. Before joining the BAB Lab, she was a research and administrative assistant at the USC Center for Affective Neuroscience, Development, Learning and Education. During that time, she was also a research assistant at the UCLA SAN Lab and SAND Lab. More recently, Siyan had become a collaborator at the SAND Lab looking at how voice qualities may facilitate the efficacy of interpersonal emotion regulation utilizing cognitive reappraisal strategies. Outside of the BAB Lab, she enjoys spending time with her husband and cat – Safari!

Vi Nguyen
Senior Research Assistant


Vi is a Senior Research Assistant in the Brain and Body Lab (BABLab) in the Psychology department at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She is currently a second year student at UCLA majoring in Physiological Science. Following her undergraduate years, she plans to attend medical school. Her research interests lie at the intersection of physiology and psychology, and she hopes to work toward a future in which mental healthcare is integrated into primary healthcare. Outside of the BABLab, she enjoys volunteering and serves as President of Chapter Compassion, a club that works to raise awareness about empathy in medicine by providing social and emotional support to patients and families experiencing challenging times. In her free time, she loves watching sunsets, having photoshoots at random locations, trying lots of good food, and having really epic Just Dance and karaoke parties with friends (specifically, at 1 AM).

Sara Jones  
Senior Research Assistant


Sara is a Senior Research Assistant in the Brain and Body Lab (BAB Lab) in the Psychology Department at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She is a second-year undergraduate student majoring in biochemistry, and she hopes to attend graduate school after completing her degree. She is particularly interested in the microbiome and the complex interplay between mental and physical health. Outside of school, Sara enjoys reading, solving crosswords, and hanging out with friends.

Ashley Kang  
Senior Research Assistant


Ashley is a Senior Research Assistant in the Brain and Body Lab at UCLA. She is a second year majoring in Psychology and Sociology and hopes to obtain a PhD in Criminology or Forensic Psychology! She loves learning about how childhood adversities and/or trauma can impact an indidivudal and their future actions. Ashley enjoys spending time with friends, gaming, and going out to eat.

Angelina Meng 
Research Assistant & Micro-FIMS Coder


Angelina is a Research Assistant in the Brain and Body Lab (BABLAB) in the Psychology department at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She is a second-year undergraduate student majoring in Psychology. She loves working with children and her research interests focus on the impact of one’s early experience on their development across lifespan. After graduating, she plans on pursuing a graduate degree in developmental psychology. Outside of BABLab, she is also an editor of the Undergraduate Research Journal of Psychology at UCLA. In her free time, she enjoys watching musicals, playing ukulele, hiking, and taking pictures with polaroid!

Minella Aghajani 
Research Assistant & Micro-FIMS Coder


Minella is a 3rd year student at UCLA majoring in Psychology. Her research interests include studying the impact that culture has on a children’s emotional and social development. After graduating, she plans on earning her doctorate in Clinical Psychology, with hopes of becoming a Child Psychologist. In her free time, Minella enjoys playing basketball, spending time with family, and playing with her dog Max.

Research Assistant & Micro-FIMS Coder


Cheryl is a fourth-year undergraduate student majoring in psychology and minoring in Statistics. Her research interests focus on how social factors impact the presentation and treatment of clinical disorders, and her goal is to pursue a Clinical Psychology Ph.D. She is an international student from Shanghai, China. Outside of BAB Lab, she is also an editor at the Undergraduate Research Journal of Psychology (URJP) at UCLA. In her free times, she loves traveling, drawing, and baking.

Lily Li (she/her)
Research Assistant & Micro-FIMS Coder

Lily is a third-year UCLA student majoring in Psychology from Vancouver, Canada. She is interested in researching parent-child interactions and the impact of language and immigration on development. She plans on pursuing clinical psychology after her undergraduate education at UCLA. Outside of academics, Lily enjoys photography, travelling, attending K-pop concerts and learning new languages.

Sarah Xu (she/her
Research Assistant & Micro-FIMS Coder

Sarah is a fourth-year majoring in Psychology with minors in Philosophy and Global Health. She is interested in exploring the intersection of developmental psychology, social welfare, and child advocacy. She particularly seeks to understand the systemic challenges faced by vulnerable populations, especially children and families. Outside of the BAB Lab, Sarah is a student worker at UCLA TIES For Families, co-president and volunteer piano teacher for SLAM! at UCLA, and an educational coach at UCLA Pathway. In her free time, she likes to bake, read, and spend time with her cat. She hopes to pursue law school and further research experience upon graduating.

Elena Chan 
Research Assistant


Elena is a Research Assistant in the Brain and Body Lab (BABLab) in the Psychology Department at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She is a second-year student majoring in Psychobiology. After completing her undergraduate education, she aspires to become a general dentist and intersect mental health with dentistry advocating for improved mental health practices to promote a healthier culture in dental offices. Her research interests delve into the effects of childhood adversity and trauma on psychophysiological responses. Outside of BABLab, she is a co-chair for the Bruin Mental Health Advisory Committee and a student intern at CAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services). In her free time, you can find her exploring new food spots in LA, weightlifting in the gym, and engaging in graphic design and other art mediums.

Jeslin Joshi 
Research Assistant


Jeslin is an Undergraduate Research Assistant in the Brain and Body Lab (BABLab) in the Psychology Department at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She is a third-year student majoring in Psychology and minoring in Applied Developmental Psychology. After completing her undergraduate education, she hopes to become a Clinical Psychologist and work with with children in the future. Her current research interests are concerning the effects of early childhood development on mental and emotional health. In her free time, she loves to choreograph and perform dances, travel to new places, and bake for her family and friends!

Emily Hao 
Research Assistant


Emily is a Research Assistant in the Brain and Body Lab (BABLab) in the Psychology Department at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She is a first year student majoring in psychobiology. After graduating, she plans to attend medical school and pursue a career in psychiatry. Emily is particularly fascinated by research that explores the relationship between mental and physical health. Outside the lab, she also spends her time volunteering at the local Ronald Reagan Hospital. In her free time, she enjoys playing tennis, creating art, going to the gym, and listening to/playing music.

Angie  Eng
Research Assistant


Angie is a 2nd year UCLA student majoring in Psychology, with hopes of minoring in Brain and Behavioral Health. After her undergraduate education at UCLA, she plans on obtaining a Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology, specializing in the mental, emotional, and social development of children. She joined the BABLab as an Undergraduate Research Assistant with hopes to learn more about parent-child interactions and how quality of early life experiences can effect development, and possibly predict the onset of future mental illnesses. Outside of academics, Angie is on a dance team and enjoys spending her time going to concerts, thrifting, and playing with her cats.

Jaiden Huang  
Research Assistant


Jaiden is a first-year Psychobiology major at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Her current interests lie in studying mental illness and its interconnectedness with different parts of human physiology. After graduating from UCLA, she plans to attend graduate school (she isn’t sure what type yet!). She is currently a cadet in Air Force ROTC at UCLA, so she will additionally fulfill a period of service in the U.S. Air Force upon graduating. Outside of academics, she enjoys running, playing soccer, doing graphic design, playing piano, and reading!

Sarah Steffen  
Research Assistant


Sarah is a current fourth year student at UCLA majoring in psychobiology with the hopes of pursuing a career in the medical field. She has always had an interest in psychology/psychiatry and trying to better understand the brain in terms of decision making, behavior, mental cognition, etc. and both genetic and environmental factors that play a part in influencing all of these things. She is currently working as a medical assistant at a neurology office for a doctor who graduated from UCLA med (go bruins)! When she is not working or doing school, she volunteers in a club on campus called Bruin Partners, where she tutors high school students in underserved communities of Los Angeles. In her free time, she loves to go hiking, especially in Malibu. She also loves finding new restaurants in Los Angeles to try with her friends. She also is a reality TV fanatic for anything on the Bravo network.

Jaelin Lai-Yates
Research Assistant

Jaelin is a rising second year student at UCLA majoring in Psychology with the intention of double majoring in Business Economics. After graduation, Jaelin plans to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and ultimately, a career that combines both psychology and business. Jaelin is particularly interested in the interactions of the self, parent, and peer relationships and hopes to explore the parent and child dyad as an assistant in the BABLab. Outside of academics, Jaelin enjoys creating new mixes of matcha lattes (She recommends adding grass jelly or cinnamon), performing imaginary concerts to friends through dance and song, as well as discovering epiphanies and “aha” moments that challenge her. She is also a passionate boba lover and even worked at MeetFresh during her freshman year!

AJ Estrella
Research Assistant

AJ is a 4th year Psychobiology major minoring in Applied Developmental Psychology. AJ loves working with children and is particularly interested in their language and cognitive development. After graduating AJ plan to go into nursing school or grad school to pursue a degree in Psychology. Some other things AJ is involved in are UniCamp, Association of Students for Child Development (ASCD) as Recruitment Director, Swipe Out Hunger, and dance!

Andre Fabian (they/them)
Research Assistant

Andre is a rising senior majoring in Physiological Sciences and minoring in Science Education. Through their college curriculum, they aim to explore the intersection between education and healthcare, hoping to pursue an MD/MPH program post-undergraduate. With these degrees, they wish to work in Internal Medicine, specializing in Community Healthcare and Health Advocacy. Outside of academics, they love to play tennis and practice their ukelele, as well as cook and bake traditional Filipino food!

Michael Srouji
Research Assistant

Michael is a 4th year undergraduate who plans on attending graduate school for clinical psychology. His research interests include the neurology of PTSD and dissociative symptoms. Outside the lab Michael enjoys playing soccer, watching movies and going on runs.

Jericho Tran-Faypon
Research Assistant


Jericho is a Research Assistant in the Brain and Body Lab (BABLab) at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). They are a second-year student double majoring in Psychology and Sociology. Currently, their research interests center on understanding and remedying the consequences of developmental stress on emotional maturity, intimate relationships, and somatic awareness. They plan on attending graduate school with the intention of pursuing a career in clinical and developmental research or clinical psychology (or both!) after graduating from UCLA. Outside of the lab, Jericho is a developmental editor for OutWrite Newsmagazine, UCLA’s queer student newsmagazine, and works as a front desk agent for UCLA Housing. They enjoy listening to people’s stories, eating good food, and spending time with friends!

Eddie Navarro
Research Assistant


Eddie is a fourth-year student majoring in Psychology at UCLA. After completing his undergraduate degree he aspires to complete his MSW degree to become a mental health practitioner. Eddie has volunteered extensively with local support groups in the Los Angeles area, emphasizing the expression of emotional awareness and honesty. His work with these groups is what inspired him to become a therapist. In his free time he enjoys dancing to live music and exploring nature with friends.

Jonathan Liu
Social Media Coordinator


Jonathan is a Social Media Coordinator in the Brain and Body Lab at UCLA. He is a third-year undergraduate student majoring in Sociology and Human Biology & Society and hopes to explore the intersection between marketing and STEM. He is interested in progressing science communication through social media efforts to improve health equity. Outside of BAB Lab, Jonathan likes to spend time exploring cafes, music festivals, and thrifting with friends!


James Lian, Visiting Scholar

Zhidi (Judy) Zhang, Visiting Graduate Researcher

Jessica Uy, Post-Doctoral Researcher

Genesis Flores, Research Assistant

Alyssa Ortega, Research Assistant

Liz Harty, Senior Research Assistant

Maggie Yu, Research Assistant 

Megan Ngai, Research Assistant

Rory Simpson, Research Assistant

Maisara Sukar, Research Assistant & Micro-FIMS Coder

Audrienne Ow, Research Assistant & Micro-FIMS Coder

Jackie Jones, Research Assistant & Micro-FIMS Coder

Natasha Reddivalam, Research Assistant & Micro-FIMS Coder

Caitlin Ballantyne, Research Assistant & Micro-FIMS Coder

Madie Bachelor, Research Assistant & Micro-FIMS Coder

Teague Ruther, Research Assistant

Maria Molina, Research Assistant

Madelyn Robinson, Senior Research Assistant

Lorena Gonzalez, Senior Research Assistant

Meredith Faivre, Honors Research Assistant March 2022 – June 2023, project coordinator for the Mood, Emotion, & Development Lab at Vanderbilt

Andrew Hanna, Senior Research Assistant October 2021 – July 2022

Yash Mehta, Senior Research Assistant March 2021- August 2022

Alice Deng, Research Assistant April 2022 – August 2022

Daniel Huang, Research Assistant September 2021 – August 2022

Michael To, Senior Research Assistant January 2020 – August 2022

Sapir Yona, Research Assistant July 2020 – August 2022

Shir Atias, Research Assistant July 2020 – August 2022

Nicole Fonacier, Research Assistant November 2019 – August 2021

Anna Bretz, Senior Research Assistant November 2021 – June 2022

Andre Chan, Research Assistant March 2021 – May 2022

Deborah Banner, Senior Research Assistant May 2021 – April 2022 

Sienna Osadon, Senior Research Assistant March 2021 – April 2022

Keegan Buch, Research Assistant August 2020 – March 2022

Tiffany Nassirian, Senior Research Assistant September 2020 – October 2021

Grant Grech, Research Assistant March 2020 – July 2021

Maria Calderon, Research Assistant July 2020 – June 2021

Leticia Herrera, Senior Research Assistant August 2020 – June 2021

Daisy Ramirez, Research Assistant May 2020 – June 2021

Charis StanekSenior Research Assistant August 2020 – April 2021

Reese Wix, Research Assistant November 2019 – November 2020, UCLA Hammer Museum

Danielle LadensackSenior Research Assistant/ Co-Project Coordinator for the EGG & Emotionality Study October 2019 – October 2020

Emily Towner,  Lab Manager / Research Associate July 2019 – September 2020, Gates-Cambridge Scholar and Ph.D. student at Cambridge University

Alyssa Wieand, PROPS Scholar & Research Assistant November 2019 – September 2020, USC Imaging Genetics

Chloe Schwartz, Senior Research Assistant March 2020 – July 2020
UCLA Semel Institute, Jeste Lab

Aileen Gozali, Senior Research Assistant October 2019 – June 2020
University of California, San Fransisco (UCSF) Medical School

Ananya Eeraveni, Research Assistant November 2019 – May 2020
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Eason Taylor, Lab Manager July 2019 – January 2020
Loyola Marymount University (LMU), HeadsUP! Labs


Nim Tottenham, Ph.D.
Columbia University, New York, United States

Lila Davachi, Ph.D.
Columbia University, New York, United States

Paul Bloom
Columbia University, New York, United States

Camille Gasser
Columbia University, New York, United States

Natalie Brito, Ph.D.
New York University, New York, United States

Nadine Kasparian, Ph.D.
The University of New South Wales, New South Wales, Australia

Akemi Tomoda, Ph.D.
University of Fukui, Fukui Prefecture, Japan

Shota Nishitani, Ph.D.
University of Fukui, Fukui Prefecture, Japan

Catherine Monk, Ph.D.
Columbia University, New York, United States

Clare McCormack, Ph.D.
Columbia University, New York, United States

Sarah Whittle, Ph.D.
University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Julian Simmons, Ph.D.
University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Tovah Klein, Ph.D.
Barnard College, Columbia University, New York, United States