Our Team

Bridget Callaghan, Ph.D.
Principle Investigator

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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 great food.


Emily Towner
Lab Manager / Research Associate

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Emily is a Research Associate in the Brain and Body Lab (BABLab) in the Psychology Department at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She recently graduated from UCLA with a Master’s Degree in Social Science, where she completed a research project examining the interaction between early and current life stress on adolescent mental health and well-being. Before UCLA, she completed a postbaccalaureate program in psychology at Columbia University where she studied learning, memory, and cognition. She also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and Media from the City University of New York. In her spare time Emily loves traveling to new places, trying new fitness routines at the gym, and listening to podcasts and audiobooks!

Emily is a validated behavioral coder using the Family Interaction Macro-Coding System (FIMS) in the lab. 


Kristen Chu
Lab Manager / Research Associate

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Kristen is a Lab Manager in the Brain and Body Lab (BABLab) at UCLA. She graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) with a Bachelors Degree in Psychology and Communication, and a minor in Applied Psychology in 2019. During her time as an undergraduate, Kristen worked as a peer counselor at the UCSB Counseling and Psychological Services providing sessions to students seeking support and developing mental health outreach programs across communities on campus. These experiences led her to become a research assistant in several labs at UCSB studying topics of stress, resilience, and multicultural competency, before joining the UCLA Anxiety and Depression Research Center where she assisted in research focused on Anxiety and employment success. Outside of the BABLab, Kristen loves to dance, discover new music, and travel to new places, but can most often be found cuddling up with a good book and her dog, Scooter!

Kristen is a validated behavioral coder using the Family Interaction Macro-Coding System (FIMS) in the lab. 


Katelyn Phillips
Graduate Student

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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!


Fran Querdasi
Graduate Student

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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.


Aileen Gozali
Senior Research Assistant

Aileen is a Research Assistant in the Brain and Body Lab (BABLab) in the Psychology Department at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She recently completed the post-baccalaureate premedical program at Columbia University. Her experiences with children and love for neuroscience led her to work with Dr. Dani Dumitriu in New York, with whom she completed a clinical research study looking at an intervention that aims to promote mother-infant dyad relationships with the goal of fostering healthy development for the infants. Prior to diving into the world of science and medicine, Aileen studied classical piano and holds a Master’s Degree in Music from The Juilliard School and a Bachelor’s Degree in Music from the Cleveland Institute of Music. Having grown up in four different countries, Aileen loves traveling and experiencing new adventures, as well as listening to Audible, working on DIY projects, going to the gym, and hitting new dessert spots in the city.

Aileen is also the artist who drew each of the lab members.


Chloe Schwartz
Senior Research Assistant

Chloe 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 recently completed a master’s degree in Psychiatry at the University of Cambridge, where she developed a new theory of mind measure and examined the relationship between attachment style and cognitive empathy in adults with and without Autism Spectrum Disorder. Before Cambridge, Chloe was involved in a developmental psychopathology lab at the University of Copenhagen and evaluated the effectiveness of evidence-based early interventions within a community mental health setting. She has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Occidental College. In her free time, Chloe enjoys being in nature, eating her way through the neighborhoods of Los Angeles, and petting all of the dogs she meets.


Danielle Ladensack
Senior Research Assistant

Danielle is a Research Assistant in the Brain and Body Lab (BABLab) in the Psychology Department at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Danielle received her Bachelor’s Degree at New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study where she focused on cognitive neuroscience and minored in psychology. She previously worked as a research associate at NYU Langone Hospital’s Multiple Sclerosis Comprehensive Care Center. There she was involved in a pilot study using tDCS (Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation) as a treatment modality for patients diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. After 11 years in NYC, she made the move out west and found a home at the UCLA Brain and Body Lab as a research associate. When Danielle is not in the lab she can be found teaching Pilates and practicing yoga.

Danielle is also a Co-Project Coordinator for the EGG & Emotionality Study, and is a Primary Dyadic Behavioral Coder for our Mind Brain Body Study, with verified reliability on the Family Interaction Macro-Coding System (FIMS).


Alyssa Wieand
Research Assistant

Alyssa 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 currently a 4th year Undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychobiology. Alyssa’s interests include Developmental and Clinical Psychology and she hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in the future. In her free time, Alyssa loves to cook, read, and watch Netflix shows with her roommates!

Alyssa W. is also a PROPS scholar.


Ananya Eeraveni
Research Assistant

Ananya is an Undergraduate Research Assistant at the Brain and Body Lab (BABLab). She is a freshman from Phoenix, Arizona and currently majors in Human Biology and Society at UCLA and aspires to attend medical school to become a surgeon or a dermatologist. Her research interests include the microbiome and the brain, the most complicated 3 pounds of matter in the whole universe. In her free time, she greatly enjoys working out, listening to podcasts, learning about quantum physics, our universe and the brain, and watching Big Mouth.


Daisy Ramirez
Research Assistant

Daisy 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 currently a third year at UCLA and is originally from the San Bernardino County. She plans on pursuing a Clinical Psychology Doctorate after graduating from UCLA with a bachelor’s of arts in Psychology and minor in Education and Disability Studies. In her free time, she enjoys running, playing double dutch, and watching The Good Doctor.


Grant Grech
Research Assistant

Grant is an Undergraduate Research Assistant in the Brain and Body Lab (BABLab) in the Psychology Department at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Hailing from San Carlos, California, he is a second year student at UCLA pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Grant loves kids and would like to pursue a PhD and a career in Developmental Psychology. In his free time, Grant enjoys playing jazz guitar, exercising, watching Curb Your Enthusiasm, and snuggling with his Bernese Mountain Dog named Bentley.

Grant is a Primary Dyadic Behavioral Coder for our Mind Brain Body Study, with verified reliability on the Family Interaction Macro-Coding System (FIMS).


Michael To
Research Assistant

Michael is an Undergraduate Research Assistant in the Brain and Body Lab (BABLab) in the Psychology Department at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Hailing from sunny Southern California, he is a 4th year transfer student pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, as well as a minor and thesis in Biomedical Research. Prior to his involvement at the BABLab, he developed his interest in neuroscience through research on BCI (Brain-Computer Interfaced) systems and prosthetics conducted with the Department of Engineering and Computer Science at California State University, Fullerton. He is a bold advocate for socioeconomically disadvantaged and early adversity youth, as well as a passionate believer in the transformative power of growth mindset toward actualizing their success. Michael is leveraging his time at the BABlab to understand, investigate, and eventually integrate better outcomes for these vulnerable populations. When he has a spare moment, Michael loves training others in his capacity as a National Strength and Conditioning Association-PT, competing in USA Powerlifting at the Collegiate National level, practicing classical compositions as a cellist, and backpacking in the Sierra Nevada with his tail-wagging companion, Cookie.


Nicole Fonacier
Research Assistant

Nicole 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 passionate advocate of mental health majoring in Psychology and minoring in Education Studies. She also serves as a Resilience Peer, Mental Health Coach, and Transfer Mentor at UCLA and dances for the Hui O ‘Imiloa Hawai’i Club. Nicole seeks to improve mental health literacy, identify the barriers related to accessing care, and share with the world how vulnerability is a strength. After UCLA, she plans on pursuing a PhD in Clinical Psychology to do research, practice as a Clinical Psychologist, and teach as a professor. In her free time, she loves running, weightlifting, hiking, and Tahitian dancing!

Nicole is also a primary member of the Social Media team at the Brain and Body Lab. 


Reese Wix
Research Assistant

Reese 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 second year Honors Psychology and French Student in the College of Letters and Sciences, where she aims to focus on behavioral and memory studies. After UCLA, she aims to attend graduate school in Behavioral Psychology. In her free time, she loves to travel the world and read all genres of novels!


Alyssa Ortega
Research Intern

Alyssa is a fourth year double-major in Psychology and Communications at UCLA. She is currently working on a research project about student experiences and mental health with guidance from Dr. Callaghan. Specifically, she is interested in the transfer student population and discovering what risk and protective factors shape their mental health outcomes. She is also the peer counseling coordinator for the Academic Supports Program at UCLA, where she works closely with transfer students in hopes to retain and empower as many of her peers as possible. In the future, Alyssa wants to pursue a Clinical Psychology PhD program to set the foundation for her own practice as a clinical psychologist. In her free time, Alyssa loves traveling to new places and binge watching Dexter on Netflix.

Alyssa O. is also a PROPS scholar. 


Alumni

Eason Taylor, Lab Manager July 2019 – January 2020


Collaborators

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