Current Fellows

 Olga Berkout

Olga Berkout, PhD

Mentor: Dr. David Kolko

Dr. Berkout’s research focuses on identifying and modifying mechanisms of dysfunction underlying aggressive behavior. Dr. Berkout is currently examining the contribution of psychosocial and affective variables to aggression and neural correlates of emotion regulation and anger. She plans to extend her work by examining the impact of explicit and implicit cognitive intervention probes on neural target engagement among individuals engaging in impulsive aggression. Dr. Berkout received her doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Mississippi and completed her clinical internship at the University of Vermont. 

 Adam Grabell

Adam Grabell, PhD

Mentor: Dr. Susan Perlman

Dr. Grabell received his PhD in clinical psychology at the University of Michigan in 2014. While at the University of Michigan, he completed his dissertation focused on disruptive behavior in preschool-aged children. He also received several awards throughout his doctoral education, including: the Institute for Human Adjustment Fellowship Award, the Naomi Lohr Award for Excellence in Clinical Psychology, a Psychology Dissertation Research Grant, and the Edward S. Bordin Award. As a postdoctoral fellow, his research focuses on the neural correlates of emotion regulation and early onset psychopathology during the preschool years. Specifically, he uses techniques such as Event Related Potential (ERP) and functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) to better understand how emotion regulation strategies develop, or fail to develop, in children at risk for chronic disruptive behavior problems. Dr. Grabell is currently working with Dr. Susan Perlman on projects further examining self-regulation deficit in early childhood, including a study investigating regional prefrontal cortex activation during effortful, deliberate emotion regulation in preschool children. 


 Caroline Oppenheimer

Caroline Oppenheimer, PhD

Mentor: Dr. Jennifer Silk

Caroline Oppenheimer completed her PhD in child clinical psychology at the University of Denver in 2014, after completing a pre-doctoral fellowship under Dr. Silk at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Oppenheimer has maintained a clear and direct focus throughout her dissertation, work done under a National Research Service Award (NRSA), and her pre-doctoral fellowship. Now as a post-doctoral fellow, she intends to continue her research questions with a focus on interpersonal risk for depression and suicide, including how youth vulnerability (e.g., genetic, cognitive, affective) moderates interpersonal risk, as well as mechanisms through which interpersonal factors influence developmental pathways. 


 Lindsey Beth Stone

Lindsey Beth Stone, PhD 

Mentor: Dr. Jennifer Silk

Dr. Stone's research examines the role of peer friendships in fostering vulnerability to depression in adolescence and, in particular, targets the interpersonal tendency to co-ruminate. She examines this interpersonal pathway on multiple levels of analysis:  testing the effects of co-rumination within friendship dyads and larger networks, and further exploring intrapersonal processes by which risk develops, including cognitive, genetic, and affective factors. She plans to extend this work by training in affective neuroscience and the application of neurobiological indices to capture the socialization of emotion regulatory processes that contribute to depression risk. Dr. Stone received her doctorate in clinical psychology from Binghamton University and completed her clinical internship at Alpert Medical School, Brown University.



Past Fellows 

Ben Allen

Ben Allen, PhD

Mentor: Dr. Marika Kovacs

Dr. Allen received a PhD in biological psychology at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 2012. His doctoral dissertation focused on the physiology of stereotypes, which led to a post-doctoral appointment within the Department of Psychiatry’s Cardiovascular and Behavioral Medicine Program at the University of Pittsburgh. In this program, he expanded his methodological skills to include neuroimaging methods and applied these techniques to the study of the neural correlates of autonomic control of the heart. Alongside his mentor, Dr. J. Richard Jennings, he tested the notion that brain regions involved in the regulation of cardiovascular reactivity to emotion overlap with brain regions involved in autonomic control at rest. Now as a post-doctoral fellow of the IMPACT program, he aims to build on his prior work to examine how neural networks involved in autonomic regulation of the heart are associated with risk for psychopathology, specifically depression. He has based his work on atypical patterns of autonomic and central nervous system dysfunction commonly associated with already depressed populations and has applied these findings to people at high risk for depression.


Lauren Bylsma

Lauren Bylsma, PhD

Dr. Bylsma is currently an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh.  She has received a K01 award from the National Institute of Mental Health titled "Neurobehavioral Predictors of Emotional Deficits in Youth at Risk for Depression." For her K01, she is examining emotional functioning in youth at high risk for depression using a combination of neural and daily life measures.  As a postdoctoral scholar, Dr. Bylsma's work has utilized a multi-method approach, including cardiovascular psychophysiology, event related potentials, behavioral measures, and experience sampling methodology. In her work with Dr. Kovacs, she has examined physiological, behavioral, neuropsychological, and familial factors that predict the course of juvenile onset depression, as well as factors related to utilization of adaptive emotion regulation strategies (mood repair) in at-risk youth. Dr. Bylsma received her doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of South Florida where she worked with Jonathan Rottenberg, and she completed her clinical internship at the VA Puget Sound in Seattle.

Sam Hawes

Sam Hawes, PhD

Mentor: Dr. Dustin Pardini

Dr. Hawes is interested in the etiology and development of callous-unemotional (CU) features throughout adolescence and early adulthood. His work focuses on the relationship between aspects of negative emotionality and CU features as well as the relationship between CU features and adulthood outcomes.  Dr. Hawes is currently working with Dr. Dustin Pardini to examine the stability of callous-unemotional features across developmental periods and their relationship to adulthood psychopathy as well as violence and aggression. Dr. Hawes received his doctorate in clinical psychology from Sam Houston State University and he completed his clinical internship at Yale University.


Lovie Jackson, PhD

Dr. Jackson is an assistant professor at the School of Social Work at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research interests include the multidisciplinary study of health and health care disparities, collaborative care models to address the health and mental health of traumatized underserved youth and families in diverse settings, and health services research using community-based participatory research and health information technology. Populations of interest are primarily African American youth and families, and other marginalized and traumatized populations such as youth in foster care and low-income families. Her teaching interests include health services research, health disparities, childhood and intergenerational/lifespan trauma, and diverse populations. Dr. Jackson received her doctorate in social work from the University of Washington, Seattle.


Oliver Lindhiem, PhD

Oliver Lindhiem, PhD

Dr. Lindhiem is an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. His research focus is on developing innovative ways to optimize treatment delivery for childhood disruptive behavior disorders with an emphasis on methodology and developing assessment tools for measuring and promoting the utilization of cognitive behavioral therapy skills. Dr. Lindhiem obtained funding for an Early Career Research Scientist Development Award (K01) application to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) titled "Skill Acquisition/Utilization During Treatment for Childhood Behavior Problems." Dr. Lindhiem received his doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Delaware. 

Dana McMakin, PhD

Dr. McMakin is an assistant professor of psychiatry at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Her research aims to bridge developmental affective neuroscience and treatment innovation to improve long-term outcomes associated with affective disorders in adolescence. Dr. McMakin is particularly interested in whether therapeutic strategies can help to shape the brain circuits that underlie emotional and motivational functioning during the period of enhanced brain plasticity experienced during adolescence, with the goal of altering the short and long-term course of affective disorders. To this end, her current research focuses on developing novel therapy strategies to alter features of positive emotional and motivational functioning (and underlying fronto-mesolimbic brain circuits) that: 1) are taking shape during adolescence and 2) appear disrupted in several affective disorders, including depression. Dr. McMakin received her doctorate in child clinical psychology from the University of Denver.

Judith Morgan

Judith Morgan, PhD

Dr. Morgan is an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. She has obtained funding as the primary investigator for a National Institute of Health K01 award. With this grant, Dr. Morgan is pursuing a line of study into the neural and social processes of positive affect in children at risk for depression. This research represents the next phase of Dr. Morgan's studies focusing on early differences in positive affect and reward processing in young children at biological risk for depression, and how various socialization influences interact with these neurobehavioral differences in high-risk young children. Dr. Morgan received her doctorate in psychology from the University of Delaware.


Sarah Romens

Sarah Romens, PhD

Dr. Romens completed a one-year fellowship, during which she focused on identifying novel approaches to prevention and intervention. She believes depression is likely the result of a complex interplay among cognitive, social/environmental, and biological factors. Therefore, her research cut across these perspectives to examine individual differences in cognitive, physiological, and epigenetic components of responses to stress and uncover etiological mechanisms of depression. Dr. Romens received her doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Wisconsin and currently works in clinical practice in Wisconsin.


Patricia Tan, PhD

Patricia Tan, PhD

Dr. Tan is currently a research assistant professor at the University of California at Los Angeles. She has received funding for her K01 submission titled "Early Neurobehavioral Marker of Anxiety: Linking Threat Bias & Real-World Emotion."  As a fellow, Dr. Tan's research focused on the role of emotional and cognitive control in childhood anxiety and adolescent depression. During her time in the program, Dr. Tan developed methodological skills in the analysis of treatment outcome and time-series data (primarily experience sampling), as well as the integration of psychophysiology and behavioral measures of emotion. In addition to her methodological interests in developing ecologically valid methods for assessing child emotional reactivity and parental emotion socialization, she has focused on learning cognitive electrophysiology and pupillometery as measures of emotional information processing. As part of her training, she has also participated in a course on using Mplus for latent variable modeling as well as courses in structural equation modeling and cognitive neuroscience. Finally, Dr. Tan has been collaborating with Drs. Silk, Siegle, and Ladouceur on a pilot study examining the use of ambulatory methods for physiologically-triggered ecological momentary assessments of young children's real-world emotion regulation.


 Ilya Yaroslavsky

Ilya Yaroslavsky, PhD

Dr. Yaroslavsky is currently an assistant professor with Cleveland State University's clinical psychology master's program. As a postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Yaroslavsky's interests were in studying how physiological, psychosocial, and familial factors contribute to the course and outcome of juvenile onset depression. In particular, he was interested in studying the link between depression and ways that youth attempt to attenuate dysphoric emotions (mood repair). Further, he sought to understand the roles that the autonomic nervous system and familial factors play in mood repair development and deployment. Dr. Yaroslavsky received his doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Houston.