Lab Director

Kate McLaughlin, Ph.D.
Principal Investigator
Office: Guthrie Hall 325
Phone: 206-616-7863
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  • Dr. Katie McLaughlin is a clinical psychologist with interests in how environmental experience influences brain and behavioral development in children and adolescents. She has a joint Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and Chronic Disease Epidemiology from Yale University and is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Washington.  Her research examines how adverse environmental experiences shape emotional, cognitive, and neurobiological development throughout childhood and adolescence. Specifically, Dr. McLaughlin’s work seeks to understand how experiences of stress, trauma, and social disadvantage in childhood alter developmental processes in ways that increase risk for psychopathology. Her research uncovers specific developmental processes that are disrupted by adverse environmental experiences early in life and determines how those disruptions increase risk for mental health problems in children and adolescents. Understanding these mechanisms is critical for the development of interventions to prevent the onset of psychopathology in children who experience adversity. Dr. McLaughlin’s overarching goal is to contribute to greater understanding of the role of environmental experience in shaping children’s development, so as to inform the creation of interventions, practices, and policies to promote adaptive development in society’s most vulnerable members.

    Dr. McLaughlin's research has been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, the National Institute on Aging, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Jacobs Foundation, the Charles H. Hood Foundation, the Brain and Behavior Foundation, the IMHRO One Mind Institute, and the Raikes Foundation.  She has received early career awards from the Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology, the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, and the Jacobs Foundation as well as the Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology from the American Psychological Association.

    Dr. McLaughlin’s Google Scholar profile can be found here:

    Post-Doctoral Fellows

    Natalie Colich, Ph.D.

    Natalie Colich earned her B.A. in Psychology from Stanford University in 2009 and her Ph.D. from Stanford University in 2017. Her graduate work focused on adolescent neurodevelopment and the onset and maintenance of depression in adolescence. More specifically, she is interested in understanding fine-grained changes in neural function and structure as a result of increases in gonadal hormones across pubertal development and how puberty-related changes in corticolimbic circuitry may place adolescent females at heightened risk to develop depression. Natalie is looking forward to joining the lab as a postdoc in order to examine how exposure to childhood adversity influences pubertal timing, how childhood adversity and pubertal timing impact adolescent brain development, and how these factors might interact to contribute to risk for psychopathology in adolescence.

    Jessica Jenness, Ph.D.

    Jess Jenness completed her predoctoral internship at the University of Washington (UW) and graduated from the University of Denver with her Ph.D. in Child Clinical Psychology in 2015. Her research interests include biological and affective risk factors related to youth depression, with an emphasis on environmental context. Dr. Jenness is an Acting Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at UW, funded by an NIMH Career Development Award (K23), with Dr. McLaughlin serving as a mentor on this grant. Her K23 research will examine neural and behavioral mechanisms of intervention response within the reward system in depressed teens with a maltreatment history.

    Adam Bryant Miller, Ph.D.

    Adam Bryant Miller graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with his BA in Psychology and from George Mason University with his PhD in clinical psychology. Dr. Miller completed his predoctoral clinical internship at the University of Washington, School of Medicine and Seattle Children’s Hospital. Dr. Miller’s program of research focuses on the effects of early childhood adversity on adolescent development and behavior. Dr. Miller is particularly interested in the emergence of adolescent health risk behaviors, including substance use, risky sexual behavior, and suicide. To date, his work has investigated interpersonal risk factors, such as lack of social support, for adolescent suicidal behavior. He has also examined factors that help explain the robust relationship between child maltreatment and adolescent suicidal thoughts and behaviors. His research has been supported by grants from the Inova Kellar Center and the American Psychological Foundation. He received the APA Division 53 Student Achievement Award for his work during graduate school. As a postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Miller will be examining potential brain circuits involved in adolescent suicidal behavior. This project will be in collaboration with Dr. Mitch Prinstein’s Peer Relations Lab at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. You can find Dr. Miller’s work on Google Scholar and ResearchGate.

    Maya Rosen, Ph.D.

    Maya Rosen earned her B.A. in Neuroscience and Spanish from Skidmore College in 2007. In 2015, Dr. Rosen completed her Ph.D. in Psychological and Brain Sciences at Boston University. Her graduate work focused on the neural mechanisms underlying long-term memory guidance of visual spatial attention using functional MRI in young healthy adults. A long-held interest in the developing brain and the effect of early life experience on cognition and neural function led Dr. Rosen to join the Stress and Development Lab as a postdoc. In her postdoc work at UW, Dr. Rosen has applied her background in fMRI techniques and her knowledge of long-term memory and attention interactions to understanding how these processes develop and how they can be impacted by adverse childhood experiences.

    Graduate Students

    Nessa Bryce

    Nessa Bryce earned her Bachelors of Arts and Sciences from the little known Quest University Canada. After graduating, Nessa joined Dr. Catherine Hartley’s lab at NYU as a lab manager, trading the rainforest of British Columbia, Canada for the concrete jungle of New York City. Nessa is very excited to be back on the Wet Coast of the continent and is so grateful to now be a graduate student in the Stress and Development Lab. She is broadly curious about how the brain gathers, integrates and evaluates information, and hopes to, through her graduate research, understand the basic mechanisms behind these functions.

    Stephanie DeCross

    Stephanie graduated from Dartmouth College in 2013 with a double major in Psychological & Brain Sciences and Linguistics & Cognitive Sciences and a minor in Mind, Brain, & Education. After spending time at Dartmouth in Dr. Paul Whalen’s Affective-Cognitive Neuroscience Lab, she became a clinical research coordinator in Dr. Daphne Holt’s Emotion and Social Neuroscience Lab at MGH's Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, working with populations with and at risk for psychosis. There, she developed research interests in how aberrantly developing fear/threat circuitry may lead to various forms of psychopathology and was awarded the NSF GRFP to pursue this work in graduate school.

    Lily Durwood

    I graduated from Harvard University in 2010 with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality. After graduating, I worked for several years in Marketing at Microsoft before returning to Psychology research, at which point I worked as a Research Assistant in Kate McLaughlin’s Stress and Development Lab as well as Kristina Olson’s Social Cognitive Development Lab. In fall of 2016, I started as a PhD student in both the Developmental and Child Clinical areas at the University of Washington. As a graduate student, I am interested in studying the relationship between stigma and mental health in marginalized populations, particularly among sexual orientation and gender minorities. I hope to examine how social support from parents, schools, and broader communities can serve as protective factors throughout development, and how these factors can be translated into evidence-based interventions. 

    Hilary Lambert

    After graduating from Princeton University with a degree in psychology and neuroscience, I completed a fellowship assessing the impact of education and microfinance programs on adolescents and their families for an NGO in Uganda. I then joined Dr. Bruce McEwen's lab of neuroendocrinology at Rockefeller University as a research assistant testing a medication that may prevent glutamatergic excitotoxic events responsible for cognitive decline in aging rats. I have come to appreciate the concept of neuroplasticity throughout life as well as the critical impact of the social environment on human development. As a Ph.D. student in Child Clinical Psychology at UW, I research how childhood adversity impacts brain, emotional, and cognitive development and how these changes may lead to psychopathology later in life.

    Matt Peverill

    Matt Peverill earned a BA in psychology from Amherst College in 2007 and an MS in Clinical Psychology from the University of Washington in 2017. Following an early career in healthcare information technology, he began work in the lab in 2012 before becoming a research coordinator in Dr. Margaret Sheridan's Lab at Boston Children's Hospital working on fMRI studies of neurological markers of stable ADHD diagnoses in children as well as working memory development in adolescents. Matt's dissertation study focuses on using multimodal measurement of socioeconomic status to research the effects of poverty on psychopathology risk factors including stress, emotion regulation, and social cognition. He has a strong secondary interest in fMRI analysis and methods which he hopes to further pursue during his PhD.

    Research Coordinators

    Debbie Bitran

    Debbie graduated from the University of Michigan in 2012 with a B.S. in Neuroscience. After spending a year working as a research assistant in Dr. Kristina Olson’s Social Cognitive Development Lab, Debbie joined the Stress and Development Lab hoping to advance her knowledge of developmental psychology within the context of neuroscience. Debbie is specifically interested in understanding the how stressful environments impact the neurodevelopment of emotional and attentional regulative pathways. In the future, Debbie hopes to attend a doctoral program in clinical psychology.

    Aaron Flaster

    I graduated from Lewis & Clark College in 2013 with a B.A. in Philosophy. Shortly after graduating, I moved to Seattle to begin pursuing a career in Clinical Psychology. I started working as a Youth Counselor with Ryther Family Services, focusing on social skill development in teenagers with anxiety, depression, and autism spectrum disorder. However, I also wanted to explore other areas of Psychology, so I volunteered as a Research Assistant at Harborview Medical Center, where I focused on adult suicide and trauma. After seeing how many of the adult mental health issues started at a young age, I began volunteering in the Stress & Development Lab, which was a great fit because of the focus on child & adolescent psychology and how traumatic events lead to mental health issues later on in life.

    Pat Helgren

    Pat holds a Masters in Ed. Psy. from the University of Washington. She is a licensed mental health counselor specializing in children and adolescents and their families. Pat has served as clinical director at several community-based agencies providing mental health treatment and prevention programs for children and families. After many years in children’s mental health treatment, Pat turned her energies to research.  Pat’s research interests are in improving outcomes for our most vulnerable children through evidenced-based treatment and prevention programs and to remediate the impact of child abuse and neglect on development and the onset of psychiatric disorders. Prior to coming to the SD Lab she coordinated research projects at the UW School of Social Work and the School of Nursing.

    Steven Kasparek

    Steven graduated from Middlebury College in 2016 with a BA in psychology. After graduation, he completed a one-year post-baccalaureate fellowship (IRTA) at the National Institutes of Health working in the Social and Behavioral Research Branch within the National Human Genome Research Institute. Under the mentorship of Dr. Philip Shaw, Steven worked on several longitudinal studies examining brain and social/emotional development, as well as genetics in children with ADHD. Steven is grateful for the opportunity to join Dr. McLauglin in the Stress and Development Lab as he continues to further develop his research interests in child clinical psychlogy. Steven plans to apply to doctoral programs in child clinical psychology in 2018 to continue studying the potential impacts of childhood adversity on social/emotional development in marginalized populations.

    Lucy Lurie

    I graduated from Lewis & Clark College in 2015 with a BA in psychology and French studies. As an undergraduate research assistant, I worked on several projects exploring contributions to the development of social cognition in early childhood. After I graduated, I lived abroad for a year teaching English in France and then moved to Seattle where I started volunteering at the Stress & Development Lab in the summer of 2016. I am interested in how early traumatic experiences affect the way children understand other peoples' emotions and intentions and how that, in turn, contributes to the development of mental health issues. I plan to pursue a doctoral program in clinical psychology in the future.

    Elizabeth McNeilly

    Elizabeth joined the Stress and Development Lab in September of 2016 and works primarily on the Stress Mechanisms in Adolescents study, looking at the impact of stressful life experiences on psychopathology in adolescent females. Elizabeth is interested in studying the predictive factors of child and adolescent psychopathology associated with stress, trauma, and deprivation. Elizabeth earned an MPA, with a concentration in International Development from the University of Washington. She is looking forward to applying to clinical psychology PhD programs with the aim of studying the underlying mechanisms between adverse early life experiences and psychopathology in children and adolescents.

    Lina Nguyen

    Lina is a student at Free University Berlin pursuing a degree in Psychology and Neuroscience. After working at Max Planck Institute in decision making and forensic psychology, Lina joined Prof. Gaab’s lab at Boston Children’s Hospital where she studied typical and atypical developmental populations. She also worked closely with Prof. Dziobek at Humboldt University to create computer-based programs for ASD populations. Through these experiences, she developed an interest in clinical and intervention research based on technical systems.

    Azure Reid-Russell

    Azure graduated from Bates College in 2017, with a B.S. in psychology and a minor in chemistry. Her honors thesis research on psychophysiological reactions to social exclusion in borderline personality disorder, along with research experience in the Nock lab at Harvard University and at Zucker Hillside Psychiatric Hospital, has prompted an interest in how childhood trauma may influence physiological indicators of psychopathology across development, with a focus on pubertal development and adolescence. She hopes to continue investigating these questions in her position at the Stress and Development lab, and ultimately in a clinical psychology graduate program, which she will apply for in 2018.

    Honors Students

    Jiwon Jung

    I am a junior at University of Washington—Seattle pursuing B.S. in Psychology, B.A. in Communication, and minor in Education, Learning and Society. I joined the Stress and Development Lab in Autumn 2014. As a research assistant, I have been exposed to enriching lab experiences such as entering data, scoring CBCL & YSR scales, managing the lab’s publications, being an fMRI buddy, and recruiting participants. My interest lies in child clinical psychology and Hilary facilitated me to delve deeper in this field of area. For my honors thesis, I am studying the relationship among deprivation (e.g., low SES and institutionalization), executive functioning (e.g., inhibition), and pediatric psychopathology disorders (e.g., ADHD, externalizing disorders, and mood disorders). I am honored and grateful for my time with the Stress and Development Lab.



    Sonia Alves

    I graduated from Smith College in 2010 with a B.A. in Psychology and Education. I joined the Sheridan Lab in October of 2010 as a full time research assistant on the Stress and Adolescent Study. Specifically, this is a psychophysiology study observing how stress in adolescents' everyday lives affects their mental and physical health. To study this occurrence, we are testing stress hormone and autonomic nervous system reactivity in adolescents, in addition to asking them questions about their health. We are particularly interested in how health is related to hormone and heart rate measures. To assess these measures we collect saliva samples as well as heart rate recordings. I plan on attending graduate school in the next few years to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology.

    China Bolden
    Research Coordinator

    China began her work at the Stress & Development Lab as a research assistant in 2013. In 2015 she worked with Dr. Jessica Sommerville investigating cognition and prosocial behavior in infants. Currently, she serves as a research coordinator working on projects that seek to better understand the impact of early childhood maltreatment and neglect on development. She plans to attend a clinical psychology Ph.D. program where she can continue to examine the impact of traumatic experiences on behavior as well as neural development. Additionally, she is interested in better understanding effective treatments for children in this population and the ways that society can bridge the gap between research, policy, and implementation of treatments. 

    Meg Dennison, Ph.D.

    Meg earned her B.A in Psychology (Hons) and Ancient History from the University of Sydney and completed her Masters in Clinical Psychology and Ph.D. from the University of Melbourne. Dr. Dennison completed her postdoctoral training in Australia and held a Research Fellow position at Phoenix Australia: Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health at the University of Melbourne. Dr. Dennison’s graduate research explored patterns of structural neurodevelopment in reward-related brain regions and considered the role of temperament in neurodevelopment throughout adolescence. In her postdoctoral research, she will be examining the role positive emotions play in developing resilience to the potential impacts of early life maltreatment/trauma and exploring how such effects might be mediated by biological and neurodevelopmental mechanisms. 

    Andrea Duys

    I graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2011 with a B.A. in psychology. I began working in the Sheridan Lab in February of 2012 where I contributed to a study that is looking at the neural markers of ADHD in children using EEG and fMRI. More recently, I have been working in the Stress and Development lab on the Jacobs study, which assesses adolescent stress in relation to peer groups and emotion regulation among other things. In the future, I plan to complete a PhD program with a specific interest in stress-related psychopathology.

    Meredith Gabriel

    I graduated from Pitzer College, a member of the Claremont Colleges, with a B.A. in Cognitive Neuroscience in May 2012. I joined the Stress and Development Lab in the summer of 2012 after graduation. I am currently working on the neuroimaging aspects of the Stress and Development Lab’s SAS study, using both EEG and fMRI to look at the impact of exposure to trauma on neural structure and function in adolescents. I ultimately plan on pursuing a graduate degree in Cognitive Neuroscience and/or Public Health.

    Dennis Gu
    Research Coordinator

    I graduated from Brown University in 2014 with a B.S. in Psychology. I joined the Stress and Development Lab in 2011 as a research assistant, where I was involved in collecting and analyzing physiological and neural imaging data of adolescents. I discovered my interests in clinical psychology while working in the lab and decided to pursue a career in research. My senior project focused on using eye-tracking measurements to understand triggering conditions of the visual perspective-taking phenomenon. After graduation, I rejoined the lab as a full-time lab coordinator. In the future, I plan on applying to doctoral program in clinical psychology.

    Kate Herts

    I received my B.A. from Brown University in 2008 and my M.S. from Harvard School of Public Health in 2012. I was privileged to join the Stress and Development Lab as a research assistant while at Harvard. I currently work on the Boston Public Schools Stress Reduction Intervention project, which will build stress management into existing curricula in order to improve students’ physical and mental health. In the future, I hope to continue to conduct research and intervention work to mitigate the effects of childhood stressors on mental health outcomes. I am particularly interested in understanding risk and protective factors that link childhood chronic illness to psychopathology. To this end, I will begin my doctoral studies in clinical psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles in the fall.

    Charlotte Heleniak, Ph. D.

    Upon graduating from Dartmouth College in 2006, Charlotte spent two years as a community mental health provider working with juvenile offenders and families in specialized domestic violence courts.  She then worked as a research assistant in the lab of Moira Rynn, M.D., Director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Columbia University, where she studied the etiology and treatment of pediatric mood and anxiety disorders. These clinical and research experiences inspired Charlotte to pursue research examining mechanisms linking adverse childhood experiences with adolescent psychopathology in the Child Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program at the University of Washington. As a graduate student in the Stress and Development Lab, Charlotte has investigated how childhood adversity impacts emotion regulation and social cognition in ways that predict adolescent psychopathology using self-report, behavioral, psychophysiological, and cognitive neuroscience methods. Charlotte’s graduate work earned her the Top Scholar Award from the University of Washington and the Frank W. Putnam Trauma Research Scholar Award from the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. Her dissertation study, on how violence exposure disrupts the neurobiological underpinnings of social cognition, was awarded funding from both the National Institute of Mental Health and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.  Charlotte successfully defended her dissertation in June of 2017 and is currently completing her clinical internship year at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She looks forward to returning to Seattle in June 2018 to graduate with her Ph.D. in Child Clinical Psychology.

    Sarah Mendivel

    After obtaining a Master’s degree in Child Life Psychology from the University of La Verne, Sarah began her clinical work at the University of Chicago's Children's Hospital helping to minimize medical trauma experienced by hospitalized children. Sarah then dedicated several years to Rush University Hospital assessing and treating infants and toddlers with developmental delays. Her last three years in Chicago were passionately invested in crisis stabilization trauma work at Lurie's Children's Hospital’s inpatient psychiatric unit. After volunteering as a research assistant for the Brain and Behavior Research Institute and Chicago AIDS Foundation, she joined the Stress and Development Lab. Sarah’s goal is to become a child clinical psychologist and contribute new perspectives to research that surround re-empowerment after trauma.

    Louisa Michl

    In 2009, I graduated from Middlebury College with a BA in Psychology and Spanish. After spending two years as a research assistant and project coordinator at the Judge Baker Children’s Center, Harvard Medical School, I joined the Stress & Development Lab in the summer of 2011. Here I have been involved in several studies focused on identifying risk factors for mental disorders and mechanisms linking stress and adversity to psychopathology. This fall, I will be entering a doctoral program in Clinical Psychology at the University of Rochester. My long-term research goals are to research the risk factors and causal mechanisms linking stress and adversity to psychopathology in an effort to guide empirically supported intervention and prevention programs for high-risk children and families.

    Zoe Miles

    I graduated from the University of Washington in 2015 with a B.S. in psychology, with Honors. While working in Dr. Shannon Dorsey’s lab as a research assistant with the Supervision to Enhance Practice Study (STEPS), I began volunteering as an undergraduate RA in the Stress and Development Lab where I completed my honors project. After graduation, I joined the lab as a research assistant. I have an interest in stress-related mental health disorders and neurological functioning and hope to pursue these topics in a doctoral program in psychology.

    Leslie Rith-Najarian

    I discovered my love for clinical research as an undergraduate at Harvard University. After two years of being an RA and completing a senior thesis with the Stress and Development Lab, I found myself drawn towards adolescent psychopathology. I love working with teenagers, and I am particularly interested in emotion regulation, stress coping, and how these fit into intervention and prevention programs. Having been born and raised in the north woods of Minnesota, consideration of practical program dissemination in community and school settings is of great importance to me. I am continuing my studies with Dr. Bruce Chorpita in the Clinical Psychology PhD program at UCLA.

    Zuzanna Wojcieszak

    Originally from Gdansk, Poland, I received my A.B. in Psychology from Harvard College in May 2013. Prior to graduation, I worked with professor Leah Somerville investigating effects of peer presence on risky decision making in adolescents. Last year in the Stress & Development Lab I was primarily responsible for the next stages of Childhood Adversity and Brain Development study. My long-term interests lay at the intersection of social and clinical psychology. In the future, I would like to investigate adolescent mental health in relation to social stressors (such as those related to interacting with people different from ourselves), as well the mechanisms of developing and modifying stereotypes. I am currently working with Dr. Tom Olino as I pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology at Temple University.

    Undergraduate Alumni

    Caroline Chan

    I joined the Stress and Development lab to pursue my interest in fMRI laboratory studies while gaining more clinical experience. In my senior year, I gained exposure to analyzing cardiac output data collected through SAS. I graduated from Harvard College in 2012 and began a clinical research coordinator job at Massachusetts General Hospital in the Center for Addiction Medicine a few months later, which merged my interests in fMRI and clinical psychology. I am currently working as a coordinator on a study examining whether real-time fMRI can be used to help individuals with nicotine addiction control their smoking urges and another study which examines the reward systems in individuals with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder. After two years, I plan on attending graduate school in psychology and pursuing a career as a child psychologist.

    Victoria Chambers

    I am a senior at university of Washington pursuing a B.S. in psychology and B.A. in Early Childhood and Family Studies. I joined the Stress and Development Lab in autumn 2015 and have been exposed to different types of lab work like data entry, analyzing ECG information, being an MRI buddy and sib sitting. I am currently working with Dr. McLaughlin to expand my knowledge on the different ways toxic stress can influence areas of development; specifically attachment and emotion regulation development and how that influences the prevalence of internalizing pathology like anxiety and depression. The skills, knowledge, and opportunities I have gained through this experience has been invaluable. 

    Fleur Li

    I am a senior at university of Washington pursuing B.S. in psychology. I joined the Stress and Development Lab since autumn 2014 and have been exposed to different laboratory works including patient data inputs, psychophysiological data analyzing, and participant recruitments. I enjoyed learning about how children and adolescents regulate their emotion and deal with stress and traumas. I am currently working with Matt on my honor thesis about childhood adversity and attachment. I greatly enjoyed the insights and skills I gained through mentorships and lab meetings.

    Jared Scheck

    I graduated with honors from Boston University with a B.A. in Psychology in May 2013. I began working in the Stress and Development lab in January of 2012, and in my time as a volunteer lab assistant I worked as a confederate, and an operator of heart rate and blood pressure monitoring equipment during participant lab visits. My time in the lab concluded at the end of the august 2012, with the commencement of my senior research at BU. Currently I am working several part time jobs while I am considering which doctoral program in clinical psychology will best suit my interests, which lie in stress and psychopathology.