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Research

My primary area of interest is in how social relationships and contexts affect mental and physical health.  My research asks questions such as: How do social hierarchies influence our brain functioning, our emotions and thoughts, and ultimately, our health? How do experiences such as social rejection or social evaluation get processed in the brain to influence biological outcomes? What are the neural correlates of positive social experiences, such as being known and understood by another person?

My research is highly interdisciplinary, as I attempt to answer these questions using a variety of tools, ranging from functional MRI to biological assays of immune system parameters (like pro-inflammatory cytokines). At heart, though, I am a social psychologist, and am committed to thinking carefully about social phenomena and translating meaningful social experiences to the laboratory.

I could not conduct such interesting research without the help of my many mentors and collaborators at UCLA! My primary advisor is Dr. Naomi Eisenberger, and I also work on projects with Dr. Matthew Lieberman, Dr. Shelley Taylor, and Dr. Mirella Dapretto. My research and training are funded by a Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation, and a Pre-Doctoral Fellowship on an NIMH Training Grant.

Curriculum Vitae