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 the childhood social environment influences brain and behavioral development in children and adolescents. She has a joint Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and in Chronic Disease Epidemiology from Yale University and is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Washington.  Her research examines how environmental experience shapes emotional, cognitive, and neurobiological development throughout childhood and adolescence. Dr. McLaughlin’s overarching goal is to understand how adverse environments 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 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Jacobs Foundation, the Charles H. Hood Foundation, the Brain and Behavior Foundation, and the IMHRO One Mind Institute.  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: http://scholar.google.com/citations?user=nCjcWz0AAAAJ&hl=en&oi=ao

    Post-Doctoral Fellows

    Maya Rosen, Ph.D.

    Maya Rosen earned her B.A. in Neuroscience and Spanish from Skidmore College in 2007. After working as a research assistant at the Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center at UCSF studying stroke and spatial memory in mice, she decided to study human memory as a graduate student. 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. She is excited to apply her background in fMRI techniques and her knowledge of long-term memory and attention interactions to both typically developing children and children who have been exposed to childhood adversity including trauma and deprivation.

    Jessica Jenness, Ph.D.

    Jess Jenness earned her B.A. in Psychology and Spanish from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and participated in postbaccalaureate research through the Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA) program at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). In 2015, Dr. Jenness completed her predoctoral internship at the University of Washington, School of Medicine and graduated from the University of Denver with her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Her research interests have primarily focused on biological and emotion processing risk factors related to youth depression, with an emphasis on the additional risk conveyed by environmental context. Through her graduate work, Dr. Jenness has investigated the relationship among genetic susceptibility, chronic family stress, and depression and the genetic underpinnings of emotion processing as it relates to youth depression. Her research has been funded by intra- and extramural grants, including the predoctoral National Research Service Award program through NIMH. Dr. Jenness will be working with Dr. McLaughlin through a position in the Harborview Pediatric Injury Research Training Program at UW, funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) T-32 award. As a postdoctoral fellow, she will receive training in neuroimaging techniques in an effort to better understand neurobiological mechanisms linking trauma and depression among youth.

    Natalie Colich

    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.

    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.

    Meg Dennison, Ph.D.

    Meg Dennison earned her B.A in Psychology (Hons) and Ancient History from the University of Sydney and completed her Masters in Clinical Psychology and PhD from the University of Melbourne. Since graduating, Dr Dennison has completed her post-doctoral training in Clinical Psychology 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, including the description of sex-based differences, and considered the role of temperament in neurodevelopment throughout adolescence. In her post doctoral research, Dr Dennison 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. She will also take a lead role in coordinating a study examining the role of stressful life events play in risk for depression and anxiety in youth. You can find Dr Dennison’s work on Research Gate.

    Graduate Students

    Charlotte Heleniak

    Upon graduating from Dartmouth College in 2006, Charlotte spent a year and a half as a youth counselor at a group home for adolescents. Local police placed many of these teenagers in the group home while parental abuse was being investigated. Other residents were adjudicated to live in the group home following delinquent behavior. Following her time as a youth counselor, she provided support and legal information to survivors of domestic violence in the Brooklyn court system for a year. These two clinical experiences inspired her to pursue research examining etiology and treatment of child psychopathology. To this end, she began her work as a research assistant in the lab of Moira Rynn, MD, Director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Columbia University, for two and a half years. In this role Charlotte provided research and clinical support for a range of studies examining novel treatments for treatment-resistant pediatric psychiatric disorders such as major depressive disorder, tourette’s syndrome, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and bipolar disorder. As a graduate student in the Stress and Development lab here at UW, Charlotte is investigating how childhood adversity impacts emotion regulation and ultimately predicts adolescent psychopathology.

    Hilary Lambert

    After graduating from Princeton University in 2010 with a joint degree in psychology and neuroscience, I completed a yearlong fellowship assessing the impact of education and microfinance programs on vulnerable adolescents and their families for an NGO, Invisible Children, in Northern 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 normally aging rats. Through these experiences, I have come to appreciate the concept of neuroplasticity throughout life as well as the critical impact of the social environment on human development. While getting a PhD in Child Clinical Psychology at UW, I hope to investigate how different aspects of childhood adversity impact brain, emotional, and cognitive development and how these changes may lead to psychopathology and cognitive impairment later in life. I also hope to help develop evidence-based interventions that could remediate these problems.

    Matt Peverill

    I graduated from Amherst College in 2007 with a BA in Psychology. After several years working in information technology at a women's health center in Boston and providing counseling to a residence at MIT, I joined the lab as a volunteer in 2012. In 2013 I began work as a lab coordinator in Dr. Margaret Sheridan's Lab at Boston Children's Hospital, where I developed my knowledge of and appreciation for neuroimaging techniques while working on fMRI studies of neurological markers of stable ADHD diagnoses in children as well as working memory development in adolescents. I have a broad interest in how socioeconomic status can affect the prevalence and presentation of psychopathology in children. As a clinical child psychology student, I hope to study the effects of adverse experiences on the development of psychopathology in children, with a particular focus on how experiences common to children from low income families affect their risk for and experience of psychopathology.

    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. 

    Research Assistants

    China Bolden
    Research Coordinator

    China began her work at the Stress & Development Lab as a research assistant in 2013. Since that time she has worked on several projects looking at the impact of stress on behavior. In 2015 she worked with Dr. Jessica Sommerville investigating cognition and prosocial behavior in infants. Currently, she serves as a research coordinator at the SDL 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 PhD 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. She plans to apply to graduate schools fall 2016.

    Sarah Mendivel
    Research Coordinator

    After obtaining a Master’s degree and certification 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. This position soon inspired advocacy work through her publication, Light Spinner Quarterly (LSQ). Geared towards professionals working with vulnerable pediatric populations, LSQ allowed for collaborative projects with Dr. Patch Adams and the start of new Child Life programs nationwide. 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. Sarah ran individual and group interventions for children and teens experiencing PTSD, psychosis, mood and anxiety disorders, etc. Under the guidance of Dr. Julie Rinaldi, Sarah also became the lead therapist for the Lurie Children’s outpatient Disruptive Behavior Disorders group. After volunteering as a research assistant for the Brain and Behavior Research Institute and Chicago AIDS Foundation, she took the leap into research full time by joining 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.

    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.

    Zoe Miles
    Research Coordinator


    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.

    Pat Helgren
    Research Coordinator

    Pat holds a Masters in Educational Psychology from the University of Washington. She is a licensed mental health counselor specializing in children and adolescents and their families. Prior to entering the research arena, Pat served as clinical director at several community based agencies providing mental health treatment and prevention programs for children and families. Pat has much experience with children and families in the child welfare system. She was the statewide training director for the Washington State CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) programs whose advocates represented the best interests of abused and neglected children. After many years in children’s mental health treatment and intervention, Pat turned her energies to prevention research. Prior to coming the Stress and Development Lab she coordinated research projects at two other UW research groups, Reconnecting Youth and the Social Development Research Group, both of which are focused on the prevention of childhood psychiatric disorders and the promotion of healthy development. 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.

    Debbie Bitran
    Research Coordinator

    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.

    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 to have been working with such excellent faculty and lab, and look forward to expanding my knowledge in child clinical psychology.

    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.

    Collaborators

    Graduates

    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.

    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.

    Caroline Chan

    I joined the Stress and Development lab in my junior year of my undergraduate career hoping to gain more experience in clinical psychology. As a Neurobiology major, I had been exposed to and greatly enjoyed fMRI laboratory work but wanted to have more patient contact, particularly with teenagers. I found that in the Stress and Development lab serving as both an operator and evaluator for the SAS study. In my senior year, I was able to gain more 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 of Addiction Medicine a few months later. My job here as merged my interests in fMRI laboratory work and clinical psychology. I am currently working as a coordinator on a study which examines whether real time fMRI can be used to help individuals with nicotine addiction control their smoking urges and another study which studies the reward systems in individuals with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder. After working here for two years, I plan on attending graduate school in psychology and pursuing a career as a child psychologist.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.