Meet Our Team

EMMA ADAM

A developmental psychologist, Emma Adam has been with Northwestern's School of Education and Social Policy since 2000. She is interested in how everyday life factors such as work, school, family, and peer relationships influence levels of stress, health, and well-being in parents and their children. She is trying to trace the pathways by which stress "gets under the skin" to contribute to poor health and affect children's behavioral, academic, and emotional development. By using noninvasive methods such as measurement of the stress-sensitive hormone cortisol, she is studying how children and parents react to stress, as well as exploring how adolescents' daily experiences, stress hormone regulation, and sleep habits influence their everyday functioning as well as their health and well-being as they become adults.

JENNI HEISSEL

Jenni studies K-12 education policy, and she’s particularly interested in how stress and sleep affect cognitive performance in children and adolescents. Recent work includes a study of how sunlight exposure before school affects student outcomes in Florida and Tennessee. Using the time zone boundary, she and her coauthor find that students perform substantially worse in school if they have less sunlight before school, and that the pattern is more pronounced for adolescents in math. Using a within-student comparison, another paper examines how acute violence in Chicago affects student sleep and cortisol patterns the following day. Her next big project involves collecting cortisol and sleep data both before and during a high-stakes testing period in a charter school system in New Orleans. If students with more home stress are less responsive to the stress of the test, they may be unable to “get in the zone” and perform at their best on the test. Although parents and the media frequently talk about the stress of high-stakes test, this will be the first project to collect measures to examine what physiologically occurs within students as they take these standardized tests. Given how important these tests are for students and schools, understanding how stress affects outcomes is important for interpreting the results of exams. exams. When she's not writing Stata code, loves Notre Dame football, wine, and spending time with her husband, Brian.

Emma Adam

Jenni Heissel

DORAINNE LEVY

Dorainne is a sixth year doctoral student in the Social Psychology program. She is primarily interested in research that examines the effects of discrimination on affective, cognitive, behavioral, and physiological outcomes. She is particularly interested in how coping strategies might moderate the the typical negative impact of discrimination on these outcomes. Before attending Northwestern University, Dorainne received her B.A. in psychology from Rice University in the Spring of 2010.

ERIKA MANCZAK

As a graduate student in the clinical psychology program, my research primarily focuses on parent-child relationships across the lifespan. Within this, I am especially interested in the mechanisms that facilitate intergenerational transmission of psychopathology, in particular, the psychobiological processes that may buffer or exacerbate mental and physical health risk. Ongoing projects include research into the biological impact of parental empathy and an Individual Predoctoral NRSA fellowship from the National Institute of Mental Health to examine a biopsychosocial model for the intergenerational transmission of depression. In my work with Dr. Adam, I am investigating how characteristics of parents manifest in the daily biological and psychological processes of their adolescent children. Across studies, I incorporate multi-method assessments, drawing on observational, self-report, and biological data, with a particular focus on aspects of the stress-response system, including cortisol secretion, cardiovascular reactivity, and immune functioning.

Dorainne Levy

Erika Manczak

EMILY ROSS

Emily Ross is a 3rd-year doctoral student in Human Development and Social Policy and a graduate research fellow at the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University. Her interests lie in using a mixed methods approach to explore the relationships between economic disadvantage, parents' own human capital and well-being, parenting practices, and young children's development, as well as the mechanisms underlying these relationships (for example, the development and functioning of parents’ and children’s physiological stress systems). She is also interested in the development, implementation and evaluation of programs and policies that may foster healthy child development through strengthening the early environments in which they live. Before attending Northwestern University, Emily received her B.Sc. in psychology from McGill University and worked for two years as lab manager and research coordinator for Dr. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale and Emma Adam at Northwestern University.

ROYETTE TAVERNIER

In my research program, I examine the link between sleep and psychosocial functioning among youth. There are three overarching goals that guide my program of research: 1) To determine the temporal ordering of effects (i.e., bidirectional associations) between sleep characteristics and various indices of psychosocial functioning; 2) To examine the mechanisms or mediating pathways underlying the link between sleep and psychosocial functioning over time; and 3) To assess the role of individual differences (e.g., morningness-eveningness) in the link between sleep and psychosocial functioning. I am interested in a wide range of psychosocial indices including: academics, interpersonal relationships, media use, substance use, and intrapersonal adjustment (e.g., depressive symptoms, anxiety, daily stress). Some of the statistical tools I use to address my research goals include: auto-regressive cross-lagged analysis, growth curve modeling, latent class growth curve analysis, and hierarchical linear modeling. My interest in sleep and psychosocial functioning extends to both short term (i.e., day-to-day) as well as long term (over years) associations. I am particularly interested in these associations during adolescence and emerging adulthood.

Emily Ross

Royette Tavernier

MEGHAN QUINN

My program of research is informed by a theoretical model explaining individual differences in vulnerability to psychopathology following exposure to stressful life events. In this model, deficits in executive function contribute to reduced ability to cope with stressful life events, which in turn increases vulnerability to psychopathology. This model informs the aims of my current research: (1) Assess whether executive function is associated with physiological response to stressors, (2) Examine whether flexibility in use of coping or emotion regulation strategies (e.g., having a large repertoire of strategies) buffers vulnerability to psychopathology following exposure to life stressors, (3) Determine whether deficits in executive function contribute to vulnerability to symptoms of mood and anxiety disorders

CAMELIA E. HOSTINAR

My research program seeks to understand how childhood adversities (e.g., chronic poverty, stressful caregiving environments) alter the functioning of stress and immune systems and shape lifespan health. I am especially interested in examining protective factors (e.g., self-regulation skills, supportive relationships) that could buffer children and adolescents against chronic stress and subsequent physical or mental health problems. This research program hopes to contribute to the basic science on links between stress and health, with the goal of informing efforts to improve the health of children and adolescents living in disadvantaged circumstances.

Meghan Quinn

 

Camelia E. Hostinar

KIRSTEN GILBERT

I am currently a postdoctoral fellow working with Dr. Emma Adam as well as continuing my clinical training at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. My research is broadly focused on understanding the role of positive emotion and the regulation of positive emotion in the onset and maintenance of mood disorders. I examine positive emotion and emotion regulation from multiple angles to help elucidate individual differences in the development of mood disorders. I am interested in examining how specific emotion regulation strategies (e.g., dampening, mindfulness, rumination) influence positive emotional responding and the onset of clinical symptoms in both adolescents and adults diagnosed with bipolar disorder and depression. Another facet of my work has sought to characterize both healthy and maladaptive development of emotional reactivity, recovery, and regulation of positive emotion in adolescents. In particular, I am interested in examining reactivity to and recovery from heightened reward-seeking states in youth. I have approached my research utilizing subjective, physiological, and hormonal measurements and studied both experimental and naturalistic emotion regulation. I hope my work will help elucidate how the emotional dynamics of positive emotion, reward reactivity and the regulation of positive contribute to the onset of depression and bipolar disorder over the course of child and adolescent development. In my spare time I enjoy running, backpacking, and am about to jump into triathlons.

 

 

ASHLEY KENDALL

My research interests center on the role of positive emotions (such as happiness) in depression and anxiety, emphasizing the temporal nature of these emotions. For example, positive emotions are tied to the day/night cycle and typically follow a strong diurnal rhythm. Some of my current work examines if shifts in the diurnal positive emotion rhythm confer risk for the initial development of depressive and anxiety disorders, and possible biological mechanisms underling these pathways.

Kirsten Gilbert

Ashley Kendall

KATIE EHRLICH

stressful caregiving environments) alter the functioning of stress and immune systems and shape lifespan health. I am especially interested in examining protective factors (e.g., self-regulation skills, supportive relationships) that could buffer children and adolescents against chronic stress and subsequent physical or mental health problems. This research program hopes to contribute to the basic science on links between stress and health, with the goal of informing efforts to improve the health of children and adolescents living in disadvantaged circumstances.

Katie Ehrlich